Last week I attended Oracle’s CloudWorld here in Melbourne. Part of their global roadshow also held in Bogotá, São Paulo, New Delhi, Paris, San Francisco, Moscow, Chicago and Beijing. It was a huge day of information, below is just a summary.
The day kicked off with Oracle Chairman Jeff Henley positioning Oracle as the thought leader in cloud services. All of their Software as a Service offerings are now bundled under the banner of the Oracle Cloud. Oracle Cloud is a way to simplify what has, for some time, been a confusing product line. Today the Oracle Cloud has:
Jeff introduced several themes that were evident across all sessions – security, personalisation, data, and interconnectivity.
Some interesting statistics from Jeff’s presentation, from a variety of sources:
Following Jeff’s presentation was Reggie Bradford, Senior VP Product Development. Reggie was one of the founders of Vitrue a business designed to help organisations harness the marketing potential of social media, bought by Oracle in 2012.
Just like Jeff Henley’s presentation Reggie covered the same key themes – Oracle Cloud is connected, secure, personalised, and modern.
Reggie also touched on some of the big requirements, from Oracle perspective, businesses of today’s enterprise applications. The line of business (HR/Finance/Sales/Marketing) require applications to have great functionality, brilliant user experience while delivering immediate value. At the same time the overall enterprise wants interoperability across the a complete portfolio of products with cross application services, delivered at the highest standards.
From this analyst’s perspective Oracle are very much trying to differentiate themselves from some of their well known competitors. In the Australian market this might also translate to “we are a large organisation full of experts who you can trust when compared to local vendors”.
Reggie gave us an insight in the scale of Oracle’s HCM offerings. The Oracle HCM Cloud has 413 million employee profiles and 11% of jobs filled in the US in the last quarter were through Oracle HCM Cloud.
Next up was a customer panel entitled – Transform your Business where some of the speakers from the functional streams had a chance to introduce themselves.
Brandon said that Curse were surprised that Oracle’s offerings worked for a business of only US$24 million in turnover. Brandon highlighted that one of the selling points of the Oracle Cloud offering was the security (see a pattern). To quote Brandon “Oracle has experts vs the 4 IT guys in your organisation under the stairs” this got laughter from the room.
John Hansen, VP HCM Product Management APAC, gave Oracle’s views on what a modern HCM product should look like. He stated that organisation need both the traditional stable functionality in and HCM along with items on the edge pushing the envelope. According to Oracle a modern HR system needs to be:
John felt that there were four major forces impacting business today that drive the need for such a system:
Next up was David Rock’s session which looked at the neuroscience for Leadership Development. This session was worth the day out of the office alone.
David’s research has found that the portion of the brain that is engaged when someone thinks about goals actually causes the part of the brain that focuses on people to be switched off! As business leaders tend to be very goal/outcome focused this means they naturally do not think about people. A study by Bob Spunt and Matt Lieberman from the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory part of ULCA’s Department of Psychology (covering 60,000 managers/leaders over 10 years) found that 0.77% of leaders are good at both goals and people!
At the same time most performance management processes actually encourage ways of thinking that limit the ability for organisations to grow talent. The reason a typical performance management process put our brain into a threat response state instead of one around rewards. Our neurological responses to a threat actually mean we are less likely to achieve the necessary performance outcomes. According to David the typical responses to a threat are:
No wonder organisations struggle with agility and innovation if all our employees are operating in the threat response mode! Instead organisation need performance management process that minimises threats and maximise rewards.
David proposes organisations use his SCARF model to help understand more about employees and how to motivate them into better performance.
A threat to any one of the five attributes in the SCARF model will put an employee into a threat response situation. Interesting David’s organisation was involved in the most recent re-thinking by Microsoft to scrape their forced ranking performance management process.
The final session from the HR stream was Daniel Royston, Principal Solution Consultant HCM APAC, discussing “Growing a Collaborative Culture: Bringing Social into Your Workplace”. Daniel was looking at how social tools and technologies were influencing the workplace. Great to see these ideas being incorporated into mainstream enterprise applications, I know Oracle is not the first but still good to see. A couple of interesting statistics from Daniel’s session.
Daniel sees several ways for organisations to use social within the organisation. The easy method is to embed into existing applications/processes such as:
However a better, and potentially more effective, way is the creation of new application/processes around the basic idea of social, such as:
The next session I attended was the Deloitte Technology Trends 2014 by Robert Hillard, National Leader, Technology. This session was focused on corporate IT and the trends that are impacting its existence. Deloitte see five key disruptors and five enablers for 2014.
Go download the report if you want more details, I highly recommend it.
The closing keynote was from Lauren Anderson looking at the new world of consumer behaviour. Lauren is Chief Knowledge Officer at Collaborative Lab, founded by Rachel Botsman, an organisation focused on the world of collaborative consumption. Lauren’s talk was a great way to finish the day. Collaborative consumption looks at how society can leverage things/services that have high idling capacity and can be shared. Not a new idea, classic collaborative consumption use case is car sharing, but the convergence of web, mobile, social, location aware is transforming markets. Lauren touched on many of the same themes that Rachel did at the AHRI HR Technology Conference last year, not surprising given they work together!
Lauren gave the audience four key principles that are fundamentally changing marketplaces:
(A side note, I ended up sharing a ride with Lauren to the airport where we spent a significant time discussing social and the enterprise, also realising we had many mutual contacts, small world.)
Overall a great day. It is good to see Oracle has aligned many different moving parts under a single banner, Oracle Cloud. This gives them a foundation to have discussions with customers in a consistent manner, something that has been lacking in the last few years.
A final note. Oracle also took a few of us out for lunch (yes disclosure) to allow for analysts/influencers/thought leaders to spend time with the Oracle HCM team. A great initiative! I really hope more local vendors start to engage more with the growing list of industry influencers and analysts in Australia.