Wednesday Jan 28, 2015

Partner Column – The Journey to PaaS, Part Two

by Debra Lilley, ACE Director,  VP, Certus Cloud Services

I was looking back at my first partner column and realised I jumped straight into PaaS 4 SaaS – the ability to extend Cloud applications with PaaS, and actually didn’t make the point we can extend any application with PaaS including our existing on-premise investments with Oracle E Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel etc.

What we have learnt over the years is that customization of the base application should be avoided.  So many of us have had difficult or even impossible upgrades because of what we have done in our applications and have therefore learnt this the hard way. However that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t extend our applications, (perhaps the topic of another posting and I need you, the readers, to let me know if that is a good idea).

If every organisation used the same set of applications for both front and back office there would be no differentiation from a technical approach but in reality, that is what all organisations need - a differentiation from their competitors. It may be as simple as storing additional data, or an additional process. So there is balance to be sought between staying standard and as is and what adds value. What Cloud applications have taught us is to create these extensions separately and then execute from your standard applications. 

How do you do this? Well, in simple, non technical terms you probably want a 3 step process:

1. Extract data from main application.

2. Your extension.

3. Return or load data back into main application.

Here is a very simple example:

1.  You take a single person record from your main application, and getting data out is the easiest part, use an existing API or simply extract in a suitable format using your analytics tools.

2. Your extension use case could be to populate a small application for a special initiative. 

3. Then, you return to the main application and mark the record (e.g. A descriptive flexfield in Oracle E-Business Suite to say they are part of the initiative). This stage is the trickiest. If there is an existing API in your application to update the object it is straight forward. Otherwise it depends on the tools and flexibility of that specific application.

This third part of the process, may dictate that you don’t go back into the main application. So, in this example, you still have the power of the extension but no marker in the original. Your use case may not need that anyway.

Equally you may not need the first step, if you are using your extension to collect data, especially additional fields which you can hold in the application but the system doesn’t give you the flexibility to validate or ease of entry online, you may use an extension to capture, validate and process this data and use a standard API to load it.

This last example made me think of a conversation I had with an ACE Director about 7 or 8 years ago about Application Express (APEX) and Oracle E Business Suite. He was looking to see if there was a need for APEX here and every use case he suggested people were doing with customisations quite happily. Now there is a real move towards extending with APEX and I recommend this white paper

What PaaS gives us is development tools in the cloud. The same advantages as for SaaS - no infrastructure, pay as you go, and predictable on-going costs. PaaS gives SaaS customers the ability to extend their functionality with the same benefits as with their applications but equally on premise application customers could build their extensions in the cloud if they wanted to, although I accept there could be less of a driver. But something else I didn’t make clear last month is that PaaS is not just about extending your application with code, it is also about other middleware components as well. 

The Oracle Business Intelligence offerings have had a barrier of entry around the commissioning of the infrastructure and platform build, so adopting them as PaaS may make a lot of sense. Similarly there are other applications you can use with your existing investment which again make so much sense to adopt in the Cloud like Planning and Budgeting. 

Take a look at Oracle’s Cloud offerings portal; it is very easy to navigate and understand. The Applications and Platform tabs are worth a browse just to see what Oracle have made available this way.

Next month I’ll talk more about the Rapid Development Kit I mentioned last month.

Editor's Note: And don't miss Oracle Cloud Online Forum taking place today, Wednesday, January 28 starting at 10 am Pacific, to get more details. Register now.

About the Author:

Debra Lilley, VP Certus Cloud Services, Fusion Champion, UKOUG Board Member, Fusion User Experience Advocate and ACE Director.

Lilley has 18 years experience with Oracle Applications, with E Business Suite since 9.4.1, moving to Business Intelligence Team Lead and Oracle Alliance Director. She has spoken at over 100 conferences worldwide and posts at debrasoraclethoughts 

Tuesday Jan 27, 2015

Middleware Newsletter on 2015 Tech Trends, Cloud Strategy and PaaS Use Cases

If you are in the North East belt in the US, we hope you are staying warm and are relatively unaffected by the blizzard.

Whether you are at home or mobile, in case you haven't seen it yet, the January edition of Oracle Fusion Middleware Newsletter is now out. Top stories include an interview with Oracle Senior Vice President, Amit Zavery as he discusses evolving 2015 top trends driving digital transformation in business across the globe, coverage of our recent CloudWorld events and key messages that outline Oracle's cloud strategy and the commitment and investment going in it, and a deeper look at real world Platform-as-a-Service business use cases.

Find out if the trends discussed align with what you are tackling in your company today and learn more about Oracle's SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and DBaaS strategy and how you can apply PaaS offerings in your business today. In this edition, we have specifically tackled Java Cloud Service use cases but this will be a recurring series as we look at Java and other Cloud Service offerings and how organizations are deploying these to realize business benefits.

As always, the newsletter has current news, events, collateral, industry reports, training and developer news so be sure to take a look and subscribe to the newsletter.


Monday Jan 26, 2015

Cloud Online Forum is Live on January 28 - Don't Miss It!

by Eric Jacobsen, Sr. Product Marketing Director, Java Cloud Service

Is your company asking you to rapidly and securely deploy and manage new business applications in the cloud?  Do you need to build a proven, innovative, collaborative, and integrated Platform as a Service?

If so, today is your lucky day!  Oracle is hosting a Cloud Platform Online Forum on Wednesday, January 28 where you can attend live online sessions and hear what IDC Research, innovative clients, and Oracle’s leading experts have to say about Platform as a Service and cloud.  Whether you are a Java or or mobile developer, an Architect, an IT operations manager, or a Business user,  there is a session for you! 

Follow this link to register for this insightful Cloud Platform Online Forum. REGISTER TODAY!

We will kick off the Forum on January 28 at 10AM PST with Robert P. Mahwold, IDC Research Program Vice President as he leads a “Cloud Platform Market Outlook” discussion with Rex Wang, Oracle Vice President.  

They will provide useful tips and solid strategies you can consider as you drive your cloud platform initiatives.  They will discuss how to decide whether public, private or hybrid cloud is best and how your organization might approach moving to the cloud.  You’ll hear IDC and Oracle best practices to developing a roadmap that will get you on your way to cloud computing.  Join us for this inspiring session.

The Middleware General Session begins at 11:15AM PST and we’ll be taking your questions live through the online chat.  7-Eleven's, Greg Haertling, Chief Enterprise Architect and Sr. Director of Software Development will you how 7 Eleven “Accelerated their Digital Transformation with Oracle’s Platform as a Service.”  He will be joined by Oracle’s Siddhartha Agarwal, Vice President, Product Management and Strategy. 

They will discuss how Platform as a Service is driving efficiencies for development, operations and LOB, including highly scalable and cost efficient development & testing in the cloud, delivery of enterprise class cloud & mobile apps, rapid integration of cloud & on-premise investments, and seamless workload portability between on-premises & cloud.

Afterward, you can watch these additional Middleware Sessions in the following tracks:

  • Application Developer Track: Build, Test, Extend Cloud Applications
    • Java App Performance at the Speed of Cloud: Hot Tips for Successful Cloud Development
    • Jazz Up Your SaaS with Oracle PaaS Solutions
    • Mobile Development in the Cloud
  • Middleware IT Operations Track: Integrate, Secure, Manage your Cloud
    • Simplify SaaS and On-premises Integration
    • Extend Your Identity Management Services to the Cloud
    • Top Tips for Managing Your Application PaaS
  • Business User Track: Connect, Collaborate & Analyze in the Cloud
    • Next-Gen Enterprise Content Management in the Cloud
    • Rapid Business Process Automation in the Cloud
    • Unlocking the Power of Business Analytics in Oracle Cloud

You can find the agenda for these sessions here.

There will also be a Database General Session and Database Cloud Platform sessions that you can attend as well.

I hope to see you online for this exciting Oracle Cloud Platform Online Forum.  Don’t forget to REGISTER so you can discover the right strategies for your organization's journey to the cloud!

Live mobile hacking with a OFM 12c red stack at Fusion Middleware Partner Community Forum 2015

Cross Posted for Juergen Kress 

The Fusion Middleware Partner Community Forum takes place March 3rd & 4th in Budapest Hungary. During this annual conference You as an Oracle Partner can get the latest updates on the Fusion Middleware 12c solutions. “The Cloud Platform for Digital Business” will be the theme of the 20th conference. Keynotes will be delivered from Amit Zavery, Andrew Sutherland and SOA, BPM and Mobile product management including live demos. On the second day you can choose between three tracks: SOA, BPM or WebLogic and Mobile. As a closing keynotes Luc Bors and Lucas Jellema will present:

Live mobile hacking with a OFM 12c red stack

Lucas Jellema

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AMIS

Solution Architect

Oracle ACE Director

Blog

Twitter

Luc Bors

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Amis

Principal Consultant / ADF Expertise Lead

Oracle Blog

Twitter

LinkedIn

For details please visit our Fusion Middleware Partner Community Forum registration page here.

P.S. Don't forget!

Cloud Platform Online Forum. It's on - Jan 28. It's all good but don't miss Shay Shmeltzer go over and demo the Oracle Mobile Cloud Service (The GA release is coming soon!) It's that whole bringing mobile development to the cloud, mobile backend as a service, and making everyone's lives better. Check it out!

Friday Jan 23, 2015

ACE Director on Clearing the ConFusion – Oracle Cloud Applications

Author: Debra Lilley, ACE Director, EMEA

As I typed that title I cringed. I have been an advocate for Oracle’s development of Next Generation Applications from the day they announced Fusion, and I hated the term quickly coined by pessimists of 'Fusion – Confusion'. But now as Oracle drops the name Fusion, for its applications, I feel there really is some confusion, so I am going to use this post to clarify to this community.

Why am I writing this post for this blog? Well the problem is Oracle knows it has renamed the products, but their customers don’t. If you are attending COLLABORATE in April the stream is called Fusion Applications, and if it wasn’t the number of attendees would be very small, but more and more you need to recognise the Cloud brand. The components of Cloud that Oracle developed in their technology (okay, Fusion applications), are 100% written on Oracle Fusion Middleware, that hasn’t gone anywhere and continues to be developed, and it is the use of these Oracle Fusion Middleware technologies that Oracle AppAdvantage is all about - extending the capabilities of "Fusion" Applications with Oracle Fusion Middleware. My starting position and reason I became involved with this AppAdvantage initiative is that there is no better shop window for what Oracle Fusion Middleware can do than the applications that Oracle has developed itself.

I did try an explanation on my own blog after Oracle Open World but this time I will be more succinct.

FACT : All Fusion Applications are now Cloud Applications.

Each pillar is now renamed Oracle …. Cloud , so Fusion Financials is now part of Oracle ERP Cloud, within each pillar there are the separate offerings which are normally desecrate process areas and with discrete pricing.

FACT : Not all  Cloud Applications started Life as Fusion Applications.

As part of their Cloud journey, Oracle has acquired some native cloud-delivered applications, such as Taleo and RightNow. The plan, being executed is that these products are being unified, i.e. integrated with other offerings, where possible being delivered on the same technology stack and being given the same User Experience as Oracle’s home grown offerings. 

RightNow has for some time been known as Oracle Service Cloud  and the recruiting module from Taleo as Oracle Recruiting Cloud

FACT: Cloud Applications don’t have to be SaaS

Software as a Service is the deployment of an application in a cloud environment. Oracle, or a third party in some cases, hosts the application and look after not only the infrastructure but the patching and security, and in turn you pay a subscription to use charge.

Most of these same applications could be deployed on-premise with you being responsible for all the above and with the more traditional upfront licence costs. 

Oracle have called the products Cloud because they are available and are being deployed as such more and more that way.

FACT : Oracle are trying to make it easy for you to find this all in one place.

This is a great place to start: https://cloud.oracle.com/home. The Applications tab goes through the offerings and you can find the PaaS offerings to extend and strengthen your SaaS.

About the Author:

Debra Lilley, VP Certus Cloud Services, Fusion Champion, UKOUG Board Member, Fusion User Experience Advocate and ACE Director.

Lilley has 18 years experience with Oracle Applications, with E Business Suite since 9.4.1, moving to Business Intelligence Team Lead and Oracle Alliance Director. She has spoken at over 100 conferences worldwide and posts at debrasoraclethoughts 

Tuesday Jan 20, 2015

Upcoming Mobile Events

Hello Mobile Fans!  Two upcoming Oracle sponsored mobile events you don't want to miss!

Cloud Platform Online Forum. It's on - Jan 28. It's all good but don't miss Shay Shmeltzer go over and demo the Oracle Mobile Cloud Service (The GA release is coming soon!) It's that whole bringing mobile development to the cloud, mobile backend as a service, and making everyone's lives better. Check it out!

For my European friends or anyone going to Mobile World Congress, stop by the Oracle booth and we can continue our conversant on all things mobile including: Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, Oracle Mobile Security Suite, Oracle Mobile Application Framework and our growing library of mobile applications.

Follow us @OracleMobile

Friday Jan 16, 2015

Tackling SaaS Integration, Multi-Channel Experience and Integrated Systems

Running a digital business or moving towards it? Building a cloud strategy or busy implementing it? Have mobile on your mind? Well, Oracle Fusion Middleware is the cloud platform to support your digital business. Coming out of Oracle OpenWorld, I found there were a few key themes you could bundle some of our customers' questions in. So, I sat down with product and domain experts to better understand some of the more common use cases we have started to hear around digital businesses and cloud.

SaaS to On-Premise Integration: While most organizations have adopted a cloud strategy - public, private or hybrid, a recent survey shows that 81% of those organizations agree that it is important for the applications to be fully integrated with each other and other software to reap the full benefits of cloud. And over 40% believe that cloud poses a security risk to their information and infrastructure. From a development standpoint, an integration platform rather than point to point integration ensures lowest TCO, less maintenance and upgrade costs, more scalability and flexibility for an organization. The same integration platform that supports your on-premise infrastructure supports your SaaS model too and ensures better integration between SaaS and On-Premise applications. Catch this brief webcast and demo to see how Oracle enables simplified SaaS to On-Premise integration.

Multi-Channel Enablement: Whether you are a B2B or a B2C, your customers, partners and even your employees have come to expect a seamless, consistent multi-channel experience. They need to be able to get the information they need on desktop or phone,  via web or mobile securely, anytime and anywhere. How do you enable this digital experience across multiple channels without adding to your development costs? How do you ensure security across these channels? And most of all, how do you give them a user experience that will have them coming back to you? Catch this demo webcast to learn how.

Platform Optimization: Integrated systems are all the rage today. You can't move through tech news without bumping into the term "integrated systems". But what is the value of one? If your hardware and software are optimized to support your middleware and your applications, there are  clear advantages to that - high performance, high reliability and availability, lower operational expenses (OpEx) and better efficiency. But then does deployment get tricky? How are private cloud environments supported? This webcast, complete with a demo, answers those questions and more.

Have more questions? Let's keep the conversation going. Send us your comments and we will get the product experts to answer those for you.



Monday Jan 12, 2015

RightNow & JDEdwards Integration Demo by SOA Suite 12c Including Mobile App

Crossposted article by Richard Lefebvre 

To get access to the Oracle demo system please visit first OPN (OPN account required)

Oracle GSE account members with interest in Tech, FMW, JDEdwards or Service Cloud; +GSE +PDIT DSS

Customers today constantly engage with companies across multiple channels. Companies need to be able to engage, sell to, and service customers across all channels: the web, in a store, over the phone, via a mobile device or through social channels. Customers desire a simple, secure and consistent experience, whether it is a bank they are interacting with, or a retail store they are ordering a product from, or a service and maintenance request they are creating.

Highlights

The demo illustrates how to

  • Leverage common development technologies to enable compatibility and re-usability across multiple channels
  • Access information and applications intuitively and securely through self-service portals for customers, employees and partners
  • Automate and manage cross enterprise business process shared services across multiple channels

Showcase

  • Mobile & Identity Management: MAF 2.0, OAM Mobile and Social, OAG, OID
  • Integration:  Pre-built integrations RightNow, JDEdwards
  • Infrastructure: SOA 12c, Oracle Service Bus, WebCenter Portal

Call to Action

For questions/feedback please contact petraas.bhathena@oracle.com or anand.prasad@oracle.com in GSE.

For more information about Cloud Integration please visit the SOA Partner Community Workspace here AppAdvantage & Cloud Integration (free membership required www.oracle.com/goto/emea/soa)


Wednesday Jan 07, 2015

IT Leaders Discuss Their Business Goals and Technology Solutions

Happy New Year! Hope 2015 is off to a great start for you.

One of the biggest highlights for us in 2014 was getting an opportunity to visit and spend some time with the IT Leaders of successful organizations around the world. The objective of each of these documentaries was to understand the business imperatives of such organizations, get insights from the IT Leaders on how they align their IT objectives with the company's business goals and how they measure the impact of their IT & business investments on their customers, vendor ecosystem, the company's employees and of course, the company's bottom line. And we then have technology experts walk us through the technical implementations that has made all that possible.

Based on their business imperatives, organizations had taken different paths and driven diverse IT roadmaps to deliver business success. Northumbrian Water in the UK enabled mobility for its remote workforce to drive 24 X 7 operations. Pella, a major windows and doors manufacturer in the USA built a contextual web experience for its online visitors while creating a self-service portal for its sales and dealers network and an online appointment scheduling tool to deliver a unique and superior digital experience. Grupo Farmacos, a major medical supplies distributor in Mexico has set up an optimized IT infrastructure that is suited to each of its four different business units, one dealing with high transaction volume, other requiring 24 X 7 availability and the other requiring high level of reliability with high performance for health needs. Ricoh Americas, an IT services and office equipment company, is delivering on its "Anytime, Anywhere" promise to its customers by allowing them to scan their products and either troubleshoot issues themselves or easily log those while in the backend, the seamless cloud to on-premise integration delivers the desired results. And Siram, an energy distribution company in Italy has automated its RFP process to deliver efficiency, bring transparency and drive cost control with automated business process management.

We were incredibly fortunate to have gotten some time with the executives of such elite companies and to be able to share their stories with you. For your convenience, we have made all these documentaries available in one place, that can be played on-demand. Hope you enjoy and benefit from these as we have enjoyed pulling these together.

Happy 2015!

Monday Jan 05, 2015

New Version of Mobile App for Oracle E-Business Suite

Cross-posting from Vijay Shanmugam

What's New?

A new version (1.1.0) of Approvals for EBS smartphone app is available on Apple App Store. This new version provides following updates:

  •  Improvements to login and configuration flow
  • Ability to change server URL without reinstalling the app.
  • *Diagnostics improvements.
  • After updating to version 1.1.0, you are required to reconfigure the app to implement the configuration and login improvements included in this version.
Note: The latest app version will work with earlier server-side patches. However, the latest server-side patches must be applied to enable new features and fixes that require those patches, marked by an asterisk (*).

For more information on these updates, see My Oracle Support Note 1641772.1 at https://support.oracle.com.

Support for Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

If your mobile users need to access the Oracle E-Business Suite mobile apps over the Internet, your Oracle E-Business Suite environment must be set up in a DMZ configuration.

  • For DMZ configuration instructions on Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1, see Document 380490.1.

  • For DMZ configuration instructions on Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2, see Document 1375670.1.

Additionally, when setting up the configuration file for your mobile app as described in Section 2.2.1, ensure that the service endpoint (or server host URL in Oracle E-Business Suite Mobile Foundation releases earlier than Release 2.1) is set to your external web entry point.

Tuesday Dec 30, 2014

'Tis The Season To Look at Middleware Highlights From 2014

2014 was all this and so much more. For a complete listing you can visit oracle.com/middleware, Oracle newsroom or subscribe to our bi-monthly Oracle Fusion Middleware newsletter. We thank you for engaging with us - listening to us and talking to us. Wishing you and yours a very Happy 2015. Looking forward to an even more fulfilling 2015 with all of you.

Peace and joy to the world.

Monday Dec 29, 2014

Northumbrian Water Increases Efficiency by Going Mobile

Tis the season. Enjoy this interview by Grant Ronald with the folks at Northumbrian Water. More videos like this are available at the Oracle Media Network.


Wednesday Dec 24, 2014

Partner Column: It's All About the Cloud

Author: Debra Lilley, ACE Director

If you attended Oracle Open World, the talk was all about Cloud. Now Oracle have published their Q2 figures and analysts are talking about Oracle’s Cloud strategy being the reason behind the increase in share prices.

So do we really understand Cloud? When the term first came up, every session on cloud was about ‘what is cloud’, thankfully we have moved beyond that. Each vendor has there own subtly different definition but to me it is a disruptive technology that changes the way we consume the IT, not worrying about the infrastructure, and paying for it by use. At a recent Oracle event I heard an even better way of explaining this. Cloud is about having access to software, not owning it.

But do we really understand Cloud? Oracle’s cloud is actually a lot of different moving parts and different components. How do you visualise this? I found this video Cloud Periodic Table: Chemistry of Cloud Computing and it is a fantastic way to understand and see what is in Oracle’s Cloud.

If you look at Cloud.oracle.com there is a comprehensive list of announced cloud modules, some of which are ‘coming soon’. I need to use at least two of these in my day job, Process and Integration Cloud, and need to learn quickly.

I spoke in July about how I find communities the best way to learn. Partners need to learn first, they are the ones who role out this technology to end users. I talked about the Partner SOA community run by Jurgen Kress and I have to give him credit for the video information, it was in his last newsletter. Every year this community holds a Community Forum where they update and teach, two days of presentations and two days of hands on workshops, and this year they have a dedicated AppAdvantage track.

Why is Cloud important to AppAdvantage? Well its very simple - cloud means you can adopt middleware quickly, with fixed costs and get a return on your investment much quicker, which ultimately is what we all want. Better, Quicker, Cheaper. With Cloud availability the components of Oracle Fusion Middleware will be adopted on a much steeper curve. You don’t need to necessarily move your applications to get value from your investments. 

If you are a partner I hope you are doing the same as me, and if you are an end user, talk to your implementation partner and make sure they are keeping you up to date with the exciting, fast moving world of Oracle Cloud.

About the Author:

Debra Lilley, VP Certus Cloud Services, Fusion Champion, UKOUG Board Member, Fusion User Experience Advocate and ACE Director.

Lilley has 18 years experience with Oracle Applications, with E Business Suite since 9.4.1, moving to Business Intelligence Team Lead and Oracle Alliance Director. She has spoken at over 100 conferences worldwide and posts at debrasoraclethoughts  

Monday Dec 22, 2014

Accessing an IBM Mainframe from a Oracle Mobile Application Framework App


It's not common that I'd refer to IBM in a a blog post, but it's the holidays, so there you go - a present for all of us.

It seems Lloyds Register was trying to mobilize some big iron (mainframes) to the 21st century and needed some help. So it happens that Oracle Mobile Application Framework was deemed best suited for the needs. ;-)  A few key points:

  • iOS and Android
  • Local data caching to reduce the number of times you have to go to the network 
  • On demand query
  • Speed. Any click an wait for a network to respond was equivalent to death. (e.g. uninstall) 

Apparently, soup to nuts, it only took a couple of months and voila! Old iron is was now mobile iron, thanks to Oracle MAF.

You can read the article on Computer Business Review.  

Follow us on Twitter @OracleMobile and be sure to check out Oracle.com/mobile.

Tuesday Dec 16, 2014

Standards Corner: IETF SCIM Working Group Reaches Consensus

Today in the Standards Corner, Phil Hunt blogs about the recent consensus call for SCIM (System for Cross-domain Identity Management). What is new about it? Why SCIM in relation to LDAP?[Read More]
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