Words of Wisdom with Oracle Legend: Grant Ronald

Welcome back to another week of “Words of Wisdom”, where we are reconnecting with our community’s leading industry experts to see what they’re up to, any advice they have for the community and how COVID-19 has personally and professionally impacted them. With the end of 2020 approaching and events going virtual, we felt that this was the perfect time to check in with our favorite conference buddy Grant Ronald of Oracle.


Following on from our last expert blog, “Words of Wisdom” interview with Oracle ACE Opal Alapat, this week we’ll be talking to: Grant Ronald, Director of Product Management for Oracle Digital Assistant. Always so professional, we have loved our time working with such an Oracle legend from way back when he was the Oracle Forms product manager. He was actually one of the first people who believed in our solution when we introduced AuraPlayer to him way back in 2008 and we thank him for that.


Here we have a throwback video of Grant from his Oracle Mobile Product Manager days, explaining the synergy between Oracle Mobile and AuraPlayer and  how you can leverage your existing systems while transforming your applications for the digital world, check it out: 

Since mobile is so 2019, we are now working with Grant Ronald to enable Oracle Digital Assistant on top of Oracle Forms and EBS applications. 


Oracle Open World 2016: Rogers Group Inc. & AuraPlayer CEO Mia Urman with Grant Ronald, presenting their Oracle Mobile/AuraPlayer success story. Check out the full story here.

Oracle Digital Assistant – What’s It All About?


Before diving into Grants interview, we wanted to give you all a basic background about Oracle Digital Assistant so you’ll understand what all the excitement is about.


Oracle Digital assistant is a conversational interface for cloud and on-premise applications that can be deployed on multiple channels. So in real people language, it’s a way to easily create chat applications to interact with your system end-users.


You can find out more about our Digital Assistant customer success story here


Dyan Ganepola of MTA, Grant Ronald and Mia Urman celebrating an amazing session at Oracle Open World. Check out their amazing customer success story here.

Now For The Main Event: Our Q&A with Grant Ronald


Q: What is your name?


GR: Grant Ronald


Q: Who do you work for?


GR: Oracle. I run a product management team for Oracle Digital Assistant – which allows you to build automated conversational interfaces.


Q: In brief, What do you do from 9-5?


GR: Well by 9am I’m on my second coffee and by 5pm it just starts to get busy as HQ comes on line! 😉 Joking aside, we work hard but it’s the best job. 


For a big part of the working day I’m working on ideas, articles and presentations to make it easier for people to be successful with Oracle Digital Assistant. These might be used in training our internal and external customers, it might be best practices or just some really cool real-world tips. Now, the only way we get the experience to build this material is “hands-on-expertise” in our product. 


For the rest of the day I’m playing with up and coming features, logging bugs and enhancement requests and answering questions on help lists. We also spend a lot of time supporting customer implementations – so we might be helping a customer on a critical go-live, or performing a review of their digital assistant, or even showing them how to get the most out of the product. Basically, as a Product Manager I’m responsible for our users being technically successful with the product.


I’m also lucky that Oracle supports me getting out and about, talking about my product and meeting customers as well – so I support many of the user groups, meetups and developer conferences.


Q: What is the most exciting thing happening in your field right now?


GR: If you look at any sci-fi, how are people communicating with computers? With natural language. Imagine the ability to communicate with a business through natural language in the same way you would if you had a dedicated human expert who could help you. To me, that is without a doubt the coolest thing I’ve worked on in 30 years of IT.


Q: What advice would you give customers ?


GR: Think out the box – don’t be constrained by the way you’ve always done things – and remember, there is a whole generation of new users who have grown up with speaking to devices. Open your mind! That said, I’m always a pragmatist: “start small, think big” is my mantra.


Q: What are the top 3 resources you use to do your job and succeed (oracle blog? LinkedIn? YouTube channel?)


GR: For Oracle Digital Assistant we’ve no shortage of resources, in some ways, we’ve got too much!  So what we do is we catalogue all our material in one place – it’s the one stop shop for everything about ODA – so we only need one resource. 😉


Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your team? 


GR: Definitely less travel and more zoom calls, but the major change is that as a result of the pandemic we’ve seen a spike in demand for digital solutions, which helps scale businesses, specifically around call centers. Think of the surge in online ordering plus trying to get official information from schools, governments, health services etc etc – conversational assistants have been one of the solutions requested.


Joe Huang and Grant Ronald – Oracle Digital Assistant Product Managers, having some fun with Mia Urman at Oracle Open World 2016.


Looking to the Future 


It has been a year of highs and lows, transitions and changes. We’ve all been impacted on both a personal and professional level, whether it’s working from home and juggling the work/life balance or tweaking products and trying to bring the most value to customers in this challenging time. 


We’ve definitely missed connecting in person with our Oracle Forms and Oracle EBS community and industry leaders at conferences and look forward to doing this on the virtual platforms. Be sure to look out for our upcoming events, where our CEO Mia Urman will be presenting: 

  • NCOATUG Fall Training Day: Stories from the Trenches: How We Used Digital Assistants to Kickstart Our Back-Office Transformation. Friday, October 9th: 1:45 PM – 2:30 PM CDT
  • Spanish Oracle User Group Conference: What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Why You Should Care? Tuesday, October 20th. 
  • ECO Conference 2020: In Deep With Oracle Digital Assistant: Beyond The Hype. Tuesday, November 3rd, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM EST


As always, we’d love to connect and help out our Oracle Forms and Oracle EBS community members, so feel free to reach out to us today. 

Words of Wisdom with Oracle Legend: Grant Ronald
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Words of Wisdom with Oracle Legend: Grant Ronald

Welcome back to another week of “Words of Wisdom”, where we are reconnecting with our community’s leading industry experts to see what they’re up to, any advice they have for the community and how COVID-19 has

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David Buch
Senior Products Manager

David, our Senior Products Manager, is a highly experienced professional specializing in product definition, innovations, and development, with broad customer understanding, and skillful people management. He has over 20 years of R&D work experience, and continues to excel in his expertise. When he is not working, David enjoys spending his time as a professional tuba player joining symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles.

Elizabeth Pearl
Relationship Manager

Before joining AuraPlayer, Elizabeth completed a Masters degree in Education and worked as a teacher. Elizabeth’s role as Customer Relationship Manager combines both her passion for technology and her deep desire to educate  others. On a daily basis, Elizabeth takes the valuable insights she gained as a teacher and uses them to rise within the world of tech. She uses her skills of active listening, organization, preparation, and clear communication to enhance the wonderful relationships she has with both coworkers and customers.


Elizabeth is originally from the United States but currently resides in England. In her spare time, she loves exercising, spending time with her family and friends, and playing volleyball.

Nathalie Wasserman
CFO & Operations Manager

Natalie is proud to be AuraPlayer’s Operations and Chief Financial Officer. She takes pride in her work, and loves being a part of the AuraPlayer family. Prior to working at AuraPlayer, Nathalie worked at various companies as an accountant. She attended the University College London (UCL), where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in economics and business. She then went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Political Economies in Eastern Europe. 

Gwen Edwards
VP Business Development

An expert in helping businesses seize their potential and grow, Gwen is committed to take AuraPlayer to the next level. With over 30 years of experience in the high technology sector and working with Fortune 500 companies, she works as an advisor for growing businesses to help enhance their value and reach their business objectives. She’s a dynamic member of our team, leveraging her sales and marketing, and P&L experience to our current and future product suite.

Gwen also serves on a several private company boards in Silicon Valley, and is an active member of the angel investment network, Golden Seeds.

Yossi Nakash
CTO & Co-Founder

A true developer, Yossi has been developing and coding in Java / J2EE, C++, .Net, and C# for over 20 years, focusing mainly on the RD side of things. Entering the Oracle World about 10 years ago, Yossi immersed himself in the world of Oracle SOA, Weblogic, EBS and EBS Mobile, as well as the Java side of things.

Prior to joining Mia to found AuraPlayer, Yossi held the role of RD team leader at RadView and was a Java developer at Motorola.