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  • December 10, 2015

The 2015 UKOUG Conference - Notes and Insights

Richard Bingham
Senior Development Manager
As regular participants in this conference I was excited to see what this year had in store. The Birmingham weather was good (no snow) and there was a palpable level of festive spirit in the air with the annual German Christmas market lining the streets to the conference center and the giant Ferris Wheel right right outside.

Our Sessions

On the first day we ran a session entitled Let's Talk About Customizing Oracle Cloud Applications and although was at the end of the day attendance was still reasonable. We provided a summary of the most prolific features available in Fusion Applications for tailoring the environment. In the Q&A there was a lively discussion covering several topics, including version control and sandbox best practices, using Webcenter content, using security or expressions to control feature access, and the difference of on-premise and cloud customization abilities.

On day two we ran a round-table session which had a broad and open focus. We had discussions that included functional web service API's, exposing business events for integration, accessing data via BI and BI-related web services, data migrations for CX and ERP customers. As always it was fantastic to know where gaps in information lie and try to provide answers where we can (including find others who can help).

On the final day we ran a session entitled Integrating with Oracle Cloud Applications, covering the use of web services, loaders, Oracle PaaS services, and the Oracle Marketplace. This session was co-presented with Conemis, a Oracle partner specializing in CX migrations and integration. They explained clever use of Page Composer to embed a new tab which points to a small page/app hosted by them which allows the user to drag-and-drop contact information such as a v-card (or other format) from their desktop into the Sales Cloud application. This also uses of their own tools (for things like data mapping) and ultimately makes web service calls to import that data immediately into the target environment. For users it's a seamless process and it is a great example of a simple-yet-powerful extension. Here is a screenshot.

Other Session Observations

We attended a broad mix of sessions to hear from experts and listen with interest to comments and questions. Of particular interest were plans to support the growing Subscription Economy, where products are increasing part of a package that includes services and subscriptions. We heard how our enterprise applications are evolving to support the required extra flexibility in the order management processing.

We also heard many sessions focus on the Internet of Things, with our applications roadmap including support for exciting new products and services. For manufacturing this included the following three themes:

  • Internet of Things - connected sensors added to the existing environment.
  • Factory of the Future - intelligence manufacturing machines connected together.
  • Product Connectivity - the end products become connected.

One of the goals for manufacturers being Predictive Maintenance, where work schedules can be optimized reduce the need for reactive (costly) breakdowns. This is enabled by techniques including complex pattern matching, modelling, and failure analysis. The forthcoming solutions are all based on the new Oracle Cloud Services for Internet of Things (IoT) and BigData together. These platforms are leveraged to provide a new set of cloud services that can then be connected with Enterprise Applications to create real transactions such as quality inspections, work orders, and schedules.

Another Internet of Things session from our colleagues in the AppsUX team used the example of adding a very real "context" to applications, where it knows more information to help you work more efficiently. One example used what enhancing security by making sure data access on mobile devices complies with the regulations of the country you are current in.

We attended multiple sessions from customers and partners who have implemented cloud applications. Noted the repetition of a few themes which illustrate an evolution and maturing of the process:

  • Old hardware is becoming a more significant driver of cloud adoption.
  • Security is starting to be seen as less of a threat but as a benefit, with much higher security available from cloud providers than most internal companies are able to provide.
  • Organizational policies are increasingly looking at cloud solutions in preference to on-premises.
  • An opportunity to rationalize and standardize business processes.
  • Mobile first strategy - where responsive design, client apps, and built-in features like infolets and BI Mobile Application Developer fully supporting the needs for mobile and tablet workers.

On The Oracle Stand

This year we worked with the Oracle Marketing team to have a section of the Oracle stand in the exhibition hall available for short seminars on various topics. We delivered short 15minute sessions during lunches and breaks covering SaaS customization features, extension technologies and techniques, and integration. We also held a more reflective session where we considered a developers role in the cloud, looking at the commoditization of development facilitated by the latest
easy-to-use, no-code tools and services. As such I
broke Oracle SaaS and PaaS services and techniques into roughly two categories - those with a
traditional coding component for the professional developer, and those without coding for the
pseudo-developer or business analyst.

As well as using whiteboarding, we showed off a few video demos, including this festive illustration of using the Theme Editor in Release 10, made by our very creative colleague Andy McGhee.

It was not just us doing these sessions, and other presenters included topics inside BI, middleware, and database. We even has a partner run their Christmas-themed demo, showing how to move from a spreadsheet into a fully-fledged application using the Database Cloud/APEX platform. Santa suddenly had a quick way of managing elf work schedules along with embedded analytics. Again there was no coding, just wizard-based creation of screens and content.

Whilst at the stand we saw the "Public PaaS for Dummies" book which includes chapters on: Driving Innovation and Transformation with Platform as a Service, Exploring PaaS Use Cases, Introducing Oracle Cloud Platform, Oracle Cloud Platform Success Stories, and Five Best Practices for PaaS Success. It's only 57 pages and is half the size of a normal book. You can find the eBook here.

See You Next Year

It was great to meet up with old comrades as well as make some new acquaintances in the Oracle Community. Of course our thanks must go the UKOUG who continue to support our contributions and always put on an educational, professional, and inspirational event every year.

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