Infosys’ blog on industry solutions, trends, business process transformation and global implementation in Oracle.

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September 30, 2014

MICROS: The Newest feather in Oracle's Cap

In June this year, Oracle announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire MICROS Systems for a whopping amount believed to be around $5 billion. This puts MICROS as the largest acquisition for Oracle, in a series of many, since it bought SUN Microsystems in 2010 and is still way short of what it paid for PeopleSoft. So what exactly made Oracle splash the not just the millions but the billions?

MICROS Overview

MICROS (Modular Integrated Cash Register Operating Systems) provides industry leading enterprise wide services, applications and hardware in the retail and hospitality domain. The solutions provided by MICROS include point-of-sale, central systems, property management, customer relationship management, business intelligence, supply chain and vendor management, merchandise planning management and e-commerce.

Serving customers in three industries viz. F&B (Food and Beverage), Hospitality and Retail, MICROS Systems provides various mobile, on-premise and cloud based application tools. In the F&B industry, MICROS caters to food and beverage options in hotels, entertainment venues, table and quick service restaurants, cruise ships and casinos along with other operations into food service.

The software solutions created by the company are utilized in a number of casinos, leisure and entertainment, table and quick service restaurants, hotels, retail, and other travel operations in most of the countries around the globe.

Oracle and MICROS Synergies

Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud developments are radicalizing every industry, with the hospitality sector turning to SMAC for its future highs. While the acquisition of MICROS doesn't fundamentally change Oracle the way SUN did, but it certainly helps Oracle to adapt to the rapidly transforming retail and hospitality industry worlds.

MICROS' industry specific solutions combined with Oracle's technologies, business applications and cloud portfolio help Oracle broaden its horizons with respect to its offerings in industries. It further enhances the Global Business Unit organizational landscape of Oracle with the Oracle Hospitality solutions being given a stronger platform by MICROS' Hotel and F&B Offerings while the existing Retail solutions would be complemented well by MICROS' Retail Offerings.

Oracle and MICROS: A Winning Combination

Although Oracle and MICROS together can be seen to revolutionize the hospitality industry by helping hotels, retailers and food & beverage facilities to accelerate innovation, delight customers with complete, open and integrated solutions transforming their businesses, acquiring MICROS has a number of benefits for Oracle which is making financial analysts believe the price paid is actually quite reasonable.
While the obvious benefit is the huge customer base along with the wide array of hardware and software products under MICROS' umbrella, the real asset may be the data that passes through MICROS' POS systems. Oracle has a number of data analysis tools which can use this data to answer any number of hypothetical questions for the customers.

Newer trends in the retail and hospitality sector like secure, intelligent room keys, property asset monitoring and advanced in room technologies are spaces where MICROS has the hardware and know how to complement Oracle's established enterprise applications and provide a huge opportunity for Oracle to up/cross-sell its products to a long list of MICROS' customers.

Whether acquiring MICROS is a master stroke or just a bad apple is something that time will only tell but at the moment it sure looks to be a winning combination!

September 28, 2014

Lower TCO and Cloud enable your applications using 'Application as a Service' offering from Infosys

Take a sampling of recent IT strategy discussions, the topic of 'Leveraging the Cloud' will feature prominently. A vast majority of the newer applications are built exclusively for the cloud. Does that mean all the existing application landscape and infrastructure is excluded from the deriving the benefits of the cloud? The answer thankfully is a resounding 'No'.

In a typical IT landscape, customers have separate contracts for different components of a single application

·        -  Licenses for the application from the software vendor

·        - Hosting fees from the infrastructure vendor

·        - Implementation services from a system integrator

·        - Managed services post implementation from a system integrator

·        - Upgrade fees from system integrators

 

The upfront capital expenditure requirements are also becoming prohibitive in getting projects approved.

Infosys has a creative 'Application as a Service' offering in partnership with Oracle. The solution is available for any 'traditional on premise' application like Siebel, E-Business suite, PeopleSoft etc.

Infosys 'Application as a Service' solution solves these challenges:

·        - Single contract covering all aspects of the Application - Licenses, Hosting, Implementation, Managed services and Upgrades

·         - Cloud hosting with best in class hardware with regular refresh cycles

·         - Simplified Opex based pricing with equated monthly payments

·         - Fees based on 'Pay as per usage' to provide financial flexibility

 

The solution helps in lowering the overall TCO for the application and providing all the benefits of a Cloud based application. In the session Infosys will talk in details about the model and case studies of successful implementations.

This blog is posted on behalf of Rupinder Kahlon, Practice Engagement Manager, Manufacturing and Hi-Tech, Infosys Limited

September 26, 2014

Oracle Life Sciences portal - 'Go - Mobile' using Responsive Web Design

Increasing number of life sciences application users are shifting to mobile devices, as they need precise, updated, personalized and easily accessible information for doing their day-to-day work. As part of its offerings for the life sciences industry vertical, Oracle provides a rich suite of products ranging from eClinical applications, Operational Planning, Tracking and Management solutions to Clinical data ware housing and Pharma co-vigilance applications. With very few of them available on mobile devices, most of these applications are desktop applications having point-to-point integrations amongst them. 

Please join me in the session on 'An Oracle Life Sciences Portal: Go Mobile with Responsive Web Design' @ Oracle Open World on September 30th Thursday, 5:15 - 6:00 PM PST at Marriott Marquis - Salon 12/13, where I will discuss the details of Oracle Life Sciences portal solution, its business need, technical aspects and how this can be developed using Oracle mobile ADF framework, maintained, installed and integrated with other applications.

This session will discuss the need for developing an 'Oracle Life Sciences portal' solution using Oracle Mobile ADF framework by leveraging Responsive web design concepts.

Some of the key features of 'Oracle Life sciences Portal' are as follows -

·         Can be accessed using web browser or deployed as native app.

·         Single unified view and secured access to all Oracle Life sciences applications

·         Available in online and offline mode on varied mobile platforms (like Google android and Apple iOS devices)

·         Capability to configure application specific portlets, summary views, dashboards.

·         Simplified Protocol view and subject enrollment tracking

·         Single Sign On (SSO) support using SAML standard

·         Fully regulatory compliant solution

 

This session will be useful for anyone who is using Oracle life sciences products, IT practitioners/IT companies building Life sciences solutions, and anyone from the pharmaceutical industry who are interested in mobile enablement for their respective organizations. This will help them understand the benefits of 'Oracle Life Sciences Portal solution'; its functional and technical aspects, and how mobile users and companies can take advantage of this portal solution.

This blog is posted on behalf of Sheetal Nagar, Technology Lead, Infosys. 

Oracle Social Network: Impact on a Sales Organizations

In the digital age, not a single day passes by without checking some social platform or the other; for professional growth or personal needs or just for information exchange. Social networks have increased the speed of communication and extended the reach of an individual. Social network have brought in vast pools of knowledge to the disposal of individuals by exchange of ideas & experiences. 

Think of bringing that power to a sales organization. Information and experiences are spread across an organization and it's a challenge to utilize all of it to take advantage of opportunities and fend off threats. Social networking makes this information exchange very easy by bringing the information to the associates rather than the associate looking for it.

Let's think of an organization where

·         A new employee who can exchange ideas with most experienced member and learn from that interaction by discussing real time lead/opportunity or customer

Or

·         Managers and employees can receive one email that shows all the updates or developments to the opportunities/accounts or leads they are interested in along with their coffee in the morning

Or

·         A collection of all transactions or multiple transactions related to an initiative or product line available for taking future decisions

Or

·         A sales member or manager can look at the updates on the go without using his computer

Or

·         Multiple SME's can discuss on a single opportunity/leads bringing in their experience from respective disciplines

Or

·         A sales person can understand about the contacts and decision makers of his new account by a single post

An organization with above qualities will not only have speed & agility but also will have associates who has all tools & knowledge at their disposal to win over competition and serve the customers best in the market place

Oracle Social Network provides powerful tools & abilities to achieve above abilities by bringing information to everyone everywhere. OSN by enabling discussion on opportunities/leads or customers and providing ability to interact with anyone in the organization either on desktop or mobile or outlook provides powerful medium for effective information exchange and decision making

Join us for the discussion at OOW on Oct 1st @ 12:45 PM in session "Oracle Sales Cloud: Increase Sales with Team Collaboration and Social Selling" to understand more about capabilities of OSN and its impact on day to day business of a sales organization.


This blog is posted on behalf of Vikram Yellampalli, Principal, Manufacturing, Infosys.

September 24, 2014

Marketing in the Connected Consumer Age - Are you meeting customer expectations?

Stakes are high for brands to meet the expectations of today's digitally connected customers.  Customers are in control.  They know what they want and they know that brands are 100% focused on getting them to engage, interact and purchase... repeatedly.

So how do we do it? How do brands succeed in today's digital ecosystem, win the loyalty of the connected consumer and meet customer expectations. This has been a topic of deep discussion among colleagues and clients and no matter how the conversation goes it seems to begin and end with the same question-

 

Who is the connected consumer?

 It comes down to this:  They are digital natives- they are self-sufficient, informed, loyal, discerning multi-taskers living in a multi-screen, on demand world.  They have access to information, content and experiences like never before.    They are willing to give, if they see value in what they get; they expect ubiquity, reciprocity and relevant, contextualized content delivered to them in real time.  They have a very singular view of brands and they want to experience your brand from wherever, whenever and in whatever channel they prefer at any given time.  They expect your interactions with them to be personalized based on their needs.

 

So what's changed?  This is nothing new... we know this, nothing has changed for them...but for brands what has changed is their ability to keep up with consumers changing needs.  This means brands have to know them, understand them, track their behaviors, and understand their journeys in order to deliver personalized, contextualized, human experiences across channels.  The focus is less on brand building, awareness and campaign strategy in the traditional sense and more focused on data, analytics and cross channel personalization.  The focus is on understanding each customer's experience.

 

What's changing is the way we engage with customers

In order to understand each customer experience we need to collect and use data to make decisions that create value for customers.  Questions being asked -

·         Who are the most profitable customers and what's the best way to reach them?

·         How can we increase repeat customers and incent cross channel purchases?

·         How can we collect online & offline data frequently enough and then share it within the organization to use it to make better data-driven decisions?

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The way to effectively optimize cross-channel efforts is to bring together data from all marketing channels and get a complete picture of how your customers are interacting with your brand. Brands use data to get insights into customer behavior across channels, identify visitor paths and patters, influence online marketing campaigns, identify mobile customers, identify their preferred devices and deliver an optimal experience. 


Brands have to make the most of available tools and technologies

The tools and technologies for better data collection and management, analysis, reporting, automation, pipeline management and budgeting and planning are available today.   It's what you do with the tools & technologies that matter.  Brands have to determine what's right for them, what their goals are and how a digital view of their customer makes a difference to them and to the bottom line.

Brands have access to data and analytics from multiple sources and use multiple tools and technologies for better performance measurement, reporting and campaign analysis. However, there is no silver bullet to analytics and iteration.  You have to identify the metrics that matter and keep refining your solutions.  The goal is to move fast and frequently to deliver the most relevant and valuable customer experience at every touch point. 

 

You need people

Brands know that if they deliver personalized, relevant experiences then customers will convert- but conversion doesn't just happen, you have to understand the customer, have the knowledge and leverage the data, for that you need people.  Successful brands create customer-centric organizations and empower cross functional teams -

·         Align marketing efforts with business objectives

·         Identify key metrics and measure marketing ROI

·         Analyze and synthesize the data, find actionable insights and make strategic decisions


Brands need people to manage marketing resources, training & development, organizational change and most importantly understand the connected consumer and what that means to your brand.

 

To learn more

Join Infosys at Oracle Open World to learn about the marketing impact of the "Connected Consumer Age" and how to optimize multi-channel marketing strategies based on data and insights.  Gain insights on how to leverage the data you are collecting and manage customer experiences across channels, meet customer expectations and increase revenue performance.

 

Customer Experience Management
Marketing in the Connected Consumer Age: Are You Meeting Customer Expectations?
Session ID: CON10740

Moscone West - 2014
10/1/14, 11:30 - 12:15

This blog is posted on behalf of Andrea Cusano, Principal - Business Consulting, Infosys.

Utility workforce transformation - Need for smarter Field Service Management (FSM)

Need for "Smarter' FSM

In a typical Utility; there are multiple lines of business that require the field work force to handle the various business problems. The business problems are addressed through an effective back office work management and field force systems as illustrated in Figure 1. The field force systems or field mobility becomes the frontline for the utility on a day to day basis in resolving the issues. The line of business and nature of work will influence the application platform and hardware choices for field mobility as illustrated in Figure 2.


Figures.JPG



Majority of large utilities have implemented field mobility solution across lines of business and traditionally this has been deploying "thick client" application either from a standard product available in market or built in-house. Utilities have started to realize the short comings in the existing foot print. Some of the common challenges currently encountered are as listed below:

·         Mobile applications tied to hardware and operating systems

·         Unable to use smarter and cheaper mobile devices (smart tablets, smart phones etc.)

·         High cost to add users - requires adding devices of certain make, installing software etc.

·      Complexity in deployment of applications and patches - No centrally managed mechanism to deploy, monitor and check the mobile solution on end user devices

·         Unable to leverage "best of industry" software & hardware capabilities on mobile devices & operating systems.

·         Unable to leverage internet connectivity - No support to switch between connected and disconnected modes

·         Unable to leverage a duplex communication capabilities that mobile devices and software offer


The industry trend is to now move towards device independence and platform independence for field mobility solutions.

 

 

Benefits of Field Services Management (FSM)

Utilities with large field workforces adopted mobile technologies and benefited by improved customer service and employee productivity.

Field service efficiency should be a top priority for utility companies; as workforce in the field need to have quick, easy and accurate access to data such as customer and asset information in order to deliver safer, reliable and speedy service to end customers.  Regardless of the nature of work involved; whether it is attending an emergency response, responding to a customer request or complaint, connection turn-on / turn-off or asset inspection and maintenance, FSM technologies play a big role to improve their workforce efficiency and customer satisfaction. From a financial aspect this will help reduce operating costs and improve bottom line.

Transforming field workforce with suitable FSM solution can result in a wide range of benefits that include:

·         Minimize dependencies on manual processes

·         Optimize workforce and improve productivity.

·         Enable field force with mapping and geo spatial information

·         Enable field force with safety information

·         Improve customer relations by quicker turn around

·         Reduction in operational costs through fewer phone calls, lower fleet mileage and less paperwork

·         Aid the Utility in becoming more competitive - by minimizing fuel and vehicle costs, meet overtime needs.

·         Latest up to date technologies will enable easier integration of the solution with other systems,

·         Will help utility companies use advanced analytics which will aid the management in taking better decisions and remedial measures if any gaps exist and work on continuous improvement of field operations.

·         Will be able to provide features to send utility plans along with activities from the corporate source systems.

·         Will enable the field personnel to capture information on the field using audio, video images, bar code scanning etc.


For example, in the UK water market, utilities get incentivized based on the (1) qualitative measurement (2) quantitative measurement of the level of service provided to the end customers. Qualitative measurements are based on consumer surveys while Quantitative measurements are based on number of complaints, or unwanted calls a utility company may receive. 

 

An efficiently designed FSM solution can help the utility companies improve their SIM scores (both qualitative and quantitative) there by help them have an advantage over competition.


In my next blog, I will talk about the factors that one needs to keep in mind for choosing the right FSM solution.


This blog is posted on behalf of Surya Srinivas Chavali, Principal Consultant, Infosys.

September 23, 2014

Siebel CRM Service Experience Platform Solution to Fast-Track Entry into the Service Business

Field Service scheduling for equipment manufacturers can be very complex. It includes technician skill levels, ability to serve maximum number of customers in a day, ensuring spare parts are made available from the nearest service logistics warehouse, geographic spread of customers and a host of other parameters. Add to this the additional complexity of priority based re-scheduling of service requests due to sudden breakdown maintenance at your customer location.

If you are looking for ways to overcome the above challenges please join us for the session in OOW 2014 per the details below

Session ID: CON6504

Session Title: Siebel CRM Service Experience Platform Solution to Fast-Track Entry into the Service Business

Venue / Room: Moscone West - 2007

Date and Time: 10/1/14, 12:45 - 13:30


This blog is posted on behalf of Sireesh Nidumukkala, Senior Technology Architect, Infosys.

September 22, 2014

Capabilities of Siebel Mobile Disconnected Mode for Field Service

By Yusuf Kaydawala, CRM Consultant, Manufacturing Unit, Infosys

 

Out of the many exciting features in the latest Siebel Innovation Pack, the most interesting feature for me is the Siebel mobile disconnected mode. Siebel mobile disconnected application allows users to access the CRM application on the browser in their tablets and smartphone even when the user is not connected to the Siebel application. Once the connectivity with the Siebel server is restored, the application provides capability to synchronize the changes back to server. This application is ideal for a travelling sales or field service technician who have access to the network for most of their time.

Disconnected mode functionality should work on all the latest mobile devices available in the market that are HTML 5-compliant. User can engage the disconnected mode functionality on Chrome or Safari browser with at least 50 MB of available storage on the mobile device.

I have mapped various tasks performed by a field technician with the capabilities of Siebel Mobile Disconnected mode:

Field Engineer's Task

Task Details

Siebel Mobile Disconnected Capabilities

Miscellaneous Tasks

Logging in the mobile application

Supported

Logging off in the mobile application

Not supported

Viewing broadcast message

Not supported

Creating bookmark

Not supported

Invoking Menu

Not supported

Back button on UI

Not supported

Using Calendar features

Not supported

Exchanging data with external applications

Not supported

Create Orders

Supported

Preparing for a site visit

Creating Siebel Messages

Supported

Viewing Service request

Supported for synced Service requests

Viewing Account details like Service History, Assets, Entitlements and Contacts

Supported for synced Accounts

Viewing My Activities

Supported

Creating Orders

Supported

Running queries

Supported

Viewing Assets

Supported for synced Assets

Viewing Directions/Maps

Not supported

Checking required parts

Supported

Checking steps and instructions for the job

Supported

Checking Own Inventory position

Supported

Running PDQs to find other Activities

Not supported

Performing service

Changing activity statuses

Supported

Capturing time tracker

Supported

Capturing Part tracker

Supported

Committing Part tracker

Supported

Capturing expenses

Supported

Creating new Service Request

Supported

Creating new Activities

Supported

Adding Attachment to Service Request

Not supported

Viewing All Parts in the application

Supported for synced parts

Closing a service call

Closing Activity

Supported

Invoking Business rules / Validation on Activity closure

Partially Supported. DVM/WFs/Server scripting validations will not work


One of the key considerations for the Disconnected Application is that only 50 MB of offline storage is possible. To overcome the storage limitation, the business admins needs to do a careful analysis of the data and setup data filters to determine the data that needs to be downloaded on the mobile device.

Siebel mobile provides the ability to configure filters on various business entities to only download relevant data for offline usage like:

  • Accounts of only certain country
  • Activities in certain statuses
  • Products which can only be used as spare parts

Field service is one of the toughest jobs in the industry with field engineers servicing complicated equipment, often under unrealistic deadlines and customer expectations. The Siebel Mobile Disconnected application empowers the field engineer by enabling them to perform their daily tasks when they are on the road even without network connectivity.

Enhancing Sales Effectiveness and Customer Experience in High Tech Industry

In a world of relentless competition, differentiation is the key to sell your products and services, thus increasing the revenue and the profitability. The problem to differentiate tangibly is accentuated in the high-tech industry where companies manage multi-vendor supply chains, face ever shortening product life cycles, have to grapple with a complex CPQ function due to complexities around bundling of products, services and software, indulge in frequent product innovations and orchestrate complex multi-channel distribution. With so much focus on business operations and fulfillment, it is very easy to lose sight on rising expectations and changing needs of customers, channel partners and lose overall sales effectiveness.

Therefore, high-tech companies need to have dual focus of increasing flexibility and scalability at the operational level plus improve its customer experience strategy. Thus, the high-tech companies need to look inwards for improving sales productivity and reduce operational cost. Companies also need to look outward by providing multi-channel yet simple; world-class yet localized; uniform yet personalized experience to its customers. To achieve the goal of enhanced customer experience it is imperative that the business strategies and IT goals are aligned and are in sync at all times. Business brings insights into customer expectations & needs, buying behavior and what would delight them. IT chimes in by bringing the cutting edge technology framework and system which enables business to focus on revenue generation rather than just revenue fulfillment. Thus, it is imperative for these companies to have a framework which should enable persistent customer engagement by allowing sales to respond faster and with accuracy, allow access of key information anywhere-anytime on platform of choice to its customers.

This blog is posted on behalf of Abhishek Goyal, Associate Vice President and Oracle Delivery Partner, Infosys.

September 18, 2014

Upgrading to Oracle Hyperion 11.1.2.2 for a Very Large EPM Landscape

Upgrading from a stable Oracle Hyperion EPM solution to a newer version is always a critical challenge for any client, as it can have a direct impact on an organization's ability to report externally in a timely manner. Some of the key influencing factors for a Hyperion Upgrade are

        Need for Continued support and additional features like better and intuitive user interface

        Existing Paint Points or Performance Issues

        Leveraging available landscape in a better

        Discontinued product impact of older version and going along future direction from Oracle

        Possible avenues to accelerate close cycle and improve the budgeting and planning process

 

Once the decision to upgrade has been made, the next important step is to build the right team and make right partnerships with consultants/vendors who can help you plan and execute a successful upgrade with right combination of project experience and proven standard processes. In my experience, proper involvement of the existing production support team during various stages of the project is also one of the most important success factors.

Once the IT team has a clear idea of how to proceed with the upgrade, the next big step is to ensure sufficient engagement of business users in the testing cycle. Even accounting for the fact that IT performs as much testing as possible, it's very difficult to look at things the way a business user looks or performs certain activities. So we should enable and support the business user to test the new system or processes thoroughly through UAT and User parallel cycles. That is always the best test and once they are comfortable, it gives IT that extra bit of confidence to plan for the go-live. To make this work, I would re-iterate that it's up to the IT team how they enable business users to test.

To understand all the points above through a proven case study please attend our session "Upgrading to Oracle Hyperion for a very large EPM landscape" at Oracle Open world 2014. This session talks how a global leading oil and gas major partnered with Infosys and Oracle to plan and execute a successful upgrade for a large Oracle Hyperion landscape.

To know about all of the above, meet us at Oracle Open world.

Date: October 2, 2014
Time: 1.15 p.m. to 2 p.m. PDT
Location: Marriott Marquis - Salon 1/2/3*

This blog is posted on behalf of Ashwin Tandon, Principal Consultant, Infosys.

September 15, 2014

How Analytics Enables Strategic HR

HR analytics has become a core function of HR departments. HR leaders and managers have become increasingly interested in using data to diagnose organizational problems, understand key drivers of performance, and track the progress and return of HR initiatives. The availability of data and technology has made it possible for HR to develop a deeper understanding of workforce and to lead organizations in adopting the discipline of linking talent with business strategy and execution. In this session, Oracle customers describe how they use Oracle Human Resources Analytics to spot human capital trends and issues and to drive better insights into the HR function, employee retention, and leadership development.

Some of the Top HR resolutions which are impacting HR managers are-

  • To have relevant metrics at my fingertips
  • Articulate the business value of the metrics
  • Benchmark : What a good number or score should be
  • Improve HR Process Performance and Service Delivery
  • Improve HR Legal Compliance

 

All these needs are driven by core HR data elements that are used to derive Metrics.  Good KPI and metrics reporting is a key success factor for any HR organization.

Apart from focusing on pure HR metrics, there is a need to consider HR analytics being put to use for organizational needs like Finance, Sales, CRM, and SCM. Building HR as a business partner for these functions and providing them combined HR metrics is seen as a strategic need for the organization. e.g. Sales Manager relating the commissions data with the HR attrition rates, performance data for the Sales rep. 

Infosys has worked on developing solutions using Oracle HR Analytics to tie these HR elements and cross functional elements of the organization together and helped clients in achieving the organizational objectives.

Infosys adopts accelerators, best practices and experience in designing the HR analytics BI solutions for clients and thereby helping them achieve the ROI and benefits

Please join us in a session @ Oracle Open world   "How Analytics Enables Strategic HR' on Oct. 1st Wed. 12:15-1PM PST at Palace Hotel Grand Ballroom, where we will discuss the details of Oracle HR analytics implementation, use of HR analytics across the organization functions, implementation details and benefits.

This session will be useful for HR practitioners/BI Practitioners who are interested in HR analytics enablement for the organization. This will help them understand the use cases, implementation aspects and best practices, learnings from the Oracle HR analytics implementation.

This blog is posted on behalf of Vishwajit Bendre, Principal Consultant, Retail, CPG & Logistics, Infosys.

Reports - Consolidate, Innovate, Validate

Customer Experience tools including CRM are being touted as next gen ERP and not without a reason. Managers are now able to get in-depth and actionable analysis of customers and their preferences, and analytics have been a big enabler. The amount of information that any application can store today is virtually limitless. To make sense of this information and get actionable insights is what makes an Analytical tool so important. And when you get world class analytics along with CRM with industry best practices built in, it's a game changer.

Oracle CRM On Demand comes with "CRM On Demand Answers" as its analytical tool, which the users can use to get deeper and valuable insights into their data. It's easy to use and deploy with prebuilt reports that managers can use.

Using this analytic tool, a manager can slice and dice their data, see data in different contexts to make better decisions. However, like with any analytical tool, report explosion could cause its own problems. Administrators tend to create multiple reports of similar nature instead of one report with flexibility built in to see the same data in multiple contexts. This is where report consolidation needs to happen and business users as well as administrators need to work together to achieve this.

Another way of utilizing reports is to pass on information to other user groups in a clean format. Nobody likes to see a printout with tables and charts everywhere. Use of reports as forms to pass on information for e.g. creating quotes or orders document is one of the innovative use of reports that administrators can make use of.

In order to derive benefits from the above two points i.e. consolidating and innovating the use of reports, one needs to have a structured validation process in place. Whenever a new report is created questions such as the following must be asked:

Can we can use existing prebuilt out of the box reports with built in industry best practices or can we make an existing custom report more flexible to get the additional required context? At an organizational level, who will create the reports? - Is it just the administrator or also the business users to get better translation of requirements into a report?

A good validation process, if in place, will seek answers to all the above questions and more, before a new report is created. However, most of the time this process is missing.

To understand more on how we can consolidate, innovate and validate our reports, I will be speaking at an educational session titled "Driving Business Insight with Report Optimization in Oracle CRM On Demand" at Oracle Open World 2014. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to attend my session to discuss in detail on these ideas and more. Date, time and venue details are mentioned at the bottom. Hope to see you there!

Date - October 1st 2014

Time - 11:30 AM to 12:15 PM

Venue - Moscone West - 3012, Moscone Centre, San Francisco, CA

This blog is posted on behalf of Shantanu Goswami, Senior Associate Consultant, Financial Services, Infosys.

September 12, 2014

Infosys invites you to Oracle Open World 2014

On behalf of Infosys, I am pleased to invite you to join us at Oracle OpenWorld 2014, which will be held from September 28 to October 2 in San Francisco.
As one of the first two Oracle Diamond-level partners, Infosys has always been a leading participant in this esteemed industry event. This year, we bring you a keynote address by our CEO Dr. Vishal Sikka, and over 20 sessions across trending topics. Watch this video where I give you some highlights of our participation.

I invite you to connect with our experts and learn how you can maximize value from Oracle technologies.


"Internet of Things": Within and beyond the "In-Shop" boundary

Posted by Ashish Verma, Senior Consultant, RCLORC-SBL

 

In my previous blog on "Internet of Things (IoT)", I talked about how wonderful can be the application of "IoT" for in "In-Shop" experience and how "IoT" will enable retailers to provide a unique shopping experience to customers (read the previous blog: Click Here). My next thought was: "IoT" is such a wonderful concept, if "IoT" can provide such a great experience in "In-Shop", what could be its possible applications beyond the "Shop"? Is such experience limited to within the boundary of a retail store?

Answer is a big "NO", definitely not; "IoT" will continue to serve even after you have moved out of the retail store provided the purchased product is "IoT" enabled. Some common applications are: You don't need to keep track of yearly maintenance schedule of your machines like AC, washing machine or Car etc. Yes, it is true as your appliances and machines will talk to you....thinking how? Through your smart phone...say thanks to "IoT". You will not be needed to worry about "When", "Where" and "What" of after sales services of your internet of things enabled appliances. As "IoT" will provide enhanced after sales services rather value added services such as yearly maintenance reminders, auto refill reminders for your washing machine, remote controlling of electronic appliances etc.  We will keep hearing more about buzz words like Connected Vehicle, Connected Care, Connected Home and Connected Appliances etc. in coming days.

It will be an amazing experience to see how pre-orders for grocery items can be placed to retailers with the help of shelves of a connected home or from a connected refrigerator. A customer can go and collect the items from store without being worried about picking and choosing the items hence saving his/her time. Or a retailer will be able to fulfill such orders with the help of a delivery vehicle or may be robots (Drones are one such step in this direction) and customer will be able to track who is delivering and when.

With so much innovation happening in the digital world, retailers of today, who are leaders and want to be leaders in this industry going forward will have to realize "now" that today's customers are connected in smart ways and the number of such customers is increasing at a faster rate. Such customers will look for smart experience while deciding on their purchasing decisions. A fair conclusion can be drawn from the Gartner research, which suggests that by 2020, the "IoT" will have a far better reach and about 26 billion units (read devices) will be "IoT" enabled by that time.

We can imagine the terabyte of data that will be generated from various connected devices (enabled with IoT) and will be available at the disposal of the retailers. If mined wisely, it will help retailers to understand customer behavior in and out of the retail stores. This will further give them opportunity to optimize/automate the business processes in a big way. Who knows when you enter a retail store enabled with "IoT", you will find it completely unmanned as store will be smart enough to assist you with your shopping needs with the help of "IoT".......isn't it this is similar to "Ramrajaya"......where we will not have any guard but still there will be no robbery or theft as store is smart to detect such frauds. Let me add here, already many banks (like Barclay, Standard Charter etc.) have come up with unmanned smart branches equipped with self-service technologies providing whole gamut of banking facilities. Can we not think of such service model in retail industry as well? Why not? We have "IoT" to help.

The use of sensing devices and technology like RFID, telematics and BIG data are making it possible to do things beyond standard. I happened to came across one such company 'AdhereTech' which provides IoT enabled health care solutions such as a connected pill bottle that ensures patients take their medications as per the prescription and his/her doctor will be able to track it. So guys, things are already happening around "IoT" beyond the 'shop' boundary and we will see more in coming days with the convergence of sensing devices and telematics technologies, as the cost of sensing devices becomes more affordable for the masses.

Infosys too has started investing in this area from last couple of years and developed many off the shelf solutions. We have showcased these solutions in various forums like Oracle Open world and Smart IoE Consortium etc. with a great interest and positive responses from the participating enterprises. Our one such solution on the "Connected Vehicle" was highly appreciated by our customers in Oracle Open world where prognostic messages regarding the health of a vehicle were sent to the vehicle dashboard with the help of the content delivery platform using telematics embedded software. Such solutions convinced me that the "IoT" has potential to empower enterprises with a tool to drive a new source of revenue growth and customer delight. So who can dare to say "No" to it?

I sense that in-shop retailers, with the help of "IoT", can add greater value to the customers not only within their stores but also beyond that. The retailers will definitely have an upper edge with such technology and customers will have a better shopping and product experience. We, in Infosys have to think about ways to make such technology affordable for the retailers so that investment in "IoT" can result into a better "RoI" for them.

September 4, 2014

"Internet of Things": A way towards wonderful "In-Shop" experience

Posted by Ashish Verma, Senior Consultant, RCLORC-SBL

 

The word "Things" rang a bell when I heard this term for the first time. I researched and found that "Things" can be any tangible object that can be represented by an IP address and has capability to communicate with world of internet. This excited me a lot as it looked to be an upcoming revolution. The "Internet of things (IoT)" is at its early stages of development and will keep on evolving with the convergence of technological advances in sensing devices/microelectronics, telematics and analytics. This whole thing of "Things" looks amazing and paves way for immense possibilities of data sources and its flow. 

Recently I started working for a retail client and this gave me an opportunity to ask myself how this new concept will change the purchasing behavior or rather purchasing experience of customer (read "connected customer")? How retailers are going to react to the "IoT"? Will they adopt it or not? Will it have an impact on their processes? Will it help them regain what they have conveniently lost to online retailers? Let's explore in the below few lines.

Going by the definition of "IoT", it is evident that it has capability to allow products and shelves to communicate with inventory management system, order management system, billing system or with any other IT system. This brings a lot of interest and if we further ponder upon its applications in "in-shop" retail house, it opens a gate for the whole new shopping experience. Customer will no longer be needed to stand in a queue for billing at a retail store....looks like I am kidding? But next few lines will let you know how it is possible. Customer will take a product from the shelf and put it in a "Smart Cart". The smart cart will have the scanning capability attached to it. This smart cart will update the billing system and the smart shelf will keep updating the replenishment system as well. The same smart cart will keep updating you about your billing amount to allow you to make further purchase decision. Auto checkout counter will generate bill to your credit/debit card for the items in your shopping cart. Fabulous! Customer's waiting time at billing counter has almost been reduced to naught.....bang on........customer is happy. 

Another interesting application of "IoT" is in retail apparel house. We all have seen that almost every apparel house has fitting rooms located at the corner of their store........what if we have connected fitting rooms enabled with "IoT". It will be really interesting to see how connected fitting rooms will help customer choose the right cloth in case he has picked up a wrong size or colour. A connected fitting room will know which items you have picked up, what you are trying on and will let you request different sizes and colours from the room itself.  But let me add a word of caution here, though this idea looks very promising and interesting but the cost of such fitting room is a factor that needs to be evaluated vis-a - vis the RoI that it will generate. Real challenge will be to see if supporting staff is able to provide needed support for the customer sitting in a connected fitting room when store is crowded and other customers need equal attention on the floor as well. 

After learning about "IoT", one thing is very clear to me that upcoming digital technologies have open many floodgates for innovation in retail industry. There pros and cons can be evaluated by retailers before going for "IoT" enabled store but it is sure that this new way of shopping experience will be a key competitive differentiator for the retailers and a way to increase foot fall in their stores. At least at the outset, this looks an attractive proposition both for the customer and the retailer. Isn't it?

Guys, this topic has opened a new gate of thoughts for me something like Pandora's Box and I am going to explore more on this in coming days. So, do look out for my next blog on "IoT" wherein we will check out how it is changing not only the "things" within the shop but beyond as well.

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