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.


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!

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.

Watch the full-length video here

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


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

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

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

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.

Tuesday Apr 12, 2016

The Lightness of Upgrade

By Petr Hosek, Senior Director, Oracle EMEA Consulting

 Do you also have a mixed feeling when you are alerted by your computer or smart phone that a new version of your software is available, and you definitely should upgrade?

In the Enterprise world patching, updating or upgrading bears a totally different level of complexity. Whenever a new version pops up, IT managers are agonizing if to go for it!? Sometimes the new features do not justify the effort to undertake the step. And we so often see Enterprises skipping one version or another, especially if the new upgrade does not contain any killer feature relevant for them.

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone else could take care of all the included risks, the complicated testing and usual downtime? Welcome to the new world of upgrading – upgrading in public cloud!

Most of the tasks that users know from on premise installations are – like by swish of a magic wand – taken care of by the Cloud Service provider! They have to test the new version thoroughly, they have to make it smooth and hassle-free for the end-user, they have to ensure compatibility of your applications and data in the cloud environment. And it is much more efficient if this effort is spent once for many users, rather than in the on premise world where every customer has to carry it out on their own.

You may argue that upgrading in public cloud is much easier since the cloud environment is much less customized then on premise installations. But isn’t that the whole concept of public cloud, after all!

The “irresistible lightness” of easy upgrades will lead to dramatic increase of speed with which new updates and upgrades will be introduced. Just think of your smart phone - how often are you requested to update one app or another? We probably will never see such a frequency in the enterprise software world. However, if the providers can ensure the process runs smoothly and without any ramifications – why not? Mending errors and bringing new meaningful features – I am all for it!

You can see the Oracle’s ever growing Public Cloud Offering here.

Wednesday Apr 06, 2016

Why do you need to think DevOps if you are adopting Cloud?

By Luis Gonzalez, Consulting Director SOA at Oracle

Let’s gather the CEOs, CIOs and CTOs together, and ask them about the headlines of the game plan for the next year. No wonder most CEOs will say “faster”. And surely CTOs will say “cloud”. But if you ask the CIOs you can expect they will likely go for “DevOps”.

Of course we all understand what “faster” implies in this context. CEOs needs to make sure that business is fast and adapts quickly to a rapidly changing scenario. Enterprise Applications need to be implemented faster, and frequent updates to these applications need to be transitioned into production, moving from traditional release cycles of several months into release cycles of weeks or even days.

And we would all probably acknowledge that “cloud” seems to be the logical architectural answer to achieve that business agility.
  • SaaS services can help deliver Enterprise Applications without the need to increase Capex and install expensive on-premises hardware, and saving precious time in bringing up key new business capabilities, and more effective interactions with customers.
  • And cloud is also PaaS and IaaS, which are quickly replacing on-premises hardware and software by virtualized cloud infrastructures. And also the tedious, laborious, and slow way that most enterprises roll out technology infrastructure and applications, stacking hardware in an on-premises data center and taking as long as one year to develop, test, and deploy each major code release

But what is DevOps’contribution to this? Why is DevOps needed for this cloud wave to happen?

DevOps is a new school of thought about how to modernize IT. DevOps is all about delivering a better service to the Enterprise, bringing agility to development and also to infrastructure management and allowing faster releases of key business applications (especially what we call “Systems of Innovation”).

In a previous entry of this blog, Jo Pugh introduced DevOps in the context of the Digital Transformation process which many companies are undertaking to gain competitive advantage

And why is DevOps the key for a successful cloud adoption?

Provisioning in the cloud. A DevOps paradigm shift: Infrastructure as Code

The cloud changes dramatically the needs for provisioning IT infrastructure. Just a few years back, the Operations guys were responsible for a large collection of physical machines sitting in the datacenter. Provisioning meant to physically unpack and mount servers in racks, install OS and base middleware products, and then ask the development team to provide the application components that need to be deployed. Hard work but in many cases a one-off, since usually applications would sit on their production servers more or less forever, or at least until a new application release was issued several months later. A significant part of the IT infrastructure will consist of idle or underutilized hardware and software licenses due to this static application to hardware mapping.

But with the cloud (IaaS or PaaS), physical servers will soon be gone. The Operations guy sits literally on top of a pool of dynamic resources. A huge LEGO consisting of virtual CPUs, virtual storage, virtual VPNs and Middleware-as-a-Service components. Hundreds or thousands of virtual resources that can be assembled, configured and installed dynamically without any physical intervention, and that can be reconfigured and redeployed accordingly to the evolution of the IT architecture. 

DevOps encourages and allows Automation of the provisioning process, and is key to making this happen. Virtual servers in the cloud should be created and configured automatically, using complex programs which will provide intelligent reconfiguration capabilities to the IT infrastructure, and the ability to adapt to continuously changing requirements.

DevOps popular tools like Chef and Puppet, in combination with platforms like Oracle Enterprise Manager, are the key building blocks for systems which implement this Infrastructure as a Code paradigm shift

Faster release cycles in the cloud: Continuous Delivery and Microservices

And if we look at the cloud from the perspective of Application Development, there are two new technology trends that cloud adoption is enabling: Continuous Delivery and Microservices

Continuous Delivery can be thought of as an extension of Continuous Integration, aiming at minimizing lead time, the time elapsed until changes to an application are actually moved into production. In a Continuous Delivery, development workflows are redesigned so developers can release small bits of code frequently (in a continuous delivery cycle) without disrupting the operational environment. The advantages of CD are not only the earlier return on the investment for each feature after it is developed, but also the earlier feedback from users on each new feature as it is released to production, which affords techniques such as parallel (or A/B) testing 

Continuous Delivery often is based on Microservices architectures, an architectural paradigm in which business functionality is decomposed into a set of independent, self-contained services that communicate with each other via an API. Each of the services has their own application release cycle, and is developed and deployed independently often using different languages, technology stacks and tools that best fit the job.

By splitting the monolithic application into smaller services and decoupling interdependencies (between apps, dev teams, technologies, environments and tooling), Microservices allow for more flexibility and agility.

While things may move faster on the Dev side, Microservices and Continuous Delivery introduce architectural complexities and management overhead, particularly on the testing and Ops side. What was once one application with self-contained processes is now a complex set of orchestrated services deployed in the cloud with very short release time. This has impact on automated testing, monitoring, governance and compliance of the whole application infrastructure. And that is why you need DevOps

DevOps: A prerequisite for Cloud Native Applications

In his presentation “Building Cloud Native Applications”, Kelly Goetsch advocates a roadmap towards building Cloud Native Applications which positions DevOps as the first logical step in cloud adoption, which should serve as a starting point to create a Service Oriented strategy that will lead towards Distributed Computing by adopting the Microservices architectural paradigm

Positioning DevOps to customers of the Oracle Public Cloud

Most of the customers adopting the Oracle Public Cloud will have a significant challenge in translating the benefits of the cloud approach into a real business advantage. The true power of the cloud will only be achieved after redesigning the workflows which traditionally have implemented the governance of the IT infrastructure. In most cases the cloud adoption process will also bring virtualization with it. The main topics will be around setting up effective Monitoring and Instrumentation procedures and about dynamic provisioning
Oracle Consulting wants to provide a DevOps track to the Cloud Adoption Process. And we want to do it by providing a specific set of services which we can be positioned to help customers build a DevOps culture, process and platform in their IT so that Cloud Adoption is successful, and delivers the promise of more agility and speed in the business transformation.  More details will be published in this blog soon.

For more information, please contact Luis Gonzalez Iglesias

Why will Cloud IS become your company’s spine?

By Vincent Griffe, Functional Finance Staff consultant

The main objective of your Information System is to offer the integrity and homogeneity of your data to each actor of the company, according to his needs and his data privileges, by coordinating the whole data process.

What are the challenges of your Information System management?

Your Information System is based on the three following axes: Customer Experience (CX), Human Capital Management (HCM) and Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP).

  • Managing your Sales force takes into consideration both new clients’ prospection and actual client portfolio management.
  • Managing your Workforce encompasses your whole employees’ life, from their recruitment, through their career evolution and until their leaving. It also includes all information regarding any contingent workers, clients or potential business actors.
  • Managing your company’s Activity deals with information of Distribution, Finance, and Production processes.
    Dealing with information flows from these three axes is the main challenge of your company to become a sustainable business and to provide accurate report information to meet compliance requirements and the law.

As presented in the diagram above, Information Systems have 3 additional features monitoring the 3 axes: Security, Workflow, Approvals and Notifications, and Project Management. These features guarantee efficient data information flows through your company, by providing relevant information to interested actors.
Moreover, the Business Intelligence is related to the whole information system. It collects data from the database and consolidates them in order to create models and dashboards for different management levels and for different time-based purposes.

How Cloud computing influences Information Systems?

Cloud computing and storage solutions offer to your company various capabilities to store and process your data in third-party data centers.

The three kinds of Cloud are Private, Public and Hybrid. It means that the pool of resource is only accessible by your sole company, or let your data stored in the third-party data center where multiple clients can access virtualized services from this same pool of servers, or you can also mix your data storage with private and public clouds.

Moreover, Cloud computing develops scalability by covering your whole Information System: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Database as a Service (DaaS)

  • Software as integrated cloud services provides the agility to find a happy medium between a common ground across the company and the differentiated features between the entities to meet local requirements. Moreover, your software management is improved by quick business demand adjustments. The article "Oracle CEO Safra Catz: We're All On The Same Journey" quote Safra Catz, CEO at Oracle: “But today with modern cloud applications, we finally have the technology that’s compelling [both] technically and from a commercial point of view. We have the potential of doing more and spending less doing it.”
  • Cloud computing allows your company to avoid heavy infrastructure costs and released with minimal maintenance management. According to the article "How To Save $150 Billion: Move All App Dev And Testing To The Cloud": Mark Hurd, CEO at Oracle, estimates the opportunity to save money, from public cloud offers, at roughly $150 billion over the next decade.
  • Improve your data security through confidentiality controls and monitoring environments accessibility. Indeed, Jack Sepple and Daniel Mellen from Accenture have claimed that “most public clouds are infinitely more secure than most companies’ current internal data centers and security functions”.

Cloud computing is already a tremendous factor of companies’ digital transformation. Are you ready for this journey?

Tuesday Apr 05, 2016

Bukhatir Group Improves Processes with Oracle EPM Cloud

The Bukhatir Group is one of the largest and most diversified business houses in the United Arab Emirates. Its main interests straddle Construction, Education, Information Technology, Real Estate, Shopping & Retail, Sports & Leisure and Services. The geographical domain of the Bukhatir Group spans over half the world from North America to North Africa, West and South Asia.

The group had plans for extensive use of Oracle PBCS across its multiple lines of businesses. As one of the first steps to this PBCS adoption, they opted for an OC PBCS Enablement Service. As part of this engagement, design of multiple models in the Revenue & Manpower planning was done. Of this, two models were chosen to be implemented. This 6-week enablement service set the Bukhatir Group on the path to their PBCS adoption, which was successfully done across various businesses & functions. OC’s wide portfolio of Cloud Enablement Services are flexible, uses your own cloud infrastructure, data & business scenarios, to get your adopting the cloud quickly.

Check more about Oracle Consulting’s services, including the enablement service, here

Friday Apr 01, 2016

Transportation Management - Up and running at “Cloud” speed!

By Mandy Lingham, Oracle Consulting Technical Manager

When one is exposed to the world of Transportation Management, there is no turning back from your attention being drawn to trucks on the roads and those ‘I’, ‘T’ or ‘X’ shaped buildings (perhaps cross docking facilities?). However, you don’t have to travel too far from home, because you might have already noticed things like crates and roll cages at your nearby supermarket once you realize how they contribute to transport optimization.

If you have the pleasure to visit the Oracle FACET building in Utrecht you might also be able relate to being exposed to this world even more just by the view of the A2 highway from your desk. On a daily basis one can be amazed at the number of Oracle Transport Management OTM customers, OTM customer’s customers and OTM customer’s service providers that can be identified.

While your amazement might not be on par with a typical 3 year old boy who is excited to see anything huge on wheels, it might come pretty close when your understanding of OTM grows. Add to that the arrival of OTM on the Cloud and the feelings you experience might set you shrieking with joy where a passerby might not be able to discern you from that aforementioned little boy.

There are a number of OTM cloud implementation offerings available for customers :

  • Execution - this provides a Visibility and Tracking solution for customers whose priority is to view what is happening in their transport network and to have a single web based tool for communications.
  • Plan to Execute - this adds Planning and Optimization capabilities to transport orders so that vehicle capacity can be used more efficiently, the most optimal route and price can be found for deliveries and delivery deadlines are met.
  • Plan to Settle - this is the most comprehensive offering which includes all the functionality of already described plus financial settlement. This means that carrier payment is calculated and communicated to the EPR/accounting system.

Cloud customers have the expectation to be up and running quickly and with a delivery between 4 – 12 weeks. The above mentioned offerings meet these expectations hands down.

The Cloud offerings are derived from OTM Express, a comprehensive set of predefined and tested OTM objects. These collectively provide the building blocks for the configuration of the target OTM system. Click here to see how OTM Express allowed us to rapidly implement OTM in a service oriented architecture (2015 OTM SIG Conference presentation).

Of course, nothing is perfect, despite how much we would want things to be, and because of that these offerings are continually evolving. As we discover more ways to reduce time and costs for our customers and find valuable re-usable assets from our implementations, we include these into the offerings when deemed beneficial for future implementations:

Our roadmap for this year is as follows:


Upgrade in progress




May 2016

August 2016

November 2016

Functionality enhancements

- Version 1.2 is being upgraded to OTM 6.4.1

- Alignment with Oracle True Cloud Method Plus TM

- Carrier Connectivity with 3 large carriers:

· Parcel Labels

· Track and Trace

· Pickup Notification

- Sell-side Freight Settlement

- Standard Transportation Intelligence dashboards

- Standard ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system Integration

- Extend Rates maintenance via Sourcing module

*Target dates and scope items are subject to change to maintain consistency with product updates and related industry direction

If you have some wonderful ideas on how these offerings can be expanded to get even more Transport Management enthusiasts shouting “Yay!”, then please email these priceless gems our way.

To learn more about the technology described in this post, please visit the OTM page.



« May 2016