We’re delighted to announce we have completed certification on Oracle’s latest update of our Cloud Applications – 22B.

Oracle customer’s will now be either running 22A or 22B in their applications environments, and can use Rapid4Cloud in either to simplify their essential configuration and data management tasks.

Don’t forget that Rapid4Cloud also supports Oracle releases back to 21A. Contact us today for more information!

Since the industrial revolution in the mid 18th century, automation technology has been deployed to do the work of humans.

 

As mechanisation and automation technologies have been developed, they have changed the landscape of employment.  Jobs have steadily moved from agriculture to manufacturing and more latterly, to services (also known as primary, secondary and tertiary sectors).  In doing so, far from being a threat to our livelihoods, automation has enabled large scale job-creation and diversification.

 

If robots are performing tasks that humans would otherwise do, it’s reasonable to ask therefore – are the digital bots of today threatening my job?

 

Let’s look to the lessons of history to answer that.

 

The beginning of automation

The 1st industrial revolution was the age of steam.  The mechanisation of agriculture and manufacturing was the order of the day.  Automation back then came in the form of machines like the Power Loom or the Spinning Jenny which, at the peak of its development, could perform the role of up to 120 factory workers.

 

Whilst this might appear to be detrimental to the labor market, it made manufactured goods cheaper and therefore in greater demand, and this in turn created a requirement for more factory workers – albeit in different roles.  It also (pun intended) fueled the need to deliver vast quantities of energy and raw materials to feed the factories, as well as food and clothing to provide for an ever growing and longer living, healthier population.

 

Production of coal, water, iron, wool, cotton, and the transportation of such goods via railways, canals and shipping, grew on a massive scale and accordingly these industries employed more and more people.

 

It also spawned a golden age of invention.  The number of new patents registered in the UK and Ireland grew from 8 in 1750 to 793 in 1850.  Out of interest, in 2020 this number was 3.2 million 1.

 

As the demand for manufactured goods grew massively, so was spawned a huge wave of invention and thus, an even greater need for manufacturing workers – a repeating cycle to this day.

 

So, far from having a negative effect on the labor market, the industrial revolution created employment, and diversity of employment, on a huge scale.  Not that it was in any way a golden age for the workers.  The advent of the philanthropist factory owners like Cadbury, Lever and Salt2, and the need for new legislation to protect workers, were a response to how tough conditions had become.

 

The growth and value of the cotton export trade from the southern states of America, and the dependence on slave labor to meet this demand, was one of the key causes of the American Civil War.  An automation invention, the Cotton Gin, made cotton a far more profitable and scalable crop and thus fuelled the need for slaves3.  Lest we forget.

 

Automation 2.0

Fast forward to the mid 19th century, and we enter the 2nd industrial revolution.  A proliferation of inventions based around new technologies such as the automobile, chemicals, rubber, electricity, and the telegraph, prompt another wave of industrialisation.  Electricity begins to take over from steam, and the next notable automation technology is developed – the production line.  It’s a huge leap forward in the volume of production and once again, far from being a threat to jobs, it makes manufactured goods more affordable and therefore increases demand and accordingly a huge surge in employment to meet that demand.

 

The Rise of the Computer

The 3rd industrial revolution in the latter half of the 20th century was the computer age.  Electronics, telecommunications, microchips and now robots performing more complex tasks, using logic, and making decisions.  It was a challenging era of change for assembly workers, and yet saw tremendous job growth in new fields of discovery such as life sciences, information technology, food and household products, and increasingly, professional services.

 

The Internet Age

This brings us to current times, in what some call the 4th industrial revolution, 4IR, or Industry 4.0.  It is the digital revolution, the internet age.  In the western world, the service economy has now significantly overtaken the manufacturing economy as a contributor to GDP 4.  We have seen an explosion in job creation as new models for customer sales, service and process integration are created to respond to the ever more complicated demands from consumers, customers and trading partners.  “as a Service” is a defining phrase of our time.

 

This growth in complexity must be reflected in enterprise software.  ERP, HCM, SCM and CRM systems must be able to deliver these new business processes to enable modern business models.  This leads to ever more complex implementations and, necessity being the mother of invention, innovation in the ways to handle this complexity.

 

Today’s robots are reflecting the technological innovations of the time.  They have diversified to become digital and available as a service, automating previously untouched processes in the tertiary sector.  We now call them “bots” – partly to reflect modern language’s desire to abbreviate, but also perhaps to differentiate from the shiny, tangible, mechanical robots of the factory floor or in sci-fi movies.  Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is the automation technology of our age, and the opportunities it presents to businesses and individuals are considerable.

 

As an automation software provider, we at Rapid4Cloud are seldom met with a shrug of the shoulders when we present our solution.  We find we are either greeted with considerable enthusiasm, or with pitchforks!  There is still a perceived threat to our livelihoods from automation, but I hope I’ve shown that the lessons of the past should reassure us that we need not worry.  One of my business partners made a great point to me recently on this topic.  He pointed out how ironic it was that IT professionals were resistant to embracing new technology.

 

It is often mistakenly thought that the Luddites of the 18th century were anti-machine, anti-automation.  In fact they were machine users, artisans who took pride in the quality of their work and were protesting at factory owners who put profits ahead of product quality and working conditions5.

 

Regardless of the age we are in, the fears are real to those who feel them.  I hope this blog can offer at least a little comfort that they need not worry.

 

By Philip Martin

Founder & CEO

 

  1. https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/number-of-patents-through-the-industrial-revolution
  2. https://www.ft.com/content/3a0856c6-e1d5-11dd-afa0-0000779fd2ac
  3. https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/the-cotton-gin-a-game-changing-social-and-economic-invention
  4. https://blogs.worldbank.org/voices/your-service-developing-economies-bet-service-industries-growth
  5. https://www.wcml.org.uk/our-collections/protest-politics-and-campaigning-for-change/luddites/

We have had our most successful half year ever here at Rapid4Cloud, and I want to personally thank our customers for the trust they place in us daily to help them implement and manage their Oracle ERP and HCM systems.

 

We have more customers running more jobs and getting more benefit than ever before.

 

We are trusted by:

  • one of the largest retailers in the UK
  • one of the top Construction companies in the US
  • the leading Supply Chain/Logistics company globally
  • the world’s most respected IGO
  • one of the world’s foremost safety and security companies
  • the UK’s most respected Asset Management company
  • Japan’s most trusted global banking provider
  • 4 of the top 6 Oracle implementation partners in the Gartner Leaders quadrant for 2022

 

We look forward to welcoming more customers to this prestigious group and look forward to further helping grow the Oracle eco-system.

 

Request a 14-day free trial today to see the benefits for yourself.

 

Philip Martin

Founder and CEO

Rapid4Cloud

Shortly after 5pm on the evening of 28 December 1978, United Airlines Flight 173 began its descent to Portland International Airport.

 

What followed was tragic and entirely avoidable, and led to a revolution in error-handling in the aviation industry.

 

As the flight was descending, and the landing gear was lowered, the crew felt a strange vibration and yaw.  A lack of an indicator light led the crew to conclude that the landing gear had not properly deployed.  They then proceeded to spend the next hour in a holding pattern trying to diagnose the issue – was it instrumentation failure or a gear failure?  Visual checks by the control tower and the flight crew confirmed that the gear was deployed.

 

The captain was unconvinced.

 

In fact, they spent so long focused on this one issue that they created another – a shortage of fuel.  They ran out completely just over an hour after their first approach and crash landed in a wooded suburban area 6 miles short of the airport, with the loss of 10 lives.  Later it was confirmed that the landing gear had been down and locked correctly from the beginning.

 

It’s a difficult read, as it seems obvious to the casual observer what could and should have been done differently.

 

The lessons from this event are a reminder that humans are fallible and therefore mistakes are inevitable.  When mistakes do happen, our instinctive human response is not always borne out of common sense.  Work or home pressure, emotion, arcane work practices, deference to rank or status – these things can obscure or inhibit good decision-making.

 

The lessons from this tragedy are universal.  There is a fantastic essay by Ian Leslie which tells the story in more detail, and how this incident subsequently changed operating theatre procedure in the UK National Health Service.  It’s a profound lesson in learning from our mistakes and a most worthy 10-minute read.

 

You can find it here.  https://www.newstatesman.com/uncategorized/2014/06/how-mistakes-can-save-lives

 

Here at Rapid4Cloud we have procedures in place to continuously improve our operations.  Reflecting on the lessons from Flight 173, we have processes and controls to address quality and how we respond to issues, and we have a flat structure in which everyone feels empowered and safe to question and challenge.

 

We know we can’t eradicate all errors, but we can try, and our team spends a large amount of their time trying to prevent errors from happening at all.  These errors come from various sources:

  • errors in our code. This is down to quality control.
  • errors inadvertently performed by users. These come from bad product design, insufficient or inadequate training/procedure or simply human error caused by any number of reasons – tiredness, stress etc.
  • errors in processing because of poor data.  Nearly all the errors we see fall into this category.

It’s one of those never-ending journeys – software is never bug free, users will always find holes in your design, and bad data…well, I’m afraid that’s up there with death and taxes as one of life’s certainties.

 

Our automation software exactly replicates what a user should do in front of an Oracle screen.  If our software encounters a problem entering data it captures a screenshot from Oracle, with the exact error message a consultant would see if they entered the data manually, and puts it into an error log.  This becomes the checklist for the consultant.  It guides them to each configuration and data error.

 

It was on this theme that I was speaking with one of our business partner’s consultants last week.  He said something which surprised me.  He said he loved getting error logs.

 

This caught me out.

 

It was not a view that had been expressed to me before.  We typically see error logs as a sign of failure – “What went wrong and why?”.  For this consultant they were a sign of achievement.  He had just successfully (and quickly) found a problem and knew exactly what and where it was.  To him, the error logs were like a satnav that took him straight to configuration and data issues and enabled him to fix them efficiently and effectively.  Now there’s an attitude I can embrace!

 

We can mitigate human-error with processes and checklists (this was the primary lesson from Flight 173), and we can eliminate human error with systems and automation.  Ideally, you have both.  Not that systems are infallible (again, software is never bug free) but they are measurably and significantly more accurate than humans.

 

So given that errors are unavoidable, it is better to find and diagnose them as soon as possible and fix the cause.

 

One of the many benefits of Robotic Process Automation, the engine that powers Rapid4Cloud software, is that it is dispassionate.  It is free from the bias that distorts human decision making, and it simultaneously eliminates and exposes human error in processes.  This makes problem resolution very quick and easy – and it’s what our consultant friend finds so helpful in our error report.

 

Not long ago, one of our customers lost $1.5m in orders over a weekend due to a configuration change.  Understandably emotions were high, and they spent the weekend frantically looking for what had changed/gone wrong, problem solving in the time-honored fashion of trial and elimination.  Ultimately, they called us for advice.  We ran a standard configuration report and found the issue in 10 minutes.  They could have done this themselves, and knew how to, but it wasn’t embedded as part of their process.  It sure is now.  Mistakes in our business are very rarely life-threatening, as they are in aviation or healthcare, but we can absolutely learn and apply lessons from these industries.

 

By Philip Martin

Founder & CEO

SAN JOSE, CA – August 8, 2022.  Rapid4Cloud, the leaders in automation tools to support Oracle Cloud Applications customers and partners, today announced that it has successfully passed its latest SOC 2 Type II audit.  This audit certifies that Rapid4Cloud meets the SOC2 standards for security, availability and confidentiality of data.

 

“We have passed this second audit following our initial certification” Philip Martin, CEO and Founder of Rapid4Cloud said.  “I am so proud of our magnificent team here at Rapid4Cloud, whose constant diligence and hard work have ensured that we maintain the high standards we set a year ago.

 

We receive more questions on information security than any other subject, so we know this matters very much to our customers and partners.  This audit provides our customers with the comfort that they seek in this area.”

 

Rapid4Cloud makes it easier to implement and run Oracle Cloud Applications.  Their intelligent automation products dramatically reduce the time it takes to configure and maintain Oracle ERP and HCM.

Not long ago we posted a blog regarding the ESG benefits of using bots instead of humans for some implementation tasks.  This is measurable and tangible.  You can find it here – https://lnkd.in/emFy-vc7, as well as a link to a whitepaper where we have benchmarked and calculated the difference.

Oracle has conducted some interesting research on this topic which you can read here – https://lnkd.in/evpY65kM.  Unsurprisingly, most organizations believe ESG is more important than ever, and most organizations believe not enough is being done about it.

Let me offer some help in a small but measurable way.

Our software provides bots to do the time-consuming and error-prone data entry tasks required during an Oracle Cloud ERP or HCM implementation.

Last month was the busiest ever for our bots.  We sent over 1800 of them scurrying off, and they did their work for 4,363 hours collectively.  We calculate that they consumed 246kWh within the Oracle data centers in which they run.  We offset this through Gold Standard programmes.

The equivalent human effort to run the same tasks would consume 1746kWh, not factoring in HVAC and other environmental needs of human (coffee, lighting etc).  The CO2 emissions you would attribute to this is of course very dependent on the country in which the activity would be performed.

We have also measured the difference in time taken to perform the work.  This is a bit trickier to measure on specific jobs, but at an aggregate level our bots do the work of human in 15% of the elapsed time.  They work 24/7/365, so that comes as no surprise really.  They also work without error or bias.

What about cost.  Again at an aggregate level, here the gap grows even wider.  We complete tasks for roughly 0.75% of the cost of a human.  It’s not even close.

So, there is no tradeoff between sustainability, speed, quality and cost when you use our software.  It’s a win-win-win-win for our customers.

By the way, we’re not advocating for the removing of humans in any way.  Skilled humans are needed to design and implement change and make decisions – these are the added-value tasks that define success and failure in projects.  We free up these people to add real value to their customers and get more done.  Our amazing partners are doing that for their customers every day.

So, if you are involved with Oracle ERP or HCM and serious about ESG, and quite interested in saving time and money, please contact us.

By Philip Martin, CEO & Founder of Rapid4Cloud

By Philip Martin, CEO of Rapid4Cloud

As we absorb all that has happened during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), we at Rapid4Cloud are considering what we can do to lower our carbon footprint and those of the consulting firms and companies that use our robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to automate elements of their Oracle Cloud Applications estates.

The events of COP26 have inspired me to commit Rapid4Cloud to achieve carbon neutrality by the end of June 2023.  I do this with good intentions, and firmly in the knowledge that I might be accused of virtue-signaling or greenwashing to build brand credentials.  Think what you will – I know what I want to achieve.  With COP26 fresh in our minds it seems appropriate for us all to explore the impact we and our businesses have on our planet.

SaaS is pretty green

As a software-as-a-service (SaaS) software vendor, we could make the argument that we already provide our customers an environmentally-friendly alternative to running similar software in an on-premise data center.  IDC estimates that just moving workloads from on-premise to cloud could save 629 million metric tons of carbon out of the atmosphere between 2021 and 2024 — and this is given no additional efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of data centers globally.  If every data center adopted more carbon-neutral processes, that figure could swell to 1.6 billion metric tons.

Cloud vendors including Oracle, on whose data centers Rapid4Cloud’s robotic process automation (RPA) bots run, are taking aggressive steps towards carbon neutrality.  Oracle has committed to 100 percent use of renewables to power its cloud by 2025 and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.  This target has been approved by the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, an accredited partner of the United Nations Race to Zero.

Bots greener than people

In a new whitepaper, we explore how using RPA to automate the more time-consuming and repetitive elements of implementing and managing Oracle Cloud Applications will drastically reduce carbon emissions versus relying on humans with their laptops and monitors, which consume many times over the amount of power required to operate the fraction of an Oracle Cloud server our bots would consume as they complete a process.

On the whole, little serious research has been devoted to how much fewer resources robot workers consume versus human ones.  We keep our numbers at a pretty high level in the whitepaper, but the data is clear.  Whether you are implementing a greenfield instance of Oracle Cloud ERP or just rolling out software to a new business unit or division, automating these processes could be one step towards reducing your company’s contribution to global warming.

We’re delighted to announce we have completed certification on Oracle’s latest update of our Cloud Applications – 21D.

Oracle customer’s will now be either running 21C or 21D in their applications environments, and can use Rapid4Cloud in either to simplify their essential configuration and data management tasks.

Don’t forget that Rapid4Cloud also supports Oracle releases back to 21A. Contact us today for more information!

By Philip Martin,
CEO, Rapid4Cloud

As this blog post goes live, my excellent Rapid4Cloud counterparts in the Middle East are already enjoying their weekend, and I am looking forward to the start of mine. For the consultant class and middle management though, a combination of job creep, multiple crises that suck attention and poor change management mean weekends shackled to a laptop or at least stressing about what Monday would bring.

An expert consultant or senior analyst may have been through multiple Oracle Cloud Applications implementations or run impact analysis and regression testing of quarterly updates many, many times. But it never gets any faster or more efficient. You are probably running a project involving dozens of individuals both on and offshore keying data into Oracle Cloud Applications or carrying the full load yourself, perhaps over your weekend. Some of you are spending your weekends developing automation scripts by hand for hundreds of different processes and environments. You are on a treadmill you can’t seem to slow down or step away from, or critical projects grind to a halt.

Enter the robots!

Many large and even some smaller Oracle Cloud Applications consulting operations, or even end user organizations, now run software that applies advanced robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) to vast swaths of implementations, migrations, regression testing—the tasks involved in standing up and maintaining the applications.

Technology should give us back the time we would otherwise spend doing things that suck our souls and for which we are ill-suited. Modern intelligent cloud automation software eliminates the repetitive work required to do things like:

  • conform to new definitions and requirements
  • analyze differences between the multiple environments a company might run
  • streamline migration paths
  • and run regression and non-regression testing.

In this, Rapid4Cloud is part of a broad trend towards AI and RPA augmenting humans to create value that previously had been done without the aid of robots.

According to McKinsey, AI can drive more than $200 billion in value in the high tech sector.

A 2020 survey by Cognilytica showed that 40 percent of business decision-makers already have one or more AI projects in place, and fully 90 percent plan to have an in-progress AI implementation within two years.

Major technology players are investing in AI to automate work that had been performed by consultants, including IBM’s recent acquisition of MyInvenio whose product identifies business processes that can be automated and application performance monitoring (APM) vendor Instana.

Redefining the “weekend warrior”

This rise of the robots does not mean we will wind up with Skynet, but rather will get our weekends back. I’m just reflecting on a weekend that represented a turning point for us at Rapid4Cloud.

In 2019, Thursdays through Sundays accounted for 42 percent of all activity on our platform. In 2021 so far, Thursdays through Sundays accounts for 47 percent of activity, and that notable week in September was 58 percent.  Mondays used to account for 20 percent of all jobs run on our platform for the week.  That has fallen to 13 percent.  Our customers are now coming in at the beginning of the week, getting some jobs running, watching them unfold, discussing the results, testing the output, making decisions and going home for the weekend while the robots work.  The alternative is working through the weekend to implement those decisions.  So, at best you’ve lost time on the project due to the weekend, at worst you’ve lost your weekend.

On the whole, our bots are busiest on the weekend. It used to be the case that weekends were the quietest times on our servers.  Now our customers have gone through the mental paradigm shift, realizing that our bots are just another member of their team – one who will work days, nights, even weekends without even a coffee break.

In one respect, this enables our customers to be that weekend warrior, pursuing a sport or a passion in their free time. In another respect, our bots are the weekend warriors—fighting the battles that our customers would otherwise be struggling with during what is supposed to be their personal time.

So, while hundreds of Oracle consultants around the world get some well-earned rest, our bots were are working away on their behalf—running reports, loading setups, synchronizing environments, configuring new business units.

That makes us feel like our intelligent cloud automation software is doing more than helping meet business deliverables—we are also improving the quality of life for our customers. Thank you to all our customers for your support, and I hope you are looking forward to seeing what our “weekend warrior” robots will have done for you over the next two days.  I hope you have a relaxing weekend.

Read more about our advanced approach to automated automation here.

Comprehensive audit validates Rapid4Cloud as a trusted automation platform partner, meeting the standard expected by customers in a highly regulated and security-conscious market.

SAN JOSE, CA – October 13, 2021 – Rapid4Cloud, the leaders in automation tools to support Oracle Cloud Applications customers to implement, run and maintain their solutions, today announced that it has successfully completed the System and  Organization Control (SOC) 2 Type 2 audit.  Conducted by Holzman Partners LLP, a leading professional services firm based in Austin, Texas, the audit affirms that Rapid4Cloud’s information security practices, policies, procedures, and operations meet the SOC 2 standards for security, availability, and confidentiality.

As companies are moving their IT operations to the Cloud and deploying software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications to support their businesses, the increasing use of outside vendors to perform activities that are core to their business operations requires high levels of trust and transparency into these vendors operations and processes.

Rapid4Cloud has always maintained high security standards, and the SOC2 audit is an endorsement of this.

Rapid4Cloud’s SOC 2 report verifies the existence of internal controls which have been designed to meet the requirements for the security principles set forth in the TSP section 100, Trust Services Criteria for Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality and Privacy.  It provides a thorough review of how Rapid4Cloud’s internal controls affect the security, availability, and processing integrity of the systems it uses to process users’ data, and the confidentiality and privacy of the information processed by these systems. This independent validation of security controls is crucial reassurance for customers that Rapid4Cloud is processing their data in a secure and compliant way.

“Obtaining the SOC 2 Type 2 certification demonstrates Rapid4Cloud’s ongoing commitment to the security, availability, and integrity of our platform,” Rapid4Cloud IT and Security Director Teerapat Muannum said. “Our customers can feel confident that we make every investment to maintain the highest level of security and compliance.”