Rick Beers is Senior Director of Product Management for Oracle Fusion
Middleware. Prior to joining Oracle, Rick held a variety of executive
operational positions at Corning, Inc. and Bausch & Lomb.
professional background that includes senior management positions in
manufacturing, supply chain and information technology, Rick brings a unique
set of experiences to cover the impact that technology can have on business
models, processes and organizations.
Rick will be hosting the IT Leaders
Editorial on a regular basis.
Confession: I am neither a technologist nor a long
term IT professional, having spent the first two thirds of my 40 year career
in manufacturing and supply chain, before first entering IT in 1997 as the
supply chain technology lead in a global ERP roll-out. I still remember my
early impressions of the IT profession, both positive and negative. To be
clear: I see many more of the former than the latter; this is an industry
that thrives on energy, innovation and the creation of new and disruptive
things that change the way we live, work and play.
however, have two critical observations at the outset though that have stayed
with me for the past 15 years:
- We continually believe
that we know everything and that we are right all the time. Not only
collectively but also individually. Consensus often seems to be a case of
having an opinion and then convincing everyone else that it is right.
- We lean towards binary
thinking; believing that there are always distinctly right and wrong ways to
do things; that software technologies would work as designed in all
situations as long as they were implemented correctly.
manufacturing years I was trained in ‘Situational Leadership’, popularized in
the late 1970’s by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, co-authors of the Management
of Organizational Behavior.
This ground breaking research, now in its 10th edition, holds that
there is no clear right or wrong style of leadership; that effective
leadership is often defined to one’s surroundings such as organization, tasks
and culture. Oh, to be certain, there are standardized norms with which we
all must comply, both legal and ethical, but beyond those, our behavioral
norms and the situation involved guide how we lead. Might this also extend to
the way we manage technology?
this the other day when I was going through my archives and came across a
December 2009 white paper from PricewaterhouseCoopers entitled The
Situational CIO. It left a strong impression on me then and
is still relevant today. Information Technology management is simply not a
binary exercise, as most CIO’s instinctively realize. In observing that CIO’s
must continually navigate between three apexes: IT Operations, Sourcing &
Orchestration, and Strategy, the research quickly focuses its attention on a
key constraint facing CIO’s, the growing impact of earlier generation,
inflexible enterprise systems in situational world:
“At least that’s (re: navigating between the three
apexes) the theory. The reality is that
keeping the lights on will remain difficult for years to come, given the
billions of dollars worth of installed systems that cannot simply be swapped
for the standard, turnkey tools that vendors are promising. Yet the CIO who
stays too focused on these technologies will be in danger of becoming
obsolete or unemployed. Keeping the lights on is expected but not valued
until big problems occur, in which case the company usually looks for a new
Situational CIO: IT Problem Solver, Cost Cutter, Strategist. PricewaterhouseCoopers, December, 2009).
It is for reasons such as this that
Oracle’s Fusion Middleware team is this month launching Oracle AppAdvantage,
an external program focused upon ”the incremental
value gained by Oracle Applications customers with Oracle Fusion Middleware”.
Due to the breadth and depth of Oracle
Fusion Middleware platform, and the fact that it is increasingly compatible
with Oracle Applications including E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JDEdwards,
Siebel and Oracle’s core Industry applications such as Oracle
Health Sciences E-Clinical Solutions and our Oracle
Banking Platform, enterprises now have an achievable opportunity to continually
navigate the need to simultaneously lower costs, create business value and
realize their strategic visions.
With AppAdvantage, Oracle customers can maximize
the value of Oracle Applications with Oracle Fusion Middleware by adopting a
pace layered approach.
1. Standardize and consolidate core Enterprise
Applications, removing invasive customizations and costly workarounds.
2. Move business specific processes and applications to
the Differentiate Layer, thus
creating greater business agility with process extensions and best of breed
applications managed by cross- application process orchestration.
3. Drive business innovation by connecting people,
information, and applications anywhere, anytime. Treat this as an Innovation
Layer, with capabilities that transform organizations
4. Simplify IT by minimizing
complexity, improving performance and lowering cost with secure and reliable
systems across the entire Enterprise.
For an extended view on this subject read
the whitepaper I just finished: IT
– Business Alignment Why We Stumble and the Path Forward. Next month I’ll
be discussing AppAdvantage in more detail and how we’ll be showcased at
Oracle Open World.