Thursday Jun 30, 2016

Bombastic Visualization

by Petr Hosek, Senior Director, Oracle Consulting

Today’s world is about grabbing people’s attention in the huge universe of noise, where individual’s span of attention does not go beyond 140 characters or ten seconds of video. Also, the sign of our times is that often a bombastic statement or a bold proclamation often gains much more response than real deeds. 

On the other hand, what has been true forever is that a picture is worth a thousand words.  


Now, how do these aspects play out in the world of digital data?  

Well, pictures are probably best portrayed by graphs and graphics in general. And the current bombastic world the form of the data displayed, is far more important that the data - or data accuracy for that matter – themselves.

Throw all these elements into one melting pot, and you understand why the market has been swamped by a plethora of visualization gizmos.

Be it in the form of a piece of software running on your computing device, or an environment provided as a service in public cloud.

In any case, they come with many new creative ways how to show different sorts of data, since pie charts and bar graphs are last century, even if they are broadcast in UHD or 3D ;-)

These gadgets also come with interactive features, so that you can – with a touch or swipe of your fingertips – change, view, drill down or correlate differently. In real time, of course! 

If you are in search of a modern tool or whole platform for your data and business analytics, make sure you also have a critical look at its visualization capabilities. 

Of course, Oracle plays smartly along, as you can see from the broad range of public cloud services and on premise products.



Thursday Jun 16, 2016

Complexity: The Enemy From Within Most Organizations

By Daryl Szebesta

Complexity is said to be the enemy of execution. So why do so many organizations stand for it, even embrace it as proof of their intellectual superiority?

The justification I heard when I was a CIO, and one I continue to hear as a cloud computing vendor working with customers in multiple industries, is that system complexity is a requirement for companies that are “different” and operate in complex, highly regulated markets. This thinking infests businesses at all levels, but it seems particularly prevalent within IT—from system procurement to implementation through ongoing management.

But the opposite should be the goal. IT organizations whose companies operate in highly competitive, complex environments (and which companies don’t these days?) must keep things as simple as possible to be able to anticipate and respond to constant changes, providing the lowest costs coupled with the highest degrees of agility. Think of the many public examples of systems designed and built for something very specific, only to become obsolete as soon as they’re finished.

Rethink Some ‘Best Practices’ 

Companies that adopt single-vendor, “cloud first” strategies are in a position to keep their IT procurement processes and technology architectures as simple as possible—and thus outperform their competitors. 

For starters, it’s time to dispense with the IT procurement “best practice” of pitting multiple vendors against one another. While heroically squeezing vendors to slash their prices may reduce margins, doing so inevitably eats into the value and goodwill of what’s on offer. The costs of problems down the line are rarely correlated back to how the deal was negotiated up front. The flip side of the saying “people buy from people” is that they also sell to them—the buyer-seller relationship is a two-way street that must be cultivated, not taken for granted or abused.

Meantime, from the perspective of architectural and operational simplicity, it’s important to work with a vendor that has a broad set of integrated (or easily integrable) cloud services, as well as a set of processes easily consumed out of the box. Each time a company must jury-rig an integration, it costs money, adds complexity, and erodes the return on investment and quality of service. Organizations that standardize on out-of-the-box solutions incur about half the total cost of ownership of customized solutions.

Working with multiple providers also adds operational and vendor management complexity. Some 81% of respondents to a recent Morgan Stanley survey reported that more than two or three strategic vendors is too many to manage.

There’s also evidence that the highest-performing companies are cloud computing enthusiasts. In a recent Economist Intelligence Unit survey, for example, 40% of respondents who identified their companies as “heavy” cloud users said their companies’ revenues are growing much faster than their competitors’, as compared with only 13% of “light” users. Similarly, 34% of heavy cloud users are more profitable than their competitors, while only 11% of light users are.

Of course, this out-performance may not be due only to their use of cloud services—it may also reflect the culture of innovation common at heavy cloud users. But the findings are compelling nonetheless.

Choose the Right Vendor 

 While it may fly in the face of procurement and IT architectural traditionalists, choosing single-vendor cloud solutions (or as close to single-vendor as possible) can maximize ROI while optimizing agility. Competitive tendering at the outset is still important, but that shouldn’t bleed into the subsequent stages.

The choice of vendor, therefore, becomes important on several levels:

1 - Is the vendor’s cloud offering broad and deep enough to cover most, if not all, of the functionality your company requires? Does the vendor show a commitment to a clear product roadmap?

 2 - Does the vendor have the breadth and depth of skills, or the established partnerships, to deliver on its promises?

3 - There are many niche cloud vendors, but will the vendor you select be around for the long haul?

4 - Finally, does the vendor understand, and have the operational “empathy” to support your business?   Enforced upgrades at a given point in the year are nice for the cloud vendor, but not always so nice for the business consuming them. Is your vendor flexible?

Complexity costs—whether it’s the cost of implementation, change, operations, or second-order effects such as crimped agility, all of which ultimately reduce profitability and productivity. It’s incumbent on us all, therefore, to relentlessly seek to make things as simple as possible, not just simpler.


Visit Oracle.com for more:

Contact Oracle Consulting:

  • Learn about Oracle Consulting Cloud Rapid Starts.
  • Find out more about Oracle’s proof-of-concepts.

Daryl Szebesta is Oracle’s vice president for cloud transformation.

Friday Jun 10, 2016

Synergize your Mobile and Web channels to Improve your Digital Experience!

by Maulik Vadera, Digital Solutions Architect, Oracle Consulting

In today’s digital world, organizations across all industries compete to enhance their customer base by reaching them through different channels like Mobile and Web. Therefore, it’s imperative for any consumer oriented organizations to have their active presence on both channels - Mobile and Web. As simple as it sounds, in reality, most organizations face enormous challenges maintaining their Mobile and Web strategies at the same pace.

In most of the cases, cost and time to implement use cases on mobile and web simultaneously is so huge that organizations are forced to make a choice between the two channels. In almost every scenario, organizations face such challenges due to the following reasons:

  •  Most of the organizations have different backend platforms for Mobile and Web channels. Organizations also have different frontend tools for Mobile channel (iOS native, Android SDK, Xamarin, Cordova, Oracle MAF etc) and Web Channel (HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Oracle WebCenter Sites, Oracle WebCenter Portal, Oracle ADF etc).
  • Different technology platforms and tools for mobile and web also enforce different teams within organization, who would implement and maintain those channels.
  • These different teams implement redundant business rules and business logic on different backend technology platforms. This type of architecture and setup enforces organizations to be less agile and flexible, also causes maintenance and cost overhead and therefore huge time and cost to deploy any new service to both channels - mobile and web at the same time.

Traditionally, most organizations have a legacy backend platform for web channel and since mobile application channels require more responsive user interface and light weight platforms, the legacy backend platform working for web channel is not sufficient and cannot be re-used for mobile application.  Besides, one can also argue that mobile application imperatively requires light weight asynchronous data exchange (i.e. REST/JSON) mechanism between front end UI and backend platform compared to web channel, which normally exchanges data using heavy weight SOAP/XML mechanism with backend platform

With Oracle Mobile Cloud Service (MCS), organizations facing the above described challenges can bridge the gap between their web and mobile backend platforms and synergize their mobile and web strategies. Oracle MCS is a light weight cloud platform perfectly suitable for all kinds of mobile applications developed on any frontend development tools like iOS native, Android SDK, Xamarin, Cordova, Oracle MAF, etc. Oracle MCS also provides REST/JSON data exchange mechanism for frontend applications and provides connectors which can be configured to integrate with legacy backend platforms on which web channels are implemented. Integrated security, Push Notifications, Analytics are other key advantages of using Oracle MCS. Components developed and that implement Oracle MCS can also be re-used for web channel for simple light weight REST/JSON based data exchange. Organizations can partner with Oracle Consulting for faster implementation and adoption of Oracle Mobile Cloud Service (MCS).


Once Mobile and Web channels are transformed to similar backend platforms, Oracle Consulting can assist organizations to evaluate if they can employ hybrid mobile application based technologies like Oracle JET (JavaScript Extension Toolkit) with open source frameworks like jQuery and Cordova to achieve common design pattern across web and mobile frontend as well, which will help them to reduce cost and time to bring new services to the market on web and mobile and provide consistent digital experience to end consumers. 

For further information contact your Oracle Consulting representative or visit http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/features/mobile/index.html

Friday Jun 03, 2016

Discover how Nestle and Oracle Consulting teamed up to help you make a better cup of tea

Nestlé S.A. is the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company with more than 2,000 global and local brands. Nestlé operates 447 factories in 86 countries and sells products in 196 countries. SPECIAL.T by Nestlé is a convenience tea concept developed by Nestlé, currently offering more than 30 tea varieties. It was launched in 2010 in France and subsequently rolled out in seven countries, including Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Luxemburg, and Japan. SPECIAL.T by Nestlé combines the art of selecting the world’s best teas with the expertise of perfect preparation, helped by a tea machine specifically built for the brand’s teas. 

View How Special.T by Nestle Integrates Oracle Service Cloud


Pascal Monnier, IS/IT Manager, SPECIAL.T by Nestlé, explains how the business deployed a multi-channel customer service platform integrated with back-end systems quickly and why the Oracle Service Cloud allows them to focus on getting business processes right. http://ora.cl/KH2u

For more information how Special.T by Nestle Integrates Oracle Service Cloud and selected the right people with whom to work, here.

Contact Oracle Consulting to learn about Oracle Consulting Cloud Rapid Starts or to find out more about Oracle’s proof-of-concept. 


Friday May 27, 2016

Make a PaaS at SaaS!

By Enrique Martinez Dunn, SaaS Transformational Oracle Consulting Leader 

One of the keys to a successful SaaS program is the adoption of the business best practices and innovation that is embedded in your subscription service.  This is easier said than done.  If you do not have the proper guidance on your SaaS journey, you may end up revisiting the same mistakes you made 5 – 10 years ago, when you did this last.

Traditional implementations have a “discovery” phase, where companies have the inertia to revisit ALL their business processes and how they fit to their chosen solution.  This adds VERY LITTLE VALUE in proportion to, first, the time spent on this “discovery” (more a “déjà-vu”), second, an outcome that takes you to re-implement what you had in an on-premise solution onto a SaaS solution.

For instance, why should you have a super complex workflow to, I don´t know, approve business trips, or qualify suppliers… is this process what is really unique about your business, what can give you an operational or an employee experience edge over your competitors?

It is not my intention to burst your bubble regarding how you consider your company’s business practices, but for most organizations, how they execute the majority of their processes would not set them apart from their industry rivals. 

SO, get over yourself… you are much better off adopting the - dare I say it - standard, and do not spend countless hours on workshops, fees on consultants, and so on.  At the end of the day, you will probably go live, but you will go over budget and your will not control when you go live.

Once you have the right guidance – someone who is ready to challenge you, to push back so you do not fall into bad habits, you can then FOCUS on what makes or will make you UNIQUE.  This is where organizations are taking a look at PaaS seamlessly coupled with SaaS to make take their business transformation to the next level

  • Fast insight with amazing data visualization
  • Mobility apps encompassing several solutions
  • Hybrid middleware that connects your on premises back office with your cloud digital platform
  • Enriched SaaS apps with business extensions that provide an awesome user experience

For instance, if your industry in a particular country, requires regulator led localizations, this should not take away the digital revolution you feel you are entitled to… if you are taking your HCM and Financials to the cloud, and you want data insight across both data sets, together with data from your on premises fulfillment, spark up a datamart in the cloud… you get the idea.

SO, be daring enough to accept the standard for most of your business needs, but also to find and bring out that je ne sais quoi that makes your company unique.  Then find the best combination of SaaS and PaaS innovation that will set you apart from your competitors.

You can reach us at oracleconsulting_ww@oracle.com for the right guidance to implement Oracle Cloud solutions.

Friday May 20, 2016

Oracle Open World, September 18–22, 2016 | San Francisco



Don’t Just Take Our Word for It!


99.5% of attendees agree: Oracle Open World is the must- attend technology and business conference of the year.

REGISTER TODAY!

Agenda – Click Here

Program Overview – Click Here

Friday May 13, 2016

Big Data – Fast and Square!

By Petr Hosek, Senior Director, Oracle EMEA Consulting 

A Big Data project is actually just another Data Warehouse implementation, business as usual! I often hear this opinion, and I must say:”Absolutely wrong, dude!”

Firstly, the sheer amount of data shatters all the traditional wisdom about moving data, sharing them or backing them up. You have to think about data all the time from solution design through project plan down to the implementation itself. And you need to avoid any unnecessary moves of data from one processing tool to another; you need to move tools to data as much as you can!

Secondly, the plethora of tools available on the market, with new tools – or at least new versions – popping up almost every day, poses a serious challenge in choosing the right ones. Just a few months between a successful Proof of Concept and the start of the full project can make the set of tools you used for the PoC completely obsolete. And what will you do if – once you have frozen your list – a new version with the killer function you have been waiting for comes?

Next, many Big Data platform building blocks (including the open source ones) are missing basic built-in security features. Hence, you have to apply a very rigid insight in designing the whole platform or audit processes!


Short Teaser here


Watch the full-length webcast here


Also, Big Data domain transcends the feeling of freewheeling world with flexible rules and untamed myriads of data. Opposite is true, and a disciplined approach to project management is a must to avoid costly errors that may surface only in the later phases of a large implementation program.

To make the life of our customers easier, Oracle Consulting has decided to document and structure the experience of many different Big Data projects deployed in  the last three years. The final product has a fancy name, Data Factory Engine (DFE) and in its first incarnation was offered as one big “elephant” – take it or leave it. Based on feedback from numerous customer discussions, we have decided to slice it into logical components. Hence, DFE has evolved into a toolbox of twelve modules offering architecture blueprints, process best practices, middleware code and product parameterization. And in a specific customer case, only those modules that are really needed are selected.

Among the key benefits of employing DFE in a Big Data project belong faster implementation time; getting all your data under control *); and prevention of possible costly mistakes in the whole project.

If you want to learn more about the benefits and the features of DFE as a whole and its individual modules, watch this 20-minute video!

*)  Read related article about why Big Data projects actually have to encompass All Data of yours.

Tuesday May 10, 2016

When Cloud meets on-premise: A story of two applications

By Lisa Dearnley-Davison, Information Architect – Director & Fatos Ismali, Senior BI Consultant, Oracle Consulting

Organisations in almost every industry are considering moving to the Cloud as one of their core business transformation initiatives. This has been driven largely by the need to remain competitive in the market where fast-paced service delivery is expected. Although, moving to the cloud has great potential benefits for a business, complementing it with existing on-premise technology is becoming a norm – referred to as a hybrid cloud solution. At Oracle, we take the trend of transformation to the cloud very seriously and as such have built complementary cloud solutions across many of our products. While there are certain advantages to moving to a cloud-based solution, there are certain aspects that one needs to be aware of, for instance:

  • There is a reduced amount of flexibility in terms of adding additional data sources and more custom-based configurations. Data such as recruitment for instance are not typically held in the cloud. That’s where our BI Cloud Adapters come in play.
  • Different security requirements demand different levels of implementation: whether it is tokens, handshakes, or additional SSL certificates.
  • You may not be able to report on certain objects that may be non-configurable. However enhancement requests can be issued to a cloud provider.
One particularly good example is our Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud coupled with an on-premise Oracle Business Intelligence Applications architecture that is implemented at a large international financial organization. The challenges they were facing were typically around the following areas:
  • The need to move from Peoplesoft HCM to a public cloud solution in order to decrease IT costs, increase agility in their analytical processes, and reduce maintenance work.
  • Their existing BI systems were bespoke and had evolved to the point where most effort was spent on reconciliation and maintenance.
  • They wanted to perform BI analysis on their data coming from different source systems both on-premise and on the cloud.
  • They wanted a BI solution that would easily link to their new Oracle Fusion HCM Cloud
  • They wanted to have security embedded on both on-premise and cloud in addition to allowing the flow of data between the two.

To enable this mutual communication between on-premise and cloud software, the Oracle Fusion HCM Cloud Adapters for OBIA were utilised. Note, these can be often referred to as BI Cloud Adapters. This was one of the first successful implementations in Europe of the BI Cloud Adapters. Oracle Transactional BI (OTBI ) on the Oracle Fusion HCM cloud platform was utilised to perform day-to-day reporting on operational data using pre-defined reporting capabilities that come from the built-in OTBI feature. For trend analysis, deeper analytics, and historical preservation of data an on-premise OBIA instance was utilised. To enable a more cohesive analysis data was consolidated within the OBIA data warehouse (a pre-structured data warehouse solution) complemented by a set of pre-built ELT packages in ODI that enable data movement to the OBIA data warehouse. The connection between the on-premise OBIA and Fusion HCM cloud was facilitated by the BI Cloud Adapters wrapped in layers of security to keep customer data safe at all times.



Figure 1. Integration of Fusion HCM Cloud with on-premise OBIA instance

It is imperative to understand that different organizations will have different requirements in terms of analytics and product features to meet business demands which sometimes demand ease of configuration of cloud software. This is sometimes not so easy to provide with Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. A potential alternative would be to adopt a Platform as a Service solution where configuration and set up of software is at the control of the user. Using Oracle PaaS solution a user will be able to launch an OBIA instance on top of Oracle database and middleware technologies within the same PaaS platform. However, they will be able to configure the OBIA instance as they see fit and ingest any data from any source straight into OBIA DW.


Figure 2. SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS

Summary of key takeaways:

  • Hybrid cloud solutions are becoming a norm in the industry;
  • Flexibility of configuration and data movement is imperative in every cloud offering;
  • Platform as a Service to increase asset utilization by using a shared platform for Oracle database and middleware technologies.

Useful links:
Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud
Oracle Business Intelligence Applications
Oracle PaaS
Oracle Consulting

Thursday May 05, 2016

Customer Experience - and role of IoT

By Sujith Verghese, Cloud Domain Leader - APAC CX, Oracle EMEA Consulting  

Will the next big Customer Experience advancement be for machines or people or maybe both?

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been called the next Industrial Revolution: 50 billion connected devices and a market opportunity of $7.1 trillion by 2020. From connected refrigerators for ordering groceries, wearable’s, and other smart home products. There is the potential to track real time data from our cars, aircrafts, home appliances for proactive monitoring and maintenance and improved Customer Experiences. The potential opportunity is immense as is the resultant explosion of real-time data.

Oracle CX or Customer Experience Solutions would be the heart of the applications to leverage this data and new processes and ways of working, as companies look to embark and transform on their Digital initiatives. While we  have all heard of the term SMAC- Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud and familiar with how these are fuelling the growth of CX solutions, add a fifth term to that -  "IOT" and things really start to get interesting!  As devices – consumer gadgets and appliances and enterprise machines get connected, across industries; the processes that will get transformed first will be the sales, marketing and customer service departments. CX applications across Sales, Service and Marketing will be listening to the events from these devices in real time and trigger necessary actions to ensure consistent, contextual and yet differentiated services for customers. How cool will it be when you get a notification on your watch or smartphone telling you that your fridge just ordered fresh bread and milk for you as it is monitoring the best before dates of its contents?

How should organisations get ready for this next revolution in CX? Investments in IOT, can be roughly categorized into three areas: sensors, networking and apps. . With several possibilities, companies run the risk of failure by adopting a big bang approach. Our advise is to first enable the CORE CX processes (sales, service, or marketing). Oracle has a range of best in class CX cloud and Platform solutions and Oracle Consulting’s True Cloud Method Plus ™ (TcM) methodology provides fixed scope / low-risk deployment approach for these solutions, achieving best in class cloud adoption experience. Get to learn the solution first and get a better understanding during the initial implementation about what other requirements you would have. Based on that understanding, you could get ahead with the plans around connecting people and things, using a Proof Of Concept (POC) approach including integration to your already deployed apps. The initial proof-of-concept investment is usually very small. Once a  successful evaluation/prototype is okay-ed, it can move on to a commercial deployment

Conclusion

The early Internet of Things started by making connections between people and things and like the Internet of people before it; it too will change everything.

But, however large the perceived size of the opportunity or the dazzle of the technology is, it must first make sense and be tied to business outcomes and results. It is important to start small and pilot the solutions and Oracle True Cloud Method Plus™ (TcM) approach provides a low-risk deployment approach based on our experience on what many customers require to get them going quickly and reach business benefits.

To learn more about the technology described in this post, please visit https://www.oracle.com/applications/customer-experience/index.html

Tuesday May 03, 2016

How To Determine If You Can Trust Cloud Security


[Read More]

Friday Apr 29, 2016

A Cloud Implementation in 12 weeks… What Happens Next!?!

 By Anitha Scaria George, Practice Director and Group Head, ERP SaaS, Oracle Consulting 

Oracle Consulting today delivers a cloud implementation in 12 weeks. The end of the 12 weeks implementation is really the START of the customer´s journey  to the cloud.  Life in production can be overwhelming for customers new to the cloud.  As such there is a Consulting Service offering that Customers can use to stabilize their application and help drive user adoption. Oracle Consulting offers  Advanced Enablement Packs as fixed price units bundling 80 hours of consulting time the customer uses  to improve their Cloud Experience. 

SPEAK to the CLOUD EXPERT:  Customers are proactively guided by a cloud expert for advice on future cloud adoption, governance strategy and Modern Best Practice. The Oracle Cloud Expert facilitates weekly scheduled interactions with the customer where cloud product experts address customer queries and share insights on improving their system. This approach will ease the transition to the cloud for all customer stakeholders who will benefit from timely responses to common new customer concerns. 

Getting Functional users to give up the old way of working and adopting cloud practices requires a shift in focus from technical concerns to functional concerns for which many customers will not have the internal knowledge . They may require additional user workshops and training. Customers could design their specific training needs and these could be validated with their Advanced Enablement Cloud Expert. Often Customers adopt a subset of features that cloud has to offer and along the way need help identify opportunities to leverage additional features and functionality.  Customers can gradually grow their cloud capability by measured interactions with the Advanced Enablement Cloud Expert. Moreover each new release of the cloud comes with additional features that customers may want to adopt, their Cloud Expert will guide them thru the process. 

Cloud Experts can help diagnose and address performance issues that are caused by inefficient use of the application. For example, Oracle Consulting can give proactive guidance to use the  Oracle cloud effectively by guiding users to prepare them for Period close and year end close and to avoid potential delays. Certain activities may even require additional computing power and we can advise on the process. 


As the customer´s business grows and evolves, new requirements arise such as merging new acquisitions or divesting a low performing unit in addition to the common requests for new dashboards, reports, analytics and integrations. With Advanced Enablement Oracle Consulting   provides continuous optimization and expansion of  the customers Oracle Cloud.

To learn more about the Advanced Enablement Packs described in this post, please visit

Tuesday Apr 26, 2016

Modern Best Practice: The Best Way to embrace Cloud Solutions

By Mauro D´Addazio, Senior Director, Oracle EMEA Consulting 

Working more than 20 years for software application companies, I have heard the term “best practice” in every implementation project I was involved in, but it was always very difficult for customers to embrace these best practices during the project, as gaps were appearing.

15 years ago I was bidding for an implementation project at a large construction company, discussing strategic sourcing and the possibility for the company to adapt their internal processes to the ones that were embedded in the software itself.

Senior management was not agreeing because sourcing was considered one of the most critical areas to achieve a competitive advantage. A management consultancy company came in and explained what should be the best practices in sourcing to achieve such a competitive advantage and the overall process was explained in every detail. Obviously, such a process has to be supported by the “right software solution”.

I was sitting in a corner, listening with a lot of interest, asking myself why the construction company simply was not accepting the “built in process” instead of re-inventing the wheel. The “competitive process” was already there covering about 80% of the overall process.

Several years and many projects have passed since then and it becomes more and more clear that the problem is every company wants to do the process “slightly different” because 20% of difference is where the competitive advantage seems to come from.

Is that true?  

Yes partially it is, but partially is also true that embracing a “standard best practice” is a way to ensure success in a particular process because the best practice in itself articulates how you execute to achieve consistently superior results. There are several studies and evidence to show that standardizing on best practice can deliver both top line benefits (to sales revenue) and bottom line savings (to costs).

As a conclusion, a best practice then becomes a benchmark and continues to evolve as new tools and techniques are discovered.

At Oracle we think that, in addition to the above, a best practice evolves as the organization and its requirements change, and as new technologies or enablers become available.  So we are moving from best practice to MODERN BEST PRACTICE.

Modern best practice is flexible, supports growth and innovation and enables new ways of executing to achieve consistently superior performance exploiting new capabilities made possible by Cloud Computing, Mobile, Analytics, Social, the Internet of Things & Big Data.

Modern best practice enables organizations of all sizes to achieve more, faster and with less resources and equally recognizes the need of maintaining the uniqueness for competitive advantage. (1) (Steve Cox eBook on MBP Explained.)Where does 1 go to? No source below or just put in Source: Steve Cox eBook on MBP Explained)

At Oracle Consulting, we clearly see the advantages for all our customers in embracing Modern Best Practices and we work tirelessly to create new methodology paradigms, new methods and tools that will allow companies to pursue the standardization journey while they maintain their peculiarities for competitive advantages adopting the Oracle Solutions.  

To learn more about the Modern Best Practice described in this post, please visit https://www.oracle.com/applications/modern-best-practice/index.html

Friday Apr 22, 2016

Extend and Enrich SaaS with PaaS

By Hitendra Goradia, Senior Director, Oracle EMEA Consulting


According to IDC, the Platform as a Service (PaaS) market is expected to exceed $14 Billion by year 2017. PaaS is an evolutionary approach to delivering development tools in the Cloud while delivering the business benefits of reduced costs and increased speed of development and deployment. But how is this relevant in the context of SaaS applications?



Software as a service (SaaS) adoption has more than quintupled since 2011, as shown by a research from North Bridge Venture Partners.
However, as with any packaged application customers would like to explore customizations and extensions that are unique to their businesses. While SaaS applications do provide some level of flexibility to tailor the user experience, extending the technology components under the hood or add bolt-on functionality remains challenging.

This is where Oracle PaaS lends itself seamlessly for the integrations and extensions required. Oracle provides a unique value proposition where you can use the same technology components (including UX), that is underlying in SaaS application and available as part of a powerful Middleware strategy, to build your own business extensions, integrations and reporting.

Having flexibility to extend SaaS applications, Businesses can be much braver about using technology to distinguish themselves from competitors. For example you can decide to implement a very unique process of selecting “Employee of the month” by creating a PaaS extension which will help business in retaining top talent by rewarding and recognizing them. Another example where PaaS can enable a company to launch a new customer service by adding a new software feature quickly. 

PaaS-based integrations and extension philosophies also ensures that your base /core applications remain separate from your extensions thereby reducing complexities of applications upgrades and patching related dependencies. PaaS platform components can not only connect with your SaaS applications, but also your on-premise applications, which essentially means you can orchestrate an extension by combining different capabilities all connected in a standardized service oriented manner.

Consider an organization that uses SaaS who may have specific reporting requirements from its CX Cloud for management reporting, or a customer who needs a custom module like travel approval management on top of their HCM Cloud or a currency conversion/loading module for Finance Cloud.

While such use cases are numerous in nature, the broad usage and applicability for PaaS extensions includes (but not limited to):

  • Integrating SaaS applications – Any backbone application whether ERP/ HCM or CRM will need to co-exist and integrate with the application landscape of a customer. While the SaaS applications provide interfacing capabilities, it is often noted that the integrations required from customer to customer vary in nature; some require orchestration of services, while some require data movement and synchronization. PaaS can be the value proposition in such situations to build rapid integrations. E.g.
  1. Oracle Finance Cloud with other cloud and on premise applications using the Java Cloud
  2. Integrating HCM Cloud to other downstream applications and payroll providers using SOACS
  3. Integrating CX portfolios with ICS.
  • Enrich / Extend SaaS – Extend the capabilities of SaaS by providing additional functionality on PaaS and providing a single user experience. These capabilities could be unique to a customer and thereby need to be realized as customizations. Some of the key examples are:
  1. ADF and/or JET based custom application to extend the functionality of Fusion procurement for a custom Supplier Portal or Travel Management module for Fusion HCM.
  2. Managed attachments and document printing solutions for Sales Cloud using Document Cloud and Java cloud
  3. Custom Employee hiring and onboarding process and orchestration module, using Process Cloud that integrates hiring (Taleo recruit) with Core HR (HCM Cloud) and Payroll (Fusion Payroll)
  4. Extend and provide mobile applications customized for the mobile work force using Mobile cloud service    
  5. Analytics dashboard using BICS (BI Cloud service) that collates data from disparate sources including SaaS applications to deliver comprehensive reports online and over the mobile using the Analytics Cloud.

Oracle Consulting has been developing various Pre-built SaaS extensions which can be implemented very quickly and can provide you additional functionalities to enrich use of your SaaS Applications.

For example – for Fusion HCM we have already built extensions such as- Business Trip Approval Management, a new Employee Exit process and the ability to conduct an Employee Survey.

So, if you are evaluating a new SaaS application or exploring how to extend your existing one, do consider the following:

  1. Who can seamlessly extend the application to account for your specific business requirements.
  2. How the new extension will use the same security model as the underlying SaaS application.
  3. Who can help ensure that you do not consider an extension that is already on a SaaS product roadmap.

In conclusion, PaaS services will emerge and continue to grow as the easy, seamless and quickest way to extend the power of your SaaS Applications.

To learn more about Oracle PaaS platform, please visit https://cloud.oracle.com/paas

Tuesday Apr 19, 2016

How to prepare your customers to limit exposure to data breaches?

by Marcel Rizcallah, EMEA Security Domain Leader, Oracle Consulting  

Data breaches are common nowadays and regulations related to data privacy are becoming stricter and mandate by law organizations to protect their employees and customers’ personal data. This is why organizations need now to implement basics countermeasures to limit their exposure to internal and external hacking. In this article we’ll explain why and how it’s now mandatory for our key customers to protect sensitive data stored in their databases based on real life examples.  

How data breaches occur?

To simplify our understanding, one can say there are 2 ways of accessing sensitive data: either attack the system from the outside by using vulnerabilities in the network or web sites such as SQL injection (i.e; submitting and executing in an Web form attribute a SQL request such as SELECT ALL FROM customer table), or attack from the inside by using privileged accesses such DBA accounts to read the data and send it outside. This latest kind of attacks can not only be done by rogue users, but also by Trojan horses downloaded from the Web.

Oracle approach is to recommend securing systems from the inside, as opposed to secure the boundaries of an IT system only. Therefore it’s key to identify the vulnerabilities in the databases, applications and systems that are exposed to external and internal users, including DBAs. Oracle Consulting can provide a detailed questionnaire with more than 300 check points, including database scripts, to identity those vulnerabilities quickly. For example, we can assess if the database passwords are enforced, if non-used IP ports are still available such as FTP which can be used one day to extract sensitive data, or if the database PUBLIC profile, inherited by all users, have unlimited privileges such as read/write in any table.

But does it mean that for each vulnerability identified, we need to implement a countermeasure? Not necessarily. For example, some customers may consider enforcing DBAs password as useless, because DBAs are identified with their Windows password before accessing the database server machine or because they comply as employees to enterprise security obligations. Therefore, once the vulnerabilities are identified, it is key to evaluate the risks behind each of them in case of data breaches. Countermeasures will then be analyzed and deployed only for high risk vulnerabilities.

When running assessments to analyze vulnerabilities and risks in a subset of databases, it’s also important to analyze the overall security strategy and existing processes to audit security policies implementation in IT organization and systems. We often discover, as an example, that data privacy policies may not be yet defined in the security strategy, and therefore there are no processes or tools to enforce data privacy in IT systems. We also discover that accesses to database machines may be well protected and traced, but once connected to the machine, the DBA can access the databases hosted on the same machine, without any proper control or audit of the database accesses and transactions.

What are the basic countermeasures to implement?

The first thing customers should do is address the “need to know” requirement. What do we mean by that? Well, it’s simply being able to know “who did what” in the systems. The “who” must be a physical person that can be identified without ambiguity. For example, if a DBA is using a system account, such as the “SYS” account, it will not be possible to know who is behind by just looking at the database logs. But if the access logs to the desktop, the database machine and the database itself are correlated using timestamps, it will be possible to know exactly who was behind the access at a given time.

This is one of the use cases organizations can start implementing with Oracle AuditVault & DB Firewall (AVDF) product. It will be used to collect access logs from critical databases, concatenate and send those logs to an enterprise SIEM tool which will then correlate this information with desktops and servers’ accesses. This SIEM tool will answer the “who?” question. For the “what”, Oracle AVDF will log the database key transactions such as “DROP table”, or “SELECT ALL FROM table”, and will provide reports and alerts if needed. In addition, Oracle AVDF will protect the log data, as it may contain sensitive information as well.

Ideally, the “who?” question can be also addressed by configuring the databases to authenticate into a centralized directory with Oracle EUS. In that case each user can access the databases with a named account while having the least privileges he/she needs. This solution is even doing more than sharing authentication; it can centrally control accesses to hundreds of databases, for example if a DBA leaves the organization, deleting his entry from the directory will disable accesses to all the databases.

Once knowing “who is doing what”, the second things that can be done is protecting sensitive data. Several technologies can be implemented here such as encryption, data redaction and segregation of duties within the database (database vault) or data masking. However, each of them addresses a very specific vulnerability and use case, and as stated before, assessing the risks will help prioritizing the features to implement and optimize the costs.

What Oracle Consulting can do?

Oracle Consulting can do an assessment of critical databases vulnerabilities and risks, review the data security policies and existing countermeasures, and recommend a roadmap to security with priorities and total cost of ownership. 

 Then we can help implementing each of the database security products either with quick start packages or deploy them at the enterprise level using architecture frameworks and patterns that we have built in former engagements. 

 We can also help customers building specific solutions for regulatory compliance requirements such as PCI DSS and the EU Global Data Privacy Regulation, by identifying the gaps with existing strategy, processes and tools, and then implement key features to improve compliance.

 Please contact Oracle Consulting for more information.






Thursday Apr 14, 2016

Consolidate and Simplify IT with Oracle Migration Factory

By Tarakesh Tummapudi, Senior Director, Oracle EMEA Consulting

What is common between solving a traffic problem and simplifying IT?

As part of induction of new joiners, I sometimes need to explain the concept of platform consolidation & modernization to simplify IT. I use the analogy of the traffic at Bangalore, the city where I live, to explain the concept.

Traffic at Bangalore like many other growing cities is a chaos owing to the infrastructure bursting at the seams, public transport just about catching up and also the number of vehicles on the roads growing with the city population ever increasing.

However, when you look inside the cars, you will find that on an average there are about 1 to 2 passengers while the capacity of the cars is 5 and now a days even 7. This is an inefficient use of capacity causing traffic problems, pollution, increased consumption of oil and so on. The solution to this of course is better public transport and also concepts such as car pooling or ride sharing. These can reduce the number of vehicles on the road, reduce pollution and also reduce the cost of commute.

I believe a similar thing happens in IT as well. Traditionally when we have had to deploy new applications, we have most often thought of infrastructure for them in silos. Often new hardware is provisioned for these applications. Even more, when these systems are designed, they are typically designed for peak workloads. These peak workloads probably occur about 30-40% of time, which means that rest of the time the hardware is underutilized. This results in server sprawls, increased datacenter space requiring additional cooling, higher power consumption etc., which in turn results in higher carbon emissions.

 The solution to this is to use consolidation technologies such as virtualization, public & private clouds, consolidated databases and the like. Consolidation helps reduce infrastructure costs significantly and is a much greener way to run IT. There are other benefits such as standardization of the platform resulting in simplified administration and better control over the IT landscape.

Of course this is easier said than done. Such projects will be complex and will need to be carefully planned and executed.


Oracle Migration Factory helps execute these projects leveraging Engineered & Factory approaches. What this means is that the projects are executed with proven & tested processes. Automation helps reduce the overall effort and time, while minimizing human errors. All of this contributing to reduced risks and project costs.

Migration Factory helps transform a wide mix of existing technologies at the different layers of the stack to standardized, consolidated and optimized platforms. A robust future platform can be created with the best of technologies including Oracle Public & Private Cloud Solutions, Oracle Engineered Systems, Oracle Database 12c and many more.

Like the traffic problem, you can either run at lower utilization or you can use a combination of Oracle Technology options and Oracle Migration Factory to better optimize your IT environment, simplifying IT.

To find out more, please visit Oracle Migration Factory.

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