Storyboarding with Oracle

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We’ve all been told that presentations and demos will be better received if we weave a story around our topic and we take the audience on a journey with us.

Taking this concept a stage further is Storyboarding. Instead of using PowerPoint as the visual aid to your story, you start with a blank dry-wipe whiteboard and build up the big picture via a series of interconnected images as you move through your session.

Last week Oracle hosted a ‘Storyboarding workshop’ for Oracle HCM Cloud partners. We were obviously present and heard about the new improvements coming in HCM Cloud Release 10, but also some first-hand accounts from Oracle staff about how they’d used Whiteboard selling with customers successfully.

My first concern was that I’m no Picasso when I’m fully concentrating, so what my drawing would be like when trying to multitask and talk at the same time I dreaded to think. However, Oracle’s deck showed that the level of artistry necessary is something that pretty much anyone could achieve:

Then we adjourned to side-rooms and each partner present began to create their own story and accompanying picture. The end result wasn’t a polished and slick spiel as we only had a couple of hours to throw it together, and it’s a little cheesy/corny, however – for your amusement – here’s our masterpiece:

2015-07-02 14.58.11The story that we told alongside it was of a client (draw house/office in the Uk with Union Jack post-it) needing to expand. In this case, the growth was to France and beyond (draw Eiffel Tower and Tricolour – unwittingly used upside-down here!). The client has an on-premise system that is large and slow (draw ferry).

The client has a number of options to adapt their business systems for the required level of growth. They can:

a) Customise and add bolt-ons to their existing system. Although this might improve things slightly (draw tug to pull ferry along) you’re still left with most of the problems that you had before. Using the ferry analogy, it’s slow, you’ve got no internet access as you go so you aren’t productive and there is a limit to your growth as the ferry has a finite range.

b) Choose a competitor product (draw EuroStar). This is analogous to the EuroStar in that it is an upgrade to the ferry as it is faster and you may have internet access for some of the trip. Like a competitor’s product however, you’re still limiting your growth (the EuroStar only goes to some cities) and your visibility of the big picture of your business suffers when you’re in a tunnel.

c) Choose the Oracle HCM Cloud (draw cloud and plane). This is obviously analogous to flying which is the quickest route (although technically I guess this depends upon where you start!). It also unleashes your company’s growth in a number of ways (adding post-its as we discuss them):

It’s Global
Just as planes fly to many more destinations than ferries or the EuroStar, the HCM Cloud has more numerous and deeper translations than competitors.

It’s Agile
In the same way that flying gives a greater choice of timetables and destinations, Oracle gives a lot more flexibility over upgrade timetables than competitors.

It’s Mobile
When you’re flying you have internet access so you can check out the Oracle Social Network which enables you to proactively see whether there are any striking workers at the ports (draw burning blockade in front of ferry), or you could use Oracle TAP to review CVs of the latest batch of job applicants and catch up with the performance reviews of your team. If you take other modules from the Oracle Cloud you could even file an expense claim for that beer you had in the departure lounge.

It’s Personalised
In the same way that airlines decorated their planes in country colours for the London 2012 Olympics, the HCM Cloud can be branded to your company’s corporate colour schemes.

It’s Insightful
When you’re on a ferry you’re disconnected. When you’re in the EuroTunnel you’re in the dark. When you’re in the air you get a great high-level view of what’s going on.

It’s Reliable
We’ve all heard the statistic that flying is the safest mode of travel. The Oracle HCM Cloud uses Oracle’s Red Stack from top-to-bottom, and 19/20 of the top Cloud companies also use Oracle’s software.

2015-07-02 15.27.01Cedar’s Simon helping deliver the pitch

The final part of the pitch was ‘why Cedar’. In this analogy Cedar are your friendly pilot. We take you on the journey, reassuringly allaying any fears at take-off, steering around any turbulence and providing a smooth landing.

It’s hilariously-cheesy, we know. In our defence, it was hastily put together and it needs a lot of finesse before we ever consider using it outside the safe environment of the Oracle offices. It was however, a great learning experience and a fun afternoon.


Oracle recognizes Cedar Consulting for Expertise in Oracle HCM Cloud

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Oracle HCM Cloud Specialisation (white bkgnd - small)We are delighted to announce that Cedar Consulting has achieved OPN Specialized status for Oracle HCM Cloud.

To achieve this a number of our consultants had to pass a set of exams on Oracle HCM Cloud and as a business we had to have a certain amount of clients. This means that we can proudly display this logo on relevant collateral.

Graham, one of Cedar’s Directors, said:Graham (normal)

“This Specialized status, which follows extensive investment in our Oracle Cloud practice, further demonstrates Cedar Consulting’s commitment to Oracle HCM Cloud.  Having been implementing Oracle HR applications for 20 years we are very excited about the opportunities Oracle Cloud brings for ourselves and our clients”.

Will O’Brien, VP Alliances & Channels, Oracle UK & Ireland said:

“We are delighted at the effort and resources that Cedar Consulting are committing to the Oracle HCM Cloud. Having been the implementation partner for one of the earliest UK customer implementations Cedar are one of the foremost Oracle HCM Cloud consultancies and we look forward to working alongside them to make future client implementations a success.“

You can view the full press release here:

Oracle HCM Cloud Specialisation Press Release

Oracle buys Sun!

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A bit of a surprise this one, but Oracle has agreed to purchase Sun Microsystems.sun

This is a huge scoop for Oracle, and they’ve pinched it from under the noses of IBM (after IBM’s buyout was rejected earlier in the month).  It is however an interesting move as a lot of Sun’s assets are open source anyway (Java, Solaris, OpenOffice, MySQL)  so I can only assume that it’s control over the direction of these technologies that Oracle is interested in.

The Java case is easy to see.  Java has become the keystone to Oracle’s middleware solution, and this positions Oracle perfectly as ‘the Java company’.

MySQL is a low-end competitor to Oracle’s Database, but it has a large and growing client-base that Oracle could pitch their database to as an ‘upgrade’.

Solaris is a little harder to understand.  A lot of clients use Oracle’s database on Solaris, but then Oracle has been travelling down a different route more recently by pushing its own ‘Unbreakable Linux’ distribution – although to be truthful, I’ve not heard anyone actually using this yet.

It seems as though this may be another large step to offering every part of the ‘stack’, from hardware, through OS, database, middleware, web server, application, development platform, development language etc.  According to Larry:

“Oracle will be the only company that can engineer an integrated system – applications to disk – where all the pieces fit and work together so customers do not have to do it themselves. Our customers benefit as their systems integration costs go down while system performance, reliability and security go up.”

Sun also has its fingers in other pies too.  It has a strong hardware division, but Oracle has recently started forays into that arena also.  It also has NetBeans, which is interesting as Oracle provide jDeveloper as their IDE and is part of the Eclipse foundation so there might be an interesting choice to make there.  However, I don’t think we’ll be seeing an Oracle badged version of Sun’s OpenOffice any time soon though …