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Exam Code: 1Z0-961 Practice exam 2022 by team
Oracle Financials Cloud: Payables 2017 Implementation Essentials
Oracle Implementation learn
Killexams : Oracle Implementation learn - BingNews Search results Killexams : Oracle Implementation learn - BingNews Killexams : Lambeth maps future with cloud applications

Lambeth Council has been modernising its business applications environment over the past few years, against the background of cost pressure, Covid, and now the rising cost of living crisis.

With a long history as a progressive borough, even a militant one, Lambeth has a culturally diverse population that has been economically under the cosh for many years. It has almost 330,000 inhabitants, is just over 10 square miles in size, and was known as a landing place for lambs in the Middle Ages, hence the name.

Hamant Bharadia, assistant director of finance at Lambeth Council, says it has learned to do more with less, and, in relation to IT, has pursued a cloud strategy that involves Oracle and Microsoft technology.

Lambeth Council became the first UK public sector body to adopt Oracle’s suite of business applications in the cloud, in 2018.

Bharadia says, in a video on an Oracle web page: “We are a £1bn business, with 3,000 staff providing 700-800 services to our businesses, residents and wider community. Over the last 10 years, our funding has reduced by 50%, about £250m. But the demand for our services has not changed and has become more complex.

“The reasons for the move to the cloud were to have a simpler and easier solution, to have nimble, anywhere, anytime access. That is critical for us.”

Lambeth has a long-standing relationship with Oracle, and was one of six London councils in a multi-year Oracle shared services partnership that started in 2012, and ran until March 2018.

Bharadia tells Computer Weekly that when it was looking, in 2017, at moving its applications to the cloud, Oracle came out ahead of SAP in terms of breadth and depth of functionality, especially in relation to financials, while Workday was still in its infancy at that time. There was also continuity in respect of the previous joint customer relationship with the other London councils, namely Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Lewisham, Havering and Croydon.

“The reasons for the move to the cloud were to have a simpler and easier solution, to have nimble, anywhere, anytime access. That is critical for us”

Hamant Bharadia, Lambeth Council

Bharadia has worked for the council for 32 years, and recalls having the ICL system, Lafis (Local Authority Financial Information System), as well as the shared Oracle partnership. “That [the latter] had its challenges – getting everybody to agree to the right kind of format, specifications, processes. We managed it, but it came to end of life.

“At that point, we’d already committed, as an organisation, that our future lay in the cloud primarily. We couldn’t justify occupying central London property to store databases. And then the other half about the cloud was about flexibility of working.”

The intention was to reduce the council’s property estate and get staff working flexibly, with a view that “data can be accessible from anywhere”.

The move to cloud

It started its cloud migration, in 2015-2016, with a move to Microsoft Office 365. All post comes into a processing centre outside London, where it is scanned and delivered to council workers’ mailboxes digitally. “We’re trying to reduce paper as much as possible, on the basis that making as much information as possible online, available for analytics and decision making, is the way forward,” says Bharadia.

“We started looking at our options in 2017. We knew we wanted cloud. In 2017, there wasn’t much ERP [enterprise resource planning] in the cloud space. Oracle, with some of their products, but not with everything. Oracle Financials, yes, and they’d made good progress on bits of HR.”

Oracle came out ahead of SAP in terms of breadth and depth of functionality, he says, while Workday was still perceived to be less mature. However, even with Oracle, payroll was not yet there in the cloud, so it was the last module to be implemented, in May 2018, while everything else went live in March of that year.

Financial forecasting has improved for the council by virtue of the Oracle cloud applications for that. Previously, Bharadia says it was a scenario of “budget forecasting done on Excel spreadsheets, with lots of files being shuffled around the organisation, lots of meetings between accountants and budget holders”. The aim was for “budget holders to have sight of their budgets more routinely, and to be able to do their own forecasts so that they have control”.

The self-service model the council has moved to has developed from around 20-30% of budget holders routinely updating their forecasts to more like 70%. The finance team, of around 120 accountants, is now liberated, he says, to engage sooner with budget holders, playing a more advisory role with respect to activities like procurement.

In the HR function, with more self-service capabilities, the council has seen a 55% improvement in appraisal and performance reporting, allowing the HR team to allocate fewer resources to share a greater workload.

In the area of supply chain, the council has used the Oracle cloud Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) product to streamline its suppliers, reducing the number of these by 19%.

One area that is still evolving is recruitment. It had struggled with Oracle’s legacy Taleo product and is now moving to Oracle Recruiting, which is part of the supplier’s Oracle Cloud HCM service. “We were experiencing a lot of incomplete applications, with people giving up halfway through. So, we were missing candidates,” says Bharadia. “From what we have seen, Oracle Recruiting cloud is a lot more user friendly.”

Data analytics at Lambeth

Putting together the Oracle implementation with its Microsoft estate, the council is aiming at a new vista of using data more effectively to serve its residents. Part of that has involved building a small data science team, which has been working on activities such as identifying people especially vulnerable to Covid-19, socially and economically, as well as medically. Now, in a similar vein, it is identifying people especially vulnerable to the rising cost of living crisis.

“We’ve got all this data in Oracle systems, we’ve got a housing system that has data, and we have a social care system that has data. So we’re now exploring better use of data”
Hamant Bharadia, Lambeth Council

“The next piece we’re working on is data,” says Bharadia. “We’ve got all this data in Oracle systems, we’ve got a housing system that has data, and we have a social care system that has data. So, one of the things we’re now exploring is better use of data.

“We now have a data analytics team internally, that’s looking at those connections. They are using [Microsoft] PowerBI and other cloud-based products to bring together different datasets to target our services better.”

This team has existed for around two years. They could have done this kind of work before, but it would, he says, have taken a lot longer.

Hybrid future

Another legacy of the Covid period is the council will not return to previous levels of office occupancy. “What we’re saying to staff and managers is come into our office buildings if you’re going to be collaborating, not as a matter of routine just for the sake of doing your day job.”

It is working to a ratio of six office desks for 10 people, and Bharadia says it might end up with more collaborative spaces rather than individual desks.

It is also freeing up office space for use by local businesses. “One of our buildings is entirely based on that model, for new and emerging businesses in the community,” he adds. “We also delivered lockdown support without taking on lots of extra staff. So, we were doing the vaccination centres, the food hubs, the additional support to our residents during the period, through a combination of remote working and some mobile working, where people were just out there in vans delivering things, getting stuff done.

“So, it is possible to have that hybrid model of working. That’s not to say it’s perfect. In either model, you are going to get some people who are not 100% contributing. But you get that currently anyway,” says Bharadia.

Mon, 25 Jul 2022 17:30:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Next hit with HMRC inquiry after payroll blunders

Next celebrated its 40th birthday in style last month. The retailer’s feted boss, Lord (Simon) Wolfson, mingled with head-office staff and store managers in a carnival atmosphere at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre. Guests loaded up at the free bar and danced the night away. Others enjoyed the dodgems and the waltzers. Some just sat back in a deckchair with an ice cream.

A casual observer would never have guessed it, but behind the scenes, the mood among some of Next’s 43,000 workers has, in reality, turned toxic.

The tens of thousands of people working in Next’s stores and warehouses — who were not invited to join last month’s festivities — have borne the brunt of a disastrous implementation of a new Oracle payroll system.

Workers on the minimum wage have been significantly underpaid, while others are being overpaid, causing some to lose access to their benefits amid the worst squeeze on living standards for 60 years.

As serious as the current situation is, though, the issues at Next appear to run much deeper.

In this investigation, we reveal that:

● HM Revenue & Customs is investigating whether Next is paying workers the national minimum wage.

Related Articles

● Next inadvertently over-claimed money from the coronavirus job retention scheme without giving 4,000 members of staff the furlough payments that they were due.

● HMRC has reclassified Next from a low-risk taxpayer to a medium-risk taxpayer.

These revelations appear to stand at odds with the widely held perception of Next as a well-oiled machine. Under Wolfson, the fashion chain has defied gravity on the high street, pumping out record pre-tax profits of £823 million last year. And last week, it raised its profit forecast for this year by £10 million to £860 million after shoppers flocked back to stores.

Meanwhile, workers have been suffering. “More than a dozen people in my store didn’t get paid right last month,” said one shop-floor employee. “One girl was overpaid, so her benefits were stopped and she had to borrow money off her parents to pay her bills and feed her young son. Another girl literally didn’t have the money to pay for her bus fare to work. Morale is awful — I have never known it to be as bad as this.”

The hardships inflicted on staff pose difficult questions for finance director Amanda James and operations director Richard Papp, who oversaw the roll-out of the Oracle software system.

Wolfson, 54, is a master of detail who immerses himself so deeply in the business that he personally signs off requests for additional headcount in shops and warehouses. The Conservative life peer meticulously managed the leases on Next’s portfolio of 477 stores to ensure it had the flexibility to close poor performers as trade drifted online. And he decisively capitalised on Next’s advantages as a one-time catalogue retailer by establishing a service to run other retailers’ online operations. Any investors who bought Next shares 21 years ago, when Wolfson took over, would now be sitting on a near 2,000 per cent return.

Prudence is the watchword at Next. Wolfson prefers to utilise its in-house expertise rather than rely on consultants or third-party software providers. The retailer has largely designed its own systems, developed and supported by a vast IT department of about 1,000 workers. The attempt to integrate those systems with Oracle’s has been at the heart of the operational meltdown.

HMRC requires companies to use a licensed, third-party payroll provider. Next had to find a new one after learning that its previous software would be discontinued this year. In 2018, it is said to have signed a five-year licence with Oracle, and has paid the software giant more than £10 million to date. Oracle did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

The implementation of the payroll system has lasted the best part of four years. As the deadline neared, a team of more than 50 people worked round the clock to try to ensure the system was ready, with some workers putting in dozens of hours of overtime at double pay for several weeks.

Staff have complained of not being paid, being paid too much, or having deductions taken for paid-off student loans

Next even dished out an “implementation bonus” — a reward for failure that irritated some head-office staff.

The retailer blamed the botched implementation on the pandemic, which led Next to divert key team members to establishing its furlough payments system. It also acknowledged that it had tried to replicate too much of the functionality from its original payroll system in too tight a timeframe, meaning that Next went live with an untested system.

One source close to the failings, though, said that the company’s insularity and the attitude that “Next knows best” was at the root of the problems — a characterisation the company rejected.

Either way, the consequences have been dire. The company had expected that the switchover would prevent it from being able to hire staff for its retail business for two weeks — but it was actually unable to hire anybody for six weeks. Some employees who had paid off student loans years before noticed deductions suddenly restarting. Meanwhile, pension contributions were deducted from staff pay packets without being invested — although Next said it was confident that no workers would ultimately lose out from these mistakes.

The disruption, cruelly, has been most severe for Next’s shop-floor workers, who are paid the minimum wage of £9.50 an hour. The switchover to the Oracle system in February resulted in thousands of staff being paid incorrectly. One member of the retail workforce said that despite not being paid what they were owed, staff were having to work harder because they had been told to re-label thousands of garments with higher prices.

“Some people just weren’t being paid for months. Affected staff have been calling up crying and, in the worst cases, they have even been suicidal,” said one head-office insider. Another source said that workers in the payroll department “just looked broken”.

Next said this was not a fair reflection of the general interactions. “We acknowledge the frustration many colleagues have felt and reiterate our sincere apologies. We have made huge progress and continue to work very hard to resolve the situation,” a spokesman said.

The retailer’s response was to write another system to catch and correct errors produced by the payroll software before money is paid to staff. Despite that, 219 retail workers were underpaid in Next’s latest weekly payroll cycle and a greater number are thought to be getting overpaid, with the risk of benefits being withdrawn. The company said all underpayments were now being rectified within five working days and that improvements in the process were dramatically reducing error rates.

Lord (Simon) Wolfson, the chief executive of Next


Like many retailers, there is a chasm between the earnings of workers and Next’s top brass. Last year, Wolfson was paid £4.4 million, equivalent to 245 times the average Next employee. Papp and James earned £2.2 million each.

“I was underpaid by more than £500 … I have just given that up,” one warehouse worker said. “Now the system is telling universal credit I have not been to work, so I received almost £800 [in benefits] that I wasn’t due. I have been told that I have to go and look for a job with the job centre, but I am working damned hard because we are that short-staffed. It is demoralising.”

Next said it believed there were no outstanding underpayment queries among warehouse workers that were more than two weeks old.

Jo Mackie, leader of the employment practice at law firm Slater and Gordon, said that, theoretically, HMRC can punish companies if software issues lead to staff being underpaid — although the liability would be subject to the terms of the contract between the employer and the software provider. In 2013, National Grid agreed to pay £4 million to compensate more than 8,000 American workers after the botched implementation of a SAP payroll system meant it failed to pay overtime to workers repairing damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Wolfson, though, has other problems to worry about. In May, HMRC wrote to the directors of Next advising them that it had opened an investigation into whether the retailer was paying its workers the “correct rate” of national minimum wage.

The inquiry is understood to have been triggered by a complaint from a member of Next’s retail workforce. HMRC has informed Next that the investigation will encompass its entire corporate structure, including any subsidiary companies. HMRC declined to comment.

“In general terms, it is not uncommon for HMRC to audit large employers and their adherence to national minimum wage regulations,” a Next spokesman said.

If the taxman finds companies guilty of underpaying staff, it can force them to make good the underpayment and levy penalties of up to 200 per cent of the arrears.

HMRC also reclassified Next from a low-risk taxpayer to a medium-risk taxpayer. The change came after the company admitted that it had over-claimed £4.3 million of furlough cash, which it repaid in January. After making what was intended to be a final disclosure, Next is said to have realised it had over-claimed an additional £3 million, which has since been repaid.

Additionally, the retailer discovered it had underpaid roughly £2 million of furlough cash to about 4,000 employees. It has repaid all current employees who were out of pocket, but admitted that about 900 former employees, who have been contacted, have yet to be repaid. Next attributed the mistakes to the regular amendments of the Covid scheme, adding that they were a challenge for all companies to deal with. The company said it had a “clear path” to return to a low risk rating with HMRC.

Still, the litany of accurate mis-steps will shock Wolfson’s acolytes in the City. Just like Next’s staff, they will be hoping these are no more than a blip.

Sat, 06 Aug 2022 07:11:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Nucleus Research Releases 2022 Database Management Technology Value Matrix

Press release content from Business Wire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul 26, 2022--

With data stored and processed in databases expected to double by 2025, many organizations are reevaluating their backend infrastructure in order to reduce costs, extend agility, and Improve performance at scale.

“As data volumes continue to scale, we’ve found that customer needs have also shifted,” said Research Analyst Alexander Wurm. “Now customers evaluate a wider range of capabilities in competitive deals, and vendors compete to deliver elastic scalability, serverless compute, integrated data governance, and in-database analytics to capture emerging adoption.”

To address emerging customer needs, leading vendors are investing in artificial intelligence and machine learning in order to extend governance and automate administrative tasks such as performance tuning and resource provisioning.

Leaders in this year’s Value Matrix deliver advanced functionality without sacrificing ease-of-use at scale. These include AWS, MangoDB, Microsoft, Oracle Database, Oracle MySQL, and SingeStore.

The Experts in this year’s Value Matrix are organizations that deliver value to customers with complex use cases through deep functionality and industry-specific capabilities. These include Cockroach Labs, IBM, and Redis.

Facilitators in this year’s Value Matrix deliver value through greater ease of use and quick implementation. These include Couchbase, Google Cloud, and MariaDB.

Core Providers deliver core capabilities with faster and less expensive adoption. This year’s Value Matrix Core Providers are EnterpriseDB, SAP, and Scylla.

To get the full 2022 Database Management Technology Value Matrix, click here.

About Nucleus Research

Nucleus Research is the recognized global leader in ROI technology research. Using a case-based approach, we provide research streams and advisory services that allow vendors and end users to quantify and maximize the return from their technology investments. For more information, visit or follow our latest updates on LinkedIn.

View source version on

CONTACT: Morgan Whitehead

Nucleus Research



SOURCE: Nucleus Research

Copyright Business Wire 2022.

PUB: 07/26/2022 10:02 AM/DISC: 07/26/2022 10:02 AM

Tue, 26 Jul 2022 02:02:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : UK Government signs procurement memo of understanding with Salesforce, but are more needed to prevent a cloud oligopoly?

The UK Government’s Crown Commercial Service (CCS) procurement body has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Salesforce to make it easier and cheaper for public sector organizations to buy from the supplier.

According to Philip Orumwense, Commercial Director and Chief Technology Procurement Officer at CCS:

The agreement will further ensure increased collaboration and aggregation of government and wider public sector spend to achieve increased automation, forecasting, reporting and customer engagement management tools.

The main items on the Salesforce MoU are:

  • A discount on licences (Salesforce, Mulesoft, Tableau & Slack) and services for eligible UK public sector bodies, including health bodies.
  • Free experimentation projects, so that eligible bodies can test and learn how Salesforce solutions can be used to meet their requirements.
  • Direct access to a panel of Salesforce’s SME implementation partners.
  • Discounted training and support.
  • A discounted trial of Salesforce’s Net Zero Cloud, supporting the UK government’s drive towards Net Zero.

Salesforce has a number of UK public sector customers, including the Health Service Executive, Department for Works & Pensions, various local authorities and CCS itself.

More MoUs

CCS has signed a number of such MoUs in accurate years with cloud suppliers, including the likes of Oracle, Google and Microsoft. Oracle’s agreement was first signed as far back as 2012 with an updated  and expanded deal signed last year. At that time, Orumwense commented:

This enhanced Memorandum of Understanding will continue to deliver savings and benefits for new and existing public sector customers using Oracle's cloud based technologies. It will continue delivering value for money whilst supporting public sector customers' journey to the cloud.

Expanding the list of suppliers offering cloud services has become a political agenda item in the UK as legislators have queried the amount of business that has gone to Amazon Web Services (AWS). As of February last year, some £75 million of contracts had been awarded in the previous 12 months.

Lord Maude, who previously ran the UK Cabinet Office where he waged a war on excessively priced tech contracts and essentially began the MoU process in earnest as part of his reforms, was quoted as warning:

When it comes to hosting, we've regressed into allowing a small group, and one vendor, in particular, to dominate. If you take a view of the government as simply as a customer, it makes absolutely no sense for the government to be overly dependent on one supplier. No one would sensibly do that.

The Salesforce MoU looks well-timed as CCS recently launched a tender for a range of cloud services in a set of deals that could be worth up to £5 billion in total. Procurement notices have been issued under the G-Cloud 13 framework, covering cloud hosting, cloud software and cloud support, with a further lot for migration and set-up services to follow. Contracts can last for 3 years with an option to extend by a further year.

Eligible suppliers must be able to offer services in the following capabilities:

  • Planning - the provision of planning services to enable customers to move to cloud software and/or hosting services;
  • Setup and Migration- the provision of setup and migration services which involves the process of consolidating and transferring a collection of workloads. Workloads can include emails, files, calendars, document types, related metadata, instant messages, applications, user permissions, compound structure and linked components.
  • Security services - Maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of services and information, and protect services against threats.
  • Quality assurance and performance testing - Continuously ensure that a service does what it’s supposed to do to meet user needs efficiently and reliably.
  • Training
  • Ongoing support - Support user needs by providing help before, during and after service delivery.

My take

Having a wider range of potential providers operating under such MoUs is crucial for government to deliver value for taxpayers money.

Those of us who lived through the crusading days of Maude insisting that tech vendors - mostly large US systems houses and consultancies - come back to the negotiating table, tear up their existing contracts and start from scratch, have been dismayed, but not surprised, that the so-called ‘oligopoly’ simply had to sit it out and wait for a change of government/minister to get things back to ‘normal’.

There were successes that linger. The UK’s G-Cloud framework was a triumph when set up and continues to do good work. As an aside, and given this article has been triggered by a Salesforce announcement, I do remember talking to CEO Marc Benioff in London prior to the formal announcement of G-Cloud and how it would work.   

At the time there was a heavy push from certain quarters to make G-Cloud all about virtualization and private cloud rather than the public cloud push it was to become. I asked Benioff if he thought this was the right direction of travel and got a very firm rebuttal as he told me:

The UK government is way behind in this, and way too much into virtualization…Government needs to stop hiding behind the private cloud.

I was in good company - Benioff had been in at the Cabinet Office the previous day and given Maude the same message.  Thirteen years on, the Public Cloud First policy that was shaped later that year still stands, but progress hasn’t been made at the rate that was promised back in those heady launch days and which needs to be achieved.

In 2022, there’s the risk of a different sort of oligopoly, as the concern around AWS' grip on government contracts suggests - and not just in the UK -  but unfortunately there’s no sign of a Maude to take charge this time and bang the negotiating table.

Instead the Secretary of State with responsibility for digital thinks the internet has been around for ten years and retweets memes of politicians being stabbed. Meanwhile a putative, unelected new Prime Minster has just announced that she (somehow) intends to redesign the internet into adults-only and kid-friendly versions. Sigh. 

Mon, 01 Aug 2022 23:26:00 -0500 BRAINSUM en text/html
Killexams : Orthopedic Companies Have Two Massive Logistics Problems

OTW spoke with former U.S. Army Logistics Officer, Ethan Lauer, about the logistics of Orthopedic and Spine products and he highlighted two massive problems.

According to Lauer, “The problem that orthopedics has is tons and tons of orders. The same rep has 20 surgeries a month, the distributor has 400, the manufacturer has 3,000…and all at different stages in this process.”

“In the orthopedic industry, when you ship finished goods out of SAP or Oracle, it goes out to the field and for the manufacturer it kind of disappears into a big gray smoke cloud. They don’t know where it is.”

“Manufacturers don’t have any idea of the stuff they have on the field that’s not being used in this place but could be used over in this other place. There’s a tremendous amount of inefficiency. The simplest way to describe it is this industry has billions of dollars of inventory invested and shipped into the field that’s rattling around in the trunks of sales reps and in their garages and in distributor offices and they don’t have any visibility of it anymore.”

Lauer explained, “The vast majority of inventory on these companies’ balance sheets is sitting out in the field and they have no system to track it, no visibility to track it.”

So, Lauer decided to light that up.

A U.S. Army Logistics Officer Tackles Orthopedics and Spine

Automation infrastructure from the 1970s and technology from the 1990s probably don’t make you think of operational efficiencies. However, for Lauer, they capture the essential logistical issues creating inefficiencies and cost in Orthopedics and Spine today.

“What we’re doing today started almost all the way back in 1994 or ‘95”, explained Lauer. “At that time I was an Army officer, I was a logistics officer in the cavalry. That job is all about making sure that bullets and ice and repair parts and medical supplies and other things are in the right place at the right time.”

Lauer continued, “So from a very young age I was kind of programmed in my thinking. In my operations-type thinking, I was programmed around systems. And we had systems in the Army, although they were 1970s automation infrastructure.”

Lauer explained, “So you had a computer that was in one location that you processed some stuff in and then you wrote a floppy disk out of that and you ran it up to the next location, whether that was down the street or 20 miles across the desert. Then you put that into another computer, as did like 20 other people, then all of that information got compiled together and then that got turned into a disk and it got sent somewhere else.”

Lauer added, “On those disks was all the same types of information that is being transferred now in Orthopedics. So, there’s a surgery scheduled somewhere and there’s some equipment that is needed at that surgery. Well, that’s no different than when there’s 20 soldiers in a location and they need to eat dinner tomorrow night, so we need to make sure the right number of MREs [meals ready-to-eat] get there when those guys are ready to eat.”

Learn Orthopedics From the Ground Up

“Roll forward to early 2000 when I got to the Orthopedic industry as a sales rep and you know at the time, and even today, corporate America hired a lot of junior military officers. Corporate America loves these guys and girls because they have all this experience doing things way above their age range.”

Lauer continued, “I got to this job as a sales rep and my boss says take this clipboard and this piece of paper and this pen over to Brackenridge Hospital and write down what Dr. Spann used today.”

Lauer chuckled as he added, “I thought I was getting hazed.”

It didn’t take long before Lauer began to use database tools to try to organize and automate the processes for his sales rep job. While he was there, the distributorship went through significant growth and according to Lauer, “I became a sales manager and an ops manager, so I was managing all of these processes. So, the system that we were developing—even more and more so—matured.”

Building Software for Ortho Sales Reps

A few years later, Lauer stopped selling implants and started a surgical neuromonitoring company where he also utilized his operations experience to solve logistics problems. Lauer told OTW, “I got over to neuromonitoring and I had all the same problems. All those logistics problems—what surgeries are tomorrow, what equipment needs to be there, what supplies got used, who needs to be billed, what person needs to go do this, who’s assigned to this—all the same exact problems except for now I owned the company, and I had the purse strings.”

Lauer continued, “I said I’m going to get some real software guys, not me being just a sorta hacker putting these things together. So, we developed a solution there and it was called NeuroStream, and we started selling that to other neuromonitoring companies. That’s really how I got bitten by the software bug basically.”

In 2010, Lauer began the process of selling his neuromonitoring company and he became reunited with his orthopedic buddies.  “When I circled back to my orthopedic buddies, they were all still doing the same thing—handwriting stuff, making lots of phone calls, sending lots of text messages, doing that kind of thing. So, in 2009, we created ImplantBase.”

Building Logistics Systems From the Rep Up, What a Concept!

Lauer’s ImplantBase approach was different than the approach taken by other Orthopedic and Spine companies. Instead of creating a system for manufacturers that sales reps had to use, Lauer decided to create something just for the sales reps.

Lauer explained OTW, “We said let’s build something that’s just a really fast way for a sales rep to create a sales order from their phone and turn that sales order in—because that’s ultimately the main thing that a rep cares about.”

During the first few years, sales reps would pay to use this very straightforward and yet very valuable service. As the rep’s reliance on the system grew, so did their needs. Lauer told OTW, “What happened after that was that other features started to get requested. So now they wanted to manage their inventory in ImplantBase, now they wanted to be able to submit loaner requests, then they wanted to be able to do sales reporting, then they wanted to be able to calculate commissions.”

After a while, manufacturers started paying attention to what ImplantBase was doing. Up until that point, manufacturers had struggled with getting sales reps to adopt their systems.

Lauer explained to OTW, “So manufacturers started coming to us, rolling this out to their sales force and then putting layers of manufacturer functionality on top of that sales rep functionality because that sales order function, it’s just two sides to the same coin.”

“So that’s the backstory. You know that thinking I learned in the Army about how to organize things and how to get things where they need to be on time and on target is what led me to experiencing this problem firsthand and then deciding to do something about it.”

97% Sales Rep Adoption

As of today, according to the company, the ImplantBase platform has a 100% implementation success rate with 50 medical device companies, processing over $5 billion of revenue and a 97% sales rep adoption rate.

Lauer explained how the company views its implementation success, telling OTW, “Our 100% success is every project that we have started, we have finished, and we have got them to go live.”

While implementation success is at 100%, field adoption is a few percentage points lower. That lower rate is because, as Lauer told OTW, “The Orthopedic sales force is largely a distributor-based sales force so they’re 1099s. They’re not direct employees.”

This means that essentially they can choose whether to take on new technology or keep doing what they are doing. For seasoned reps, this may mean that they choose to stick with their Day-Timer as Lauer explained. A Day-Timer, for younger readers, is a personal organizer and planner.

System Flexibility

A distinctive feature of ImplantBase is that its implementation is very flexible. That is perhaps one of the key reasons that ImplantBase can boast 100% implementation success. Lauer explained to OTW, “Our system is designed so that customers can phase their implementation. You can do it by when you’re going to your field rollout phase, you can do it by rep, you can do it by region, you can do it by distributor, you can do it by enthusiastic sales manager that wants to get this in place for all their reps and distributors. You can do it in a lot of different ways but still have inventory transaction and visibility continuity as well as revenue continuity.”

Scalability Without Throwing More Bodies at Problems

“There are a number of areas that people find ROI [return on investment] by using the ImplantBase approach, but number one is headcount stabilization within their internal operations.”

Lauer continued, “With ImplantBase, the inventory request gets entered one time from the phone and those people inside customer service go from being data entry people to data analysis people and really customer service people.”

“They don’t have to type in anything, they don’t have to verify lot numbers or do any of that stuff and so the efficiency as they grow is that the company doesn’t have to keep throwing bodies at problems inside customer service, inside field inventory, inside asset management. They don’t have to do any of that because we streamline. It’s the promise of digital transformation. And it’s nothing special about ImplantBase. It is just what digital transformation does for companies.”

Lauer elaborated, “It's not headcount reduction…it’s headcount stabilization. You can grow. We have companies that have grown four to seven times and haven’t added a single person in their field support operations. So that’s really where the ROI is, it’s in people. And in any one of these companies, it’s inventory and people that are their two top expense lines.”

Not One-Size-Fits-All

A key component of ImplantBase is its versatility. Lauer described to OTW, “ImplantBase serves all different sizes of orthopedic manufacturers. From very small companies that are just running on QuickBooks or QuickBooks online all the way up to 1,000 plus person implementations in companies that have big, comprehensive Oracle and SAP. We sell the product in a way that is modular, and it’s priced for each different size of customer. So we have SMB pricing, enterprise pricing.”

Lauer added, “ImplantBase is not a static thing. We put out a new version of ImplantBase every two weeks and in those versions are customer requested enhancements. We’re constantly wrapping ImplantBase around the needs of our customers. Both from their individual needs, whether that’s reporting or workflow processes or anything like that, as well as based on industry trends or regulatory changes, things like that.”

Lauer finished, “ImplantBase it’s not a one size fits all. It is a 450 sizes fits 450 people. Our feature set is 99.99% customer driven.”

Amateurs Talk Tactics, Professionals Study Logistics

As former U.S. Army logistics officer Ethan Lauer understands so well, “Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics” (General Robert H. Barrow USMC).

And for mission critical jobs like surgery, well, again, we reach back to the great military leaders for guidance: “…in its relationship to strategy, logistics assumes the character of a dynamic force, without which the strategic conception is simply a paper plan.” (Theo Vogelsang, USN)

So, in conclusion, gentlemen and women of the Orthopedics and Spine Industry: may the (logistics) force be with you.

To reach former U.S. Army Logistics officer Ethan Lauer, please contact his company ImplantBase at:

Mon, 01 Aug 2022 06:47:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : VA Appoints Functional Champion for EHR Modernization Program

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Fri, 05 Aug 2022 01:30:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Oracle Automates the Tasks Sellers Despise with Next Generation CRM

Oracle Fusion Sales provides sellers with AI-powered recommendations and guided steps to close deals faster

AUSTIN, Texas, July 26, 2022  /PRNewswire/ -- Oracle today announced the next generation of Oracle Fusion Sales, a sales automation application that identifies high-quality sales opportunities and guides sellers to close deals faster. Part of Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience (CX) and powered by artificial intelligence (AI), Fusion Sales automatically provides sellers with quotes, proposals, and recommended steps to help them increase productivity, close more deals, and instill confidence among buyers.


Nearly one third of sellers struggle to close deals and meet quotas, according to a accurate study conducted by CRM analyst firm Beagle Research Group in partnership with Oracle. The study, "Does Your CRM Leave Money on the Table," highlights the struggles that sellers face with customer churn and archaic sales processes. In turn, sellers have noted that they are open to greater automation and trust AI to take on greater responsibilities, including qualifying leads (70 percent), identifying priority deals (60 percent), and tracking deal progress (80 percent).

"Traditional CRM systems were designed to be a system of record for planning and forecasting versus a tool to help sellers sell more. As a result, sellers spend countless hours on data entry and administration that stunts sales productivity," said Rob Tarkoff, executive vice president and general manager, Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience (CX). "Applying 40 plus years of data and business process expertise, we have done the heavy lifting to engineer the next era of CRM. Oracle Fusion Sales removes the manual steps in the B2B sales process to help sellers close more deals faster and more efficiently."

Oracle Fusion Sales provides sellers with:

  • Step-by-Step Guided Processes: Sellers can onboard faster and Improve productivity with a guided step-by-step process to help engage with accounts, progress opportunities, and close deals faster. Customers can choose to base the processes on best practices set by leadership or customizable, industry-specific templates.

  • Conversation Ready Opportunities: Sellers can automate the process of re-qualifying and converting marketing leads into opportunities. Connected to Oracle Fusion Marketing, Fusion Sales automatically creates highly qualified leads and then passes them to sellers for follow-up.

  • Automated Quotes and Proposals: Sellers automatically receive initial quotes, proposals, and implementation schedules when opportunities are created. The quotes are automatically updated throughout the sales process as a deal progresses and are based on historical data that includes prior successful deals, a customer's industry, and other account attributes.

  • Intelligent Content Recommendations: Sellers can automatically receive marketing-approved content that is most likely to progress the sale. This saves sellers' and buyers' time at each step in the sales process and puts the right offers and answers to commonly asked questions directly in the seller's hands.

  • Digital Sales Rooms: Sellers can Improve the buying experience and better engage buyers by building personalized microsites. Helpful resources like quotes, past contracts, reference stories, and details for past or upcoming Zoom meetings are aggregated to help move buyers closer to a purchasing decision. As buyers use Digital Sales Rooms, sales operations can capture buying signals and other customer engagement data that can inform sales insights, internal training and enablement, and drive future deal success.

  • Advanced Revenue Intelligence: Sales leaders can easily access and report on business trends, spot outliers, and monitor customer sentiment and sales performance with Oracle Fusion CX Analytics. Fusion Sales provides a complete view across the business being able to pull in data from sales, marketing, service, finance, and HR all without support from IT.

What Customers and Partners are Saying About Fusion Sales

"CRM is an integral tool especially as we sell complex and expensive equipment and software solutions in 180 countries across the globe. We used to stitch together sales insights from an array of applications, Excel spreadsheets, and post-it notes. It wasn't an efficient process," said Samantha Mohr, vice president, inside sales, Ricoh. "Oracle Fusion Sales provides our sellers with a guided experience that focuses their time and improves deal success by delivering better insights to help us adapt to market shifts faster."

"Our customers are always searching for new approaches that drive real value and instill confidence in buyers. Oracle Fusion Sales helps solve significant challenges of the B2B selling environment with a boundaryless, adaptable, and radically human engineered architecture" said Andrea Cesarini, Europe Oracle business group lead, Accenture. "Having partnered for over 30 years now, Accenture and Oracle bring unparalleled innovation, industry, and technology acumen to our joint clients."

To learn more, please tune into Oracle Live on July 26, 2022, here.

Part of Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications Suite, Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience (CX) connects data across advertising, marketing, sales, and service to make every customer interaction matter. Going beyond traditional CRM, learn about how Oracle Advertising and CX helps businesses      improve customer experience and build brand loyalty.

About Oracle
Oracle offers integrated suites of applications plus secure, autonomous infrastructure in the Oracle Cloud. For more information about Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), please visit us at

Oracle, Java, and MySQL are registered trademarks of Oracle Corporation.


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Mon, 25 Jul 2022 22:00:00 -0500 en-AU text/html
Killexams : VA Appoints Functional Champion to Help Streamline Embattled EHR Rollout

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Wed, 03 Aug 2022 08:54:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Why Continuous Testing Is The Key To Unlocking Your ERP Transformation

Technology leader and co-founder of Opkey — a continuous testing platform redefining test automation for web, mobile and ERP applications.

Many business and technology leaders realize that their digital transformation initiatives can’t be utilized without modernizing their enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Incorporating new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning is essential to modernizing ERP solutions.

Through a 2019 study of ERP migration and transformation projects, McKinsey revealed that two-thirds of enterprises did not get the ROI they were looking for from their migration project. The common reasons for this dissatisfaction are delays in ERP implementations and misaligned project goals. Intelligent test automation, which powers a continuous testing approach, will help ERP transformation projects run on time and stay within budget.

Continuous testing for ERP applications: Why do you need it?

Next-gen ERPs and digital operations platforms require innovative software to be released rapidly, with minimal business risk. Leading analysts from Gartner, Forrester (paywall) and IDC (registration required) now recognize that software testing in its current form cannot handle the challenges posed by ERP applications. These analysts have concluded that software testing must be aligned with DevOps and AgileOps practices to handle giant ERP transformation projects.

The Agile/DevOps approach is incomplete, inefficient and ineffective without continuous testing. In ERP migration projects where platforms are extended to incorporate new features, functionalities and technologies, continuous testing helps you transparently validate the performance of critical business processes. This significantly reduces the risks associated with a new implementation, along with scheduled software updates. By catching bugs early in the development cycle, continuous testing ensures minimal time and budget overruns while providing advantages in risk reduction.

What are the testing challenges of ERP transformations?

According to a report by Bloor (registration required), more than 80% of migration projects ran over budget in 2007. While I have seen that statistic Improve over the years, I know migration projects regularly face issues of running over budget and over time. A 2019 ERP report from Panorama Consulting Group (registration required) shows that 45% of respondents had an average budget overrun of 30%.

Here are some specific testing challenges.

• Unclear Testing Scope: Determining what to test remains a major challenge for QA teams. The business risk grows every time too little testing is done. If you test too much, it wastes the time and resources of your business users.

• Inadequate Test Coverage: There are many moving parts in any ERP migration project. Functional and nonfunctional attributes get added, updated or removed with these migrations. Testing needs to pass various stages, from a unit test to a volume test, and eventually a mock go-live cutover.

• Change Frequency: In a accurate Deloitte CIO survey, almost 45% of respondents reported that managing changes in an ERP project scope is one of the top frustrations in planning their ERP journey (pg. 10).

• Testing Fatigue: ERP projects are long and tedious processes. Using a manual testing methodology for ERP transformations can be inefficient and error-prone. Ask yourself: “Can my business users supply their full effort to testing?”

Continuous testing for ERP applications: How can I make it work?

To incorporate continuous testing for a digital transformation, leaders must utilize automation. Teams should now focus on next-generation automation platforms that allow them to quickly build test cases, automate them and build the infrastructure to run them in a continuous fashion. Let’s review the four pillars of a continuous testing strategy.

• Know your ideal coverage: Here are some questions to ask yourself: “What’s my current test coverage? Am I testing all of our critical processes? If something goes seriously wrong, is it because I didn’t test enough?”

If the test cases you are automating only cover 30% of your core business processes, the automation might not be good enough. Emphasize knowing your ideal coverage and leverage a process mining technology to validate your ideal coverage. Test mining techniques surface your existing test cases, business processes and configurations from your system process log to determine your existing testing baseline.

• Apply continuous test development: Test assets require considerable reworks to keep pace with the frequent ERP changes typical in an accelerated release cycle. This speed cannot be achieved with continuous testing.

• Monitor changes continually: Ask yourself: “What has changed in the most accurate ERP quarterly update? What business processes or test cases are going to be impacted?”

Emphasize the importance of knowing whether you are testing what is needed. Before the updates are pushed to production, use automation tools that supply better change visibility to users by alerting them of processes that will be impacted.

• Test execution at scale: Prepare a scalable infrastructure to run thousands of tests on-demand with every change. Opt for a platform that can run your tests continuously on-premises, in the cloud and on mobile seamlessly.

What do you need from a test automation tool?

Three key capabilities must exist in a test automation tool to support an ERP transformation’s continuous testing paradigm.

• Autonomous Configuration Of Tests: Many changes happen at the configuration level for any ERP transformation. Leaders should leverage an automation tool that can autonomously create relevant data sets for test execution.

• Continual Impact Analysis: In the ERP world, updates are rolled out frequently. QA teams can find it difficult to decide the minimum number of test cases that need to be executed to ensure business continuity in post-application updates. AI-based impact analysis recommends a minimum number of test cases that need to be executed based on highlighted risks, keeping business application disruptions at bay.

• Autonomous Self-Healing Tests: QA teams often struggle to continuously maintain test scripts with each new release. Through leveraging AI-powered self-healing capabilities, changes can be identified automatically and test scripts can be fixed autonomously.

Continuous Test Automation: A Summary

The key to successful AgileOps is releasing updates as early and as often as possible.

With enterprise application vendors like Oracle, Microsoft and SAP rolling out updates on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis, enterprises need to embrace those updates as early as possible. However, supporting your software testing initiatives will only be achieved with the right continuous testing strategy.

Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Do I qualify?

Wed, 20 Jul 2022 00:15:00 -0500 Pankaj Goel en text/html
Killexams : Top Republican to 'seriously consider pulling the plug' on VA's new EHR system

The top Republican on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Wednesday expressed an openness to scrapping the Veterans Affairs Department’s multi-billion dollar Oracle-Cerner Millennium electronic health record system, if serious deficiencies in the rollout of the new software are not addressed by the end of the year. 

Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., ranking member of the full committee, said that Congress “has to set a deadline” for the EHR system rollout, and if there isn’t major progress by early next year, “we will have to seriously consider pulling the plug.” Bost added that he "will be writing legislation to do just that."

Bost’s comments came during a House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee hearing examining patient safety concerns that have been raised during the initial rollouts of the new EHR system at VA medical centers across the country. Members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee also grilled VA officials last week about delays and technical issues with the rollout of the new software.  

Samantha Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Bost, said after the hearing that the ranking member intends to introduce a bill before the end of the year.

“The bill is in the drafting stage and the final product will depend on the initial progress, if any, that VA and Cerner make over the next few months addressing the serious problems at the initial rollout sites,” Gonzalez told Nextgov. “At this point, the Ranking Member is considering all legislative options, including reorienting or completely halting the project.”

The VA signed a $10 billion contract with Cerner in 2018 to implement the new EHR system over a 10-year period, to replace its prior customized health information system, the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, or VistA. The new EHR software is currently in use at five VA medical sites, but software outages, logistical delays and technical issues have hampered the rollout. 

Earlier this month, the VA Inspector General’s office also issued a highly critical watchdog report, which found that the software implemented at the first site of EHR system rollout—the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington—improperly routed more than 11,000 clinical orders for veterans to an “unknown queue” without the knowledge of clinicians. That glitch, according to the OIG report, resulted in direct harm to at least 149 veterans.

In addition to concerns about patient care, cost overruns have also raised additional questions about the deployment of the Oracle-Cerner EHR system. The cost of the software’s implementation has already grown to $16 billion over the course of the 10-year contract, and a new cost estimate provided to Congress by the Institute for Defense Analyses found that the EHR software’s implementation and maintenance expenses would be $50.8 billion over 28 years

VA announced last week that it would be postponing future rollouts of the Oracle-Cerner software at new medical sites until January 2023 as it works to address concerns about the EHR system’s deployment.

Bost said the EHR system “as it exists now is already a bad investment at $16 billion,” noting that the Oracle-Cerner effort “is already 10 times more expensive” than the VA’s previously abandoned effort to modernize VistA. 

Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization, echoed Bost’s sentiment and said that the legacy VistA system “still works and is much less expensive than any of the alternatives.”

“I’m not hearing a credible argument for continuing this effort other than bureaucratic inertia and profit,” Rosendale said, adding that “the responsible thing to do is to stop throwing money at Oracle-Cerner and make targeted investments to shore up VistA.”

Mike Sicilia, executive vice president for industries at Oracle, told the committee that addressing issues with the EHR system was the company’s top priority. He said that Oracle, which acquired Cerner seven weeks ago, has set up a dedicated ‘war room’ of its senior engineers to make needed improvements to the software. 

“After reviewing all of the engineering issues, I have concluded that there is nothing here that can’t be materially improved in reasonably short order,” Sicilia said.

Democratic leaders on the committee, meanwhile, seemed to agree that VA’s health system is in need of modernization, but they also expressed serious concerns about the ways in which both VA and Oracle-Cerner have addressed—and been transparent about—deficiencies within the EHR software rollout. 

Committee Chairman Mark Takano, D-Calif., said that “VA needs a modernized EHR system” and that continuing with VistA is “not sustainable in the long-term,” but added that he “will not sit idly by and allow this program to endanger veterans.” 

Fri, 29 Jul 2022 07:35:00 -0500 en text/html
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