Las Vegas Oracle Modern CX Summit - Wrap up!

This summit was about the latest research, discussion and thought leadership around Customer Experience. The message through the speakers was that Customer Experience is unique to every individual.

Las Vegas Oracle CX Summit 2015

As someone with a background in technical delivery of CRM products (albeit in what now feels like a former life!), and more recently, somewhat of a veteran on the Oracle conference circuit, I attend these conferences with a certain expectation:

  • I know I'm going to see lots of whizz bang;
  • Some demos from the product development folks, showing off the future for their product lines; and
  • Some toys to get me excited and race back to our offices and customers with, screaming about the incredible things they have to look forward to...

And so I find myself writing this blog from the departure lounge at Las Vegas' McCarran airport (and you know you're in Vegas because there are slot machines in front of me by the gate!)...reflecting on the two day CX event...

Las Vegas airport - Oracle CX Summit Las Vegas airport departures - complete with slots!

I've just hot-footed from the Venetian hotel where my last session was a fantastic end to end, 360 degree, demo of a Sales rep going through the Lead to Order cycle taking in Oracle Marketing, Sales and CPQ cloud technology; in a completely seamless way. It was great. A real show of strength in Oracle's CX cloud suite of products. But this show of technology was the exception these last 2 days - for this CX summit was a bit of a departure for me and Oracle....

I knew something was afoot when I arrived at Las Vegas McCarran airport on Tuesday afternoon to be "greeted" by the Border Protection people. As usual, the 30 something gentleman asked me the reason for my visit to the United States today and I told him "I'm here for the Oracle conference". "Ah right" he says, "that company - Oracle - must be pretty cool right?" [cue a quizzical look from yours truly], he continued "I mean, there's been a lot of folks coming through for this Oracle conference and they're all super hip...cool...trendy types. You know what I mean?". "Errrrrr - not really sir" was all I could muster, but he protested "no, no - seriously, everyone from Oracle seems really laid back and cool. I like the vibe." Now I don't think I'm the only person who would be a little taken aback by this assessment of the big red software Company!

So this summit was about the latest research, discussion and thought leadership around Customer Experience. Oracle technology took a back seat as customers mingled with partners and Oracle staff to hear from industry leading thinkers in the world of CX. There was a Sales track, a Commerce track, a Service track and a Marketing track (thinking about it, maybe my friend on the Borders Agency was processing all the Marketing people who came in via the acquisitions?!?). We all started together at the keynote (Mark Hurd, CEO Oracle, and Daniel Pink, author) before breaking off into the separate tracks. My main focus was to be the Sales track but rather than a series of product demos and technology roadmap slides, we heard from digital channel experts, Gartner, Nucleus Research, Forrester, Constellation research and more - and it was fascinating.

Wednesday kicked off with the keynote from Nelson Kunkel of Deloitte's digital team. He spoke about his grandfather's remarkable ability to understand people and people's needs and how this had translated into him giving up his brewery business and opening a successful "speak easy" in Prohibition-era New York. The success he had could be attributed to his innate ability to understand people's wants and desires - and this came from the way he would listen to people and empathise with them, in order to create an experience that they savoured. Following on from Nelson was Tad Travis, Research Director at Gartner. Tad developed the points further and laid out the latest research from Gartner around SFA process and the benefits of customer journey maps within organisations.

Las Vegas airport - Oracle CX Summit Tad Travis addressing the Oracle CX Summit in Las Vegas

The message through the speakers was that Customer Experience is unique to every individual. One person's experience will be very different to the next and trying to push people/personas into boxes for the purposes of catering for them in a specific way does not work. This doesn't take into account the subtleties of human nature and the different ways that people respond to situations, whatever the commonality in their profile. We need to get out there and listen to people. Sit with them. Travel with them. Learn from them. See their version of customer experience, rather than generalise and put people into persona groups.

Beyond this, we can apply the message to the sales process. In an age where your customers can often know as much (or more - due to the wealth of research information available on the web) about your products as your sales team, differentiation is required and enhanced customer experience is a great way to achieve this. With the sales cycle, remember that your customers' journey WILL NOT map to your sales cycle. Don't try to force that - it will not work. Instead, you should try to define the sales journey in the terms of your customers; their needs, interests and feelings. Listen to them. Engage with them. This way you can move to differentiate yourself from the competition through the experience you offer customers.

For Oracle in applications, they are entirely committed to Customer Experience. They are serious about it and they are passionate about it and they have amassed an impressive suite of applications to support their ambitions. But just as working to align your organisation's practices/processes with your customers' journey and experience will be an ongoing work in progress, so will the evolution of the applications that support these practices and processes.

As for everything else - you know what they say; what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas...

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Boxfusion Consulting are an Oracle Platinum Partner, recognised by Oracle as Specialized Implementation partners for a number of their CRM, CX Cloud and All Specializations - Oracle Platinum Partner LogoBI products. For more information about how we may be able to help you with Oracle's CX and Analytics platform, you can contact us directly or look out for us at the 2015 Modern Business Summit in London where we are a Gold sponsor - please come and find us at our demo stand!