Thursday Jan 31, 2013

Business Driven Modeling to Execution with Oracle BPM Suite 11g

Manoj Das, Vice President of Product Management, Business Process Management showcases Oracle Business Process Management 11g capabilities with Watch Hasan Rizvi, Executive Vice President.

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Wednesday Jan 30, 2013

Always Two Sides to a Coin

Author: Rimi Bewtra, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Oracle Fusion Middleware

In recent Information Week issues, I read two different articles written by Chris Murphy that reminded me, “there are always two sides to a coin.”

In the first article, “6 Ways IT Still Fails the Business”, Chris outlined key challenges from the Business perspective while in the second article this month Chris discusses “ 5 Ways Businesses Fail Their IT Organizations. Reading both articles, I realized how vital technology is for all enterprises. Three take-a-ways, I gained from reading both articles are:

1.      Technology and investments in IT need to be treated as an asset rather than a necessary cost or expense by the enterprise.  Technology should be that strategic differentiator.

2.      IT and Business need to understand and prioritize both their short-term and long-term goals then come together to align their priorities.

3.      Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how you look at it) there is no one size fits all solution for business or IT. The right answer today may not be the right answer for tomorrow. Technology solutions need to be open and flexible.

I encourage business and IT leaders to read both these articles with an open mind. I guarantee you will realize that the business and IT alignment are not as divergent as you might think – the world and how we work, compete, and innovate is changing – so must we.

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Monday Jan 28, 2013

Fast Data: When Big Data Comes to you Fast

Original post in The Fusion Middleware Newsletter.

Today, IT and business users are trying to better use information to innovate and transform their businesses. The buzz revolves around how to successfully harness the four V’s of big data: volume, variety, value, and velocity.

A fair amount of attention has been focused on building strategies to successfully corral the huge volume of data generated through sources such as social media, sensor data, Weblogs, and partner and customer data. Companies are adopting databases such as Hadoop and NoSQL to help assimilate and manage the variety of unstructured and semistructured data types found in big data. For most, the primary goal is to identify good information embedded in nontraditional data to create economic value for the organization. But the velocity at which the data is accumulated is also intriguing, and possibly the least explored aspect of big data so far.

An upcoming Webcast “Fast Data—Turning High-Velocity Data into Value,” focuses on the emerging topic of fast data and the products, solutions, and services Oracle offers to help your organization implement a fast data strategy.

Fast Data: Managing Big Data Velocity
Big data is inherently dynamic, both in terms of how fast it comes at you and how fast you should consume and analyze that data to make better decisions and create value. This is where a concept known as “fast data” comes in, says Amit Zavery, vice president of Oracle Fusion Middleware product management. “Fast data solutions help manage the velocity (and scale) of any type of data and any type of event to enable precise action for real-time results,” he says.

Companies need to tackle velocity in a number of different ways, including

  • Manage the information flow. When data comes from a fire hose rather than a faucet, it makes sense to remove extraneous data and more quickly get at the actionable information.
  • Use event processing. Companies can use predefined rules and filters to get to real-time insights quickly.
  • Implement real-time integration and transformation. Companies can capture data and events immediately and move information where it is needed—and in the right format—to best support decision-making.
  • Adopt analytics and business intelligence. Companies’ strategies should support both automated decision-making and more complex, human-based interactions, such as business process management.

“Fast data solutions come from multiple technologies, and some of the concepts, such as complex event processing and business activity monitoring, have been in use in areas such as the financial services industry for years,” says Zavery. “But often, the pieces were used in isolation—a complex event process engine as a standalone application to apply predefined business rules to filter data, for example. But when these concepts are tied to analytics, capabilities expand to allow improved real-time insights.”

By tying together these strands, companies can filter, transform, analyze, and move information from big data sources quickly and efficiently, enabling both real-time analysis and further business intelligence work once the information is stored. Moreover, the appeal of fast data has grown well beyond bellwether industries such as financial services. As mobile solutions and increased volumes of data become commonplace across many industry sectors, the value of applying a fast data strategy as an end-to-end solution has become more apparent.

Find out what fast data solutions Oracle offers in an upcoming Webcast “Fast Data—Turning High-Velocity Data into Value.

Read a blog post about fast data.

Watch the Oracle OpenWorld 2012 Middleware general session video to hear more about fast data from Hasan Rizvi, Oracle executive vice president of middleware development.

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Friday Jan 25, 2013

SOA Suite 11g Demo

Happy Friday, Fusion Middleware Fans!

In case you missed the Oracle SOA Suite Demo when 11g was launched, spend 3 minutes to watch this demo, which describes the completeness and integrated differentiators of Oracle SOA Suite. Click HERE (or image) to launch video.

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Thursday Jan 24, 2013

Oracle ADF Mobile Demo for Developing Hybrid Mobile Applications

Interested in learning more about Oracle ADF? Watch this 3 minute demo to see the key benefits of Oracle ADF Mobile for developing hybrid mobile applications across multiple device platforms.

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Wednesday Jan 23, 2013

Oracle Fusion Newsletter - January Edition

The January Edition of the Oracle Fusion Middleware newsletter is now available and there is a new look-and-feel.

We have some exciting content in this bi-monthly newsletter, covering a range of topics including: Fast Data, Cloud Integration and BPM, not to mention the highlighted customer case studies and videos.

Wondering what's new in Oracle Fusion Middleware? Read all about it in the latest issue available here. 

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The WebLogic 12c Book is Finally Here

 

 

WebLogic 12c Distinctive Recipes for software architects, administrators and developers -- who know quite a bit about WebLogic, want to know more, but don't want the typical 'recipe book' full of screenshots. This new book is a collection of best practice in administrating WebLogic, large-scale deployments,  performance-tuning biggest mistakes and tools, the JVM, using JMX with your own applications, stuck threads, JDBC myths, effectively detecting memory leaks, Java EE examples (deployments and NetBeans projects), Oracle Fusion Middleware (Service Bus, SOA Suite etc.) and WebLogic in the Cloud without the hype. The book provides insights you won't find in the manual, like recommendations, discussions, best practices, deployable projects, webcast videos and directions on when to use a feature - and when not to. With all this and more, this book is the perfect complement to official courses and manuals. Check it out on Amazon.com.

 

 

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Tuesday Jan 22, 2013

Oracle SOA eBook Highlights

Enjoy this YouTube flip-through hitting the highlights of the "Oracle SOA Suite eBook - In the Customers Words".  Peel the pages in this brief 25 page dynamic experience with embedded customer snippets explaining how they achieved specific benefits of Oracle SOA Suite including agility, lower total cost of ownership, justifying the ROI, and more.  The actual eBook can be downloaded here.

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Wednesday Jan 16, 2013

Avea Telecommunications upgrades from Sun to Oracle Identity Management

Avea Telecommunications recently upgraded from Sun IDM to Oracle IDM 11g to position the company for future growth.  In this video, Ulvi Bucak, Security and Operations Planning manager, discusses the key factors that lead to choosing Oracle Identity Management.

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Monday Jan 14, 2013

The Problem with Technical Upgrades

Author: Rick Beers Senior Director, Product Management, Oracle Fusion Middleware

Planning an ERP upgrade soon? If recent research by Unisphere Research, a division of InformationToday, is any indication there is a likelihood that you either have one underway or will soon. In surveys of applications managers across Quest and OAUG membership, Unisphere explored upgrade plans and approaches and published the findings in separate research reports. (Quest Membership Survey , OAUG Membership Survey). The research revealed that 80% of respondents either have an ERP upgrade underway or have one planned within the next 24 months. I was struck by the consistency in responses across Oracle’s ERP installed base of E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and JDEdwards, which tends to validate the findings.

The report leads off with some very encouraging perspectives: “Moving to the latest release of an enterprise application suite (enterprise resource planning, or ERP system) is often perceived as a daunting task in the popular imagination. Fears are further exacerbated by media and analyst reports of such projects as expensive and invasive time-sinks that take up the attention of the business. However, a new survey of enterprise application managers finds that the vast majority of ERP upgrade efforts tend to be short in duration, fall within reasonable budgets, and rarely disrupt the business at large”.

Scratch a little bit under the surface though and something seems wrong.  As stated:“….the vast majority of ERP upgrade efforts tend to be short in duration, fall within reasonable budgets, and rarely disrupt the business at large.”.  The casual observer might breeze right through this statement as I did until I read the report for the second time. Something seems wrong here; is ‘shorter’ always better? Is ‘nondisruptive’ always good?

There was one finding that caught my eye and that was in Figure 2 (‘Scope of Enterprise Application/ERP Upgrades‘). Here we find that 2/3 of ERP Upgrades are either Technical or purely Functional (a continuation of the existing ERP Footprint). Combined table below:

I know,  it’s long been considered best practice to first perform a technical upgrade and once done, to then look more strategically across the overall enterprise systems footprint to determine if more transformative actions are needed. I know; I followed this practice back in my own enterprise IT days. But it just seems to me that this approach is becoming increasing flawed. Consider:

·         The pace of business change and the rate of technology innovation are accelerating and not naturally in sync. Anything that perpetuates the status quo without a strategic review puts us further behind the curve.

·         Upgrades normally run in 3-5 year cycles. During that time customizations and workarounds creep in and multiply as business models and processes change beyond the limits of ERP code. These simply perpetuate in technical upgrades.

·         Finally, let’s face it, most of us never get around to the strategic view following a technical upgrade; we move on to other things. We lose the transformative potential once the technical upgrade is complete.

Within most enterprises, ERP is increasingly codependent with other applications and technologies across the enterprise. No single component, even one as dominant as ERP, should be considered individually. We recommend that ERP upgrades be preceded by an architectural review of the enterprise systems footprint by taking a ‘Simplify-Differentiate-Innovate’ approach to transformation.  

As business conditions shift and technology evolves over time, the enterprise systems landscape needs to adapt as well. The transformative potential of Enterprise Systems lies in their ability to adapt to changing business conditions and provide business leaders ways to lead rather than follow. Fusion Middleware is playing an increasing role in providing this adaptability to Oracle’s Enterprise Applications customers by extending ERP’s business value, and the FMW team offers a variety of ways to consider these opportunities prior to an ERP upgrade, through Applications Technology Evaluations, Workshops, Webcasts and Product Demo’s.

Collaborate is less than 3 months away, and certain to be a frequent topic during the event will be ERP Upgrades. The Fusion Middleware team will be well represented and conducting a number of sessions highlighting the opportunities that FMW provides to Oracle’s Enterprise Applications to transform the enterprise.  I’ll have one as well. We all look forward to seeing you there.

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Thursday Jan 10, 2013

Data Integration Customer Spotlight: Raymond James Financial

Author: Sandrine Riley, Product Manager, Oracle Data Integration

Company Overview

Raymond James Financial (NYSE-RJF) is a Florida-based diversified holding company providing financial services to individuals, corporations and municipalities through its subsidiary companies. Its four principal wholly owned broker/dealers, Raymond James & Associates, Raymond James Financial Services, Morgan Keegan & Co., Inc. (branded as Raymond James | Morgan Keegan) and Raymond James Ltd., has more than 6,300 financial advisors serving 2.4 million accounts in more than 2,600 locations throughout the United States, Canada and overseas. In addition, total client assets are approximately $388 billion, of which approximately $43 billion are managed by the firm’s asset management subsidiaries.

Challenges and Goals                                

Raymond James’ challenge was similar to many other businesses in that many years of organic growth was leading to IT complexity.   Legacy services and applications were using point to point integrations to consume operational data from multiple sources throughout the enterprise - causing inconsistencies in the data, reduced performance and high maintenance costs.  In most cases, the data affected was client portfolio data, but in some cases this also included standardization of financial market instrument classification.

Solution and Results

A strategic initiative, dubbed Operational Data Store Project (ODS) was started as a foundation brick for the next generation of financial advisor applications for Raymond James.  These applications are used by financial advisors across the organization, as well those whose roles are primarily to support financial advisors. Business and technology drivers included the need for overall improvement of data quality and governance, the need to accelerate time to market for future projects, the need for improvement in performance and the availability of systems and reduction costs within administration and maintenance of the IT environment.

The ODS is an enterprise information platform designed to integrate data from multiple enterprise sources and provide a consistent, consolidated view of the company’s operational data in advisor facing applications.  This ODS platform, leveraging Oracle GoldenGate and Oracle Data Integrator, provides near real-time integration of current operational data and enterprise class services for data consumption.  The solution utilizes Oracle GoldenGate to replicate and perform change data capture from Tandem, SQL Server, and Oracle databases into a single SQL Server environment.  Oracle Data Integrator is then used to integrate these sources into the conventional data model for consumption by downstream applications via services through to the financial advisors.  Latency is a very large element of this project, and whereby the initial requirements placed on the project were 5 minutes of latency – the internal project team aimed for 1 minute.  With Oracle GoldenGate and Oracle Data Integrator in place, jobs are running 24X7, and latency is at a median of 9 seconds (from source to target).  Mission accomplished! 

The ODS platform is to be considered the gold standard for operational data to ensure high quality, accurate results for the consuming applications.  The overall creation of this ODS is the basis for Raymond James’ operational data services and provides the business with robust and scalable enterprise class services and provided a consistent version of the truth.  The platform shows improved application performance to allow just-in-time data delivery and decision making for the enterprise.  It also allows engineers to focus on application functionality, knowing that the underlying data services are proven.  The success of this project is leading to future phases, where technology leaders are requesting extending the scope of data domains within this ODS.  More successes to come from Raymond James! 

For more details, here are Raymond James’ Oracle OpenWorld 2012 presentations and customer videos: 

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Tuesday Jan 08, 2013

Questions to Consider Before Starting a Mobile Project

Author: Margaret Lee, Senior Director, Product Management, Oracle Fusion Middleware

Enterprise mobility was a hot topic  in 2012, and it will be even more popular in 2013.   Companies are interested in this mainly for three reasons:  building mobile apps to better connect with their customers; mobile enabling existing back-end applications for their employees, partners, and customers; dealing with the security and manageability issues of employees bringing their own personal smart devices to access corporate systems at work.  The tendency for many companies is to view these mobile projects separately.  This would result in proliferation of development and deployment technologies, and may un-do much of the good IT standardization and consolidation efforts that has started to bear fruit in terms of development and maintenance cost savings.  Therefore, companies should think through many of these business, architecture, and development questions before embarking on "quick-and-dirty" mobile projects.   An ounce of advanced planning and forethought would save a pound of back-end management headaches.

Here are some questions to consider before starting a mobile project.  This is by no means an exhaustive list

I. Business related questions

  1. How deeply do you envision mobility being embedded as part of your employee's daily work processes?  Will it be largely productivity based (e.g. check email, quick approvals) or will it be pervasive across their work processes, i.e. regular transactional interactions with back end systems, communications, collaborations, etc
  2. Depend on answer to #1, will you be mostly focused on a BYOD strategy or is there possibility of providing corporate mobile devices?
  3. If you have a BYOD strategy, how will you handle employees calling IT Support, with a variety of devices, models, OS patch levels, etc?
  4. What are some first use cases, e.g. executive business dashboards? Inventory look up and placing supplier orders? Employee time entry and schedule planning?
  5. If you are planning to provide mobile access to backend ERP systems, would you consider using pre-built mobile apps from vendors such as Oracle or SAP?  Do these pre-built apps fulfill your business needs or will you need to customize and extend them?

II. Development related questions

  1. What are the mobile OS platforms you plan to support, iOS, Andoid, Windows? others?
  2. Do you plan to build native to supported OS, or a hybrid model?  Will it be burdensome to support 2 different code bases for different OS?  3 different code bases or more?
  3. How important is being "native" to a platform to you?
  4. If you have looked at  pre-built ERP mobile apps, do you need to extend them?  Do you need to build  mobile apps outside of ERP's offerings, e.g. mobile enable customizations for extensions?  If yes, how would you do that?
  5. What development tools & frameworks you have considered? Oracle ADF Mobile? Sencha? Appcelerator? etc
  6. What is the skill set of your developers?  or will you be outsourcing this to a mobile development company?

III. Architecture questions

  1. Have you considered how to architect mobile apps you plan to build, thick client (more logic and some data on device) or thin client (everything back on the server)?
  2. What are some of your security and access control concerns and requirements?
  3. What are some integration challenges?  What type of interfaces are there on the back end, direct database access? web services?  What is the read/write ratio anticipated?
  4. Do you anticipate more processing load required on your back-end application and ERP module as result of mobile-enabling part of their functionalities

Undoubtedly answering these questions will generate more.  Eventually, enterprises, particularly large ones, will find themselves looking for a mobile development and deployment platform.  A mobile platform helps to solve many of these challenges wholly, rather than piece-meal.  A mobile platform that aligns with your existing IT infrastructure would be even better.  Oracle Fusion Middleware is such a platform.  In future blog entries, I will describe how Fusion Middleware's ADF Mobile, Integration, Security, Application Server, and Management form a complete platform for Enterprise Mobility. 

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Thursday Jan 03, 2013

LADWP Transformed Customer Experience with Oracle WebCenter & Oracle Identity Management

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) serves 1.6 million residential and commerical customers in the greater Los Angeles area. Hear from Matt Lampe, CIO how LADWP mobile-enabled a customer service portal using Oracle WebCenter and Oracle Identity Management.

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