It was a pleasure to attend another terrific Gartner conference in Las Vegas this month (December 2-5, 2019). And while there was an Amazon AWS conference in town the same week, the smart kids were all enjoying the Gartner show. 

So, what we’d like to do is break down the key messaging that we got from the conference, based on the tracks that we followed, and provide our point of view on what we think this will mean out in the real world. 

So here we go: Gartner’s key messaging from December 2019.

This is the last decade of applications

In the same way that dinosaurs once ruled the world, all good things come to an end one day. And so it is with the lengthy, and ultimately unsatisfying, era of the application. Gartner has now given notice that IT departments need to start to ween themselves off of building applications, and that in 10 years the gig is over, and everyone needs to learn new roles. 

Hint: Better to start that move now than wait until the last minute. AI, the Composable Enterprise, and Conversational UI’s are the ways of the future (that is already part of the present today).  

Evolve or perish and fly

One of the things we love about Gartner is that they always put a positive spin on things. This is one of the reasons their conferences are always fun. So instead of telling people they’d better evolve or go the way of the T.Rex, instead they highlighted the positive aspect. That evolution is an opportunity, and not something to be feared. The messaging was that the new era we are entering is an opportunity for organizations to sprout feathers, shrink their size, and learn to fly. 

Instead of vast teams of developers building code (and technical debt), we will see the emergence of experience designers, process stewards, and knowledge curators. No code solutions will be the way of the future, which, in turn, means no need for coders. 

Hint: People with business and process knowledge will rule the new roost.

Don’t acquire technical debt

What have we always been told by our parents? “Don’t’ jump out of the frying pan and into the fire”. The move to the Cloud was supposed to be an opportunity for organizations to shed technical debt and move to a more streamlined model. The advent of AI, if not managed correctly, will be the dawn of a new era of organizations amassing more technical debt than ever before in a mad rush to keep up with the Jones’s. 

Building AI solutions that have already been built is not a good idea. Building a brain for your Enterprise isn’t easy. The cost is astronomical and involves a maintenance commitment that very few organizations can support. Gartner recommends that organizations look carefully into various vendor solutions to determine what is available “off the shelf”. 

Hint: if you want a better car than your next door neighbor, it’s easier to lease one than go to the time and expense of creating your own car factory, and assembly line, and building one yourself. 

Use “downloadable workers”

So, while creating your own “worker” from hand using various development tools seems like a lot of fun, and was undoubtedly the focus at the Amazon AWS conference (cue the “Weird Science” jokes), Gartner rightly states that you shouldn’t try to reinvent the most complex wheel imaginable: the human brain. Instead, Gartner predicts a future of “downloadable workers”. A “downloadable worker” is a chatbot/digital assistant that has already been created by someone else (and which, if done right, took them years to do). It comes delivered with all the skills needed to operate in your Enterprise and can also typically speak many different languages. And what’s more, downloadable workers don’t call in sick, don’t take any time off, and can handle millions of conversations at tiny fractions of the price of actual humans. 

This checks all the boxes of how to do things right: “don’t build things already built”, “don’t acquire technical debt”, “don’t build things you have no clue how to build”. 

Hint: don’t buy a “downloadable worker” that is hard coded and can’t be configured. Select a middleware-created “worker”. You’ll be glad you did, and Gartner recommends that too. 

Dashboards suck!

Gartner really came down hard on the UX feature that many vendors love to push as the answer to a happy and motivated workforce. According to Gartner, dashboards are just a tool for people to “game the system” and offer almost no real value. So next time you decide to choose a new vendor for your HCM system, try picking one that supports conversational UI features (Oracle), and not one doubling down on a failed UX strategy (Workday).

Yes, instead of dashboards that look like the cockpit of a Boeing 747, extensive study has discovered that people just want Enterprise software to be easy to use (and this shouldn’t be a shock to anyone). Infusing AI into the user experience is the key to meeting that goal, and will ensure that your organization truly engages in the various systems you have spent a small fortune implementing and maintaining. 

Hint: A well created conversational UI is the answer to this goal, and what Gartner recommends. 

Tread carefully in the era of the Digital Dragon

Citing both Amazon and Alibaba as the most developed, and dangerous, “Digital Dragons” that exist today, the general advice was to tread carefully with how you engage with them. As attractive as some options my look today, they may not look so attractive when the dragons are competing with your organization and you suddenly realize you’ve invested in the demise of your own future. 

This doesn’t mean that Gartner advised to always avoid them, they just detailed various strategies that organizations may utilize such that they can grasp opportunity when it exists, but also retreat when the time comes that the opportunity has turned into a threat. 

We felt that this was such an important subject that we are currently working on a future blog dedicated to the topic. 

Hint: It may be a better long-term bet to utilize a cloud infrastructure using Oracle or Microsoft than one using Amazon AWS. 

This wraps up our summary of the Gartner conference, for now. It was a lot of fun, and we do think Gartner has a great handle on the future. If the concepts are interesting to you and you’d like to find out more, please contact us:

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We remember being on site at the Apple campus the day the iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs in 2007. It was a seminal moment in history that we’ll never forget. But it wasn’t just the product that impressed us, it was the way Steve described it. With his usual penchant for talking in threes, he articulated three things that people needed, and teased that he was actually announcing three products. But the real genius was that it wasn’t really three products, it was one product that combined three features that he knew people would always want bundled together.  A phone, a music player, an internet device.

Fast forward to 2020, we feel the same way about AI, and have worked tirelessly to accomplish something very similar but in a completely new field. A field we believe will have far more impact on humanity than even the iPhone did. So, paraphrasing Steve Jobs iconic moment, we are announcing three things available now, which we think will redefine how people interact with Enterprise systems forever more. 

In 2019, we introduced a revolutionary Enterprise Digital Assistant, it changed the entire way employees, managers, students and advisors can interact with their Enterprise systems. Well, today we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first one is a fully automated and configurable AI wizard that both creates, trains and tests hundreds of skills in a matter of minutes. The second is an AI robotic tool that automates complex tasks across multiple systems. And the third is an AI event management system that automates notification and completion of key events in your organization.

So, three things: an automated AI wizard tool; a revolutionary robotic process automator; and a breakthrough event management tool. An AI wizard, an AI process automator, and an AI event manager. An AI wizard, an AI process automator … are you getting it? These are not three separate products, this is one product, and we are calling it the IntraSee Digital Assistant. Today, IntraSee has reinvented the Digital Assistant, and here it is.

Cogs loading skills into a brain
Figure 1: Visual representation of a Digital Assistant that understands your Enterprise systems on day one.

So, what does this practically mean? It means that version DA-20.1.1 (currently in beta, and debuting January 2020), now provides the full spectrum of Enterprise skills that are required to fully automate how anyone in your organization can interact with the myriad of confusing applications that make up your Enterprise. All running on Oracle Cloud infrastructure, using Oracle AI technology, Hybrid Cloud compatible, and GDPR compliant

And, commencing January 2020, this now includes three core features in one Digital Assistant:

1.  A fully automated and configurable AI wizard that both creates, trains and tests hundreds of skills in a matter of minutes.

The creation of artificial intelligence (AI) is complicated, and even in the hands of experts cannot be built reliably by hand. Even worse, the more AI is built by hand, the more unstable it becomes. This is the core of the AI scalability issue. 

Having an AI tool that can do 10 things really well, but completely falls apart when asked to do 100 things really well, is not a tenable solution, or one you should invest in. 

This is why we created an AI wizard that any business user can use that automatically creates an efficient AI model that can scale into the thousands. Furthermore, it is self-training, and self-testing. With simple configuration “dials” that allow all scenarios to be tested and validated. Both in the past, and also looking into the future. 

2.  An AI robotic tool that automates complex tasks across multiple systems.

Providing web links for “answers” isn’t AI, it’s just another type of search engine. 

What separates a true Digital Assistant from a simple chatbot is the ability to automate complex conversations that complete tasks across multiple systems, on-premise or Cloud-based. 

And to do so in a way that it is simple and easy for the human it engages with, such that tasks that were once the confine of people like HR Generalists, are now easily completed by anyone in your organization, and in their language of choice.

3.  An AI event management system that automates notification of key events in your organization.

Organizational confusion over “what to do next” is rife across all industries. Multiple systems are generating their own workflow, and unique events such as onboarding, performance cycles, and enrollments are occurring throughout the year. 

Just knowing who should be doing what, and making sure it gets done, is a massive time-sucking task for all organizations. 

This is why we auto-create a Digital Assistant that understands all these things, and manages interaction with the people in your organization to ensure things are completed when they need to be completed. All via automated robotic interaction, and in a way that gently nudges your people in the right direction without being overly intrusive. 

Combining these three things into one Digital Assistant is truly ground-breaking. And if you’ve tried to build one yourself, then you’ll already know that. 

If you’d like to see what the future looks like, and would like an affordable and easy shortcut, then please contact us for a live demo. 

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At IntraSee we are super excited to announce that version DA-19.3.1 is currently being rolled out to all our customers. As usual, many thanks to Oracle for all their support and collaboration as we utilize their excellent Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA) technology via our Hybrid-Cloud compatible, GDPR compliant, and world leading meta-data driven middleware solution.

Our goal of automating every aspect of ODA design, build, test, and deployment wouldn’t be possible without having such an awesome partner to work with. So, with that said, here are the highlights for IntraSee DA-19.3.1:

  1. Ability for the Digital Assistant to proactively remind and assist the user with approving/rejecting workflow/tasks from over 10 SaaS vendor systems, plus multiple on-premise systems (including PeopleSoft)
  2. Enhancements to Microsoft Teams channel support for ODA
  3. More human-like conversational flows
  4. Fully automated predictive utterance testing, and automated daily utterance analysis reports
  5. Improved handling of case creation and live person transfers
  6. Improved performance of all response times
  7. Configurable notifications for all conversation flows
  8. Configurable ability for managers/advisors to assign tasks to employees/students
  9. Additions to the Skills Library (more delivered HCM & Campus skills)

Product Update Notes

Many of the product changes we focused on in this release were centered around adding more features around workflow/task management and notification. Having the Digital Assistant be able to track workflow in many SaaS and on-premise systems and proactively remind and guide the user through to completion is an important product milestone. Much time is wasted in many organizations having highly paid departmental experts having to monitor and chase up with managers to get them to approve/reject important tasks they need to attend to. Now this is fully automated and the Digital Assistant can handle the entire process with the manager/employee.

Also, via a conversation, managers can now assign tasks to their team members, such that the Digital Assistant will then ensure they get completed.

Note: Remember, the most expensive aspect of your Enterprise system isn’t the software cost. It’s the cost of the humans that support it. Reducing the demands on their time will massively reduce your operating costs. 

Additional features were also added to make conversations more human-like by adding contextual verbiage as part of the conversation to better guide the human. We also added improved logging of cases in any help desk system (including Salesforce), as well as an improved transfer to a live agent if the Digital Assistant detected the human needed interaction with a help desk person to resolve their need.

The main UI additions for this release were to enhance support for Microsoft Teams as a channel. Given the huge adoption rates of Microsoft Teams, and the high level of security this provides, we expect this channel to quite possibly eclipse the web channel for many organizations in 2020.

The following video shows a conversation in MS Teams with Charlie the ODA chatbot, speaking both Spanish and English. Out of the box ODA will speak over 100 languages, so this is a terrific and simple way of enabling multi-lingual self-service for your organization.

Figure 1: Animation of the Digital Assistant in Microsoft Teams speaking Spanish and English

Contact us below to learn more and setup your own personal demo.

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We are at the dawn of an artificial intelligence (AI) revolution and there is a lot of confusion about how this technology should be used to provide support for students, faculty and advisors in higher education. Terms like chatbots and natural language processing are thrown around, but many projects are not really AI and are not much better than the old IVR phone systems we hated. Press 1 for a better experience! Worse yet is that if you choose the wrong platform, you will be fighting a bad reputation and adoption issues for a long time to come. So let’s examine the top 10 features an effective digital assistant (or as some mistakenly term chatbot) should be offering your users.

1. Personalized answers, not “one answer fits all”

Any chatbot can answer an easy question where everyone gets the same answer such as, “What is a FAFSA form?” or “How do I reset my password?” In higher education, however, rarely are answers so generic. Higher ed culture is built on autonomy such that there are very few of these one-answer questions. Each department and school tends to have their way of doing things. 

What if the user asks, “Do I need to sign up for a cap and gown for graduation?” The answer for a full-time student in the school of engineering will be different than the answer for a part-time student in liberal arts. If your chatbot can’t understand this difference, then it really is no better than pressing 1 on MovieFone.

2. True natural language processing, not just a crude search engine in disguise

A true AI-based digital assistant relies on AI modeling. Any chatbot that promises to crawl your existing web site and “just work” should be met with skepticism. 

Time and again our student focus groups have told us they don’t trust or use search engines found on university owned web sites. The results are often contradictory and lack relevance. So why would your chatbot crawl a web site just as these web search crawlers do? You really are just deploying another web search disguised as a chatbot and that will not produce the experience or results you are looking for. A true enterprise digital assistant works in a fundamentally different and better way.

3. Deeply integrated with the SIS and LMS, and not just serving up static content

Any digital assistant needs to be able to help the student, and in order to help them effectively it needs to be able to talk to the two biggest systems of record in higher ed: the student information system (SIS) and the learning management system (LMS). Not only should the digital assistant be able to look up and use data from these systems, but also assist the user in conducting transactions such as paying their bill. If your chatbot is only providing links, than there is a missed opportunity much like we saw in the age of printed mapquest directions.

The digital assistant should have a catalog of adapters for your SIS and LMS systems, and a configurable suite of predefined  intents like “Show me my grades” so you don’t have to build everything yourself. 

Configurability is important, so you can change the delivered functionality based on your organizations needs, because in higher ed, nobody fits into generic boxes. 

4. Understands the meaning of human language, not just a click through navigation tool

The promise of AI and natural language processing is that a user can type in anything and the bot will understand them just like a human would. Many people assume this is a given for all chatbots, but that is definitely not the case. 

Crude chatbot solutions resort to providing a series of buttons to push you along a pre-determined path. Does that sound a little bit like the old IVR phone trees? Press 1 if you agree!

We believe a user should be talking/typing and not clicking. And the better the bot can understand humans (in over 100 languages too!), the less back and forth and the less clicking needed. Which, ultimately, leads to a faster, more enjoyable experience.

A true digital assistant is a navgiationless solution where people just “say” what they want to do

5. Has the tools to allow you to grow its understanding, not a one-and-done solution

The whole point of artificial intelligence is that it gets better over time, right? How will your digital assistant get better unless it automates feedback and monitoring and allows you to model and test new training methods in multiple languages.

And the digital assistant provider should also deliver monitoring and training as a service. If your AI isn’t learning then it’s not AI.

6. Includes advisor and faculty “intents”, not focused only on students

There are a lot of student use cases that typically are catered for in early chatbot projects, but we find it a shame that faculty and advisors are often being ignored. After all, if you make the advisor experience more effective and comprehensive, the end result is that advisors can better service their students. Which, consequently, contributes to happier students who are graduating on time more often. 

The challenge, however, is that your technology has to be up to the task. Securely automating advising processes isn’t a simple task. Data protection, advanced language understanding and entity recognition have to be the basis of this kind of solution. And many projects, using crude chatbots, don’t meet this standard. 

Our digital assistants are being used by advisors to look up data on advisees based on PeopleSoft security settings, and even process tasks like advising notes, or approvals on course load. In one example, by using the digital assistant, a user can approve a course load in under 30 seconds, when previously it would require navigating and updating two web pages with about 10 fields and take multiple minutes (assuming they can remember to do it correctly). 

7. Speaks the language of your institution, not just canned responses that could apply to anyone

While it sounds like a good idea to purchase a basic chatbot with pre-delivered answers to common questions, you have to consider what that really means. Not only will none of the answers be personalized to the user, but it also means answers will not reflect the nuances of how your institution’s processes work. 

If one of your goals is to offer better service than human beings, 24×7 and in dozens of languages, than your digital assistant needs to provide better answers than a human would. Not canned responses that don’t fully answer the question.

When a vendor tells you, “You just plug it in and you are live in a week,” be skeptical. 

The key is to have a business-user tool to allow you to easily, and without coding, manage and extend a catalog of questions. Additionally, you need a platform that isn’t generic by design. One that allows for sophisticated questions and answers.

8. Highly secure and protects sensitive data, not an open invitation for data breaches

In the age of cloud applications and data breaches, security is more important than ever. We have seen institutions deploy a non-authenticated bot for a narrow use case and believe that data security is not a risk. Even if your chatbot can only answer basic questions about admissions, you can’t prevent the user from typing in a social security number, a test score or other sensitive data. If you are not using an enterprise digital assistant, where is that data stored? Is it secure? 

Further, the security of the bot channel is often overlooked. Channels like Facebook and SMS are used, but keep in mind, those channels are not secure, and there are no guarantees for how that data is stored or how it is protected

Using a secure channel like a web channel or MS Teams will protect your data and provide your institution the controls needed.

IntraSee uses the most secure cloud in the Enterprise: the Oracle Cloud. And for customers using Azure or Oracle Cloud for other enterprise data, there are even greater assurances

We have also built in features like abbreviated logging of conversations to protect sensitive data ensuring that we are never storing your sensitive data in the cloud. This type of data security is something that basic chatbot vendors almost never can deliver. 

9. Can handle an extremely broad range of questions, not a one-trick pony

Many chatbots live on their own islands. They are locked into narrow functionality specific to the service desk software they come with, or a particular vertical space like admissions or financial aid. As Amazon has taught us, people want a one-stop shop to serve all their needs. 

Imagine a student has a question, but first needs to figure out which of the 20 chatbots they need to go to. That is a recipe for failure and isn’t really achieving the promise of artificial intelligence.

High performing AI should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, just like a human! It is important to handle a wide variety of student questions, but it is also important you can leverage delivered skills from enterprise software partners. IntraSee’s digital assistant can combine our catalog of skills, delivered Oracle or PeopleSoft skills and custom client skills into that perfect one-stop digital assistant.

10. Helps drive student success, not a crude FAQ machine

It is one thing to be able to answer questions 24×7, but the goal ultimately is to help students. The best form of help is proactive, timely help. 

A digital assistant should be capable of reminding students about their to dos and holds, as well as initiating a chat with key reminders that an assignment is coming up or their enrollment window is opening soon. 

While reducing the cost of human-based service desks is the easy ROI case for digital assistants, their role in student success can be much more impactful.

If you haven’t seen a digital assistant or chatbot than can do all of these things, then just reach out to us below and we will setup a demo to show you live!

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We’re just back from a terrific Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco (Sept 16-19, 2019). For us, this was an especially gratifying conference as our clients won five innovation awards, and we were also featured in a major press release highlighting the developing partnership between Oracle and Microsoft.

So, to break down the conference into bite-sized chunks, here’s the top 10 things we found most interesting coming out of OpenWorld last week:

1.  Game-on, Oracle and Microsoft vs. Amazon

There were a lot of big announcements this year at OpenWorld. And it was clear that Larry was genuinely excited, showing slide by slide why being first to market isn’t the most important thing. Being the best is what matters. And the newly expanded alliance between Oracle and Microsoft promises to pass by Amazon in the Enterprise cloud space. For any customer running Oracle or Microsoft applications, there’s almost no reason to even look at AWS anymore. There are faster, cheaper, and more secure options. And Oracle and Microsoft have them. 

What’s fascinating is that this partnership is real. It’s not a marketing stunt and is already manifesting itself in impactful solutions, and promises to get deeper and deeper as time goes by. And we know, because we are a part of this new eco system, integrating Microsoft Teams with Oracle Digital Assistant.

2.  Autonomous Linux

For anyone who is a history buff, you’ll know that every industrial revolution was sparked by a new development in autonomy. Whether that was spinning cotton or making cars, if you could automate what were once manual processes, you had a revolution on your hands! 

So, hello Autonomous Database (announced last year) and, also, please greet Autonomous Linux!

Yes, Oracle has pulled off the double whammy, an autonomous database sitting on top of an autonomous operating system. And to make matters even worse for Amazon and IBM, it’s faster, cheaper, and more secure than all of Oracle’s competitors (as Larry mentioned, without human pilots there’s no pilot error – or cost). In fact, you can’t beat the friendly new pricing model for autonomous Linux. It’s free! And it’s even a simple one step configuration change to switch from IBM Linux. 

“When you use Oracle Autonomous Linux in the cloud, the price is just right: It’s free,” Ellison said. “So if you’re paying IBM, you can stop.”

And in case you’re wondering what an autonomous Cloud actually provides. It’s automatic provisioning, scaling, tuning, patching, and updating, as well as automatic threat monitoring, exploit detection, and remediation functionality. So it’s truly elastic, and ultra-secure. That’s pretty cool, right?!

“I’ll give you one simple rule to prevent data theft. Put your data in an autonomous system. It’s the only rule I can come up with. Only thing anyone’s come up with so far. No human labor. No human error. No data loss. That’s a big difference between us and AWS.”

– Larry Ellison

3.  Automated User Interface: Digital Assistant

Larry also brought attention to the fact that the most expensive aspect of Enterprise software is the people at every organization that support it. People are much more expensive than machinery, and therefore automating what humans do doesn’t just make systems more reliable, it also makes them cheaper to run. 

So, if we now have an autonomous database, and autonomous Linux, then why not also include autonomous subject matter experts: Digital Assistants? 

This is the realization of the next industrial revolution (putting a back office HCM solution on someone else’s server is not a revolution). An autonomous Cloud, with autonomous robots answering questions and performing tasks will soon become the new normal. All accessible in multiple languages and multiple channels. Like Microsoft Teams, for example. Suhas Uliyar, VP of Bots and AI at Oracle, and his team, have created an incredible product with Oracle Digital Assistant, and it was on full show throughout OpenWorld. And the future roadmap is amazing. Oracle is investing heavily in AI for the benefit of all their clients. On-premise or cloud. 

At IntraSee we have also fully automated the creation of Oracle Digital Assistant skills in a hybrid cloud environment. Such that it can interact with all your Enterprise systems, Cloud or on-premise. 

Check out this video of an automated conversation within Microsoft Teams using Oracle Digital Assistant skills created autonomously by IntraSee. 

4.  Oracle Autonomous Cloud at Customer

A lot of people were very happy to hear that Oracle’s unique Cloud at Customer option is now being upgraded to “Gen 2”, which means it will also be on the autonomous stack. Even the database will be running the autonomous database in the upcoming months. 

So, what is Cloud at Customer?

“Cloud at Customer allows you to take the best database, Oracle autonomous database, on the best cloud infrastructure, Exadata, and put it into your data center behind your firewall.”

– Larry Ellison

5. More Regions Than Amazon This Time Next Year!

Well, who saw this coming? This is huge for many clients. Oracle is now promising that by next year they will surpass Amazon with the number of regions they support. All running their autonomous cloud. And that magic number is 36 total regions. That’s a massive expansion from the existing 16 regions. Which compares to Amazon’s 25 regions. If Oracle can pull this off it will drastically change the entire cloud landscape. Especially if Oracle can keep to the commitment to provide their entire stack in each region.

“All the services are available in all our clouds and that’s our policy. Amazon doesn’t do that. Amazon has some services some places, some services elsewhere. When we meet next year, we’ll have more regions than AWS. It’s stunning, it’s absolutely stunning.”

– Larry Ellison

6.  PeopleSoft Still Receiving Large Investments

For those clients still using PeopleSoft, the great news was that Oracle is still investing heavily in the entire stack. Plus the rolling support still continues, meaning PeopleSoft is supported until at least 2030, and probably beyond. Paco Aubrejuan gave a terrific presentation and highlighted IntraSee as a key member of the chatbot eco system. He also called out our client Honeywell as a customer success story showing an on-premise PeopleSoft system fully, and securely, integrated with Oracle Digital Assistant in the Cloud. In fact, around 12 minutes of his 45-minute session was dedicated to chatbots/digital assistants. 

The other item that received the bulk of the attention was a bundled third-party tool called “Kibana”. It looked really impressive and is an offline data visualization tool that has built-in PeopleSoft security awareness. And, like autonomous Linux, it’s free! 

The astonishing thing is that if you were an organization that moved to Workday from PeopleSoft, you have less modern UX options now that you are with Workday (who don’t have a chatbot/digital assistant at all). Well, hopefully you signed a three-year contract and not a five-year one. 

7. Oracle’s Application Competitors Are Falling Way Behind

Larry focused on Salesforce, SAP and Workday, when discussing the state of the “opposition”. Salesforce got dinged for being very expensive, lacking in a full suite, and having inherent security holes (multi-tenancy) built into their software solution. This was why an errant SQL script recently opened up access that allowed different customers to see each other’s data. Something that would be impossible to happen in an Oracle cloud. 

SAP got dinged for not really having any real cloud applications at all. And Larry thanked them for that! Certainly, it will be interesting to see how many European clients move from SAP to Oracle in the next twelve months. Our guess is that it’s a lot. 

And, of course, Workday got hammered for having no cloud infrastructure of their own, and no technology Platform-as-a-Service. Meaning they are a SaaS-only solution running with a “tired” UX and no digital assistant/chatbot solution. Even as the entire world sees that we are now moving to conversational UI being the dominant UI for self-service by the end of 2020. 

8.  Content & Experience Cloud 

This may be Oracle’s most underrated product in the Cloud. Though it did get some more attention this year, and Larry even included it in a slide for his keynote. It mostly gets promoted by Oracle as a marketing tool. But it’s actually much bigger in capability than that. If anyone is looking for a portal-like technology in the Oracle cloud, then this is it. 

Hopefully next year we’ll see Oracle Content & Experience Cloud (CEC) get credit where credit is due. But we think, for clients who are running on-premise portals like PeopleSoft Interaction Hub or Oracle WebCenter, that moving to Oracle CEC is a great way to transition into the cloud. 

9.  New Redwood Brand!

Remember when Apple switched from the multi-colored Apple logo, and went to a monochrome look? Well, this may be even bigger! The stark Oracle red and white is no longer a thing anymore. Welcome to Oracle’s softer and gentler new theme that was on display everywhere at OpenWorld this week. 

So next time you go to you’ll be in for a very pleasant surprise. This is the new Oracle. A company focused heavily on automation and the user experience. The new mantra is faster, cheaper, better, and more secure. And that’s a great focus for any company. 

10.  2020 Will Be the Year of Digital Assistants

Everywhere you went at OpenWorld there was some reference to Digital Assistants. Gartner is predicting 2020 is the year that it hits the mainstream and heads widely into the entire Enterprise. Oracle also thinks so. And we do at IntraSee too. In some ways 2019 reminds us of 1998. That was the end of the client-server era. Web systems were about to dominate and Google was founded, and very quickly defeated Yahoo and won the search engine wars. And, by the way, they did this through having a fully automated search solution (Yahoo were massively manual-oriented). 

Going into 2020 it’s clear the web will take a back seat when it comes to self-service tasks for employees, managers, students, faculty, and advisors. 

Conversational UI’s will be driving interaction with all your Enterprise systems. Automated conversations running on an automated cloud isn’t the future anymore. It’s a reality that can now be implemented today. Well, if you choose Oracle as your platform that is.

Also, on a personal note, we did get to speak at the conference jointly with Oracle on the subject of chatbots/digital assistants. And one of our clients, Honeywell, also got to present at multiple sessions. It was a great conference, and we enjoyed meeting everyone there. 

And, of course, if you’d like to see a demo of what the future (2020) looks like, please let us know and we’d be happy to oblige. 

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