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Five Minutes with Vikas Anand

I always love catching up with Vikas - he's heading up Product Management for Oracle Integration, Process & API Management Cloud Services. It is exciting to see these products gaining some real traction in the market place, under his guidance. Listen to the podcast on Digital Impact Radio or YouTube.

1. What is top of mind for you in terms of innovation and business transformation for your customers?

What is really interesting is that some of the things customers are trying to solve are not new - it’s just that there have been disruptions in those areas, which has now accelerated the need for innovation. As an example, Customer Experience is a big area of investment from our customer’s perspective today. The reason for that, is the consumers are now looking at disruptive user experiences coming through chatbots, mobile devices - digital experiences which can get their jobs done faster, which can help them find products faster, which can enable them to close orders faster. So Customer Experience is nothing new, it has been around for a while, and that is where innovation is driving a lot of change, and it's coming through disruption. The classic example, Uber, has disrupted the taxi industry and it's now all about the customer centric experience. Now we have retail companies focused on that experience, utility companies that want to provide the right level of information on consumption of power, billing information and predictive information, right at your fingertips, on your mobile devices.

The second area is operational efficiency, bringing in automation so that things can happen faster and with error rates like never before, reducing down to zero.

The third area, is around revenue opportunities, opening up your intellectual property so that partners can onboard and developers can get value out of intellectual properties that you have, using APIs and digital tools to create derivative economies.

Finally, it is all about the eco-system, how much you can tap the ecosystem of your partners, to help accelerate your business growth.

2. What do you see as the key technology enablers to achieve ongoing innovation/transformation over the next 12-24 months?

From an innovation perspective because the pace has to be so fast, the time to market has to be on track and now it’s all about moving fast, failing fast and learning and improving. So technologies like best of breed SaaS apps for delivering business apps around customer relationship management, HR, ERP and supply chain are a pretty mainstream requirement. Outside of that, its about exposing the information to consumers in their favorite tools, chatbots or mobile interfaces or connecting to them through social channels Facebook and Twitter, to get feedback. We also see a lot of use of microservices, to enable the logic, and the engagement experiences, which eventually are powering the chatbots and mobile devices. IoT is playing a big role and now the paradigm has shifted, its not just about connecting to that device, it’s about how you use the data.

If I look at this whole landscape the big change/drivers for the future across this landscape are applicability of AI and Machine Learning, which will improve and make all of this more efficient. One thing that will be consistent is the requirement for integrating all of these apps together and making them available for consumption through different form factors.

3. Can you share your current favorite transformation or innovation example?

I really like the traditional examples around HCM and ERP. My favorite is "opportunity to order" – you work as a sales rep with a customer, the customer account gets created in CRM, now it gets created in digital tools and SaaS CRM in cloud using your iPad, and then you go through the life cycle pursuing the opportunity, closing the opportunity, sending the customer a quote using another cloud app like CPQ and finally closing the order once the opportunity has been won, then it gets entered into an order booking system like E-Business Suite.

It is all about the digital experience to work at pace with the customer, enable the price and products availability easily for customers. In fact, a lot of use-cases are making it available as self-service – so customers can go through the buying experience themselves, which is a big transition that is happening, especially in the SMB segment. This is the classical use-case - lead to cash, lead to order, with SaaS it is definitely one of the most popular use-cases and customers need to solve it very quickly.

4. What guidance would you give to customers as they navigate or start this transformation journey?

My guidance is very simple - technology is an enabler for the solution, customers need to focus on the business outcome – its about how you get to that business outcome with the technology and you can only get there faster and more efficiently with the right skill set and processes in place. So it is people, process and technology. Establish your business outcome first, so you get there faster and make sure that your goals are met.

5. What is your favorite place to eat in San Francisco at the moment?

There is a very nice Indian restaurant called Amber, which is at Yerba Buena, it happens to be right behind Moscone and given I have my roots from India, I love Indian food. I recommend the food there, especially the buffet on Sunday!

You can listen to the podcast on Digital Impact Radio | YouTube | FiveMinutesWith Playlist.

You can see the rest of the blog series here.

Stay tuned next week as we talk to some other Oracle Partners from around the globe.

Jules @ Rubicon Red
Manager, Marketing and Events

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