Meg Bear lives and works at the intersection of people, business and technology. She is Group Vice President of the Oracle Social Cloud.

With well over 10,000 hours and nearly 20 years experience in Enterprise Applications she is seasoned yet optimistic. Skilled across a broad spectrum of functional domains including: Manufacturing, Financials and Human Resources in addition to technical tools, implementations and methodologies. Meg has a proven track record of on time product delivery and an industry leading return on investment. She is currently in charge of the development of the Cloud Social Platform for ORCL.

Meg is passionate about applying technology to solve business problems, building and growing teams to be their best and defining products to invest in, that will make money for her company, while solving real customer need.

She is a working mom, technology executive, blogger, patent holder, idea generator, change agent, disruptive technologist and enthusiastic TED conference attendee.

Meg is currently focusing her energy and passion in pursuit of helping others achieve their best.

Transcript

Michael:         

(00:02) Hello, collaboration and collaboration software is a big deal today. Everybody is doing it and today on episode number 90 that is what we’re going to talk about. I’m Michael Krigsman, here with my friendlish, no, genially and deeply very friendly co-host, Vala Afshar. Vala how are you doing, I’m excellent. And we have a guest today, who is one of the most knowledgeable people anywhere on this very topic.

Vala:   

(00:43) Absolutely, please introduction.

Michael:         

(00:45) We’re joined today by Meg Bear, who is Group-Vice president for the Oracle’s social cloud. Hi Meg how are you?

Meg:   

(00:54) Hello gentlemen, I am fantastic. Just a little wet here in the Bay area but all good and very happy to be here.

Michael:         

(01:01) Yeah we here these reports of it raining cats and dogs and mudslides.

Meg:   

(01:08) Yeah. I did not bring a kayak to work but I’ve seen people doing that so yeah it’s been a little wet because we need rain here desperately so we’re happy.

Vala:   

(01:19) Meg can you tell us a little bit about your background please.

Meg:   

(01:23) Sure, sure yeah. so I’ve been in Oracle for some time. I have been in enterprise software for even a little bit longer than that. I now experienced enough to cough between the start and the end from how many years I’ve been doing what I do.

           

(01:40) But generally I am a technologist and someone that’s very focused and interested in innovation. So I’m in a really good space in this idea of social, collaboration and cloud because that is the merging of the people and the technology coming together for business, and that’s really kind of some of what I care about and what I do here.

Vala:   

(02:07) Great and your role at Oracle.

Meg:   

(02:08) Yeah so I run our product. I’m a general manager of our social cloud, which is a group of products that do both external and internal social platforms. So we do social listening, social engagement, social marketing, internal collaboration and all the analytics around that to help social become part of the business landscape with technology as the backbone.

Michael:         

(02:34) So you talk about social becoming part of the landscape, and you’ve written a lot and spoken a lot about customers centric organizations, so let’s start with that. What is is a customer centric organization in today’s world, what does that mean?

Meg:   

(02:52) Right you know I think customers being the center of business is not a new idea. Business exists to serve the customer and always has. The difference is and the age of digital, of course customer’s power has shifted and customer’s voice has become amplified.

(03:11) So when you think about how companies can differentiate today and how companies really move forward in this competitive global landscape, the customer being at the center of that becomes a business differentiator, becomes a critical part of how business works.

(03:28) So that’s what kind of interests me and how I think of the world as bringing the customer together with the business mission and making sure that business’s aren’t just focused on making their operations better, but to make sure that they’re focused on serving their customer better.

(03:42) And doing that by understanding more than they ever have before in what their customers care about, about what their customers are passionate about and what their customers are interested in them doing as part of that relationship.

Vala:   

(03:56) Can you elaborate a little bit more on the shifting power and then perhaps of maybe an example and was the power always there, it’s just that the voice is amplified or is there really a shift where the customers are influencing companies direction and so on and so forth.

Meg:   

(04:12) Sure it is a broad spectrum, but I do genially believe that the

Michael:         

(00:02) Hello, collaboration and collaboration software is a big deal today. Everybody is doing it and today on episode number 90 that is what we’re going to talk about. I’m Michael Krigsman, here with my friendlish, no, genially and deeply very friendly co-host, Vala Afshar. Vala how are you doing, I’m excellent. And we have a guest today, who is one of the most knowledgeable people anywhere on this very topic.

Vala:   

(00:43) Absolutely, please introduction.

Michael:         

(00:45) We’re joined today by Meg Bear, who is Group-Vice president for the Oracle’s social cloud. Hi Meg how are you?

Meg:   

(00:54) Hello gentlemen, I am fantastic. Just a little wet here in the Bay area but all good and very happy to be here.

Michael:         

(01:01) Yeah we here these reports of it raining cats and dogs and mudslides.

Meg:   

(01:08) Yeah. I did not bring a kayak to work but I’ve seen people doing that so yeah it’s been a little wet because we need rain here desperately so we’re happy.

Vala:   

(01:19) Meg can you tell us a little bit about your background please.

Meg:   

(01:23) Sure, sure yeah. so I’ve been in Oracle for some time. I have been in enterprise software for even a little bit longer than that. I now experienced enough to cough between the start and the end from how many years I’ve been doing what I do.

           

(01:40) But generally I am a technologist and someone that’s very focused and interested in innovation. So I’m in a really good space in this idea of social, collaboration and cloud because that is the merging of the people and the technology coming together for business, and that’s really kind of some of what I care about and what I do here.

Vala:   

(02:07) Great and your role at Oracle.

Meg:   

(02:08) Yeah so I run our product. I’m a general manager of our social cloud, which is a group of products that do both external and internal social platforms. So we do social listening, social engagement, social marketing, internal collaboration and all the analytics around that to help social become part of the business landscape with technology as the backbone.

Michael:         

(02:34) So you talk about social becoming part of the landscape, and you’ve written a lot and spoken a lot about customers centric organizations, so let’s start with that. What is is a customer centric organization in today’s world, what does that mean?

Meg:   

(02:52) Right you know I think customers being the center of business is not a new idea. Business exists to serve the customer and always has. The difference is and the age of digital, of course customer’s power has shifted and customer’s voice has become amplified.

(03:11) So when you think about how companies can differentiate today and how companies really move forward in this competitive global landscape, the customer being at the center of that becomes a business differentiator, becomes a critical part of how business works.

(03:28) So that’s what kind of interests me and how I think of the world as bringing the customer together with the business mission and making sure that business’s aren’t just focused on making their operations better, but to make sure that they’re focused on serving their customer better.

(03:42) And doing that by understanding more than they ever have before in what their customers care about, about what their customers are passionate about and what their customers are interested in them doing as part of that relationship.

Vala:   

(03:56) Can you elaborate a little bit more on the shifting power and then perhaps of maybe an example and was the power always there, it’s just that the voice is amplified or is there really a shift where the customers are influencing companies direction and so on and so forth.

Meg:   

(04:12) Sure it is a broad spectrum, but I do genially believe that the power has shifted. So I would say that customers have always been the compass of how business works again.

(04:23) But the difference is now that the conversation around a given product is impacted and addressed and amplified by the voice of the customer.

(04:35) So again, to give some you know examples of what we all know, there’s not really any purchase people do, whether it’s consumer or business to business that’s not driven by a lot of available research and a lot of available input into what you think about that product.

(04:52) It’s always been true in what we care of what others think when we buy things, what others think when we try new products. But the difference is that we know more today in the era of social networks. We have more people to hear from, and the ability to get amplified and the speed of information getting to me as a consumer has grown such so much easier.

(05:16) It’s easier for me to know of what other people think of what products I might buy. It’s easier for me to know of what the general sentiment is about different brands.

(05:26)And when things go well, for me to get new ideas much more quickly, and when things go badly, it’s easier for me to know about reputational problems much more quickly. And so that combination of inside information for me as a consumer, and with the social proof and the idea that I understand in what I’m doing based on what customers are saying amongst each other. I think that combination is really pivotal today.

(05:55) So it’s an exciting time but also you know really dramatic in how big it’s gotten.

Michael:         

(06:01) So social is an amplifier in both for intensity positive or negative as well as speed and transmission of information.

Meg:   

(06:11) Exactly, so the arch is so much faster and the intensity is so much faster and that kind of ripple effect of information passing around becomes much greater. So yeah the combination of all of that makes the impact to business really interesting and really strategic.

Vala:   

(06:30) So how do you advice companies that academically or philosophically understand the importance of power and the social, but what forever reason they are hesitant to either invest in social technologies or to train their employees or actually get their executive to leverage social not just inside the business but also outside.

Meg:   

(06:52) It’s interestingly for what I do is very similar to the story of what we even tell our customers. So you know I think the early days when I started down this path there was a lot of, hey, helping people understand the business is important and it’s not just about millennials. It’s not just kids these days and it’s impacting the broader landscape.

(07:15) Today, that is less the case. I think we see this in the data, and I think we see this in real life and interactions with companies. The question of companies really needing to be social really is not coming up anymore and I think we understand this and we think about this.

(07:29) It is at a board level understanding so everybody really understands that. so the question is really today is, where is that and how is that impracticable for your customer journey. In other words, just spinning out social media group to respond on your social channels – it’s a great idea. Don’t get me wrong you should do that. but if that is your definition of success, you’re missing the opportunity to really serve your customer, because you’re just responding to your customer. You’re not actually bringing your customer into your business.

(07:59) So where we used to spend more times strategically helping businesses’ understand that if that voice of the customer can be heard and understood in a more structural way, you can do better things for your business.

(08:14) You can think about new products coming to market. You can think about how customers are responding to things on a regional basis, on a local basis.

(08:23) You can have the kind of interaction with customers which feels much more personalized because it’s much more direct and targeted. While simultaneously, being much more material to your business.

(08:36)  So again, where we see our customers interested and where we see them moving, is brining social throughout the business, throughout the lifecycle, throughout the channel.

(08:48) And of course that is more complicated, because now you are talking about how business works. You’re talking about organizational information about who is responsible for what and how they are measure in different roles in the company.

(09:01) So these are the places where we are seeing more social is and much more transformational and has a much bigger impact. It takes longer and has more of the socialization and more in the idea of where that fits in the overall story.

Michael:         

(09:13) So Meg, when you talk about it this way, it goes beyond just marketing, because I think many of us tend to think of social as another marketing channel and that’s it. you are talking of it in a much deeper way it seems.

Meg:   

(09:32) Yeah, and that’s where I like to think about it as customers centricity. Social is a path to understanding your customers, communicating with your customer and being in a relationship with your customer that is more meaningful to them.

(09:46) But it is more than that. if that is the only thing your measuring, if that’s the only thing that you care about, you are missing the opportunity to impact your business. It comes more strategic is if you start with customer centricity – who is your customer, what do they care about and how they want to interact with you.

(10:05) Of course that’s very important to do marketing and to do a marketing function well that’s where you start. That’s part of one on one on marketing. But marketing is not the only group that impacts with the customer and gets in touch with the customer.

(10:20) Service, PR, product development. I mean that’s where my heart and love is and if you don’t know what your customer likes or dislikes and needs to do their business, how are going to get them to build new products. So it becomes a much more structural end and better thing in just marketing.

(10:40) So again absolutely marketing but if you are only doing marketing you’re missing in which I’m talking about which is relationships with your customer, which services them throughout your life cycle, through to advocacy and an ongoing lifetime value of that customer relationship.

Vala:   

(10:57) How often do you see within your client ecosystem of IT being the champion of social adoption or is it still predominantly customer services and support and marketing. Do you see other lines of business more interested in how they can improve their listening and engagement and the customer centricity?

Meg:   

(11:18)  So I see everybody interested, but in the era of these cloud the roles shifting from those of us who have been in technology for a long time will know that technology used to be exclusively vetted and understood by IT, and then rolled out to the business, like here’s how you solve the problem and this is what you do.

(11:39) Today, it is much more a collaborative partnership with the business declining, you know what it is what they want to measure, what it is that they want to do, and IT helping facilitate how to do that in a structural way.

(11:52) And I do see that we are at the point with the cloud where – again, we have got the low hanging fruit, we have gotten the easy stuff and now to get the real impact on the real benefit for business, IT has to be part of that picture to really bring that value all the way through the organisation. And they are anxious to partner and again as you know, the skills that you need technology skills, long term project planning skills and you also need good data analysis skills so that you can get the broader insights from this and the long-term benefit.

(12:34) So IT is really bringing to the table that more than I think that we were able to do in the early days of digital transformation. In this particular space of social, I really think they are able to help bring that and make a long-term data story around understanding your customer and driving broad level change to the organization with that.

Michael:         

(12:57) Meg we have…

Vala:   

(12:57) So it’s not easy. Social isn’t easy.

Michael:         

(13:03) We have this image of the social as being let’s…

Vala:   

(13:07)…Have fun. So you just talked about analytical skills, technology skills, integration of systems, the ability we react to customers and partners who are smarter. So anybody who thinks it is a walk in the park…

Michael:         

(13:30) So let’s come back to this, because I have a feeling that as we talk this is going to be an important theme but we have several questions from Twitter. And we actually try to defer to Twitter because that’s our…

Meg:   

(13:46)We are trying to listen to our audience? That’s crazy talk!

Michael:         

(14:00) We are a customer centric show and we have good questions here. So our first question is from Stewart Aply , and Stewart asks how can you get social into the companies DNA? Social as you are describing it.

Meg:   

(14:14) So now you are talking about change management and change generally, and first and form almost I think you need to understand where your companies DNA is. So just like any other thing, start with understanding what you are working with and where you want to go. But broadly what I have seen work well is getting some successes on the board, building some advocacy internally, and then growing out from there.

(14:44) But the key is really defining some good and some smart successes upfront, such that you can build on that momentum. In other words, if you build on successes early on that nobody cares about the probability of other groups, thinking it doesn’t matter to them or anything to do with them is very low.

(15:04) So thinking smartly about where you start, thinking smartly about how where you engage with the different communities, and then working from there. Again, I think the point is not to get everyone social. The point is to drive business outcomes, and everybody can get behind that because that’s how we all get paid. It’s you know if you really want to let it out.

(15:25) So helping people understand and how to get the business outcome they need. Not just for the fun and pics and games, but for the real business results and then show where social helps give you a lift, and then it becomes much more about the result and less about trying to sell somebody on a new way of doing business.

Michael:         

(15:43) Fair enough. Let’s ask another question, and by the way I have to stop and ask Vala a question. Vala how do you treat with these images as we are talking? He’s like tweeting and inserting while the three of us are talking.

Vala:   

(16:01) This’s show and 90, so I’ve had lots of practice.

Michael:         

(16:07) I think I’ve been involved with these 90 shows to and I can’t do it.

Vala:   

(16:09) You’re asking for the coke formula. I’ll let you know later.

Meg:   

(16:13) Well I don’t think if anybody wants to set their bar is with trying to keep up with Vala on tweeting. At least for me as a bridge too far, so.

Michael:         

(16:22) Okay, he says we are asking for the coke formula, so we will definitely come back to that question. But we have a question also from Frank Scavo. You probably know Frank, he’s an analyst, and Frank is asking, how does this manifest inside Oracle? What is Oracle doing around those things?

Meg:   

(16:42) So as you probably know, Oracle we use a lot of our products internally. We use them often at times before they are even available to the general public. So we really do have some good momentum.

(1:58) We are too similar to organizations where Oracle is a very large place with a lot of very different lines of business, so I think that you will find groups like mine that are building a social products and are spending a lot more time sharing things in a social way. So I think we let each group defined in what works for them and helps strife their business forward.

(17:19) Then of course the marketing group and the PR group does use our tools to sort of monitor and manage. And then I think that you guys got to see that we did our and used our social intelligence center at Open World to monitor the show and visualize that and things that we do on a regular basis as well, which is fun for me because you get to see your product in a really big beautiful space, showing really great insights from smart people like yourself so we get the best of all worlds here.

Vala:   

(17:50) Is there a difference between the social software and collaboration or are they one and similar.

Meg:   

(17:56) I think that collaboration software is kind of social software, but it is not the only thing. So I would look at it as and the way that we looked at it from a product portfolio is that our internal collaboration tools at Oracle social network is used for purpose based collaboration amongst teams inside and outside the organisation. And it is tied very closely to the business transactions that we serve with our enterprise portfolio.

(18:26) So you could be collaborating around a sales lead. You could be collaborating around a performance review. These are sort of known fantastic ideas around where collaboration comes in transactions. But in the case of social platform, we also have additional tools that we have spoken about to do external collaboration. Not just on a point-to-point, but on the public social media sites.

(18:49) So if you are doing social marketing outbound inclusive of building things like custom audiences for targeted region advertising with your social outreach. And then being able to get insights on the public where, and also get insights on internal data sources that can tell you what are some key themes, what are some key topics, what is the overall sentiment.

(19:15) And in within those what are the different groupings of conversations that matter for the different groups. So there is going to be a group of different discussions happening on say on twitter, that may be about product innovation, and then that you want to send to a different group and then the ones that are are about customer satisfaction issues or maybe if something isn’t working, versus the ones that are, hey I’m your brand and everybody go and team, right.

(19:42) All of those have different purposes, but the team technology underneath can help you try that insight. So from the technology side it’s about understanding and structured data, very quickly and very smartly and to be able to drive results and actions out of that. Some of that can be collaboration, and some of that can be response management if necessary. So that can be, hey, we need to build a plan around this.

Vala:   

(20:08) So is this social operation center, or is this a community manager or a data scientist…

Meg:   

(20:15) That is a fantastic question and the answer is all of the above, and I think that is where we see the transition happening in our business. So absolutely community managers use our tools to respond on twitter, on Google plus, on Facebook etc. so that is a very strong persona that we think about. But our tools also provide you know, for business insights and data analytics or complex large scale data input.

(20:43) The people that look at that, and that could be business planning, that could be PR, that could be marketing, that could be customer service. You know, when you want to look at the aggregate and really understand. So there is multiple persona that interact with our software and my theory, my understanding, and my prediction is that the number of personas is going to grow exponentially because the tools that we are talking about has relevance in those terms of contexts.

(21:07) is We happened to be minding them for marketing purposes because that is what the market understands and is ready to use. But the technology behind them have a tremendous amount of equitability and is just now starting to become a lot for business.

(21:23) So I think that where we come from here is that the idea of taking large-scale data understanding, and bringing that and driving insights from that is going to become very interesting and be used across of a lot of different functions.

Michael:         

(21:40) So Meg, collaboration is not something that is new in business and so what changes – what does social and collaboration software change in terms of the interaction and driving business results, why is it important?

Meg:   

(22:00) I agree. I don’t think we are talking about a new thing from the human side. But what we are talking about again is scale and reach. So you know the idea of that, to get work done and you may have to get along with others, and you may have to work with others, and you may have multiple roles in interacting and that’s not a new idea.

(22:23)As technology has improved it has gotten easier. It has gotten easier for to identify you know, who are the right people and it has gotten easier to make that interaction real time, like the idea of what we are doing here and going out to have a good conversation, that is new and interesting. But not really a new idea issue get right down to it. What’s interesting is how many people can is how many people can be part of it with us.

(22:53) The same is true for collaboration software. It is a an amplification opportunity for something that we’ve always done. And then where I think it gets smart and interesting is that when you can help embed that into places where people are ready to do business, it is very similar to. It is not new, right in having apps that are already available, having phones that are already available, and having music that was already available, and watching movies which were already available. Putting them altogether made travelling life a lot easier and adding a video and camera and you know, those are all just things that started making it easier.

(23:30) And the combination and it became something bigger than it was at one time, even although we had all of the component parts. So I think that’s what we are talking about here with collaboration and social technology, is we started with all of the component parts. We started bringing all of the component parts together, we started putting them in with things that we were already doing. And now we are at the point where we can start imagining different things as outcomes as a result of those building blocks finally getting mature enough and getting available, and getting all of the right people involved to become bigger than they were on their own.

Vala:   

(24:09) Do you have a sense when we think about going from listening to monitoring, to engaging, and then ultimately reporting. If you think of those as phases, where are we in terms of the majority of folks, are they in the engaging part and do you see a lot of clients using the reporting to change their for example their roadmaps or how they service and support a customer. Where are we in that for stages of maturity let’s say.

Meg:   

(24:41) I see that we are and similarly moving in the right direction. I don’t think I talk to any prospect or customer that isn’t doing something already today. So this isn’t about convincing people to ever doing something that they haven’t done before. It isn’t about convincing people to think about this more structurally.

(25:03) in a lot of the times most companies have done some experimentation and have a pretty good sense of where they are ready to go next. Whether that is going global, or whether that is going departmental or whether that is going in multiple lines of business. Companies are coming to us already and we are aware of that.

(25:24) And where we are seeing bright lights and interesting stories, but not necessarily consistency yet, is the tools to act after you gather the insights. So everybody is interested in looking at the inside, and everybody is responding to customers and doing their best with the idea of customer services. Some are better than others, but generally everyone knows that it’s true and it’s part of that life today.

(25:50) Where we are seeing bright lights is in the case of like General Motors where they see feedback about their cars and they give that feedback and immediately and actually fix them on the line. That is what we are seeing as great proof points, but not subsequently is doing that.

(26:09) A lot of times is seeing is still in the marketing department, and they are not sure who to give that insight to or they might give it give it blasé or generally but not with an action plan built into their organisation to say, hey how do we respond when things are emerging on social media that aren’t just a crisis, but are actually really important to address.

(26:32) So I think if it is a brand crisis, people kind of know that we have got to do something. But if they are, hey is a lot of people are bringing the same issue up over and over again, maybe we need to think about how do we fix it structurally in at the plant, at the design level, at the delivery side. Of the operational side of the business, I think that is where I see bright lights and I think we are absolutely going to get better at this. We are going to get better at helping every part of the business, to enable the customer to do their part better.

Michael:         

(27:04) So we hear often the phrase of systems of engagement, so that’s what you are talking about, having social imbedded in the context of how people are working across different parts of the company.

Meg:   

(27:17) Correct. I think the systems of record, the systems of engagement; I’m totally a big fan of that. I think it gives a lot of content and customer experience and applications software is changing. I would add to that though the data underneath it, we are just now getting smart about that and I fully expect we are going to get way smarter over time.

(27:42) Again, we are getting insights out of data. We’re getting insights about broad themes, but we’re also getting insights about individual customers. We are also getting better at knowing how to target and as you guys know that when you look for something for somebody for Christmas, you abandon the cart and nothing follows you everywhere on the web.

(28:02) So we know we’re getting closer, right. It’s not just randomly spamming me with stuff and saying, hey, you’re an old lady and maybe you want something that women of your age want. There now saying, I think you like these shoes, maybe you should look at these shoes.

(28:16) What they’re not saying is you already bought them somewhere else, so maybe I’ll show you some other kind of shoes right. They are still following me around with the same things that said, maybe I chose not to get, or I gave up on or already purchased somewhere else.

(28:31) We have room and then more broadly, how do I get the system to be not creepy but more understanding of me, how to serve me better, so it’s not just selling me something but it is actually building a relationship with me.

(28:47) Everybody is interested in this, we going to get better, we’re going to keep getting stronger because we’re getting better handle on the data and I just really have to say systems of engagement, systems of record, they’re all critical pieces, but that data foundation layer watch that space.

Vala:   

(29:06) We had a Chief Digital Officer who said, you’re not surfing the internet, the internet is surfing you. And I guess you would be Michael, strong correlation engines to be able to once you identify a target persona, assuming you have done your market segmentation, your account segmentation, your buyer segmentation, whereby you’re not recommending the same shoe, but you do know it’s a female buyer who likes to buy high hell and there’s a comparable price promotion that they may want.

(29:40) But to have that level of sophistication, integrated with social because when I think about marketing automation and being able to use social analytics to lead nurture your contact and then feed that to someone like inside sales so they can action that sentiment you just received. Do you see the customers not only investing in the social and making sure the marketing automation and the CRM integration points are all there for that magical moment where you are actually creating value to a customer?

Meg:   

(30:12) Absolutely, I would say that people are absolutely investing in this area. They know that there is multiple places that they can enter to get to this bigger solution but without a doubt people are thinking about it, and I would add it’s not just about popping up ads to show me other shoes. Although again – a big fan of shoes so let’s make sure that’s fair.

(30:33) It’s also about giving the content that relates to things that I care about. It’s also about you know, have that broader relationship of sharing ideas and other things. So if everything that we think about in social and building and engaging a relationship with your customer.

And everything that we’ve always thought about depending on our business, whether it’s B2B or B2C with advertising and everything that we’ve always thought about with delivery and coming together and leaving that voice of the customer being the foundation. And the voice of the customer as represented in data to help you drive more interesting business analysis, what’s working, what’s not working. Who are they, where are they.

(31:32) And remember the lifespan of the data is changing as well, in the days where we started with enterprise software, the whole systems of record, the lifespan of your order or whatever that very sort of known and manageable thing. But the lifespan of your cookie, that’s what you browse on this week, a very different thing. And everything in between it there is part of understanding who, you know, what your digital identity is and how to interact with you. Again, in a non-creepy, value added way and we’re going to get there.

Michael:         

(31:56) So in a way, the way that you’re talking about it, social is like the big superset of what CRM kind of want to be. When CRM goes to bed at night and dreams of grandeur, in a way you are describing what CRM is dreaming of.

Meg:   

(32:17) I like to think about is social is the realization of what CRM has always wanted to do. Social is the way if that channel that makes possible what has always been the intent from the beginning of time. You wanted to know more, well guess what, people are telling you more. You wanted to do a better job, well guess what. you have the opportunity to do the better job that you ever have.

(32:40) You wanted to be authentic and have a relationship. Well guess what, you can do that. what you’re giving up is it’s not all about you anymore right. So that’s changed right, that’s the core will be started which is the customer’s power has changed and it’s shifted and it’s a fantastic thing and it’s something that you always wanted but it is somewhat you know, different than may be what you would have imagined it when you started damn the path of CRM and managing your customer relationships you know.

Vala:   

(33:19) As we talk about social, which is an element of digital and companies going through digital transformation and adopting mobile, social and every company will have an app and certainly data matters. What are some obstacles that companies will see and advice in how you will overcome? I’m assuming that culture of people process and all of those fundamentals achieve to success, but are there any other obstacles specific to digital transformation?

Meg:   

(33:46) I would hit a little bit more deeply on the culture thing, because I do think it’s not just the obvious stuff that you think about as culture. It’s actually about measurement and definition of business function. It really is about organizational structure. What are you in charge of and how do you do it and the thing about digital it starts to merge all of these things.

(34:09) We now that the marketing relationship used to be this big and now it’s this big, right. We know, that the service relationship it used to be this and now it’s this, so it’s true that these things are starting to overlap that much more. So actually, it gets back to our collaboration story at the beginning and now I’m not talking about is tool. I’m talking about a human interaction of who is responsible for what, how do we work together to drive an outcome.

(34:37) And I think what works the best is again, when you can tie it to the key business metrics that you are already tracking in your business plan. It is a very strategic to business discussion about who are we as a company, how do we serve our customer, and what do we measure to do it. And if you can get that really tight it becomes much easier for teams to interact because if your measurement is about customer retention, then you can think about how does everything you do to manifest itself with customer retention.

(35:10) It’s customer acquisition you know, how does that work etc. so really thinking about your metrics and really thinking about how you help define success across groups, I think is actually the keys to where people are seeing success and seeing retention.

(35:26) I think that’s going to get bigger and it’s going to be more obvious and we are going to get better at it because you know, companies that get good and high functioning at remembering the plot and not just thinking about their area and what metrics they were measured on in the past and will do the best job.

Michael:         

(35:48) So Meg, you’re talking about measurements and metrics and having clarity around what you are trying to achieve. Let’s use that to talk about this digital transformation buzzword, because digital transformation is kind of the broader business expression of a lot of the things that you were just talking about. So what are your thoughts on that and maybe let’s talk about this topic.

Meg:   

(36:20) I love the way you said that and I think it’s exactly right, it is how companies grappled with this idea. The idea that there is a whole bunch of new stuff, and how do we as a company me that new stuff strategic to our business plan and our business story.

(36:40) I think again a lot depends on your industry, your competition, and your landscape. So again, I would go back to your B school stuff saying, what is your customer, what is your competition, how do you serve your market? Because you know, if you are a soft drink manufacturer as a very different story, if you are automotive, building toys, or clothing or you know, parts inside of other things.

(37:10) You know, where your business lies is the key to everything. And then after that, you know the customer journey mapping and what journeys are your customers taking and how does that play out. All of those things need to be really well understood and agreed upon. And then the next step is, where does digital play in all of this.

(37:34) Again, you know if you can sell your stuff through e-commerce, digital is kind of end to end. If you are selling your stuff through B2B with sales people, then well you have a different sort of surround kind of salesforce automation story with your set of technologies and tools.

(37:55) But again, if you are thinking about digital and you are not thinking about how it goes across your data platform and what your strategy is there. You are not really thinking about digital either thinking about e-commerce, or marketing automation or you know however you are defining it in your company.

(38:12) But like the way that businesses are thinking about and talking about digital transformation, because it does imply that the transformation is happening inside the business and not just out. And I do think that we are really in the second generation of this, because e-commerce started for us. A lot of companies was like, is my storefront happening to go away or not. These are not new questions, they are just getting more interesting because of the tools and the capabilities and the participation is growing so rapidly.

(38:46) But again, I think starting with your classic B school. What is your business, who is your competition, who is your customer, and how do they want to interact with you really is the start. And then what where is digital in that story and with social in that story. It is a lot of strategy work actually.

Vala:   

(39:06) You focus on disruptive technology and in future technology, how closely do you and your team work with enterprise start-ups.

Meg:   

(39:15) We do a little. I would say that first up I remember my teams were start-ups and my products came through acquisitions, so that has been a really nice for us. And then of course you know, myself in general I consider what we are doing as being a start-up inside of Oracle, so we are sort of an internal well-funded start-up because we know that we are part of a bigger piece inside here at Oracle.

(39:49) But within our oracle cloud, it is becoming much more interesting about the overall marketplace and the ecosystem what’s available in our solution space. So a big change that I think that has happened here at Oracle is our shift from – you know when we had to deliver products from on premise, it was a lot harder to say we will just plug-in with anything because by the time it got to a customer site, the version they were on, the number of things that they would plug into and the ability to make that a good customer experience was hard.

(40:23) So we always did it and we made sure that IT had a big piece of that and all of the systems integration work and all of that. Now, we are cloud delivery and you know, from a technology delivery point of view, it is so special and so nice in this world in which we are in today.

(40:41) Because not only can we give innovation to our customers easier, but the integration frameworks and platforms have just gotten so much better. I mean I really have to say that place used to be much much harder.

(40:55) And so the idea of these marketplaces, the independent software that work with our cloud solution and that works with other companies, or it could be our hosting on our cloud. And all of these things make for a more rich and interesting technology picture.

(41:13)But again, it really supports and what the customer is trying to do, which has a reliable backbone, a known set of data and the ability to plug in and innovation, even internally built. They could build on our platform inside an IT organisation for the company, and still bring that into our cloud.

(41:34)So I think there has never been a better time to be innovative and to be building new products because all of the big players are ready to work with all of the little players and the customer really benefits.So, from a technology provider point of view it’s a pretty good deal I would say.

Michael:         

(41:54) So we have just if you minutes left Meg, so we want to ask your advice. How can organizations ‘become social’? You touched on this a little bit earlier, but may be..

Meg:   

(42:11) First and foremost I would say be true to the culture of your organisation. Be true to your identity, but think about how transparency and the value of the global voice can be part of what you are.

(42:31) So I feel like a lot of the times that people think, well you know I have to do like share everything. No, if that is not your corporate culture I don’t actually think that is going to work. People are going to find that off-putting.

(42:43) If it is your corporate culture, you should be able to use the kind of patterns that have been laid out there. But I think the benefit for all companies by getting your employers more engaged, getting your ecosystem more engaged, getting your customers more engaged as part of your business plan. It gives you a competitive edge that you really don’t want to miss out on.

(43:07) So first and foremost, do it in a way that is going to work for your business because if you are just going through the motions everyone is going to know and that’s not going to work.

(43:15) Secondarily, think about where within your personal corporate culture can collaboration and sharing of information and working together gives you the biggest benefit. And then think about what does that mean for your business plan, and where does that play in driving business results.

Michael:         

(43:40) And we can’t leave without talking about women in technology.

Vala:   

(43:45) That is a fantastic topic. So could you share your thoughts on that? That could be 45 minutes by the way. And you know getting to the last minute and bringing up such an important topic.

Meg:   

(43:58) I’m not sure why you would think I would be interested in talking about women in technology guys, I can’t even imagine that. So yes, I am a mother of two girls, and I have been in tech for a long time. And first of all I think tech is a fantastic place for women you know; I think there is great opportunity.

(44:17) We need more women in the age of digital and the age of social even more because we know that social leans feminine, and we know that the idea of collaboration is having multiple points of view is important. So you know, over 50% of the population, I think we should be participating in this important shift in the world.

(44:45) So if people are thinking about how they can be involved and they aren’t sure that technology is for women. First and foremost I would say called me because absolutely you should be here. And secondarily later, I feel very strongly that this is ebb and flow in how women can become part of the start-up’s theme and help women can be part of the venture theme, and how women become part of the board and these are great conversations.

(45:11) We have a lot of room to grow, and the conversations are happening so be part of it. I could talk to you on any entire show on that, but I’m very passionate about it and I think that women need to be in tech, tech needs women and so definitely don’t give up it’s important.

Vala:   

(45:31) Well you have written wonderful blogs on this very topic, so I suggest that our audience definitely reads your blog is because you very passionately and very empathetically articulate the importance. As the father of two daughters, 12 and eight, I’m certainly trying to encourage them. Awesome, thank you very much. Michael, a great topic to end the show.

Michael:         

(46:04) Yeah and we have been thrilled and honored to have Meg Bear, who is group vice president of the Oracle social cloud joining us today on CXOTalk. And I hope you will come back again Meg and join us another time.

Meg:   

(46:22) I would love to, thank you.

Michael:         

(46:25) These conversations go by it too quickly.

Vala:   

(46:26) That was an incredibly fast 45 minutes we could have talked just on that last topic for 45.

Michael:         

(46:32) That is for sure, we underserved that last topic. And I hope everybody will join us next week when we will be having as our guest the chief marketing officer, of Schneider Electric which is a huge company, Chris Hummel. And thank you for watching and once again thank you to Meg Bear. And Vala, as always. Meg, at one point they set up a fist bump cam, but now there is no fist bump cam so I’m not sure. Well this sends another episode, episode number 90 of CXOTalk, and I hope you will come back and I hope everybody has a great weekend. Bye Bye.

 

List of companies mentioned:

Oracle:                                    www.oracle.com

General Motors:                    www.gm.com