Insights from Oracle OpenWorld

The first day I attended the Cloud Excellence Board. I was expecting to have the same experience as our regular board meetings, which is a really great day of debating, sharing and updating. However, this one was different.

First off, we were a wider audience covering all of ECEMEA which allowed us to mingle with partners from new places. There were 25 partners in total, a small group.

Secondly, this was a tight agenda led by Oracle only speakers. This is usually not a great sign however the speakers ranged from alliance and channel to product development. They definitely did not disappoint!

Javier Torres, VP for Alliance and Channel EMEA Oracle Corporation, reflected on FY18 and the introduction of CEI specialisation (which Britehouse has in 3 areas) and the fact that there were on average 3 client go-lives per day in the region of SAAS services. Per day!

Looking forward to FY19, Torres mentioned his organisation’s focus is on sell, implement and innovate. In order to do this, Oracle is going to redouble the efforts of partner enablement. 70% of the work in the region is being done by a partner with a specific specialised focus. This allows Oracle to focus on empowering them as it allows for 30-50 partner per pillar, which is a manageable number for a channel to look after. Focus is key!

Camillo Speroni, VP for world wide Alliances at Oracle, followed on and emphasised the move to the outcomes based economy which is well underway. “Clients are looking for value for money, not technical tools.” The Oracle focus is driving all activities to ensure client advocacy (or resigning the SAAS licenses) and looking for partners to develop IP on products to ensure ‘stickiness’ with clients.

Run/manage/operate model in SAAS changes the game with Oracle doing the RUN portion and partners getting to do the manage and operate. This is a bit of a change in mindset for all of us partners.

If we as partners want attention from Oracle, we need to ensure focus on automating, accelerating and de-risk deployments. Getting clients to a production state as soon as possible without complexity is key because when they sign a SAAS contract there is a ticking time for subscriptions. They should be getting value from the product, not being stuck in a perpetual project mode.

My request to Mr Speroni was that clients SAAS subscription started ticking when the project was in a live state. Wait and see if we can get this.

Francios-Xavier Le Clerqu spoke about the Oracle SOAR program. With 5-7% of the install base on cloud, the obvious focus is to migrate them. This talk was split into 2 parts, the SOAR offering from Oracle Consulting and the Program.

The Oracle Consulting approach has an evaluation, configuration analysis, auto-setup and data migration set of tools to be used. This is to migrate the core financials to cloud allowing partners to do the interfaces and other modules.

The Program is to target 3,400 EMEA clients and convert 10% this FY19. Oracle sales has to present SOAR to existing clients. Why Cloud, why now, why Oracle? This is generating over $300m in pipeline and has been achieved through round tables, marketing events and 1-on-1 meetings. Interesting side note is that the SOAR API’s for migration are open to select partners to enable their own SOAR program. Interesting!

Then came Steve Miranda. Steve’s title is Senior VP, Applications Product Development. This does no justice for the mans ability to speak about SAAS. Wow. I was 2m away from him. He was amazing! He gave us a taste for his key note, which was delivered at OpenWorld this past week to thousands of people. Yes, I was blown away!

Applications Updates, 3 themes:

  1. Customer readiness for the cloud and the success thereof
  2. Update on the product
  3. Customers moving now

In each session there will be at least 2 client testimonies of how they moved to cloud and showing end to end capability of the product set. This is to give more clients comfort in the product and show the ability of everyone to deliver.

There will be updates on the products, new modules, features and functions, such as billing and subscription collection, HCM user interface changes, enhancements to core HR, time and labour updates and loads more on CRM.
Massive enhancements on machine learning and BOTS to carry out new activities such as ‘next best offer’ and ‘next best action’ is another theme being worked on with the Oracle system learning what should be done in most cases. This is in areas such as cash management, ERP audit, and expense management. All with the aim of freeing time and removing complexity, wow! The algorithms tune per customer, wow again!

On the new user interface almost every UI process will be exposed to a BOT. SMS, Slacker,Siri can all interact with the UI for requests. There are over 16,000 BOTS active on the Oracle system now. Updates on the product, the normal stuff. Oracle is working towards getting better at predicting time to live, securing cost of implementations and reducing complexity of the system usage. In order to do this, Oracle has embraced certainty through stability. This means that some changes are required in the release strategy. Going forward there will be 4 releases per year. The naming convention is changed to year and letter, so it will be as follows:
19 A - January
19 B - April
19 C – July
19 D - October

The releases will be on the 1st Sunday of the month and the client will have 2 months grace to embrace the upgrade. Plan the projects around this. By default all new features are turned off and have to be enabled. This is a massive opportunitiy for partners.

Steve Miranda’s advice, “develop a set methodology or strategy to adopt new features for clients. This is a huge opportunity to ensure continuous relevance to a client. Late next year there will be a dashboard of system usage to show how users are interreacting with the system, the aim is to get to suggested usage.” Last words, “be very comfortable to approach any competitors as Oracle has the solution for the future.”

Lastly there was Shishier Agawal, who is in product development for PAAS 4 SAAS. Poor chap had a tough audience after Steve’s talk. Oracle product management is working to get the PAAS platform adopted by SAAS base. Connect, extend, secure and analyse.

PAAS is now on the Apps price list consisiting of a bundle of services per user per month. Standard edition is $35 per hosted user per month. Enterprise Edition $100 per hosted user per month.

After this talk I was pretty much fatigued out and work finished with a small lunch! It was a brilliant start to playing with the big guys! What a week ahead!

Written by Daniel Robus
Channel Director, Services and Solutions for Oracle Software
Britehouse, a division of Dimension Data