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Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2018

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Mary Meeker has delivered her annual Internet Trends report and – as usual – there’s a lot to consider. Others have picked it over for general points of interest so I won’t repeat that, so instead I’ll focus on possible ramifications for Oracle’s Cloud Apps.

Mary Meeker

Mobile Users / Internet Users

There was no growth (in 2017, compared to 2016) on new mobile phone shipments. Have we reached smart-phone saturation point? Also of note is that it’s now a completely two-horse race with no alternative to Android (~85% market share) and iOS (~15%). Growth in internet users sits at about 7%, so this growth is on platforms other than mobile. Internet usage now sits at 3.6 billion people, ~50% of the World’s population.

Although there’s no increase in mobile phone sales, those that are using the internet on their smartphones are spending more time using them. Of the average 5.9 hours/day, the majority of this is on a mobile device (phones & tablets).

internet hours

The new HCM Cloud newsfeed UI – which is responsive on mobile devices – cannot come soon enough in this respect.

Chat use is Rocketing

The main chat platforms – Whatsapp, FB Messenger, WeChat, Instagram and Twitter – have risen sharply in the last few years.

chat usage.png

The leader – Whatsapp – is now at an incredible 1.5 billion monthly active users and is still climbing.

Any concerns that we may have about the adoption of Chatbots within Oracle Cloud should be lessened as customers will surely be comfortable using multiple chat interfaces by the time they are released.

Machine Learning

Google’s reported accuracy for its Machine Learning software has passed the 95% level that is used as the benchmark for human accuracy. The Amazon Echo install-base is now up to 1/4 of US households and there are now 30,000 “skills” in its repository of commands.

All this means that voice is increasingly important. I’ve heard of Oracle Voice – and seen a video of a salesperson adding an entry into Oracle Cloud in the back-seat of a taxi via voice – but haven’t heard of any other delivered offerings in this area. I’ve also seen the Steve Miranda demo during the Oracle Soar announcement (if you missed the demo, it’s 2 minutes and can be seen here).

Personalisation

Mary also spoke about personalisation of the user experience of a service by using data – both from the individual and collective data.

personalisation.png

She also mentioned a paradox related to this personalisation. Companies obviously need to store more information about each user in order to effectively personalise the service to the individual’s needs, however there is increasing caution about which companies hold personal data.

Clearly, the HCM Cloud parallel is the imminent newsfeed UI which adapts its content to the user and the intelligent defaulting of fields based on machine learning algorithms.

Regulation on Data

Unsurprisingly given the Cambridge Analytica / Facebook debacle Mary highlights rising concerns about what companies are doing with our data. Many countries have updated data privacy laws (including the EU’s GDPR). What is more of a shock is that the data privacy laws in the US haven’t changed since 1974.

regulation

Oracle’s investment over the last couple of years in building out its global data centre coverage will definitely help allay concerns where customers have requirements to deploy in countries where the regulations are more rigorous.

Security and Malware

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that relying on the same security that you did 2, 3 or 5 years ago is just inviting trouble. There is 12x the number of observed malware attacks than there was 2 years ago. Mary says “Adversaries are taking malware to unprecedented level of sophistication & impact … and for some the prize isn’t ransom, but obliteration of systems & data.” 

That Oracle have increased the focus on security precautions and detecting malware with their autonomous threat detection and machine learning algorithms is definitely a good thing here.

Bite-size Learning

Mary also trumpeted the massive growth in the use of video for consumption of educational content.

learning

This ties in very nicely with Oracle Learning Cloud, which enables the delivery of bite-sized videos, either stand-alone or as part of a series, to aide continuous learning within a company.

For those with time to kill, the full (294 slide) deck can be seen here:

 

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R13 – Get Username Displayed Again

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One of the things that we lost when we moved from R12 to R13 is the username in the top right corner. For end-users in production it doesn’t really matter as they’ll only be logging in as themselves, however during the implementation in Test we frequently log-in as different personas so it’s useful to see who the user is for your current session.

username

The initials we have in R13 offer a clue, but in non-Production pods it’d be nice to be able to see the full username. Luckily, there’s a tiny tweak that you can make to allow this.

Part of the idea came from this ERP Web Tutor video that shared the idea of putting static text in the global region/header bar:

ERPWebTutor

We’re going to take it a step further though, by including dynamic content instead of static text. The steps are as follows:

  1. Create yourself a fresh Sandbox and activate it
  2. From the Settings and Actions menu, select Customize Global Page Template
  3. Click in the centre of the Global Region and add an HTML Markup component (it needs to be HTML, not plain text, so we can style it appropriately)
  4. Click Close to exit, then click Customize Pages
  5. Edit the HTML Markup and use the following in the Value field:
    <p style="font-size: 18px; -webkit-margin-before: 10px; -webkit-margin-after: 0px;">
      <span style="color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.5);">
        User:&nbsp;
      </span>
      #{webCenterProfile[securityContext.userName].displayName} 
      <span style="color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.5);">
        &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Pod:&nbsp;
      </span>
      TEST
    </p>
  6. Click Close and test your change.

It should look like this:

final version

Notes:

  1. If your global region has a pale background you’ll need to tweak the colours/transparency so the text appears clearly.
  2. You’ll notice from the above HTML snippet that the username is dynamic and the pod is hard-coded. I’ve not yet found a way of bringing the pod alias in dynamically.
  3. I had to tweak the position of the HTML Markup component once as it was pushing the icons to the right past the edge of the screen. If you’re having problems place it inside the dark blue box in this picture, not the light blue one.

positioning

 

Branding R13 (pre-Newsfeed UI)

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The branding in Release 13 is a touch different from what we had in R12 as we’ve been given a few more options in the Appearance toolkit. Oracle have upgraded Cedar’s partner environment to 18A so we’ve refreshed the look’n’feel. The 18B update later this year brings in the new ‘newsfeed’ responsive UI, but until then let’s see what we can do with the current toolset:

Layout

The first choice is for the overall springboard layout: Panel or Banner?

 

Panel is the layout we used to use in R12 (on the left, above), and we get a new option of the Banner layout in R13 (on the right). If we use the Banner layout we also get to choose what appears in the horizontal banner: Social, Announcements or nothing (hide the banner altogether). We like using the Announcements as it gives the most control over the contents.

Colours

Now you can move on to the colour scheme. There’ll likely be a mandatory corporate brand that you have to follow here so there probably isn’t much choice for Prod. We strongly recommend going for a markedly different colour in each environment however, so it’s easy to quickly distinguish them.

We also use a background watermark with the word ‘Testing’ on it to help further in that respect. More on that here.

Other Options

Finally, there a host of other options such as icon size, shape and colour. You can also alter the appearance of some of the pages and buttons. As a final touch you’ll want to replace the Oracle logo in the top left (we’ve found that 134×25 pixels works best) and you’re good to go.

You can create a number of styles really quite quickly:

Branding 1.png

Branding 2

Oracle Recruiting Cloud Workshop

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This week I was fortunate enough to attend a 3-day workshop on the new Oracle Recruiting Cloud module.

It was my first proper look at the module and I was curious to see what Oracle have done, as there has been a lot of negative publicity about Workday’s new recruitment module (here and here). My first impression is that Oracle have done a really good job. It doesn’t do everything that Taleo Enterprise does yet, but most of the core functionality is there. Oracle have shared the road-map and many of the missing pieces are coming before the end of the year.

I’ll post a full review next week, but here are a couple of screenshots to show why I’m so excited:

Recruiting 1

Recruiting 2.png

Oracle MBX 2018 recap

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Last week I attended Oracle’s MBX (Modern Business Experience) conference held near the O2 in London. Here’s what I learnt:

General

It was busy. Really busy. I’ve also been to the MBX in each of the last 3 or 4 years and this was – by far – the biggest event. I think it even took the organisers by surprise how many people were there as the registration was super-lengthy and there weren’t many lunches left. Busy conferences can only be a good sign.

Thomas Kurian Keynote

Thomas Kurian shared some big customer success stories in his keynote:

ERP:

  • PWC are running globally on a single ERP Cloud instance
  • Dropbox put 5 million AR transactions a day into ERP Cloud
  • Orange are running globally on a single ERP Cloud instance

HCM:

  • Sainsbury’s have 160,000 employees live, and now rolling out payroll
  • Macy’s are live with Payroll for 180,000 payees
  • Engie are live with core plus Learning, Performance, Rewards for 150,000 employees

He also shared this very crammed logo slide:

2018-04-18 09.50.23

Ray Wang Keynote

I’ve followed Ray on Twitter for a long time and I was looking forward to seeing him speak for the first time. It was a real exercise in concentration. Not only does he never stop moving, energetically pacing from one extreme of the stage to the other:

2018-04-18 10.38.37-2

but he speaks so quickly, and shares his ideas so fast that it’s hard to keep up. You don’t get time for the first nugget of info to sink in before he’s half way through the next one.

Great fun though!

Gretchen Alarcon HCM Keynote

I always enjoy listening to Gretchen speak as she always manages to anchor whatever functionality she’s discussing with real-life use cases.

2018-04-18 12.11.11

Gretchen shared that chatbots are coming to HCM later this year. Recruitment first – which we’d previously heard – but also to Core HR. She also explained that although HCM Cloud has had predictive algorithms for many years these will be on the increase with the next uses being succession planning and spotting anomalies in employee expenses, pay, timesheets etc.

She also said that the $6Bn+ a year that Oracle spends on R&D means that they have 40,000 developers. That’s a staggering amount of people.

HCM Panel Session

Finally, I attended an HCM Cloud panel session. Andy Campbell hosted a chat with Sainsbury’s, Morgan Stanley and Co-op about their successful HCM Cloud rollouts.

2018-04-18 15.07.51

Oracle Partner PaaS Workshop (day 2 – part 3) – VBCS

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Last week I attended a two-day PaaS workshop run by Oracle for its partners. We’ve been doing SaaS for a while – that is the applications such as HCM and ERP that users access in order to perform their daily tasks – however there is another stable of applications called Platform as a Service (PaaS) which either add functionality to the SaaS apps or help ‘glue them together’. These applications were the focus of this workshop – and very interesting it was too. Here’s what I learnt on day 2:

Oracle VBCS (Visual Builder Cloud Service) – renamed from ABCS

Although I’d seen some really cool new functionality up until this point, VBCS was the highlight of the workshop for me. The use-case for PaaS that I’m expecting to see the most is custom application pages within the Cloud Apps.

We were able to pick the UI theme, then start building our custom page using the drag’n’drop interface – as the sales spiel goes, it’s a no-code interface that’s ideal for the ‘citizen developer’.

VBCS

It was certainly really quick to build a couple of quick pages in a responsive layout and a number of types (text, date picker, table, buttons). Some of the data we got from the application and some data was stored within VBCS itself.

I can’t wait to try it out with some real customer use-cases.

Oracle Partner PaaS Workshop (day 2 – part 2) – Chatbots!

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Last week I attended a two-day PaaS workshop run by Oracle for its partners. We’ve been doing SaaS for a while – that is the applications such as HCM and ERP that users access in order to perform their daily tasks – however there is another stable of applications called Platform as a Service (PaaS) which either add functionality to the SaaS apps or help ‘glue them together’. These applications were the focus of this workshop – and very interesting it was too. Here’s what I learnt on day 2:

Oracle IBCS (Intelligent Bot Cloud Service)

IBCS

Yes! We wrote our own Chat-bots! This was a surprise session as it wasn’t on the agenda leading up to the event, but it was great fun to try. Some of the config was already done for us, but we were able to change the setup so that we amended the conversation flow and the chatbot responded differently to our prompts.

In this picture you can see that we used our bot to query ERP Cloud for information on a Purchase Order.

Learn more about it here.