Those who know me will be aware I’m always on the look out for new and innovative ways to make life better/easier and I stumbled on a potentially interesting tool the other day called Arcade.
It first caught my eye when this tweet appeared on my timeline:
Yes – you are seeing that correctly – it’s not a static image or video, it’s a tweet with a clickable demo embedded!
This would be a great way to share enhancements and cool new Oracle Cloud functionality on Social Media.
It was then I noticed that one of the people behind Arcade is Rich Manalang. Those with an Oracle background might well recognise that name – Rich was at Oracle (and PeopleSoft before acquisition) for a long time earlier in his career. I can remember him sharing info on Enterprise Portal, using GreaseMonkey to improve PeopleSoft and the Oracle AppsLab back in the day.
Anyway – reminiscing aside – this is the Arcade website where you can see more about what the product can do. I’m excited about the possibilities for embedding clickable content into webpages and other media.
I always cast an interested eye over Oracle’s quarterly earnings announcements. The stock figures don’t really concern me, it’s the commentary given alongside the release that can be a really interesting read. The Q2 announcement last week gave us more than most.
This quarter, Oracle beat Wall Street’s forecasts by a large margin. As a result of this, Oracle’s stock rose ~16%, reportedly its biggest gain in 20 years, to an all-time-high. The huge leap also added $16bn to Larry’s personal wealth and took him past Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to be the world’s fifth-richest person.
Why was this quarter so successful? There was strong growth in cloud-based applications, with 35% growth in Fusion ERP and 29% growth in NetSuite ERP, which serves smaller companies. Oracle’s cloud business overall was up 22%, and CEO Safra Catz said the company expects growth to accelerate to the mid-20% range in that part of the business by the end of the year.
I’m usually more focussed on the HCM side of things, but a rising tide lifts all boats and Larry explained the future is incredibly positive in ERP:
We had 7,500 customers in Oracle on-premise, their ERP made up of E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards. Only 1,000 of those 7,500 have moved to Fusion Cloud ERP. Now we have not lost any of these customers to competitors. We expect all the remaining 6,500 to move to Fusion ERP, but it hasn’t happened yet. That’s all upside.
He then went on to explain that Fusion ERP now has 8,500 customers – so (from above) 1,000 of those came from the legacy on-premises business, and 7,500 came to Oracle from competitors’ installed base. Being Larry he obviously spoke about the Cloud ERP competition: SAP ERP isn’t a ‘true Cloud product’ and Workday ERP ‘has some customers but very few are live’. It certainly seems that in Cloud ERP, Oracle is benefitting from having much less solid competition than there is on HCM.
It’s easy to follow Larry’s logic and – if many of those remaining 6,500 on-premises ERP customers switch over the next 5 years or so, and Oracle continues to pick up new customers from the competition – his prediction that the Cloud ERP business can grow from $5bn to $20bn+ doesn’t seem that much of a stretch.
Earlier this week I mentioned a new service I’ve found which enables better monitoring of your Oracle Cloud Users and showed the dashboard and analytics it provides. Today I’m going to look into the HeatMap and Recording functionality.
A heatmap allows you to see a composite view of all your users’ activity on one screen by overlaying it with colours to represent the most frequently clicked areas.
Using these heatmaps you can identify which are the most used pages and common navigation paths, and which areas are not being accessed by users – so you can introduce measures to increase adoption.
Sessions are also recorded and can be played back later. Your first reaction to this is likely the same as mine – “what about GDPR?!?!” – however the data is masked to mitigate the risk of PII data being displayed. You can also tweak the masking settings to make the obfuscation more aggressive.
Here you can see the playback of a recorded session with progress bar at the bottom for quick navigation, and the cursor path and mouse clicks highlighted on the screen.
It’s not particularly easy to tell exactly what your users are up to in Oracle Cloud.
- If you’ve enabled auditing and written some audit reports you can see the changes users have made
- You can query a couple of tables to retrieve a user’s last logon date
- You can download the RUEI reports from the Cloud Console which give you summary PDFs (which have some useful stats, but you can’t really do much with it other than screenshot the graphs)
Each gives a partial picture, but I’ve always hankered for a little more. I do have a good solution – which I’ll write about soon – but it’s a paid service. I was intrigued recently when I saw the announcement for a free alternative. It was described as:
A free user behaviour analytics tool that helps you understand how users interact with your website through features such as session replays and heatmaps.
This sounded promising so I thought I’d give it a try. I set it up and then waited a couple of weeks for a representative amount of user activity to accumulate.
The first thing you see is the Dashboard. This is live data – we don’t have to wait for the following day or week to get the info. Across the top you can see session info – so 3,132 sessions from 957 distinct users with an average session length of ~30 mins (of which just under half was active time).
Then you get a series of donut charts and lists showing the proportion of sessions which have encountered problems, the most popular pages, browsers, OSes etc. What I like most is you can filter and drill into this data – so you can find answers to questions such as:
- Which pages are the source for the most rage clicks (where someone repeatedly spams a button or field)?
- Are users really engaging with the system on mobile devices, and is this level of uptake the same across all countries?
This is great, and the service also offers Heatmaps and Session Recordings.
Last week I published a retrospective post looking back over 7 years at my previous employer. This week it’s a forward looking post as I have now started my next role – HCM Practice Director at Inoapps.
Why do I think the future looks bright here? A few reasons …
(1) Inoapps are genuinely growing
Every prospective employer will tell you they’re looking to expand, but in the last 12 months – despite the pandemic – Inoapps have increased their headcount substantially. There is a real hunger for growth here, across all the countries we operate in – the UK, the US, Malaysia and India.
(2) Customers and Staff keep coming back
Inoapps have a lot of repeat work from customers (always a positive signal) and our first ever customer is still with us now. Also, despite only meeting a fraction of the employee base so far, I’ve already encountered 3 boomerang people – who left Inoapps but then decided to come back (I’m reading this as a good sign also).
(3) Exciting Cloud HCM Projects and Pipeline
Inoapps have real strength in the Energy, Public Sector, Engineering & Construction and Higher Education sectors – and they have active implementations in each. I won’t mention client names, however it includes one of the World’s top 20 Universities and a customer where even The Queen gets a user account.
If you know your shifts from your schedules, your benefits from your balances and your calc cards from your cost centres, please check out our openings:
Inoapps Career Site
(yes, this is ORC – we run our business on Oracle Cloud and you should too)
I’m joining the Great Resignation/the big quit/the turnover tsunami. Yes, it’s another one of those “I’m leaving” posts.
I’ve been at Cedar – and Version 1 post-acquisition – just over 7 years and I’ve enjoyed every minute of the journey. My goal on joining was to grow an Oracle Cloud HCM practice, and – together with some great colleagues – this has definitely been achieved.
We’ve won and delivered to some great clients – 5 full implementations (some across multiple phases) and covering a real range of situations – UK only/global, HCM only/multi-pillar, private sector/public sector, and some multi-year, whilst another was live in just 3 months.
We’ve also hired/cross-trained some great people across the spectrum of experience. It’s been wonderful to watch you grow both personally and professionally, and take on key roles as the practice has expanded.
We’ve worked hard to give the clients what they needed (not always what they thought they wanted though!) and we’ve had a lot of giggles along the way. All the teams I’ve been part of have adapted to remote delivery smoothly and I’m convinced – for one client in particular – we were able to work even more efficiently that way.
My highlight of this time, however, has always been the people. I’m not going to name individuals, but I’ve had the privilege to work with some great friends during this time and I hope you know the high regard and affection I hold for each of you. I look forward to hearing what you go on and achieve.
Thank you, all.
I prefer to use Zoom over Teams for one simple reason – the “push Space to talk” shortcut key – however corporate choices mean I end up in more Teams meetings. There are some calls – particularly when you’re the one hosting – where you need to stay audible as you’re doing a lot of the talking, however there are other calls where others are leading where it’s common courtesy to remain on mute until you have something to contribute. With Zoom it’s a case of holding down the Space bar while you speak and then releasing it to return to muted. Simple and low friction. You don’t even have to look down at your keyboard. There is no equivalent in Teams.
Every time there’s a new release of Teams I check for this one feature – I can’t be the only one feeling this frustration – however I’ve come to the conclusion that if they were going to introduce it they would have by now.
What can Teams do?
What shortcut keys are available in Teams? There’s no ‘push to talk’ key, but there is a ‘toggle mute’ which is almost as good. Unfortunately it’s not a particularly user-friendly key combination = Ctrl + Shift + M. A lot of people are going to need to glance down at the keyboard for that one and the opportunity to add to the conversation may have passed.
There’s no way I can see in Teams to alter this to something easier to press either.
My fall-back – and I suspect this is the same for most people – is to put down my pen and notepad, reach for my mouse, locate the cursor on-screen and click on the Mute button. Again, not super-slick.
A better way
Rather than tolerate the issue, there is an alternative. You can simply remap a key on your keyboard to the Teams shortcut. It’s still not ‘push to talk’, but if you can toggle mute with a single keystroke it’s an improvement on the current situation.
A quick google shows there are a number of ways to remap keys on your keyboard. There are many free tools (see a list here) however I opted for one which isn’t on that list. Microsoft PowerToys is a free set of utilities from Microsoft intended to make Windows 10 better. One of the utilities it contains is ‘Keyboard Manager’. Here’s what it looks like:
I’ve remapped my Pause/Break button to the Teams shortcut for Mute/Unmute. I’ve picked Pause/Break (shown in red below) as it’s a key I can find quickly and without looking down at the keyboard. Depending on your layouts and usage, other possible options could be keys I’ve shown in blue – they’re on the edge of the keyboard so they’d be easy for your hands to locate.
Note: the Teams window must have focus in order for this to work – as otherwise the shortcut combination is sent to whichever application is currently active – but we should be paying attention to the meeting and not clicking around in other windows anyway, right? 🙂
You could always take this a little further by assigning other hotkeys too. I never use the ‘Scroll Lock’ key so that would make a good ‘Leave Meeting’ shortcut instead of CTRL+SHIFT_B or the pause while everyone reaches for their mouse, locates the cursor on screen and hovers over the leave button.
I’ve just finished a role where I spent 7 months as the Service Delivery Manager for one of our larger clients. One of the key factors to being successful was ensuring the team had Oracle SRs under control. I don’t find it particularly easy to get an summary of the SR situation by looking at the screen in MOS (My Oracle Support) – you can order the columns but it’s difficult to get an overall view of progress. There’s also the SR dashboard, but that doesn’t work if you look after multiple accounts – as many of us will do.
The solution – as I suspect many of you do – is to drop the data out to Excel to analyse. As it’s something I would be doing frequently I wanted to automate as much as possible in order to be efficient. I’m making my SR Dashboard spreadsheet available in case others find it useful.
Step 1 – Import raw data
The first tab of my SR Dashboard spreadsheet is where I paste the raw data from MOS. You need to make sure the columns are in the right sequence (Problem Summary, Technical SR#, Contact, Severity, Status, Last Updated, Opened, then whatever else you need), then just Export to Excel:
In the ‘Raw Data’ tab on the SR Dashboard spreadsheet, clear out the existing data and paste in everything from your export from MOS.
Step 2 – Inspect the ‘SR List’ tab
The ‘SR List’ tab in the SR Dashboard takes the lines from the ‘Raw Data’ tab, formats it nicely and contains some formulae to display the data better. You don’t need to change anything on this tab, just perform a visual inspection to make sure it looks ok. If there are issues it may be your columns weren’t in the right order or the copy and paste of data didn’t work right.
EDIT: Also see Marc’s comment below if your dates are not coming through in the right format causing the Age formula to break.
Step 3 – Enjoy the Dashboard
Now view the Dashboard tab. On the Excel ribbon at the top select Data, then Refresh All:
Your SR data will now be summarised and displayed nicely. Clockwise from top left the charts show (1) SR Status – the count of SRs by the SR status, (2) SR Age – the count of SRs within each age bracket, (3) the oldest and newest SRs, and (4) SR Owner – who in your team has the most open SRs. Additionally, all the data in the charts is colour-coded by severity so you can see the status of your most critical SRs.
As an additional aid, the Slicers on the left allow you to filter the data displayed. Do you just want to view your Sev1 and Sev2s? Or maybe you just want to see the owners of your oldest SRs? Or maybe exclude SRs which are closing or scheduled? Just use the slicers and the charts update allowing you to further analyse the data:
You might need to tweak it a little if your screen resolution is different to mine. I’d also be interested to hear if you enhance it in any way or have other feedback. Some of the more advanced functionality (slicers, and some formulae) may not work in older versions of Excel.
If you want to try it for yourself the SR Dashboard file can be downloaded here:
I’ve been sending out the ‘Oracle Cloud Weekly’, the free weekly newsletter on all things related to Oracle’s Cloud apps each week – on and off – since October 2012. (If you want a look at issue #1 it can be found here)
For the last year or so it’s been more off than on as I’ve needed to focus on multiple clients at work. Now I’m back down to just one full-time role I can return to the Oracle Cloud Weekly with a bit more energy and start cranking out the issues again.
If you’ve not come across the OCW before it’s a short email once a week combining all the news and blog posts on the Cloud Apps, plus a bit of PaaS, wider industry news and the odd fun item.
As a sample, last week’s issue can be found here.
If you want to be kept informed without having to trawl the internet, just go here to sign up.
Your email will not be shared with anyone else – not even Version 1, our sponsor – and we’ll never send you anything other than the newsletter.
There has been an unnecessary amount of concern about the new UI which arrived / is arriving in 20C (depending upon which wave you’re on). Admittedly the wording of the announcement probably hasn’t helped (calling it the new default UI is technically true, but does raise worries). For those already on 20C you’ll already know most of this, but for the others here’s what you need to know.
What is the Redwood UI?
Redwood is the new user interface to Oracle Cloud Apps. If you’ve seen any Oracle presentations or their website since OpenWorld last year it’ll be immediately familiar – a really quite stylish and softer look with African/Oriental/Aboriginal influences and more natural tones than the bright red that Oracle used to use everywhere.
Why are people confused?
The announcement said that Redwood replaces the default theme. This panicked some clients into thinking their carefully crafted, corporate theme was going to overwritten. That isn’t the case of course.
If you have customised the theme you’re using, Redwood will be added as an option that you can select, but will not change the theme in use.
It’s only if you are using an unmodified version of the Sky Blue theme will you be automatically changed. Pretty much everyone will have at least changed the logo and saved as a new theme so will be OK.
Things were confused a little further as some of the documentation for Redwood also touted the benefits of the Newsfeed/Responsive UX. We should all be using Newsfeed already so this shouldn’t be new to us so to mix this in too was a bit superfluous.
If you like the look of Redwood but want to give it a flavour of your own organisation you can, but your options are much more limited than if you chose one of the other Newsfeed themes. You can change the logo and background, that’s it – and even then it says they’ll be “Redwood-ised” with a Redwood colour overlay.
Replacing the logo works just fine (although you are instructed to use a monochrome version to maximize readability and accessibility). I tried swapping the background however and it didn’t work, so I think there are still some wrinkles to iron out. Or at least it only changed the cover image, not the background:
To me it had the feel of a theme that has been designed for Oracle to do attractive demos and isn’t quite so geared to customer pods – at least not yet.
I suspect you could change the background with some CSS cleverness but I haven’t tried this yet.
Is that everything?
Nearly. Even if you remain on your custom not-Redwood theme you may notice some new icons creeping in that weren’t there before. I’ve not seen any information on this from Oracle so this may be an undocumented change. They do look to have the Redwood style to them, so it looks like we get these regardless of the theme chosen.
If Shooting Stars, Ice Creams and Birds Nests aren’t your thing there’s an idea lab suggestion to give us the option to revert if required. Find it here.