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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