Reflecting Changes in Business Objects in UI Tables with Visual Builder

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While the quick start wizards in Visual Builder Cloud Service (VBCS) make it very easy to create tables and other UI components and bind them to business objects, it is good to understand what is going on behind the scenes, and what the wizards actually do. Knowing this will help you achieve things that we still don't have wizards for.

For example – let's suppose you created a business object and then created a UI table that shows the fields from that business object in your page. You probably used the "Add Data" quick start wizard to do that. But then you remembered that you need one more column added to your business object, however after you added that one to the BO, you'll notice it is not automatically shown in the UI. That makes sense since we don't want to automatically show all the fields in a BO in the UI.

But how do you add this new column to the UI?

The table's Add Data wizard will be disabled at this point – so is your only option to drop and recreate the UI table? Of course not!

 

If you'll look into the table properties you'll see it is based on a page level ServiceDataProvider ( SDP for short) variable. This is a special type of object that the wizards create to represent collections. If you'll look at the variable, you'll see that it is returning data using a specific type. Note that the type is defined at the flow level – if you'll look at the type definition you'll see where the fields that make up the object are defined.

Type Definition

It is very easy to add a new field here – and modify the type to include the new column you added to the BO. Just make sure you are using the column's id – and not it's title – when you define the new field in the items array.

Now back in the UI you can easily modify the code of the table to add one more column that will be hooked up to this new field in the SDP that is based on the type.

Sounds complex? It really isn't – here is a 3 minute video showing the whole thing end to end:

As you see – a little understanding of the way VBCS works, makes it easy to go beyond the wizards and achieve anything.

https://blogs.oracle.com/reflecting-changes-in-business-objects-in-ui-tables-with-visual-builder-v2

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European Privacy Requirements: Considerations for Retailers

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When retailers throughout Europe adopt a new set of privacy and security regulations this week, it will be the first major revision of data protection guidelines in more than 20 years. The 2018 regulations address personal as well as financial data, and require that retailers use systems already designed to fulfill these protections by default.

In 1995, the European Commission adopted a Data Protection Directive that regulates the processing of personal data within the European Union. This gave rise to 27 different national data regulations, all of which remain intact today. In 2012, the EC announced that it would supersede these national regulations and unify data protection law across the EU by adopting a new set of requirements called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The rules apply to any retailer selling to European consumers. The GDPR, which takes effect May 25, 2018, pertains to any company doing business in, or with citizens of, the European Union, and to both new and existing products and services. Organizations found to be in violation of the GDPR will face a steep penalty of 20 million euros or four percent of their gross annual revenue, whichever is greater.

Retailers Must Protect Consumers While Personalizing Offers

GDPR regulations will encompass personal as well as financial data, including much of the data found in a robust customer engagement system, CRM, or loyalty program. It also includes information not historically considered to be personal data: device IDs, IP addresses, log data, geolocation data, and, very likely, cookies.

For the majority of retailers relying on customer data to personalize offers, it is critically important to understand how to fulfill GDPR requirements and execute core retail, customer, and marketing operations. Developing an intimate relationship with consumers and delivering personalized offers means tapping into myriad data sources.

This can be done, but systems must be GDPR-compliant by design and by default. A key concept underlying the GDPR is Privacy by Design (PBD), which essentially stipulates that systems be designed to minimize the amount of personal data they collect. Beginning this week, Privacy by Design features will become a regulatory requirement for both Oracle and our customers and GDPR stipulates that these protections are, by default, turned on.

Implementing Security Control Features

While the GDPR requires “appropriate security and confidentiality,” exact security controls are not specified. However, a number of security control features are discussed in the text and will likely be required for certain types of data or processing. Among them are multi-factor authentication for cloud services, customer-configurable IP whitelisting, granular access controls (by record, data element, data type, or logs), encryption, anonymization, and tokenization.

Other security controls likely to be required are “separation of duties” (a customer option requiring two people to perform certain administrative tasks); customer options for marking some fields as sensitive and restricted; limited access on the part of the data controller (i.e. Oracle) to customer information; displaying only a portion of a data field; and the permanent removal of portions of a data element.

Summary of Critical GDPR Requirements

The GDPR includes a number of recommendations and requirements governing users’ overall approach to data gathering and use. Among the more important are:

  • Minimization. Users are required to minimize the amount of data used, length of time it is stored, the number of people who have access to it, and the extent of that access.
  • Retention and purging. Data may be retained for only as long as reasonably necessary. This applies in particular to personal data, which should be processed only if the purpose of processing cannot reasonably be fulfilled by other means. Services must delete customer data on completion of the services.
  • Exports and portability. End users must be provided with copies of their data in a structured, commonly used digital format. Customers will be required to allow end users to send data directly to a competing service provider for some services.
  • Access, correction, and deletion. End-user requests for data access, correction, and deletion for data they store in any service. Users may have a “right to be forgotten”—a right to have all their data erased.
  • Notice and consent. When information is collected, end-user notice and consent for data processing is generally required.
  • Backup and disaster recovery. Timely availability of end-user data must be ensured.

Are you prepared?

Oracle is prepared for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was adopted by the European Parliament in April 2016 and will become effective on May 25, 2018. We welcome the positive changes it is expected to bring to our service offerings by providing a consistent and unified data protection regime for businesses across Europe. Oracle is committed to helping its customers address the GDPR’s new requirements that are relevant to our service offerings, including any applicable processor accountability requirements.

Our customers can rest assured that Oracle Retail’s omnichannel suite will empower them to continue delivering personalized customer experiences that meet complex global data privacy regulations. Contact Oracle Retail to learn more about Oracle systems, services and GDPR compliance: oneretailvoice_ww@oracle.com

 

 

 

 

https://blogs.oracle.com/european-privacy-requirements%3A-considerations-for-retailers-v2

SEO Isn’t the Only Way to Drive Traffic. Here Are 6 Alternative Strategies.

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As marketers, we invest a lot of our time and energy into SEO.

Considering that Google receives over 66,000 searches every second, we’d be stupid not to.

But when it comes down to it, Google and other search engines are just one of the many ways you can drive traffic to your website.

In fact, depending on your target audience and competition, Google may not even be your best traffic source.

Take Upworthy, for example.

This site, which has a reputation for sharing feel-good viral videos, gets almost 43% of their traffic from social and less than 19% from search.

Groups of consumers all use the web differently.

Some like to get their content from friends or influencers on social.

A few depend on their trusted newsletters to tell them what content they need to read.

Others use an alternative search engine like YouTube or even Facebook.

To prove that you don’t need Google to drive traffic to your website, here are six alternatives that can help boost your visits.

  1. Create a YouTube channel

  2. Start conversations on social

  3. Partner with influencers

  4. Take advantage of your email subscribers

  5. Provide assistance on forums and question sites

  6. Take advantage of guest posting

1. Create a YouTube channel

YouTube has 1.5 billion active users each month, making it the world’s second-largest social platform.

With 1.5 billion active users each month, YouTube is the world’s second-largest social platform.

active users on social platforms 2017

Over 30 million users log on to watch a total of 5 billion videos each and every day.

These numbers are massive.

However, these numbers still don’t rival Google, which processes about 3.5 billion searches per day.

So, how can you drive even a fraction of the traffic with YouTube that you could with Google?

Well, the beauty of YouTube is that it allows you to share videos.

While Google does display YouTube videos as part of its results lists (Google does, after all, own YouTube), the results aren’t quite the same.

In order to appeal and reach these video-lovers, you need to create YouTube content.

Because YouTube reaches more people from the ages of 18-49 than any cable network, this is particularly true if you’re marketing to younger generations.

youtube 18-49 age demographic reaches more than network or broadcast television

Gen Z’s love affair with YouTube runs especially deep.

In fact, 50% of Gen Z-ers told AdWeek they wouldn’t be able to live without the sharing site.

They also shared why.

For Gen Z-ers, YouTube is more than just a video-sharing site. Look at all of the things that they go to YouTube for:

generation z social media survey

If Gen Z’s love for videos continues as they grow older and start making new purchasing decisions, this may be a major game-changer for marketing in years to come.

Uploading videos to YouTube allows you to appear in front of customers who use the site like a traditional search engine.

Then, with appropriately-placed links, you can drive those users back to your website.

Let’s take a look at how GoPro’s YouTube channel does this.

As one of the most popular YouTube channels around, GoPro uses their high-quality videos to show what their product is capable of doing.

However, simply uploading videos doesn’t drive sales.

That’s why they also make it easy for customers to get from their YouTube channel to a product page.

Here, we have a video shot users shot with the GoPro HERO6:

GoPro hero6 YouTube video

Right within the first couple lines of the description, viewers have a link that will bring them straight to the product page for the GoPro HERO6.

Interested customers can check out what the new camera is capable of, then easily make their way over to the GoPro website to get additional details or make a purchase.

And this isn’t the only way GoPro pushes traffic to their website.

You can also find a link to their website and their social media profiles within their cover image.

gopro hero image

This gives YouTube users who land on the company’s channel an opportunity to get to their website quickly.

You can also add links to your website within your actual video content.

YouTube even offers features that allow users to create interactive video ads.

interactive video advertisement options in youtube

These features display either over the video itself or at the end of a video, prompting viewers to make the next move.

You’ll see from this chart that both call-to-action overlays and auto end screens help drive traffic to your website.

Here’s an example of a call-to-action overlay from a HubSpot video.

hubspot youtube video has link

YouTube features the link right within the middle of the video. HubSpot timed it perfectly so that it appears when the viewer has a thorough enough understanding of inbound marketing to start feeling enticed.

Now, let’s compare this to an auto end screen.

Here’s an example from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

jimmy fallon youtube end screen

This presents the viewer with a number of different options when they’ve completed a video. It includes an offer to head to the NBC website to download the show’s app.

When using either of these interactive features, be sure to provide a clear and direct value to your watcher.

Also, keep in mind that you don’t want to plaster over your video with links to dozens of content pieces.

Instead, focus on just one or two that truly support the contents of your video.

2. Start conversations on social

If you do it correctly, social can rival Google as a traffic source.

According to Sprout Social, 48% of Millennials and 48% of Gen X-ers followed a brand on social media in Q1 of 2017.

which generations are following brands on social

This means you have less noise to cut through to get to your target audience.

Additionally, social provides you with an opportunity to engage and entertain – something you’ll struggle to do on a search engine.

When social users scroll through their timelines and news feeds, they’re looking for just about anything that will pique their interest.

If you’re capable of providing something high-quality and interesting, they’ll click through to your site to check out more.

However, it’s important to recognize how social is changing for brands.

In 2017, social accounted for 25.6% of all site visits.

social vs search referral traffic

But this number is actually down from past years.

From the same study, we can see that from about the end of 2013 to the beginning of 2017, social was outperforming search for driving traffic.

Unfortunately, the changes to the Facebook algorithm led to serious declines in organic reach on the platform.

Compared to the first half of 2017, Facebook saw about a 9% drop in social media referrals in the second half of the year.

social media referral web traffic

However, one social site’s loss is another’s gain.

While Facebook saw a large dip at the end of 2017, both Pinterest and Instagram saw some pretty significant jumps.

Regardless of the social networks you choose to target, you want to provide meaningful and valuable information.

Remember that users log onto social to engage with their friends – not to have someone sell them something.

You want to find ways to engage your user while they’re still on the platform.

Buzzfeed Tasty does an excellent job at this.

buzzfeed tasty facebook video

Within their Facebook post, they include it all.

They created a video to grab attention.

They have friendly messages that establish the viewer as their friend.

And they include not one but two links that can either push the user to buy or to check out the recipe from the video.

And they do all of that without making it feel overwhelming!

This tactic has gained the Tasty Facebook page serious attention – almost 95 million followers!

To replicate this for your own audience, know your audience and create social content that blends seamlessly into their timelines.

Another way to get a conversation started is to use Twitter threads.

Twitter threads allow you to share insights, tips, and thoughts that connect by replying to yourself – and they have the power to bring you viral attention.

Check out what happened to travel blogger Hey Ciara.

On January 1st, she started this thread.

cheap flights twitter thread

With this one thread alone, Ciara gained over 13,000 new Twitter followers, 6,000 new Instagram followers, and a 10x increase in her blog traffic.

Threads like these provide a distinct value to followers in a relatable way.

After sharing her secrets, Ciara drops a link to a blog post on her website containing more information.

ciara johnson tweets blog post

Though the engagement with the link is significantly less than the first post, it was still able to drive traffic.

She already established authority with her followers in the thread. They trust her and know that she has information worth sharing. That gives them a reason to click on the link.

Creating a Twitter thread typically takes minimal effort. However, you want to be prepared to keep the momentum going.

Know the direction you’re going to take before you begin and be ready to share images, videos, or links that support your claims.

3. Partner with influencers

There are a lot of scams on the web, making shoppers wary about who they choose to purchase from.

If they’ve never heard of a business, they’re not going to pull out their credit cards after seeing just one ad.

Before they’re ready to shop, they need to trust you.

Unfortunately, it takes time to build trust organically.

However, you can speed up that process by working with influencers.

Almost nine out of ten individuals say that they trust online recommendations as much as personal recommendations.

youtubers and online recommendations

Influencer marketing gives your content a “stamp of approval” from someone your audience already values. This dramatically cuts down on the trust-building process.

There are two main ways that you can get in touch with influencers.

First, you can use the more traditional pathway of having influencers share sponsored posts.

Here’s an example of a sponsored post from Emma Blackery.

emma blackery sponsored tweet

The National Citizen Service (NCS) sponsored the ad. In the UK, they offer kids from 15-17 years old a camp-like, professional development opportunity.

By sharing this post, Emma is bringing awareness to NCS while also vouching for its validity.

She also includes a link to the company’s homepage, encouraging her followers to check out the organization more.

Within just five hours, Emma’s post gained over 480 likes, 38 retweets, and 24 comments.

Compared to the handful of likes NCS’s own posts get, this kind of attention is huge.

Paying for advertisements can give you more control as a brand.

If you’re a small business or you have a limited marketing budget, it might not be right for you.

But even if you don’t have money to invest in influencer marketing, you can appeal to influencers for free by featuring them in your own content.

Posts like this one from Comm100 are a great way to connect with several influencers at once.

customer service experts on twitter

This not only gives you free promotion, but it can also help you create long-term relationships with influencers and experts you might want to partner with in the future.

If you choose to use this kind of content, have realistic expectations.

It isn’t likely that each influencer you mention will share the post, especially if they already have a large following.

However, reaching out to each expert to let them know that you’ve featured them might help you get a few new shares and a boost in web traffic.

One way of reaching out is to present a quote.

In this Twitter post from Jitesh Patil, he pulled a quote from Robbie Richards and then tagged him in the tweet.

jitesh patil tweet

This gained Robbie’s attention, so he retweeted it to his own audience.

This kind of outreach makes it easy for the influencer to share your content. With just one click of a button, they’ve done their job.

You can also reach out via direct message. This is one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s favorite ways to network.

According to Gary, “the key is to connect first, provide value, and THEN given the right opportunity presents itself, ASK.”

This kind of relationship can help you establish long-term relationships with influencers.

4. Take advantage of your email subscribers

The conversation about whether or not email is dying has been happening for years.

Many markers are quick to support social or mobile apps over email marketing.

However, in Adobe’s 2017 Consumer Email Survey Report, they found that email was the preferred form of contact for 61% of survey participants.

preferred method to contact brands

In fact, email was the only contact method that actually improved between 2016 and 2017.

But user preference isn’t the only thing that email marketing has over other contact methods.

The average click-through rate is also much higher.

For email, the average click-through rate is 3.42%.

While this might seem low, the average click-through rate for Facebook Ads is only 0.90%.

This means that you’re much more likely to get web traffic from your email subscribers than your social profiles.

And that starts with personalization.

Here’s an example of personalization from LinkedIn.

top job picks for you

LinkedIn takes a user’s location, job title, and qualifications and provides unique job recommendations for them.

This goes far beyond simply changing the name at the top of a message. For best results, you need to personalize the email’s body, too.

According to research, personalizing email bodies has a dramatic effect on open rates and click-through-rates.

Open rates are almost 7% higher with a personalized email body, and click-through rates jump by over 1.3%.

benefits of personalization in email body

You can also personalize the sender name for even stronger click-through-rate results.

Take this example from HubSpot.

personalizing email sender name experiment

When they sent a message from “Maggie Georgieva, HubSpot,” there was a 0.50% higher open rate and 0.25% higher click-through rate than when they sent the email from just “HubSpot.”

For HubSpot, this meant that a personalized sender generated 292 more clicks.

To improve click-through rates even further, you also want to optimize your emails for mobile.

In the study from Adobe that we looked at above, we see that users are much more likely to check their personal email on a smartphone than a desktop or laptop.

devices used for checking work and personal email

Make it easy for your email subscribers to get back to your website regardless of the screen they’re viewing your message on.

Use CTA buttons rather than in-text links and keep your messages short and to the point.

Provide enough information to pique your reader’s interest, but your end goal should always be to push to subscribers back to your site.

5. Provide assistance on forums and question sites

People have a lot of questions.

And they don’t exclusively turn to Google to get their answers.

Users turn to forums and question sites.

Participating in conversations on sites like Reddit for Quora can help you attract individuals looking for answers beyond what Google can provide.

With over 330 million users, Reddit is the fourth most-visited website in the US.

top four most popular websites in the united states as of may 2018

Although Google, YouTube, and Facebook outrank the site in terms of popularity, Reddit beats them all based on the average amount of time that users spend on the site.

Reddit can be a great place to promote your site. However, you need to be strategic with how you go about it.

Most subreddits have strict rules about what you can and can’t say in their comments.

Each subreddit has a moderator. If you post the wrong material, they’ll delete your post and potentially even ban your account.

Users turn to forums like Reddit for help – not to have someone sell to them.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use Reddit to drive traffic to your site.

One of the best ways to do it successfully is through an “ask me anything” session, or an AMA.

Here’s an example of a successful AMA from Student Loan Hero.

student loan hero reddit AMA one way to get web traffic

While the post is promoting the business, it’s more focused on providing Reddit users with valuable information about paying off debt.

By answering questions, Student Loan Hero is able to improve trust with Reddit users and get them interested in the brand.

They also find ways to link to their content and tools as they answer questions.

Here is an example.

student loan hero AMA question and answer

Student Loan Hero isn’t using this platform as a way to spit out ads.

Instead, they’re framing their content to fit the unique needs of each individual asking questions.

If you’re trying to be spammy on Reddit, users will be quick to call you out.

However, you can still see a lot of success from the platform by making your value clear.

Jeff Callahan, creator of one of the most successful Reddit posts, says that success on the platform begins with a “non-clickbaity” title.

He begins his post by sharing who he is and how he relates to the other users. Then, he communicates exactly what he has to say and why he’s credible enough to say it.

recovering awkward person headline reddit post

He then follows these same ideas throughout his post, always relating back to the user before providing tips or insights he can back up with personal experience.

If you use it wisely, Reddit can be a great place to bring visitors to your website.

You can also use Quora, which has 200 million unique monthly visitors, to answer questions from potential audience members.

Here’s an example of how I responded to a Quora question.

neil patel answers quora question

Like Reddit, Quora allows you to engage with individuals who are asking questions. Answering questions helps you prove your value to them before they head to your website.

This can encourage more traffic to your page.

Kevin Lee, founder of Product Manager HQ, attributes his business’s start and growth to Quora.

According to his post about how Quora changed his life, Kevin explains that Quora brought thousands of new subscribers to his blog.

He says that people in public have even recognized him from his Quora answers.

If you’re in a niche industry, there are other forums you may want to take advantage of.

For example, marketers may want to become active on Inbound.org while lawyers should check out Avvo.

6. Take advantage of guest posting

Guest posting can be a powerful way to bring new traffic to your website.

About 57% of business bloggers use guest posting as part of their content strategy.

Some major brands even used guest blogging to get their platforms off the ground.

For example, Buffer used guest blogging to grow their site to 100,000 users in their first nine months.

When looking for guest posting opportunities, you want to find sites that are within your niche but aren’t direct competitors.

Hosting a post on another website puts your content in front of a new audience, driving new leads back to your page.

Check out this example of a guest post on Entrepreneur.

why entrepreneurs must follow their calling entrepreneur article

As you can see, Dan Dowling, the guest author in this example, has links to his Facebook page, Twitter account, and website homepage.

Guest posting on other websites isn’t the only way to use the strategy to drive traffic.

You can also feature guest posts on your own site.

This not only gives you a bit of a break in your content schedule, but it also encourages guest posters to share links to your page.

Here’s an example from ProBlogger.

how to establish your brand on pinterest article

ProBlogger benefits from this post because the author, Larry Alton, will want to advertise that they’re featuring him on their site.

Each time Larry promotes the piece, ProBlogger gets a new wave of traffic.

But blogging isn’t your only option.

You can also appear on podcasts or webinars to share your opinion and expertise.

Here’s an example from SEMrush’s Search Marketing Scoop with David Bain.

search marketing scoop podcast

In this episode, both Barry Schwartz, News Editor at Search Engine Land, and Richard Fergie, a consultant at E-Analytica, jump on the podcast to talk about paid and organic search.

These types of partnerships typically take more time, but they can provide serious returns in the end.

You want to think of what podcasts or webinars your audience may be engaging with that aren’t your direct competitors.

Conclusion

You don’t need Google to drive traffic to your website.

Sure, it helps.

But it shouldn’t be your only traffic source.

In fact, for the most success, you should have multiple pathways bringing new traffic to you.

Use these six traffic-generating sources as a starting point for diversifying how you bring in new visitors.

Pay close attention to your customers and target audience.

If they’re not responding to a particular pathway, don’t waste your time.

When you provide what they’re looking for in an avenue they’re already engaging with, traffic will flock to your page.

What are some of the best traffic sources for your website outside of SEO?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

New Oracle E-Business Suite Person Data Removal Tool Now Available

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Oracle is pleased to announce the availability of the Oracle E-Business Suite Person Data Removal Tool, designed to remove (obfuscate) data associated with people in E-Business Suite systems. Customers can apply the tool to select information in their E-Business Suite production systems to help address internal operational and external regulatory requirements, such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

For more details, see:

https://blogs.oracle.com/new-oracle-e-business-suite-person-data-removal-tool-now-available

DP World Extends Strategic Collaboration with Oracle to Accelerate Global Digital …

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Global trade enabler DP World has extended its partnership with Oracle to implement its digital transformation programme that supports its strategy to develop complementary sectors in the global supply chain such as industrial parks, free zones and logistics. 

 

Suhail Al Banna, Senior Vice President, DP World, Middle East and Africa Region; Arun Khehar, Senior Vice President – Business Applications, ECEMEA, Oracle; Mohammed Al Muallem, CEO and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region and CEO, JAFZA.

Suhail Al Banna, Senior Vice President, DP World, Middle East and Africa Region; Arun Khehar, Senior Vice President – Business Applications, ECEMEA, Oracle; Mohammed Al Muallem, CEO and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region and CEO, JAFZA.

 

The move follows an announcement by DP World earlier this year to use the Oracle Cloud Suite of Applications drive business transformation. Oracle Consulting will now implement the full suite of Fusion Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Capital Management (HCM) and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud solutions using its True Cloud methodology. The technology roll out across the Group has already started with the Group’s UAE Region and Middle East and Africa Region the first to sign up.

Teo Chin Seng, Senior Vice President IT, DP World Group, said:“Our focus on building our digital capability follows our vision to become a digitised global trade enabler and we working to achieve a new operational efficiency level while creating value for our stakeholders.”

Arun Khehar, Senior Vice President – Business Applications, ECEMEA, Oracle said:“Following the recent announcement of our strategic partnership to help DP World drive its global digital transformation with our best-in-class Cloud Suite of Applications (SaaS), we are proud to extend our collaboration by leveraging the deep expertise of Oracle Consulting to drive this large scale project. We are confident that this strategic cloud deployment will help them deliver the next level of innovation and differentiation.”

The Oracle Consulting team is focused exclusively on Oracle Cloud solutions and staffed with more than 7,000 experts in 175 countries serving more than 20 million users to help organizations implement Oracle Cloud in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

 

Further press releases Oracle Middle East Newsroom 

https://blogs.oracle.com/dp-world-extends-strategic-collaboration-with-oracle-to-accelerate-global-digital-transformation-in-the-cloud

If You Are Struggling With GDPR, Then You Are Not Alone

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Well, it's only 5 days to go until the infamous GDPR deadline of 25th May 2018 and you can certainly see the activity accelerating.

You would have thought that with the deadline so close, most organisations would be sat back, relaxing, safe in the knowledge that they have had 2 years to prepare for GDPR, and therefore, are completely ready for it. It's true, some organisations are prepared and have spent the last 24 months working hard to meet the regulations. Sadly, there are also a significant proportion of companies who aren't quite ready. Some, because they have left it too late. Others, by choice.

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of being invited to sit on a panel discussing GDPR at Equinix's Innovation through Interconnection conference in London.

As with most panels, we had a very interesting discussion, talking about all aspects of GDPR including readiness, data sovereignty, healthcare, the role of Cloud, and the dreaded Brexit!

I have written before about GDPR, but this time I thought I would take a bit of time to summarise three of the more interesting discussion topics from the panel, particularly areas where I feel companies are struggling.

Are you including all of your personal right data?

There is a clear recognition that an organisation's customer data is in scope for GDPR. Indeed, my own personal email account has been inundated with opt-in consent emails from loads of companies, many of whom I had forgotten even had my data. Clearly, companies are making sure that they are addressing GDPR for their customers. However, I think there is a general concern that some organisations are missing some of the data, especially internal data, such as that of their employees. HR data is just as important when it comes to GDPR. I see some companies paying far less attention to this area than their customer's data.

Does Cloud help or hinder GDPR compliance?

A lot was discussed on the panel around the use of cloud. Personally, I think that cloud can be a great enabler, taking away some of the responsibility and overhead of implementing security controls, processes, and procedures and allowing the Data Processor (the Cloud Service Provider) to bring all of their experience, skill and resources into delivering you a secure environment. Of course, the use of Cloud also changes the dynamic. As the Data Controller, an organisation still has plenty of their own responsibility, including that of the data itself. Therefore, putting your systems and data into the Cloud doesn't allow you to wash your hands of the responsibility. However, it does allow you to focus on your smaller, more focused areas of responsibility. You can read more about shared responsiblity from Oracle's CISO, Gail Coury in this article. Of course, you need to make sure you pick the right cloud service provider to partner with. I'm sure I must have mentioned before that Oracle does Cloud and does it extremely well.

What are the real challenges customers are facing with GDPR?

I talk to lots of customers about GDPR and my observations were acknowledged during the panel discussion. Subject access rights is causing lots of headaches. To put it simply, I think we can break GDPR down into two main areas: Information Security and Subject Access Rights. Organisations have been implementing Information Security for many years (to varying degrees), especially if they have been subject to other legislations like PCI, HIPAA, SOX etc. However, whilst the UK Data Protection Act has always had principles around data subjects, GDPR really brings that front and centre. Implementing many of the principles associated with data subjects, i.e. me and you, can mean changes to applications, implementing new processes, identifying sources of data across an organisation etc. None of this is proving simple.

On a similar theme, responding to subject access rights due to this spread of data across an organisation is worrying many company service desks, concerned that come 25th May, they will be inundated with requests they cannot fulfil in a timely manner.

Oh and of course, that's before you even get to paper-based and unstructured data, which is proving to be a whole new level of challenge.

I could continue, but the above 3 areas are some of the main topics I am hearing over and over again with the customers I talk to. Hopefully, everyone has realised that there is no silver bullet for achieving GDPR compliance, and, for those companies who won't be ready in 5 days time, I hope you at least have a strong plan in place.

https://blogs.oracle.com/if-you-are-struggling-with-gdpr%2C-then-you-are-not-alone

Experience, Not Conversion, is the Key to the Switching Economy

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In a world increasingly defined by instant-gratification, the demand for positive and direct shopping experiences has risen exponentially. Today’s always-on customers are drawn to the most convenient products and services available. As a result, we are witnessing higher customer switching rates, with consumers focusing more on convenience than on branding, reputation, or even on price.  

In this switching economy – where information and services are always just a click away –  we tend to reach for what suits our needs in the shortest amount of time. This shift in decision making has made it harder than ever for businesses to build loyalty among their customers and to guarantee repeat purchases. According to recent research, only 1 in 5 consumers now consider it a hassle to switch between brands, while a third would rather shop for better deals than stay loyal to a single organization. 

What's Changed? 

The consumer mindset for one. And the switching tools available to customers have also changed. Customers now have the ability to research extensively before they purchase, with access to reviews and price comparison sites often meaning that consumers don’t even make it to a your website before being captured by a competitor. 

This poses a serious concern for those brands that have devoted their time – and marketing budgets – to building great customer experiences across their websites. 

Clearly this is not to say that on-site experiences aren’t important, but rather that they are only one part of the wider customer journey. In an environment as complex and fast moving as the switching economy, you must look to take a more omnichannel approach to experience, examining how your websites, mobile apps, customer service teams, external reviews and in-store experiences are all shaping the customers’ perceptions of your brand. 

What Still Needs to Change?

Only by getting to know your customers across all of these different channels can you future-proof your brand in the switching economy. To achieve this, you must establish a new set of metrics that go beyond website conversion. The days of conversion optimization being viewed as the secret sauce for competitive differentiation are over; now brands must recognize that high conversion rates are not necessarily synonymous with a great customer experience – or lifetime loyalty. 

Today, the real measure of success does not come from conversion, but from building a true understanding of your customers – across every touchpoint in the omnichannel journey. Through the rise of experience analytics, you finally have the tools and technologies needed to understand customers in this way, and to tailor all aspects of your brand to maximize convenience, encourage positive mindsets and pre-empt when your customers are planning to switch to a different brand. 

It is only through this additional layer of insight that businesses and brands will rebuild the notion of customer loyalty, and ultimately, overcome the challenges of the switching economy. 

Want to learn more about simplifying and improving the customer experience? Read Customer Experience Simplified: Deliver The Experience Your Customers Want to discover how to provide customer experiences that are managed as carefully as the product, the price, and the promotion of the marketing mix.

Customer Experience Simplified

https://blogs.oracle.com/experience-not-conversion-is-the-key-to-the-switching-economy