In less than two weeks tens of thousands of Oracle’s customers and partners will gathering for our annual conference in San Francisco. It’s always an exciting time, but this year I am more excited than normal because I’ll be talking about some of our work on Blockchain technology. Blockchain, or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is one of the most exciting and disruptive technologies to emerge for a very long time and I’ve been quietly researching and working with it for quite a while in semi stealth mode (if you follow me on twitter you probably picked up on this) and this year a lot of Oracle experts will start showing you some of our work and sharing our views and insights. Given the level of interest in the topic, I expect all the Blockchain related sessions to be packed houses so register for them as soon as you can to avoid disappointment.
So three ways to find Blockchain sessions
Use this Focus on Blockchain document that lists keynotes, demo, sessions, hands on and panel discussions.
Digital Assistants use context and intelligence to provide a natural interface which increases engagement in enterprise cloud applications.
In my house, Alexa (aka Amazon Echo) is part of the family. My young children check the weather whilst eating their breakfast, see how their favorite sports teams are doing, get some jokes, movie times and anything that pops into their head they will just “Ask Alexa”. They also have a lot of fun seeing how Apple’s Siri and Alexa answer the same questions and which works better for what. Observing these interactions and interacting myself has been a very good hands on research exercise and I have been thinking for a while of enterprise applications.
We can use personal assistant technology bots to use context and intelligence to provide a natural interface and increase participation in our cloud applications.We can increase participation on two groups of users
They have infrequent and limited interactions with the applications and do not have the time, or the training and familiarity with the capabilities to participate effectively. They don’t know what information they can get, never mind how to get it.
For these users it is about reducing the time it takes to do highly repetitive or UI intensive tasks. This is like me at home getting sports scores or weather from Amazon Echo, I could easily look it up on my phone but it is easier to just say “Alexa, weather” whilst I am pouring my coffee.
I put together a team to enter a hackothon by our UX innovation team last month and we tried to focus on the former use case. A high level manager who is very busy, runs a team of 50-100 people and manages to budgets but does not have a secretary. We imagined her wanting to know details of budgets and implemented three flows
Inquiry on remaining budget
Details of who spent a budget on what
Transfer funds from one budget to another (say from travel to computer hardware)
We spent a lot of time trying to make the interactions as natural as possible, so getting the natural language trained correctly was key and we also wanted to use Amazon Echo, IM and SMS messages to interact with the live data in an ERP Cloud environment.
It was a great experience and we learned a lot technically. but probably more of a revelation was the different design strategy for these types of interaction. The other teams also did some amazing things(read the event review here) so we were pleased to pick up third place overall and the People’s Choice Award (voted on by all the participants).
I fully expect Automated Personal Assistants to be a key interaction model for Enterprise applications going forward, just as we are seeing them start to take off in the consumer space. Exciting times.
I am focusing on some new things here at Oracle. I’ll be dedicating a lot more of my time looking into emerging technology trends and how we should be applying them to the enterprise ERP or financial management space.
So how does this effect this blog?
I’ve been blogging for many years on Intercompany, Financial Management and ERP, mixing in some general technology posts. Now I plan to start writing about new technology trends a lot more. I have always been interested in this, but now I have more time to get deeper into it and I find blogging about things helps me understand them better and get feedback and insight from others, so it is a win-win. I have enjoyed all the comments on the blog and words of encouragement that people have given me in person, that has been a huge motivation to continue writing (even tho I have been posting as frequently as I would like the last few years) and respond to comments. I hope that feedback will continue.
So now I have got this announcement out of the way, I can get started… watch this space.
If you are an Oracle Cloud customer or a partner, or are considering becoming one, or if you are just interested, you should check out the Oracle Cloud Marketplace. It follows the type App Store type model that you are probably familiar with, but this is for cloud based enterprise apps.
I am always inspired by the innovation that comes from the Oracle partners, it drives me to try and keep innovating in the products Oracle produces and that is how the ecosystem should work. I see a lot of content on their already and I plan to try out some of the free apps over the next days and weeks, maybe I will do reviews of anything I find particularly interesting. However you shouldn’t wait for my reviews, get over there now and check out the content, post in the comments to discuss what you find.
I was surprised that my pondering if Oracle was cool again got so much attention, the piece from Tim DiChiaraturning around my comment to ask if Oracle is as cutting edge and risk taking as google I think was intentionally provocative, but I’ll bite.
So what do Google and Oracle do, where do they make money? Oracle sells software and associated services to enterprises, a company thinks Oracle software can improve the way they run their business so they pony up for the license fee. I see Google as more like a broadcaster, like TV and radio stations they provide content that attracts viewers who they advertise to. When internet habits change and traffic moves to other sites, google need to own those sites to keep their ratings up. Continue reading “Is Google Just an Oracle Wannabee?”
I joined Oracle UK in 1997 when Oracle 8 was just out to a lot of buzz. I had written a College paper on Designer 2000, which in 1995 sounded futuristic; automatic code generation and reverse engineering of code was a hot topic around then. All in all it felt pretty good to be joining Oracle and many of my college friends were impressed, especially as I was joining product development. Things went well, I learned a lot, 8i came out, I was involved in building 11i which was on the latest tools and then I moved out to the US in 2000 at the height of the dot com boom.Continue reading “Is Oracle Cool Again?”