Oracle Applications Day 2020

On the 15th October 2020, Version 1 hosted Oracle Applications Day 2020, our largest event for our customers and business users of Oracle Cloud Apps and Oracle Applications Unlimited.

With the event taking place virtually for the first time, 300+ delegates registered from across the UK and Ireland, attending sessions covering everything from PeopleSoft, Oracle ERP Cloud, Taleo, Oracle E-Business Suite and JD Edwards, plus an additional Business Strategy & Technology stream addressing business transformation requirements.

To kick off the day, Version 1’s CEO Tom O’ Connor gave a warm welcome to attendees; our customers from across the UK and Ireland and our guest speakers from all over the world.

A message that Tom conveyed strongly to our customers is that Version 1’s ‘Customer-First’ core value is all about doing what is right for the customer, not what is best for Version 1’s interests and that this is all about having the ability, willingness and desire to build long-term sustainable relationships with our customers.

Our customers have made very significant investments in Oracle applications for the long-term, and our aim is to support them in their endeavours and now more than ever, to provide them with the opportunity to learn how to optimise, get more business value and futureproof these investments.

Oracle has a long term support roadmap in place for customers and Version 1 is looking forward to supporting our customers for the long-term whether that’s across Oracle Applications Unlimited (E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards) or Oracle Cloud Applications (HCM Cloud, ERP Cloud, etc.) Tom believes most of our customers will end up significantly invested in Cloud – but every business is on its own unique journey and some will stay on-premise and look at digital transformation and innovation there, while others may go Cloud-First and invest heavily in SaaS solutions – and it’s our job to make sure our customers get the most out of every initiative regardless of what stage they are at in the journey.

Wrapping up the introduction with a huge thank you to our customers, speakers and partners who invested their time in the event, Tom introduced our special guest Chris Leone, Oracle’s Senior Vice President of Development for Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud, who opened the day with his highly anticipated keynote on “The Art of Agility in the Age of Disruption”.

Delighted to see such strong customer representation across 7 streams and all the top Oracle products, Chris Leone kicked off his talk by congratulating Spire Healthcare (one of UK’s largest private healthcare providers) and Version 1 for successfully delivering an Oracle Cloud HCM Implementation during the lockdown, despite the challenges presented by a global pandemic.

With the world facing a pandemic impacting every country, business and person, this talk from Chris highlighted the importance of updating existing business processes and creating new ones whilst keeping employees engaged and productive. Chris spoke about how Oracle is partnering with HCM customers to successfully adapt and navigate the new world of constant change and disruption.

The advice Chris had for our delegates focused on three specific areas:

  • Pivot with Agility 
  • Outpace Change 
  • Participate in the Oracle Cloud Community

Chris spoke about how important it is in this “age of disruption” to leverage the opportunity to outpace change by leveraging the innovation that is now available within Oracle HCM Cloud, and the 4 areas of innovation that Oracle have been working to bring to market are focused around:

  • Mobilising talent effectively 
  • Best practices delivered
  • Connected people analytics
  • Journeys that enable change

Our delegates were offered an exclusive look at solutions live in action by Chris to address the areas mentioned above, making them the first customers provided with the exclusive opportunity to explore Oracle’s new HCM Cloud innovation.

Following Chris Leone’s keynote which you can register to watch on-demand here, our delegates split up into their respective streams – each of which had the following highlights:

HCM Cloud – HR on the Frontline and Automated Testing for Oracle Fusion Cloud

Yazad Dalal, Human Capital Management (HCM) Strategy Leader at Oracle Corporation, presented a keynote focusing on “HR on the Frontline“. Within this talk, Yazad spoke with attendees on how Cloud technology can help organisations adapt and create operational efficiencies to be in a strong position post economic recovery.

Yazad highlighted the importance of HR to stay resilient and support their more mobile, global and remote workforce more than they may have ever needed to before. The start of all of this is having flexible solutions and processes in place – with real-time insights to guide these critical decisions.

“We should never return to the ‘old ways’ of doing business.”

Yazad spoke about the importance of Empathy, putting your people first, Resilience, living in the land of yes, and Partnership, relying on a strong partner.

Version 1’s Adam Hammel, Associate Consultant, also presented a session on Automated Testing for Oracle Fusion Cloud. A solution developed by Version 1’s Innovation and Technology team, Adam demonstrated that the requirement to undertake expensive, resource-intensive, manual regression testing every 12 weeks is just not necessary anymore and removes highly skilled employees from performing their business-as-usual value add roles.

This overhead can be removed through Automated Testing, which automates testing on Oracle Fusion Cloud and more.

Find out more about Automated Testing by watching the video below.

ERP Cloud – Future-Ready Finance, Saas Adoption and the Journey to Oracle Cloud

Following Chris Leone’s keynote which was highly targeted at Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle HCM users, Nick Jackson, Sales Development Leader, Finance and Supply Chain Western Europe, presented his keynote on “Future Ready Finance“, where he discussed the conditions required to enable CFOs in futureproofing their operations and how finance teams can help their organisations meet these challenges.

Within this session, Nick highlighted the main Digital skill gaps that organisations are missing. These include:

  • Data Analytics
  • Cyber Security
  • Business Solutions Architects

Be sure to register your interest to watch Nick’s talk on-demand and learn more about “Future Ready Finance.”

In another interesting ERP Cloud session, Colm Gillard, Head of Oracle ERPM & HCM Practice at Version 1 discussed “Saas – If Not, Why Not? And If Now Now, When?”.

To really make delegates sit up in their seats at 10.00 am on a Thursday morning, Colm approached the topic of business leaders understanding what’s really going on behind our business in terms of our on-premise applications using the analogy of the decision between Neo’s red pill and blue pill from The Matrix. Colm describes how there are two camps business leaders can fall into when it comes to future-proofing our systems – the red pill – the unpleasant truth or the blue pill – blissful ignorance. He posed questions to the delegates, as a business leader:

  • Are you happy with the status quo you have today?
  • Do you feel that the value is there in the systems that you have and that you’re able to unlock it?
  • Do you understand how migrating to the Cloud could benefit your organisation?
  • Do you understand the pain points that you have today?

Colm mentioned that Version 1 have realised more and more that when we discuss this with our customers, the pain point they have is that their systems were implemented 5,10,15 years ago and that their business has changed completely and they cannot change the system to suit current needs. However, it’s the fear of disruption to the business and implementation failure that keeps them from considering Cloud adoption.

Colm explained to the audience he has observed over the last couple of years, particularly accelerated with COVID-19 that “the idea of Transformation has softened to transformation with a small t. I think it’s really key as leaders that we are aware that the big huge transformation programmes are bound to fail because they try to do too much transformation. We’ve seen as a race and as organisations that our ability to change is significant, but if we try to do too much and change ourselves too much, we set ourselves up to fail. It’s the fear of this that keeps people from change, instead of looking at what is actually manageable and achievable.”

Catherine Eyre, Chief Accountant at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, presented a session on the organisation’s journey to Oracle Cloud. Guy’s and St Thomas’ current finance system was on Oracle v.11 and implemented in 2008. Catherine detailed the strategy used to get people on board for the move to a new finance system, with a decision made to not upgrade to v.12.

A range of options was considered, with Oracle ERP Cloud being chosen due to its integrated platform for core system, planning and budgeting and reporting. ERP Cloud offered the organisation low-cost future upgrades, future-proofing of the system, the ability to integrate technological improvements as well as an online platform for reporting to budget holders.

E-Business Suite

The E-Business Suite stream brought the latest from Oracle industry experts alongside customer success stories. Dr Nadia Bendjedou, Vice President of Product Strategy and Applications Development at Oracle was this year’s keynote speaker, talking to attendees on updates, strategy and roadmaps for E-Business Suite. Nadia delivered an update on the product line, including the latest news on EBS support strategy and continuous innovation updates.

The University of Oxford also presented on the building of their business case, which would allow their finance division to secure the funds required to upgrade both E-Business Suite and the database tier to the latest supported versions, as well as the migration of E-Business Suite to new infrastructure, including the consideration for Public Cloud.

Within this session, the University took attendees through their journey of building a business case for their upgrade to R12.2, which included identifying opportunities to remove several CEMLIs from their current implementation and replace with standard R12.2 functionality. The University also explored other alternative technical architecture which reduced complexity, as well as identifying further reductions in CPU, RAM and storage to existing specification – which will further optimise running cost in the future.

JD Edwards – Product Strategy and the Roadmap for JD Edwards

Gary Grieshaber, a Senior Executive within Oracle’s Applications Development Division presented this year’s keynote on Product Strategy and the Roadmap for JD Edwards. Gary spoke about the technology innovations his team is focused on that enable Oracle users to digitally transform their organisations, as well as the state of JD Edwards. Some key stats include:

  • 75% Adoption rate for EnterpriseOne 9.2
  • 400+ New features delivered in 9.2
  • 600+ JDE Orchestrator Customers
  • 50+ UX-One role based landing pages
  • Release 9.2 support through until at least 2031
  • 87% OCI growth from JDE instal base year over year

Gary highlighted the paths forward for JD Edwards customers with Oracle Cloud, with 3 options available. The first is platform modernisation with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, with 40-50%+ OPEX savings to fund the journey to digital. This path features a “true” zero data centre. The second path consists of a best of breed hybrid model, where customers can leverage best of breed SaaS and PaaS with their current JD Edwards footprint. The third and final path is a complete move to full Oracle SaaS applications when ready. Gary also mentioned key benefits and improvements that can be attained moving JD Edwards to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, which includes up to 45% lower 5 year TCO vs on-premise, 2-10x faster reporting speed and one click provisioning.

Business Strategy & Technology – Things They Never Tell You Before Your Cloud Implementation

The additional Business Strategy and Technology stream provided attendees with sessions to help them answer common strategy questions and get them thinking outside of the box. Ken MacMahon, Head of Technology and Innovation at Version 1 presented a session on “5 Things They Never Tell You Before You Start Your Cloud Implementation”.

In a nutshell, these 5 considerations include:

  1. SaaS delivers an end to end solution.
  2. The Cloud Provider manages it all.
  3. Cloud is a lower cost to implement, run and operate.
  4. The Cloud is more secure.
  5. Cloud means less work for IT.

To conclude, Ken highlighted the change and evolution of roles within Cloud-focused organisations, as well as the introduction of new roles.

New roles within Cloud organisations could include Cloud Services Procurement and Contract Management, as well as Cloud Services Integration and Service Management.