Chris Warticki

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Updated: 11 hours 39 min ago

How Can You Protect Your Business From Cybercrime?

Wed, 2018-12-12 19:15
Cybercrime is Real.

By 2021, the estimated annual cost of worldwide cybercrime damages will be $6 trillion[1]. You’ve seen the headlines—the average cost of a data breach in 2016 was $4 million[2]—many companies never recover.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security advises, “It is necessary for all organizations to establish a strong ongoing patch management process to ensure the proper preventative measures are taken against potential threats[3].”

Oracle continues to periodically receive reports of attempts to maliciously exploit vulnerabilities for which Oracle has already released fixes. In some instances, it has been reported that attackers have been successful because targeted customers had failed to apply available Oracle patches. Oracle therefore strongly recommends that customers remain on actively-supported versions and apply Critical Patch Update fixes without delay[4].

Support Matters.

Oracle Support is the best way to legally receive mission critical security updates and protection for your Oracle Software. Because Oracle creates and owns the source code, we can address vulnerabilities and emerging threats in the source code. As an Oracle Premier Support customer you have access reliable quarterly Critical Patch Updates to the source and security bulletins.

When your business is on the line, there is no substitute for trusted, secure, and comprehensive

See why Oracle recommends patching to fix software vulnerabilities at the source on Oracle Forbes BrandVoice and read more on the importance of software patching to avoid data breaches.

Don’t become a cybercrime statistic.

Learn How to Optimise your Oracle Support Experience at the UK Oracle User Group Events

Thu, 2018-11-29 11:25

Oracle Support will be speaking at the Apps18 and JDE18 events in Liverpool (Dec 3-5) and we will also be at the Oracle stand.

Whether you are using Oracle on-premises or in the cloud, come along and discover best practices for the support tools that will to help your team be more productive. Find out about the training available as part of your Oracle Premier Support and tips such as how you can reduce the need for creating service requests.

You can also hear the latest news on the Oracle Applications Unlimited products—Oracle E-Business Suite, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, Peoplesoft, and Siebel—with Oracle Premier Support through at least 2030. Learn about the Applications Unlimited innovations, like ongoing new features you can choose without upgrades. Join us at our sessions or at the Oracle stand to discuss product roadmaps and more.

Hear more at these four sessions:

If you want to demonstrate your own expertise—or learn about using Oracle Support more effectively—consider becoming Oracle Support accredited (login required).

We look forward to meeting you on the Oracle Stand.

Latest News, Updates, and Roadmaps--Oracle Premier Support at Oracle OpenWorld

Tue, 2018-10-16 15:57

Our conference sessions give you security, and how-to information that you can apply when you are back on the job. Hear directly from Oracle Support experts and Oracle Support customers and learn how you can maximize the value Oracle Premier Support provides your company.

Bookmark the Focus on Oracle Premier Support document for quick reference on your cell phone and you will have all the Premier Support sessions and activities available at your fingertips. Click on the + button for a session to pre-register and add the session to your Oracle OpenWorld schedule.

Oracle Premier Support—Hear from Customers

Oracle Support customers tell the story best—why they rely on Oracle Premier Support and how to get more from your Oracle products—from best practices for security, compliance, and governance to moving Oracle Applications Unlimited products to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Whether your Oracle Applications Unlimited run on premises or in the cloud, Oracle Premier Support is there with you.

 

See all the Oracle Premier Support customer sessions.

 

Oracle Premier Support Security—Hear from Security Experts

Oracle Premier Support provides customers with an enhanced security posture. Presented by security experts with operational security experience, these sessions will give you with insight into current security trends, common causes of security breaches, and with specific recommendations to help you secure your environment.

 

See all Oracle Premier Support Security Sessions

 

Oracle Applications Unlimited—Through at Least 2030

Get the latest details on Oracle Applications Unlimited products and their availability—whether you run Applications Unlimited products on premises or in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. See all the Applications Unlimited sessions.

See all Oracle Applications Unlimited sessions

 

Oracle Platinum Services

See how Oracle Platinum Services helps maximize availability and reduce support complexity through remote fault monitoring, decreased response times, and patching performed by Oracle experts—at no additional cost.

See all the Oracle Platinum Services sessions

 

Find all the Oracle Support sessions, activities, and events on the Support and Services Oracle OpenWorld page.

3 Ways to Meet Oracle Advanced Customer Services at OpenWorld 2018

Mon, 2018-10-15 10:35

If you are attending Oracle OpenWorld 2018 in San Francisco this month, we invite you to connect with us and learn more about how Oracle Advanced Customer Services can help you and your business.

Here is where you can find us:

1. Learning Sessions

We will lead over a dozen sessions, discussing some of the top challenges businesses like yours face every day. Topics include:

  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure: A Proven End-to-End Approach to IaaS
  • Break Down Barriers with DevOps to Accelerate Innovation
  • Protect Your Business and Your Data with Oracle Managed Security Services

2. Support Stars Bar

Come meet our experts and learn how we can help you both maximize and modernize your existing infrastructure. Share your business challenges with us and learn how we are helping customers solve these same issues every day.

3. Customer Welcome Center Demos

Join the experts demonstrating key services and capabilities of Oracle Advanced Customer Services. Learn firsthand how our flexible solutions support your innovation and business growth.

Join Us

Oracle OpenWorld 2018 is today's premier business and technology event that you won't want to miss. Oracle Advanced Customer Services will be there, ready to help you and your business achieve tomorrow’s business goals, today!

To learn more about Oracle Support and Services at Oracle OpenWorld visit: oracle.com/goto/openworldservices

To learn more about Oracle Advanced Customer Services, visit: oracle.com/acs

We look forward to seeing you there!

Get More from Your Oracle Premier Support Investment

Fri, 2018-10-12 10:31

Our conference sessions give you security, and how-to information that you can apply when you are back on the job. Hear directly from Oracle Support experts and Oracle Support customers and learn how you can maximize the value Oracle Premier Support provides your company.

Bookmark the Focus on Oracle Premier Support document for quick reference on your cell phone and you will have all the Premier Support sessions and activities available at your fingertips. Click on the + button for a session to pre-register and add the session to your Oracle OpenWorld schedule.

Oracle Premier Support—Hear from Customers

Oracle Support customers tell the story best—why they rely on Oracle Premier Support and how to get more from your Oracle products—from best practices for security, compliance, and governance to moving Oracle Applications Unlimited products to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Whether your Oracle Applications Unlimited run on premises or in the cloud, Oracle Premier Support is there with you.

 

See all the Oracle Premier Support customer sessions.

 

Oracle Premier Support Security—Hear from Security Experts

Oracle Premier Support provides customers with an enhanced security posture. Presented by security experts with operational security experience, these sessions will give you with insight into current security trends, common causes of security breaches, and with specific recommendations to help you secure your environment.

 

See all Oracle Premier Support Security Sessions

 

Oracle Applications Unlimited—Through at Least 2030

Get the latest details on Oracle Applications Unlimited products and their availability—whether you run Applications Unlimited products on premises or in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. See all the Applications Unlimited sessions.

See all Oracle Applications Unlimited sessions

 

Oracle Platinum Services

See how Oracle Platinum Services helps maximize availability and reduce support complexity through remote fault monitoring, decreased response times, and patching performed by Oracle experts—at no additional cost.

See all the Oracle Platinum Services sessions

 

Find all the Oracle Support sessions, activities, and events on the Support and Services Oracle OpenWorld page.

Discover Oracle University Training at Oracle OpenWorld

Wed, 2018-10-10 17:25

Over 57%[1] of IT decision makers see training as important to mitigating the skills gaps they now face.

Technology is changing and skills gaps are widening. Are you ready for the challenge?

Oracle OpenWorld provides avenues for you to network and learn about new products and services. It also provides you with the opportunity to speak with Oracle product experts and to gain new skills or brush-up on the ones you already have.

As part of Oracle’s Support Services organization, Oracle University is excited to offer you a variety of ways to expand your product knowledge while at Oracle OpenWorld or Code One.

New this year:  Free “Deep Dive” training sessions! These sessions provide four hours of in-depth product training taught by our expert Oracle instructors.

Take a look at these FREE topic sessions offered to Oracle OpenWorld and Code One attendees:

Need something shorter? Visit the Oracle University theatre within the Exchange in Moscone South. We will be running a series of short “how to” product training sessions to help you advance your skill set.

Want to talk to Oracle University about your training and certification needs? Stop by the Oracle Support Stars Bar to talk to Oracle University and other support experts from across Oracle’s product portfolio.

Make the most of your OpenWorld trip with training at OpenWorld! Reserve your seat today at education.oracle.com/oow.

Find all the Oracle Support and Services sessions, activities and events on the Support and Services Oracle OpenWorld page.

 

Get the Real-world Advice You Need—Add Oracle Support Experts to Your Schedule

Tue, 2018-10-02 19:01
Oracle Support has the expertise and resources to help you optimize and innovate within your business, whether you're an executive leader, enterprise resource manager, database admin, IT service engineer, or anything in between.
Visit us at Oracle OpenWorld 2018 in San Francisco, October 22 to 25, and discover tools, knowledge, and best practices for getting the most from your Oracle solutions—on-premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid of both.
Come and engage with Oracle Support and Services leaders and engineers at Oracle OpenWorld.
We can help you discover available support resources and see what's coming next for your Oracle Cloud and on-premise solutions.
See sessions and demos from:
  • Oracle Support
  • Oracle Advanced Customer Services
  • Oracle University
  • And more!
Connect with support experts across Oracle’s product portfolio and gain valuable insights at the Oracle Support Stars Bar, located on the third floor of Moscone West.
Support personnel are available for walk-in consultations, or you can schedule a one-on-one engagement ahead of time to fit your event schedule.
Attend a 15-minute Mini-Briefing session on key topics at our Mini-Briefing Center (adjacent to the Stars Bar) and enter a drawing for a chance to win a prize.
Learn about resources to help drive productivity and proactively avoid business obstacles.
Oracle Support offers dozens of dedicated conference sessions for your specific products and solutions, with support tricks and tips for Oracle Database, Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Fusion Applications, and more.
Many Oracle Support sessions have historically been some of the best-attended at OpenWorld, with a focus on practical, real-world expertise that you can take home and benefit from immediately.
Oracle Support's proactive program helps organizations adopt and integrate the latest product capabilities, streamline support resolution, and optimize systems and software performance. Oracle Support annually recognizes customers and partners who have excelled in driving business value adopting Oracle's proactive support offerings.
The Proactive Support Individual Champion awards are presented at the Stars Bar on Monday, October 22, at 1:00 p.m. Join us for the award presentation and find out how real-world peers have had success using Proactive tools and resources.
Join us for the annual My Oracle Support Monday Mix, our unique customer appreciation event that complements your Oracle OpenWorld experience and offers another dimension to the sessions and demos you'll attend all week.
Connect and engage with Oracle Support executives and engineers on Monday, October 22 from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. at Fang Restaurant, 660 Howard Street in San Francisco (just a three-minute walk from Moscone).
Admission is free for Oracle Support customers with an Oracle OpenWorld badge and photo ID.
Oracle Support has provided award-winning service for more than 40 years, and continues to help our more than 430,000 customers find new possibilities to fuel their success and protect their technology investments. We look forward to seeing you at Oracle OpenWorld 2018.
Oracle Support
Trusted | Secure | Comprehensive

Court Upholds Permanent Injunction Against Rimini Street

Fri, 2018-08-17 16:18

On August 15, a Federal Court in Nevada once again granted Oracle's motion for a permanent injunction against Rimini Street and required payment to Oracle of $28 million in attorney’s fees due to Rimini’s egregious litigation misconduct. 

In upholding the injunction, the Court made clear that Rimini’s business “was built entirely on its infringement of Oracle’s copyrighted software.” In addition, the court noted that Rimini’s improper conduct not only enabled the company to grow quickly, but also unfairly “eroded the bonds and trust that Oracle has with its customers.”

In a statement, Dorian Daley, Oracle's Executive Vice President and General Counsel, reinforced the Court’s findings. “As the Court's Order today makes clear, Rimini Street's business has been built entirely on unlawful conduct, and Rimini's executives have repeatedly lied to cover up their company's illegal acts.”

To learn more about the Federal Court ruling:

1. Read full press release

2. "Oracle Punches Rimini Street Hard in Court" - Enterprise Times

Dear Oracle Customers & Partners, Thank YOU!

Fri, 2018-08-10 08:00

Dear Oracle Customers & Partners,

After a deeply rewarding 20-year career here at Oracle, this serves as my final blog post.  I wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for reading, subscribing and sharing the information provided here about Oracle Support.

My 20-year career began serving customers in our Network Support group then quickly transitioned to managing the Unix Install and RDBMS Support teams under Server Technologies.  After 7 years in in the Support delivery organization, I began working for the Customer Support Education team, Proactive Support team and finished within the Global Customer Management organization. 

I've been privileged to have traveled the world evangelizing the evolution, best practices and value of Oracle Support throughout the years.  I've been blessed to meet many of you at conferences, events, user groups and 1on1 (both online and in-person).  I've thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

We've been through a lot together.  From the early days of telephone, call-center support to web enabled, online support. From TAR to SR.  From MetaLink to MOS.  We survived FlashMOS. We survived Y2K.  Through it all, you know that my mantra has always been FOR THE CUSTOMER.

As for the future of this blog - stay tuned.  As for my personal next chapter, you can follow me on Twitter and Linked-In.

Thank You all. Thank you for your time.  Thank you for your feedback. Thank you for your business.

Sincerely,

Chris Warticki



 

Reflecting Changes in Business Objects in UI Tables with Visual Builder

Mon, 2018-05-21 13:14

While the quick start wizards in Visual Builder Cloud Service (VBCS) make it very easy to create tables and other UI components and bind them to business objects, it is good to understand what is going on behind the scenes, and what the wizards actually do. Knowing this will help you achieve things that we still don't have wizards for.

For example - let's suppose you created a business object and then created a UI table that shows the fields from that business object in your page. You probably used the "Add Data" quick start wizard to do that. But then you remembered that you need one more column added to your business object, however after you added that one to the BO, you'll notice it is not automatically shown in the UI. That makes sense since we don't want to automatically show all the fields in a BO in the UI.

But how do you add this new column to the UI?

The table's Add Data wizard will be disabled at this point - so is your only option to drop and recreate the UI table? Of course not!

 

If you'll look into the table properties you'll see it is based on a page level ServiceDataProvider ( SDP for short) variable. This is a special type of object that the wizards create to represent collections. If you'll look at the variable, you'll see that it is returning data using a specific type. Note that the type is defined at the flow level - if you'll look at the type definition you'll see where the fields that make up the object are defined.

Type Definition

It is very easy to add a new field here - and modify the type to include the new column you added to the BO. Just make sure you are using the column's id - and not it's title - when you define the new field in the items array.

Now back in the UI you can easily modify the code of the table to add one more column that will be hooked up to this new field in the SDP that is based on the type.

Sounds complex? It really isn't - here is a 3 minute video showing the whole thing end to end:

As you see - a little understanding of the way VBCS works, makes it easy to go beyond the wizards and achieve anything.

European Privacy Requirements: Considerations for Retailers

Mon, 2018-05-21 11:52

When retailers throughout Europe adopt a new set of privacy and security regulations this week, it will be the first major revision of data protection guidelines in more than 20 years. The 2018 regulations address personal as well as financial data, and require that retailers use systems already designed to fulfill these protections by default.

In 1995, the European Commission adopted a Data Protection Directive that regulates the processing of personal data within the European Union. This gave rise to 27 different national data regulations, all of which remain intact today. In 2012, the EC announced that it would supersede these national regulations and unify data protection law across the EU by adopting a new set of requirements called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The rules apply to any retailer selling to European consumers. The GDPR, which takes effect May 25, 2018, pertains to any company doing business in, or with citizens of, the European Union, and to both new and existing products and services. Organizations found to be in violation of the GDPR will face a steep penalty of 20 million euros or four percent of their gross annual revenue, whichever is greater.

Retailers Must Protect Consumers While Personalizing Offers

GDPR regulations will encompass personal as well as financial data, including much of the data found in a robust customer engagement system, CRM, or loyalty program. It also includes information not historically considered to be personal data: device IDs, IP addresses, log data, geolocation data, and, very likely, cookies.

For the majority of retailers relying on customer data to personalize offers, it is critically important to understand how to fulfill GDPR requirements and execute core retail, customer, and marketing operations. Developing an intimate relationship with consumers and delivering personalized offers means tapping into myriad data sources.

This can be done, but systems must be GDPR-compliant by design and by default. A key concept underlying the GDPR is Privacy by Design (PBD), which essentially stipulates that systems be designed to minimize the amount of personal data they collect. Beginning this week, Privacy by Design features will become a regulatory requirement for both Oracle and our customers and GDPR stipulates that these protections are, by default, turned on.

Implementing Security Control Features

While the GDPR requires “appropriate security and confidentiality,” exact security controls are not specified. However, a number of security control features are discussed in the text and will likely be required for certain types of data or processing. Among them are multi-factor authentication for cloud services, customer-configurable IP whitelisting, granular access controls (by record, data element, data type, or logs), encryption, anonymization, and tokenization.

Other security controls likely to be required are “separation of duties” (a customer option requiring two people to perform certain administrative tasks); customer options for marking some fields as sensitive and restricted; limited access on the part of the data controller (i.e. Oracle) to customer information; displaying only a portion of a data field; and the permanent removal of portions of a data element.

Summary of Critical GDPR Requirements

The GDPR includes a number of recommendations and requirements governing users’ overall approach to data gathering and use. Among the more important are:

  • Minimization. Users are required to minimize the amount of data used, length of time it is stored, the number of people who have access to it, and the extent of that access.
  • Retention and purging. Data may be retained for only as long as reasonably necessary. This applies in particular to personal data, which should be processed only if the purpose of processing cannot reasonably be fulfilled by other means. Services must delete customer data on completion of the services.
  • Exports and portability. End users must be provided with copies of their data in a structured, commonly used digital format. Customers will be required to allow end users to send data directly to a competing service provider for some services.
  • Access, correction, and deletion. End-user requests for data access, correction, and deletion for data they store in any service. Users may have a “right to be forgotten”—a right to have all their data erased.
  • Notice and consent. When information is collected, end-user notice and consent for data processing is generally required.
  • Backup and disaster recovery. Timely availability of end-user data must be ensured.

Are you prepared?

Oracle is prepared for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was adopted by the European Parliament in April 2016 and will become effective on May 25, 2018. We welcome the positive changes it is expected to bring to our service offerings by providing a consistent and unified data protection regime for businesses across Europe. Oracle is committed to helping its customers address the GDPR’s new requirements that are relevant to our service offerings, including any applicable processor accountability requirements.

Our customers can rest assured that Oracle Retail’s omnichannel suite will empower them to continue delivering personalized customer experiences that meet complex global data privacy regulations. Contact Oracle Retail to learn more about Oracle systems, services and GDPR compliance: oneretailvoice_ww@oracle.com

 

 

 

 

New Oracle E-Business Suite Person Data Removal Tool Now Available

Mon, 2018-05-21 10:27

Oracle is pleased to announce the availability of the Oracle E-Business Suite Person Data Removal Tool, designed to remove (obfuscate) data associated with people in E-Business Suite systems. Customers can apply the tool to select information in their E-Business Suite production systems to help address internal operational and external regulatory requirements, such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

For more details, see:

DP World Extends Strategic Collaboration with Oracle to Accelerate Global Digital ...

Mon, 2018-05-21 09:56

Global trade enabler DP World has extended its partnership with Oracle to implement its digital transformation programme that supports its strategy to develop complementary sectors in the global supply chain such as industrial parks, free zones and logistics. 

 

Suhail Al Banna, Senior Vice President, DP World, Middle East and Africa Region; Arun Khehar, Senior Vice President – Business Applications, ECEMEA, Oracle; Mohammed Al Muallem, CEO and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region and CEO, JAFZA.

Suhail Al Banna, Senior Vice President, DP World, Middle East and Africa Region; Arun Khehar, Senior Vice President – Business Applications, ECEMEA, Oracle; Mohammed Al Muallem, CEO and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region and CEO, JAFZA.

 

The move follows an announcement by DP World earlier this year to use the Oracle Cloud Suite of Applications drive business transformation. Oracle Consulting will now implement the full suite of Fusion Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Capital Management (HCM) and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud solutions using its True Cloud methodology. The technology roll out across the Group has already started with the Group’s UAE Region and Middle East and Africa Region the first to sign up.

Teo Chin Seng, Senior Vice President IT, DP World Group, said:“Our focus on building our digital capability follows our vision to become a digitised global trade enabler and we working to achieve a new operational efficiency level while creating value for our stakeholders.”

Arun Khehar, Senior Vice President – Business Applications, ECEMEA, Oracle said:“Following the recent announcement of our strategic partnership to help DP World drive its global digital transformation with our best-in-class Cloud Suite of Applications (SaaS), we are proud to extend our collaboration by leveraging the deep expertise of Oracle Consulting to drive this large scale project. We are confident that this strategic cloud deployment will help them deliver the next level of innovation and differentiation.”

The Oracle Consulting team is focused exclusively on Oracle Cloud solutions and staffed with more than 7,000 experts in 175 countries serving more than 20 million users to help organizations implement Oracle Cloud in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

 

Further press releases Oracle Middle East Newsroom 

If You Are Struggling With GDPR, Then You Are Not Alone

Mon, 2018-05-21 08:00

Well, it's only 5 days to go until the infamous GDPR deadline of 25th May 2018 and you can certainly see the activity accelerating.

You would have thought that with the deadline so close, most organisations would be sat back, relaxing, safe in the knowledge that they have had 2 years to prepare for GDPR, and therefore, are completely ready for it. It's true, some organisations are prepared and have spent the last 24 months working hard to meet the regulations. Sadly, there are also a significant proportion of companies who aren't quite ready. Some, because they have left it too late. Others, by choice.

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of being invited to sit on a panel discussing GDPR at Equinix's Innovation through Interconnection conference in London.

As with most panels, we had a very interesting discussion, talking about all aspects of GDPR including readiness, data sovereignty, healthcare, the role of Cloud, and the dreaded Brexit!

I have written before about GDPR, but this time I thought I would take a bit of time to summarise three of the more interesting discussion topics from the panel, particularly areas where I feel companies are struggling.

Are you including all of your personal right data?

There is a clear recognition that an organisation's customer data is in scope for GDPR. Indeed, my own personal email account has been inundated with opt-in consent emails from loads of companies, many of whom I had forgotten even had my data. Clearly, companies are making sure that they are addressing GDPR for their customers. However, I think there is a general concern that some organisations are missing some of the data, especially internal data, such as that of their employees. HR data is just as important when it comes to GDPR. I see some companies paying far less attention to this area than their customer's data.

Does Cloud help or hinder GDPR compliance?

A lot was discussed on the panel around the use of cloud. Personally, I think that cloud can be a great enabler, taking away some of the responsibility and overhead of implementing security controls, processes, and procedures and allowing the Data Processor (the Cloud Service Provider) to bring all of their experience, skill and resources into delivering you a secure environment. Of course, the use of Cloud also changes the dynamic. As the Data Controller, an organisation still has plenty of their own responsibility, including that of the data itself. Therefore, putting your systems and data into the Cloud doesn't allow you to wash your hands of the responsibility. However, it does allow you to focus on your smaller, more focused areas of responsibility. You can read more about shared responsiblity from Oracle's CISO, Gail Coury in this article. Of course, you need to make sure you pick the right cloud service provider to partner with. I'm sure I must have mentioned before that Oracle does Cloud and does it extremely well.

What are the real challenges customers are facing with GDPR?

I talk to lots of customers about GDPR and my observations were acknowledged during the panel discussion. Subject access rights is causing lots of headaches. To put it simply, I think we can break GDPR down into two main areas: Information Security and Subject Access Rights. Organisations have been implementing Information Security for many years (to varying degrees), especially if they have been subject to other legislations like PCI, HIPAA, SOX etc. However, whilst the UK Data Protection Act has always had principles around data subjects, GDPR really brings that front and centre. Implementing many of the principles associated with data subjects, i.e. me and you, can mean changes to applications, implementing new processes, identifying sources of data across an organisation etc. None of this is proving simple.

On a similar theme, responding to subject access rights due to this spread of data across an organisation is worrying many company service desks, concerned that come 25th May, they will be inundated with requests they cannot fulfil in a timely manner.

Oh and of course, that's before you even get to paper-based and unstructured data, which is proving to be a whole new level of challenge.

I could continue, but the above 3 areas are some of the main topics I am hearing over and over again with the customers I talk to. Hopefully, everyone has realised that there is no silver bullet for achieving GDPR compliance, and, for those companies who won't be ready in 5 days time, I hope you at least have a strong plan in place.

Experience, Not Conversion, is the Key to the Switching Economy

Mon, 2018-05-21 08:00

In a world increasingly defined by instant-gratification, the demand for positive and direct shopping experiences has risen exponentially. Today’s always-on customers are drawn to the most convenient products and services available. As a result, we are witnessing higher customer switching rates, with consumers focusing more on convenience than on branding, reputation, or even on price.  

In this switching economy – where information and services are always just a click away –  we tend to reach for what suits our needs in the shortest amount of time. This shift in decision making has made it harder than ever for businesses to build loyalty among their customers and to guarantee repeat purchases. According to recent research, only 1 in 5 consumers now consider it a hassle to switch between brands, while a third would rather shop for better deals than stay loyal to a single organization. 

What's Changed? 

The consumer mindset for one. And the switching tools available to customers have also changed. Customers now have the ability to research extensively before they purchase, with access to reviews and price comparison sites often meaning that consumers don’t even make it to a your website before being captured by a competitor. 

This poses a serious concern for those brands that have devoted their time – and marketing budgets – to building great customer experiences across their websites. 

Clearly this is not to say that on-site experiences aren’t important, but rather that they are only one part of the wider customer journey. In an environment as complex and fast moving as the switching economy, you must look to take a more omnichannel approach to experience, examining how your websites, mobile apps, customer service teams, external reviews and in-store experiences are all shaping the customers’ perceptions of your brand. 

What Still Needs to Change?

Only by getting to know your customers across all of these different channels can you future-proof your brand in the switching economy. To achieve this, you must establish a new set of metrics that go beyond website conversion. The days of conversion optimization being viewed as the secret sauce for competitive differentiation are over; now brands must recognize that high conversion rates are not necessarily synonymous with a great customer experience – or lifetime loyalty. 

Today, the real measure of success does not come from conversion, but from building a true understanding of your customers – across every touchpoint in the omnichannel journey. Through the rise of experience analytics, you finally have the tools and technologies needed to understand customers in this way, and to tailor all aspects of your brand to maximize convenience, encourage positive mindsets and pre-empt when your customers are planning to switch to a different brand. 

It is only through this additional layer of insight that businesses and brands will rebuild the notion of customer loyalty, and ultimately, overcome the challenges of the switching economy. 

Want to learn more about simplifying and improving the customer experience? Read Customer Experience Simplified: Deliver The Experience Your Customers Want to discover how to provide customer experiences that are managed as carefully as the product, the price, and the promotion of the marketing mix.

Customer Experience Simplified

See What Your Guests Think with Data Visualization

Mon, 2018-05-21 06:00

As we approach the end of May, thoughts of summer and vacations begin. Naturally, a key component is finding the best place to stay and often that means considering the hotel options at your chosen destination. But what’s the best way to decide? That’s where reading reviews is so important.   

And that brings us to the latest blog in the series of taking datasets from ‘less typical’ sources and analyzing them with Oracle Data Visualization. Here, we’ve pulled the reviews from Booking.com as a dataset and visualized it to see how we – the general public - rate the hotels we stay in.

Working with Ismail Syed, pre-sales intern, and Harry Snart, pre-sales consultant, both from Oracle UK, we ran the analysis and created visualizations. We decided to look at the most common words used in both positive and negative reviews, see how long each of them is – and work out which countries are the most discerning when they give their feedback. 

So, what are the main irritations when we go away? Conversely - what's making a good impression?

Words of discontent

First, we wanted to combine the most commonly used words in a positive review with those most likely used in a negative review. You can see these in the stacked bar chart below. Interestingly, 'room' and 'staff' both appear in the positive and negative comments list. However, there are far more positive reviews around staff than negative ones, and likewise a lot more negative reviews around the room than positive reviews.

It seems then, across the board, guests find customer service better than the standard of the rooms they receive – implying an effective way to boost client retention would be by starting with improving rooms. In particular the small size of the rooms was complained about, that’s a tough fix, but people were more upset about the standard of the beds, their bathrooms and the toilets, which can be updated a bit more easily.

You’ll also notice 'breakfast' appears prominently in both the positive and negative word clouds – so a more achievable fix could be to start there. A bad breakfast can leave a bad taste, but a good one is obviously remembered. 

Who’ll give a good review?

Next, we wanted to see who the most complimentary reviewers were, by nationality. While North Americans, Australians and Kyrgyz (highlighted in green) tend to leave the most favorable reviews, hotels have a harder time impressing those from Madagascar, Nepal and Mali (in red). Europeans sit somewhere in the middle – except for Bosnia and Herzegovina, who like to leave an upbeat review.   

Next, we wanted to see who is the most verbose in their feedback – the negative reviewers or the positive reviewers – and which countries leave the longest posts.

Are shorter reviews sweeter?

Overall, negative reviews were slightly longer, but only by a small amount – contrary to the popular belief that we tend to ‘rant’ more when we’re perturbed about something. People from Trinidad and Tobago left the longest good reviews, at an average of 29 words. Those from Belarus, the USA and Canada followed as the wordiest positive reviewers. On the flip side, the Romanians, Swedish, Russians and Germans had a lot to say about their bad experiences – leaving an average of 22 words showing their displeasure.

It's business, but also personal...

Clearly data visualization doesn't necessarily just need to be a tool just for the workplace; you can deploy it to gain an insight into other aspects as well – including helping you prepare for some valuable time off.

If you’re an IT leader your organization and need to enable insights for everyone across business, you should consider a complete, connected and collaborative analytics platform like Oracle Analytics Cloud. Why not find out a bit more and get started for free.

If you simply interested in visual analysis of your own data? Why not see what you can find out by taking a look at our short demo and signing up for an Oracle Data Visualization trial?

Either way, make sure you and your business take a vacation from spreadsheets and discover far more from your data through visualization.

HR today: right skills, right place, right time, right price

Mon, 2018-05-21 05:49

The only constant in today’s work environment is change. If you’re going to grow and stay competitive in this era of digital transformation, your business has to keep up—and HR must too.

A wide range of factors all mean that HR constantly has to grow and transform—changing demographics, new business models, economic uncertainty, evolving employee expectations, the bring-your-own-device revolution, increased automation, AI, the relentless search for cost savings, and more.

Things are different today. In the past, business change processes typically had a start and target end date, with specific deliverables that were defined in advance. Now change is open-ended, and its objectives evolve over time—based on the world as it is, rather than a set of assumptions. An agile model for transformation is therefore essential, along with a decision-making process that can survive constant change.

The fact is that people are still—and will always be—the most important part of any business, so HR has to be closely aligned to your overall business goals, delivering benefits to the whole organisation. Every move your HR team makes should be focused on how to deliver the right skills in the right place, at the right time and at the right price, to achieve your business’s goals.

 

Workforce planning

To manage your workforce effectively as the needs of your business change, you need to know what talent you have, where it’s located—and also what skills you are likely to need in the future. It’s much easier to fill skills gaps when you can see, or anticipate, them.

 

Deliver maximum value from your own people

And it’s much easier to do if you’ve already nurtured a culture of personal improvement. Giving people new opportunities to learn and develop, and a sense of control over their own careers will help you maintain up-to-date skills within your business and also identify the most ideal candidates—whether for promotion, relocation within the company or to take on specific roles. Moreover, it should enable them to, for example, pursue areas of personal interest, train for qualifications, or perhaps work flexibly—all of which will improve loyalty and morale.

You can also look for skills gaps that you absolutely must recruit externally to fill, and understand how best to do that, especially at short notice. What are the most cost-efficient and effective channels, for example? You might consider whether offshoring for skills is helpful, or maintaining a base of experienced temporary workers that you can call on.

 

Unknown unknowns

Yet these are all known gaps. Organisations now also have to consider recruiting people for unknown jobs too. Some estimates suggest that as much as two-thirds of primary school children will end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist. So what new roles are being created in your industry, and how are you selecting people that will be able to grow into them?

 

Maximise the value of your HR function

Your HR organisation must be capable of, and ready to support these changes, and that means three things. First, the strategic workforce planning activities described above, supported by modern data and analytics. Next, HR has to provide the very best employee experience possible, enabling personal development and support. Finally, they need to be able to support the process of constant change itself, and move to a more agile way of operating.

 

Get the culture right

Creating and nurturing a strong culture is essential here, and that relies on close co-ordination between HR, line managers and employees. Having a core system of record on everyone’s roles and various skills supports all these objectives, and can help you to grow your business through the modern era of change.

 

Essential enablers for implementing a modern product strategy

Mon, 2018-05-21 05:49

Continuous improvement across your entire mix of products and services is essential to innovate and stay competitive nowadays. Digital disruption requires companies to transform, successfully manage a portfolio of profitable offerings, and deliver unprecedented levels of innovation and quality. But creating your product portfolio strategy is only the first part—four key best practices are necessary to successfully implement it.

New technologies—the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Social Media, 3D printing, and digital collaboration and modelling tools—are creating powerful opportunities to innovate. Increasingly customer-centric propositions are being delivered ‘as-a-service’ via the cloud, with just-in-time fulfilment joining up multiple parts of the supply chain. Your products and services have to evolve continually to keep up, causing massive amounts of data to be generated that has to be fed back in to inform future development.

 

Common language

To minimise complexity, it’s essential that there is just one context for all communication. You therefore need a standardised—and well-understood—enterprise product record that acts as a common denominator for your business processes. And that means every last piece of information—from core service features to how your product uses IoT sensors; from business processes to your roadmap for innovation, and all other details—gets recorded in one place, in the same way, for every one of your products, from innovation through development to commercialisation.

That will make it far easier for you to collect and interpret product information; define service levels and deliver on them; support new business models, and manage the overall future design of your connected offerings. Moreover, it enables your product development methods to become more flexible, so they can be updated more frequently, enabled by innovations in your supply chain, supported more effectively by IT, and improved over time.

 

Greater quality control in the digital world…

By including form, fit and function rules—that describe the characteristics of your product, or part of it—within the product record, you add a vital layer of change control. It enables you to create a formal approvals process for quality assurance. For example, changes made in one area—whether to a product or part of it—may create problems in other areas. The form, fit and function rules force you to perform cross-functional impact analyses and ensure you’re aware of any consequences.

As part of this, you can run simulations with ‘digital twins’ to predict changes in performance and product behaviour before anything goes wrong. This obviously has major cost-saving implications, enabling far more to be understood at the drawing-board stage. Moreover, IoT applications can be leveraged to help product teams test and gather data of your connected assets or production facilities.

 

Transparency and effective communications

The enterprise product record should also contain a full audit trail of decisions about the product, including data from third parties, and from your supply chain. The objective is full traceability from the customer perspective—with evidence of regulatory compliance, provenance of preferred suppliers, and fully-auditable internal quality processes. Additionally, it’s often helpful to be able to prove the safety and quality of your product and processes, as that can be a key market differentiator. Powerful project management and social networking capabilities support the collaborative nature of the innovation process.

 

Lean and efficient

Overall, your innovation platform should be both lean and efficient, based on the continual iteration of the following key stages:

  • Ideation, where you capture, collaborate and analyse ideas
  • Proposal, where you create business cases and model potential features
  • Requirements, where you evaluate, collaborate and manage product needs
  • Concepts, where you accelerate product development and define structures
  • Portfolio analysis, where you revise and optimise your product investment
  • Seamless Integration with downstream ERP and Supply Chain processes

 

The result: Powerful ROI

Being able to innovate effectively in a digital supply chain delivers returns from both top-line growth—with increased revenues and market share—and reduced costs from improved safety, security, sustainability and fewer returns.

 

 

Cloud: Look before you leap—and discover unbelievable new agility

Mon, 2018-05-21 05:48

All around the world, finance teams are now fully embracing the cloud to simplify their operations. The heady allure of reduced costs, increased functionality, and other benefits are driving the migration. Yet what’s getting people really excited is the unexpected flush of new business agility they experience after they’ve made the change.

At long last, the cloud is becoming accepted as the default environment to simplify ERP and EPM. Fifty-six percent* of finance teams have already moved to the cloud—or will do so within the next year—and 24% more plan to move at some point soon.

 

Major cost benefits in the cloud

Businesses are making the change to enjoy a wide range of benefits. According to a recent survey by Oracle*, reducing costs is (predictably) the main motivation, with improved functionality in second place—and culture, timing and the ability to write-off existing investments also key factors. The financial motivation breaks down into a desire to avoid infrastructure investment and on-premises upgrades, and also to achieve a lower total cost of ownership.

And Cloud is delivering on its promise in all these areas—across both ERP and EPM, 70% say they have experienced economic benefits after moving to the cloud.

 

Leap for joy at cloud agility

But the biggest overall benefit of moving to the cloud—quoted by 85% of those who have made the change—is staying current on technology. Moreover, 75% say that cloud improves usability, 71% say it increases flexibility and 68% say that it enables them to deploy faster. Financial gain is the top motivation for moving to the cloud, but that’s only the fourth-ranked advantage overall once there. It turns out that the main strengths of the cloud are in areas that help finance organisations improve business agility.

These are pretty amazing numbers. It would be unheard of, until fairly recently, for any decent-sized organisation to consider migrating its core ERP or EPM systems without a very, very good reason. Now, the majority of companies believe that the advantages of such a move—and specifically, moving to the cloud—overwhelm any downside.

 

The commercial imperative

Indeed, the benefits are more likely viewed as a competitive necessity. Cloud eliminates the old cycle of new system launches every two or three years—replacing it with incremental upgrades several times each year, and easy, instant access to additional features and capabilities.

And that is, no doubt, what’s behind the figures above. Finance professionals have an increasingly strong appetite to experiment with and exploit the latest technologies. AI, robotic process automation, internet of things, intelligent bots, augmented reality and blockchain are all being evaluated and used by significant numbers of organisations.

They’re improving efficiency in their day-to-day operations, joining-up operating processes across their business and reducing manual effort (and human error) through increased automation. Moreover, AI is increasingly being applied to analytics to find answers to compelling new questions that were, themselves, previously unthinkable—providing powerful new strategic insights.

Finance organisations are becoming more agile—able to think smarter, work more flexibly, and act faster using the very latest technical capabilities.

 

But it’s only available via cloud-based ERP and EPM

Increasingly, all these advances are only being developed as part of cloud-based platforms. And more and more advanced features are filtering down to entry-level cloud solutions—at least in basic form—encouraging finance people everywhere to experiment with what’s possible. That means, if you’re not yet using these tools in the cloud, you’re most likely falling behind your competitors that are—and that applies both from the broader business perspective as well as from the internal operating competency viewpoint.

The cloud makes it simple to deploy, integrate and experiment with new capabilities, alongside whatever you may already have in place. It has become the new normal in finance. It seems like we’re now at a watershed moment where those that embrace the potential of cloud will accelerate away from those that do not, and potentially achieve unassailable new operating efficiencies.

The good news is that it’s easy to get started.  According to MIT Technology Review in a 2017 report, 86% of those making a transition to the cloud said the costs were in line with, or better than expected, and 87% said that the timeframe of transition to the cloud was in line with, or better than expected.

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* Except where stated otherwise, all figures in this article are taken from ‘Combined ERP and EPM Cloud Trends for 2018’, Oracle, 2018.

 

You’ve got to start with the customer experience

Mon, 2018-05-21 05:47

Visionary business leader Steve Jobs once remarked: ‘You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.’ From someone who spent his life creating definitive customer experiences in technology itself, these words should carry some weight—and are as true today as ever.

The fact is that customer experience is a science, and relevance is its key goal. A powerful customer experience is essential to compete today. And relevance is what cuts through the noise of the market to actually make the connection with customers.

 

The fundamentals of success

For companies to transform their customer experience, they need to be able to streamline their processes and create innovative customer experiences. They also have to be able to deliver by connecting all their internal teams together so they always speak with one consistent voice.

But that’s only part of the story. Customers have real choice today. They’re inundated with similar messages to yours and are becoming increasingly discerning in their tastes.

Making yourself relevant depends on the strength of your offering and content, and the effectiveness of your audience targeting. It also depends on your technical capabilities. Many of your competitors will already be experimenting with powerful new technologies to increase loyalty and drive stronger margins.

 

The value of data

Learning to collect and use relevant customer data is essential. Data is the lifeblood of modern business—it’s the basis of being able to deliver any kind of personalised service on a large scale. Businesses need to use data to analyse behaviour, create profiles for potential new customers, build propositions around those target personas and then deliver a compelling experience. They also need to continually capture new data at every touchpoint to constantly improve their offerings.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have a key role to play both in the analysis of the data and also in the automation of the customer experience. These technologies are developing at speed to enable us to improve our data analysis, pre-empt changing customer tastes and automate parts of service delivery.

 

More mature digital marketing

You can also now add in all kinds of technologies to the customer experience mix that are straight out of sci-fi. The internet of things (IoT) is here, with connected devices providing help in all kinds of areas—from keeping you on the right road to telling you when your vehicle needs maintenance, from providing updates on your order status to delivering personal service wherever you are, and much more—enabling you to drive real transformation.

Moreover, intelligent bots are making it much easier to provide high-quality, cost-effective, round-the-clock customer support—able to deal with a wide range of issues—and using ML to improve their own performance over time.

Augmented reality makes it possible to add contextual information, based on your own products and services, to real-world moments. So, if you’re a car manufacturer you may wish to provide help with simple roadside repairs (e.g. change of tire) via a smartphone app.

 

Always omnichannel

Finally, whether at the pre-sale or delivery stage, your customer experience platform must give you the ability to deliver consistency at every touchpoint. Whatever channel, whatever time, whatever context, your customers must all believe that your whole business is one person.

Indeed, as Michael Schrage, author of the Harvard Business Review, said: ‘Innovation is an investment in the capabilities and competencies of your customers. Your future depends on their future.’ So you have to get as close as possible to your customers to learn what they want today, and understand what experiences they are likely to want tomorrow. Work backwards from that and use any technology that can help you deliver it.

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