New Independent Oracle Magazine Launches

OTech-Magazine-Fall-2013We’re so proud of Douwe Pieter and the OTECH magazine team for launching a truly independent, deeply expert magazine for Oracle professionals.

OTECH is available as a PDF or to print.  Check OTECH out HERE.

Content is never paid and only recognized experts are selected/invited.  That means OTECH is fiercely independent and that you can get the best information available.

The first issue covers the following topics in depth:

  1. content security
  2. Database 12C for developers
  3. BI and Social Competitive Intelligence
  4. Book Reviews
  5. ADF for user experience
  6. Weblogic on the Oracle Database Appliance Virtual Platform
  7. How to select the best integration infrastructure component
  8. PL/SQL function strategies
  9. Moving from generated to designed UIs

As you can see, the topics range wide and all articles contain specific code snippets, diagrams, best practices and practical advice that you can use immediately.

Hats off to the OTECH team!

Fall 2013 Job Trends Show Focus On Maintaining Existing Business Rather Than Growing New Business

8553474140_21d87df062_hHacking hiring data is a fun hobby.  The trends show activities and may (sometimes) indicate where we’re headed.  Either way, understanding what businesses are looking for gives some insight into what their collaboration and social business needs are (or will be).

Looking at the top job titles for the top industries according to Indeed Trends shows that business is focused on keeping things running and running a tight ship rather than expanding into new frontiers.

Remember these are just trends and only my personal interpretation so check out Indeed Trends and other sites and let me know what you conclude!

According to Indeed, the top industries by job postings and their most sought title are

Without exception, these tend to be lower level positions that are responsible for keeping operations humming.  They could indicate that there is more demand and therefore more need to keep larger operations humming, but other economic data on slow growth and soft consumer demand seems to counterbalance such an interpretation.

The impact for social business should not be ignored.  An influx of entry or junior level employees will almost certainly be Millennial generation.  There is a heightened need to get these employees access to the institutional knowledge quickly so they can become productive quickly.  That means social business tools and enterprise collaboration systems.

Make sure you have a strategy in place to promote just-in-time-information, self-leaning and employee enablement.  There are lots of them and your business needs them to be successful on day Zero!

SharePoint Slump

SharePoint SlumpCheck out the graph from Indeed trends.  Sharepoint job openings / needs are at their lowest point since 2008.  There are several ways to interpret the chart.  It could mean that:

1) we’ve reached sharepoint saturation and business are happily using it with loyal and skillful administrators/developers to keep it running  OR

2) SharepPoint is cratering due to 2013/365/Azure missteps and an inability to tap into the actual working model for enterprise collaboration (as opposed to the volume sales/give-away model that got it installed).

What do you think?  Does the precipitous drop in demand for sharepoint skills mean that everyone is happily collaborating or that it is gathering dust?

Send me a note to schedule a conversation about your enterprise collaboration and social business strategy!

The Next Generation of Internet Users

Demographic shifts are important to understand.  They impact buying behavior, social viewpoints and define market needs.  The Baby Boom generation was huge in America – Nearly 72 million.  That generation is now retiring and getting older.  As they do, they are driving much of the debate around health care in the USA.  The next generation, Generation X was one of the smallest in US History.  They gave us grunge music and the early internet.  The Millenials are currently the largest generation in American History; with approximately 78 million members.  They’re in workforce now and will continue to do so for another 7-10 years.

But what comes next?  And not just in America, but in the world?

Check out this fantastic infographic from outlining the next BILLION internet users.

The results may surprise you.  Plan accordingly

The Next Billion Internet Users: What Will They Look Like?

Creativity and Collaboration

Creative Commons Attribution by flickr user

There is an unseemly hubris in content and collaboration software.

It is the assumption that knowledge and innovation can come out of them.  As if our companies were some sort of orange to be squeezed into a pitcher and served up as a healthy and tasty accompaniment to breakfast.  The trend has a long history that is still being played out today though we see some hints of change.  ERP, MRP & Supply Chain systems took the principles of the assembly line and applied them to business processes – from how things are made to how they’re transported from here to there.  These gave rise to HCM systems which took the same fundamental approach and applied it to how people – human beings – are managed and placed and categorized and “quality assured” in an organization (that last part being your annual review).

The fundamental assumption and fatal flaw in all of these software “systems” is that process – those recipes of business – are actually what make the product, bring in the revenue, and service the customer.  They rely on a terribly thin lie; that the process is understood, the recipe is known and all that is left to do is find more efficient ways of executing it.  It is shake and bake business.  If we just automate our phone help desk with push-button easiness and route exception calls overseas we’ll increase success in business.

In many ways we’re the victims of our own technological success.   We’ve succumbed to “Small Earth Syndrome”.  The industrial and information revolutions are said to have shrunk the planet.  That’s a lie.  They extended our reach but they did not shrink and they did not simplify.

Complexity has increased magnificently and terribly in order to access our large planet.  Sophistication of our systems increased to handle the complexity.  Each new permutation of observer-induced cybernetic feedback was identified as the last bug to fix, rolled into our software systems and re-re-re-released with great fanfare.  And all the while the information was coming in – a tsunami made of 8 billion individual spigots left running and our collective sinks overflowing.  We see huge potential in this ocean of information.  Our flaw is in thinking that our old assembly-line thinking and linear systems can classify, index and handle it if only it gets just a bit more efficient.

This is not what brought us the revolutions in industry and information.  Intentional collaboration – directed, focused and goal oriented – gave us superior suspension in horse buggies, line-cook short-order restaurants and enterprise content management software systems. Accidental collaboration – interaction with information and insight regardless of original intent – gave us the GPS system from people listening to Sputnik and doodling calculations that determined its location in the sky, then reversing those to calculate positions on earth.  Accidental collaboration gave us Big Data, Big Insight and will drive the next phase of innovation.

This article originally appeared on on July 11

10 Steps for Social Competitive Intelligence

10StepsToSocialCompetitiveIntelligenceHere is a quick, real life example for how to estimate your competitor’s event marketing budget and get a hint as to when they’re going to launch a new product or service in 10 steps:

1)      List your key competitors. You know your market and the main players in your space so make a list.

2)      List key industry events.  You also know your industry has several “main events” each year.  These might be conferences, meet-ups, or trade shows. List those events.

3)      Most big events from the past several years have their own Twitter hashtag, Facebook page, Pinterest Page and even conversation threads in relevant LinkedIn Groups.  Make a note of those.

4)      Search, Scribd and other presentation / document sharing sites for presentations from your competitors at those events.  See our list of “sources and signals” for a great starter of places to visit for social competitive intelligence research.

5)      Make a note of how many presentations your competitors had at each event and the number of different presenters they had delivering those keynote and breakout sessions.

6)      Make a note of whether or not there is a “visit booth #12345” in the presentations.

7)      Now you’ve got your data, start the synthesis.

  • Estimate a cost of $500 – $1000 per presenter per conference.
  • Estimate a cost of $10,000 per small booth at a trade show and up to $100,000 for large conference sponsorship.
  • Remember that you’re not trying to re-create your competitor’s budget, rather you’re trying to determine if they’re ramping up to a big announcement or simply staying in maintenance mode or struggling to stay above water.
  • Did they have more presentations, more staff, bigger booth, new sponsorships this year than they have in years past?
  • Who is tweeting with the event hashtag from your competitor?  Who is re-tweeting them?  Who are they re-tweeting?  What are they saying on their Facebook Page?  What are they saying on the event’s Facebook page?

8)      Combine the data you’ve overlaid to produce the intelligence.  Is your competitor ramping up their spending?  Is the increased spending significant for them?  If they’re a small or medium sized company or a large company that has been struggling recently, a big marketing spend is a significant flag for upcoming activity.  Remember that employees will tweet, post and blog about items they know and that they think will help the company.  So a competitor’s retweet of a keynote speaker’s point may hold much more competitive significance than mere interest.

9)      What should you do about it?  Is there a way you can pre-empt your competitor’s announcements?  Is there a bandwagon that you should be on as well?  Do you need to take a legal action?  Speed up your own R&D? Or maybe just continue to pay attention?

10)   Compile the key points, synthesis and recommendations into an easy to digest report, dashboard or brief.  Make sure that every point you make is backed up by hard data that you found.  If you say your competitor is ramping up for a big product launch because of increased budget spends on conferences and increased chatter then make sure you can show that there was actually an increase over previous years. Strive for Actionable Intelligence and you will bring traditional CI into the new reality of social business.

Social Competitive Intelligence

BloomThink does Social Competitive Intelligence
Creative Commons Attribution by Flickr user kortunov

Traditional Competitive Intelligence is in a rut.  Books, websites, whitepapers and presentations all echo the same techniques and priorities that defined the practice 10 years ago.  Research public filings, read credentialed analyst reports, talk to employees and former employees if you can, be careful of blogs they might not be trustworthy.  Social media?  Be extra careful of that too.

Traditional CI process and practice has largely missed out on more than a decade of change in the way businesses and employees communicate. The reality is that we are producing more information more quickly than at any other time in history.  According to Google we produce as much information every two days as we did in all of history up to 2003!  Some of this information is machine data and metadata.  Much of it is user generated content.  These are things like Tweets, Instagram photo uploads, Facebook or LinkedIn status updates as well as blogs, web pages and shared presentations.

The problem is not that the traditional CI focus on interviewing employees and reading web pages was wrong.  Rather, the venue has changed.  Instead of needing to track down employees to get juicy details, the CI professional simply needs to listen to the public conversations that are already going on through social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Glassdoor and numerous other socially enabled sites.  This is called Social Competitive Intelligence.

Of course there is an art to the practice as well.  Where in years past the traditional CI pro needed skills in finding and persuading employees to talk, the new Social CI pro requires superpowers to filter and categorize the flood of information we’re all producing.  The new CI pro requires less sleuthing ability and more synthesis power; the ability to bring different facts together to form a complete picture.

Part of this synthesis means combining social competitive intelligence with traditional CI as well as traditional business intelligence.  Both traditional CI and traditional BI do an amazing job of helping organizations understand what is happening. But it is Social Competitive Intelligence that provides the market, competitive and social media context in which business operates. When you correlate BI, traditional CI and Social CI insights, you understand the “why” of performance along with the “what” of your BI analytics.

Understanding the “why” is vital if you’re going to ever achieve the end of any CI or BI practice: figuring out what to do next.  Data is not insight.   Getting more data has never been the goal.  Deriving insight from data is what makes intelligence actionable.  The goal of any all CI practice is Actionable Intelligence.

Actionable Intelligence spots trends before they take you by surprise. Actionable Intelligence spots gaps in the market that mean opportunity for new products and offerings.  Actionable Intelligence gets you out front of competition and moves your business from a reactionary to a proactive starting point.