A week with Apple Watch: From Cynic to Believer

I had convinced myself the Apple Watch was an overpriced fitness band and that it wasn’t for me and was set to get a Garmin to track my running instead.  Then out of the blue I was given an Apple Watch.  So you can certainly put me down as a cynic, but I certainly like to think I am open minded, so here are my thoughts after a week with the watch.

The experience of getting it set up was surprisingly frustrating, I had to upgrade my phone to iOS 8 before I could activate the watch and that meant deleting things to free a few Gb of memory (to upgrade my Operating System, really?).  So everything had to wait until after I got home and backed up my phone.

First I got this rather cool visual on my watch to scan with the phone and then it was paired and I got this screen telling me the model that I had bought.  OK so I still could not get the time from this watch and I have had the thing all day, I’m getting a little impatient at this point.

watch pairingwatch pairing 2

After waiting about 5 minutes for it to synch, suddenly a load of my apps, including my email, texts, calendar, twitter fitness apps and more are available on my watch.  This is about to get interesting.

The first thing I noticed is that it is actually really easy to ready and see at a glance the notifications that are sent to your watch, such as Calendar reminders, text messages and Oracle Social Network updates (glad to see we are quick to the new platform with our own mobile apps).  This is good for me, I get a lot of these alerts and I found a glance at my wrist was much nicer than pulling out my phone and unlocking it and starting at it.  This sounds like a very small thing, but it is these small improvements in frequent interactions that make for a great user experience.  I also agree with Jeremy Ashley about the huge value in being able to retain eye contact, notifications on my watch are far less obtrusive and the glance at my wrist it is a great experience.

So I wanted to try using it for some different things so I decided to test out text messages first, a quick SMS to respond to my wife’s text ‘ETA?’ to let her know what time I am planning to get home.

My wife and I prefer very efficient communications.

My wife and I prefer very efficient communications.

So I tap once on that nice Reply button

IMG_0027

I can now either pick from a set of pre-defined responses and they would be sent without any other interaction from me. However I like the personal touch, this is my wife after all, so I decide I will click on the microphone icon to dictate a response.  I speak in my answer and see the sound wave at the bottom and the text comes up perfectly first time.

IMG_0028

So now I click done and get a really option to either send the audio or to just tap on the text and send that.  This is a great feature if maybe the voice to text didn’t work properly and I don’t want to waste time correcting it or speaking it again.

IMG_0021

After tapping on the text I am now done.  The whole interaction was very fast and felt very natural.  At this point I am really starting to like the Apple Watch.  In the next few days I try driving directions, twitter, my calendar, a variety of fitness apps and more and pretty much across the board I find the interactions are natural and quick and the fact I have to pull out my phone less is a much bigger deal than I expected.  I find I can glance down at my watch see a text or meeting reminder and carry on a conversation in a way that was not really possible if I had to pull my phone out.  The one app I haven’t yet mentioned is the time, I haven’t worn a watch for over 10 years and I have realized in the last week it’s much easier to glance at my wrist than to pull out my phone – who knew?

Speaking My Own Language for UKOUG Apps 14 Conference

Finally I will be at a conference where my British accent, specifically my North West of England accent will be understood.  This will be my first time presenting at the UK OUG Conference and what better place than Liverpool to do it?  Home of my beloved Everton F.C., hometown of my parents and less than 20 miles from where I grew up (People from Liverpool would call me a woollyback) just outside Wigan.  So I will try to remember to shift from the Californian drawl I have picked up over the last 14 years and into my finest scouse accent.

I’m going to be presenting two papers which will showcase not just the powerful features that can revolutionize how you run your business, but also the amazing use experience, mobile and social features available in our ERP Cloud.  Both are on Monday and one is right after the other, so I’m a little bit apprehensive about having 10 minutes to dash from one room to another, get set up and start again.

Here are the details of the sessions, or just search for ‘Haimes’ and you’ll find them. Add them to your agenda, because they are both ‘must not miss’ sessions.

First up, Monday December 8th, 2pm, Hall 11C

Oracle E-Business Suite Coexistence with Fusion Accounting Hub & Implementing a Global Chart of Accounts.

This is a great session with a lot of content to pack in but I know the area well and am very passionate about it and have seen first hand how big a deal this is for businesses.

Then 10 minutes to pack up and dash to Hall 1B for 3pm

Oracle ERP Cloud Service Social & Mobile Demonstrations.

Doing live demos, with multiple different devices to switch between and using a live cloud environment on a conference WiFi make this a logistical challenge.  However when you have a phenomenal user experience, the best thing to do is show it live, so bear with me because we have some pretty cool features to show.

Accounting Hub Reporting Cloud Service

SunburstSo what is this new service and why was it such a big focus at Oracle OpenWorld this year?

  • It’s a very exciting opportunity to experience the powerful Financial Reporting innovations in our Cloud offerings without disruption to your existing ERP investments.
  • It’s a way to take advantage of the Simplified Financials Report Center, optimized for easy access to reports on your choice of mobile device
  • It includes the sunburst data visualization tool, which was my killer demo last week at OpenWorld (see screen shot)
  • It’s a way to move to cloud in an incremental manner, realizing business benefits quickly without disruption to your existing business processes and systems.
  • It has a companion EBusiness Suite feature (available on 12.1.3 and 12.2.4) that will push all your set up and GL Balances to your cloud service and generate reports automatically for you.  Giving you a zero configuration reporting solution for you EBS GL Balances data (watch out for more detailed posts on this soon)
  • It has web services to load General Ledger data from PeopleSoft, JDE Edwards or any other ERP system.
  • It’s a way to get your hands on the Oracle Social Network which is part of the platform our Cloud offerings are built on.

That’s a decent list to start with, but there are a few things that it isn’t which I should call out

  • It is not(yet) the Accounting Hub Integration Platform with all the rule based accounting transformations provided by Subledger Accounting Architecture (SLA)
  • It is not a new name designed to confuse you when we already have Financials Accounting Hub and Fusion Accounting Hub.

Look out for future posts going into more detail, or you can look at the cloud service page, which has important details such as pricing.

Focus on #WorkLifeBalance at Oracle OpenWorld

I promised my 9 year old son that I would run the school 5K fun run with him, little did I know it would clash with Oracle OpenWorld.  I had a 5k run at 10am in Belmont and then a presentation to the OAUG GL Special Interest Group at 11am 20 mile sNorth in San Francisco.  I was worried about the pace my son could do but we managed to average 9.5 minute miles even with a stop to tie a shoe lace and a lot of traffic of all ages and speeds.  We had just enough time snap the picture below and then he went for the pancake breakfast with the rest of his friends and I ran another half mile to my car and headed to the Moscone Center.  No time to change and straight up on stage, with 10 minutes to spare before I was due to speak.  After that I caught up with a colleague who’s here from the UK over lunch and was home in time to upgrade my son’s home minecraft server to 1.8, write a blog and check on my demos for tomorrow’s Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) EXPO.

Dolphin Dash

Only one of us got to stay for the pancake breakfast

OOW14

No time to change, straight on stage and waiting to present.

later this evening I was pleased to see this tweet from Steve Miranda, our EVP who is also balancing his heavy workload at OpenWorld with family commitments too.

Steve makes time for family too.

Steve makes time for family too.

So all in all a good day, here’s hoping the rest of the week is just as enjoyable.

Focus on Accounting Hub at Oracle OpenWorld

This is number three in my Focus on Oracle OpenWorld Series and this one is in on my home turf, it was the talk of Las Vegas earlier this year at Collaborate.  I have explained the difference between Fusion Accounting Hub and Financial Accounting Hub before, but now we have the Accounting Hub Reporting Cloud Service.  I’ll be talking about this briefly in the OAUG GL SIG meeting and there is also a session from my boss, Rob Zwiebach that will cover it (spoiler alert, we might use some of the same slides), but he will also have Alex from our internal finance org to give talk about their experience running the accounting hub for the last few years.  Rob’s session details are below:

Introducing Oracle Fusion Accounting Hub Reporting Cloud Service [CON8404]

Existing Oracle E-Business Suite customers now have an out-of-the-box coexistence strategy. With Oracle Fusion Accounting Hub Reporting Cloud Service, you can have the power of Oracle Fusion Reporting in the cloud. This session explains the benefits and details of Oracle Fusion Accounting Hub Reporting Cloud Service.

Alex SanJuan – VP Finance, Oracle
Rob Zwiebach, VP Financial Application Development, Oracle

Tuesday, Sep 30, 4:45 PM – 5:30 PM – Westin Market Street – Metropolitan II
I already have a number of customer meetings lined up to discuss accounting hub and a few more I’m trying to squeeze in, so it is shaping up to be an exciting new chapter for the Accounting Hub.

Focus on User Groups at Oracle OpenWorld

Anyone who reads my blog regularly might be tired of me praising user groups, but I believe it is worth repeating myself.  The type of information sharing you get from user groups is unique and very valuable, it is important for Oracle to support that, be aware of it, but not interfere.  I have been involved with the Oracle Apps User Group via the GL SIG for several years now but I will never push my agenda, I listen, provide information or presentations that are requested and I learn.  Many of my colleagues will tell you the same.  So Sunday is User Group day at OpenWorld and I look forward to seeing a lot of familiar faces and learning something new.  I have a bit of a schedule crunch this year, 12 months ago I committed to run the 5k “Dolphin Dash” School fundraiser with my 8 year old son, I didn’t think for a minute it would fall on the same date as OpenWorld.  So I have to run a 5k at 9am and then dash into San Francisco to present at the GL SIG for 11am, if I arrive in my running gear, still sweating please accept my apologies.  I will stay around for more of the sessions and always I will be active on twitter, so you can find me that way too.

At the GL SIG I’ll be talking about and briefly showing the new Accounting Hub Reporting Cloud Service, which I am very excited about.  You will also hear from Lakshmi Sampath from Dell about SLA on their upgrade to R12.  The full agenda is below, I hope to see a lot of you there.

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Agenda GL-SIG @ OpenWorld 2014 on Sunday, September 28th, 11.00am
Location – Moscone W – 3005

Agenda

  1. Introduction to the SIG
  2. Proactive support presentation
  3. Sponsor message (Excel4Apps)
  4. Lakshmi (SLA on Upgrade @ Dell)
  5. David Haimes new Accounting Hub Cloud Reporting Service
  6. Open questions

We will be joined by our Oracle colleagues to tell us about ProActive support and their leading practices to deliver content and help to the Oracle user community.
Excel4Apps will be helping us by sponsoring the meeting at this conference.

In the past many oracle apps customers have looked elsewhere for their reporting needs – until now – see a preview of “Accounting Hub Reporting Cloud Service”. See how many finance users are using their favorite tools for reporting – Smartview, Cubes, and related functionality to get their financials.  Fusion Account Hub Reporting Cloud Service is a new subscription service provides out of the box integration with EBS R12 General Ledger for reporting.  This session will provide an introduction to the new service, how it connects, works with EBS data, the reporting capabilities available and what it does and does not support.  Come listen to David Haimes, Senior Director, Financials Product Development t alk about the new service.

Hear what Lakshmi Sampath from Dell has to say about their upgrade to R12. The presentation covers the R12 Upgrade Case-Study at Dell providing details on what happens during upgrade to R12 in various subledgers (PO, AP, AR, PA, FA) with respect to SLA. This presentation will also provide details on strategies for data conversion to SLA model during upgrade, and cover critical lessons learned during the upgrade @ DELL.

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Focus on Oracle Social Network at OpenWorld

This is the first of a series of posts I am planning leading up to Oracle OpenWorld which starts in less than a week.  I have a few different focus areas this year, so I’ll write a little about each of them.

I’ve been talking about collaboration in ERP for quite some time and was also very flattered to have TheAppsLab and Ulan for the UX team cover what we have done in their blogs too.  I call it Socializing the Finance Department, it isn’t about more Pot Luck Lunches and after work drinks, it is about using social tools in a secure and efficient manner, embedded in your ERP system, tied to your transactions and business flows to make you more productive.

The Oracle Social Network(OSN) is part of the infrastructure we build our cloud applications on, so it is pervasive in our cloud apps.  There are a lot of good sessions, see here for the complete OSN list.  I will be on a panel discussing the best use cases for social in enterprise applications, Tuesday September 30th 5pm – 5:45pm  – Moscone West – 3022, full details here.

We won’t be doing a demo, but here is one video to give you a taste of what we will discuss, or check out my post Can chatting make us more productive? for another video.  TO be honest, if you catch during the #oow week, I’m usually happy to show this off, so feel free to ask me.

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