Friday Aug 30, 2013

The Best Of...

...Oracle AppAdvantage August posts.

Here are the highlights from August on Oracle AppAdvantage. Hope you find the compilation useful.

Partnering With Your Applications. The Oracle AppAdvantage Story.

Howard Beader, Vice President at Oracle sits down to discuss Oracle AppAdvantage and the need for such a solution focused program in today’s IT

Embracing Situational IT

Rick Beers, Senior Director and IT Leader discusses the need for continuous innovation in his monthly IT Leaders Editorial column

Keste Blog Series: Cloud Integration Success: Aramark Deploys Oracle Cloud Integration to Reduce Process Time from Days to Minutes

The third-parter in Keste blog series on Cloud and On-Premise Integration, Aramark’s CIO, Michael Beattie discusses the AppAdvantage use case at Aramark Uniform Services and the benefits derived

Global Perspective: Oracle AppAdvantage at Work Down Under

Juliana Button from Australia chimes in on how Oracle AppAdvantage is resonating down under and showcases some customer examples

Oracle AppAdvantage Customer Stories

A compilation of Oracle AppAdvantage use cases and customer stories by business focus areas, keep the link to the customer reference booklet handy

Focus on AppAdvantage at Oracle OpenWorld

Equip yourself with all the information on all things Oracle AppAdvantage at Oracle OpenWorld. The post contains the link to the Focus on AppAdvantage doc, key sessions to attend and more

Tuesday Aug 27, 2013

Keste Blog Series: Cloud Integration Success: Aramark Deploys Oracle Cloud Integration to Reduce Process Time from Days to Minutes

By Michael Beattie, Vice President and CIO, Aramark Uniform Services

Preface from Sri Ayyeppen, CTO and Co-founder, Keste:

In this blog series, I have been talking about how companies deploy cloud integration with Oracle SOA Suite to achieve significant business benefits. In the case of Aramark Uniform Services, which we'll cover here, the company initiated an enterprise-wide IT project to deploy an Oracle Fusion Middleware platform. They had a list of seven major projects that would leverage this new middleware foundation, including an overhaul of their accounts receivables (AR) processes. To that end, the company needed to automate the prospect-to-customer migration process to set up new customer accounts in Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) and perform credit checks. The solution called for an integration between their cloud-based opportunity management system, Salesforce.com, and their on-premise customer database within EBS. This project was a precursor to tackling the larger AR automation challenges ahead of them.

Michael Beattie, Vice President and CIO, Aramark Uniform Services:

Aramark Uniform Services is a global provider of uniforms and career apparel for the automotive, food, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. We serve over 300,000 businesses and offer rental and direct sales uniform programs to our clients. In early 2012, we called on Keste to conduct an on-site enterprise architecture workshop for our organization with a focus on leveraging the Oracle Fusion Middleware portfolio. They helped us identify solutions to several business challenges that we needed to address, such as automating our accounts payable (AP) invoicing process, eliminating our 3rd party AR billing vendor, and deploying a seamless single sign-on solution across all of our applications. Keste developed a roadmap for a fully integrated Oracle Fusion Middleware infrastructure that would lay a solid foundation upon which we could deploy solutions to address these issues.

One critical element for our overall project was to integrate an on-premise application with a cloud solution. Our sales team uses Salesforce.com to manage prospective customers from prospect to final contract signing. However, we stored our customer information in a legacy system called RAS and processed invoices through the AR functionality in our EBS system. To make the situation even more complex, we did credit checks in yet another SaaS system provided by DNBi. None of these systems were integrated, so the process to set up a new customer, conduct a credit check, and send an invoice took quite a bit of time and led to data errors. We needed a single source of truth for customer information and a streamlined method for converting prospects to customers so we could send invoices.

In a project that we called RAS-to-Oracle AR consolidation, we began by creating an interface between Salesforce.com and our EBS system using web services through our Oracle SOA Suite implementation. As prospects meet certain criteria in Salesforce.com, the SOA interface kicks off a message to EBS that creates a new Customer Party record. When the service agreement is executed, our Customer Desk builds out the Account in EBS, which now interfaces to RAS. Previously, sales support staff would update customer records manually in RAS. Then we would send a data feed from RAS to EBS to update customer records in the Oracle system—so we could process invoices. This new Salesforce.com to EBS interface eliminates the legacy system, the manual updates, and the RAS-to-Oracle data feed. We've integrated our on-premise EBS system with Salesforce.com's cloud application to get real-time data updates.

However, we needed to take this project a step further to automate the credit check process. Our next step was to integrate the EBS customer record system with our 3rd party credit service, DNBi. Using another Oracle SOA integration, EBS sends a message to DNBi to perform credit checks on the new customers and receives that information back into EBS automatically—and updates the credit terms in Salesforce.com. Before, employees would need to manually look up the new customer record in EBS, then log into the DNBi system and enter the customer information to look up their credit information. Finally, the person would go back into EBS to update the customer record with the appropriate credit data. This was a cumbersome process that took a lot of time and manual effort.

New process:

In fact, it took several days as we waited for the new customer record to be created and credit to be checked before we could send an invoice to a new customer. Now, the entire process is done in real-time. A prospect is converted to a customer in Salesforce.com, the new customer record is automatically created in EBS, and credit is immediately checked and updated in EBS via DNBi. We have eliminated our legacy RAS system, automated processes that were manual, increased employee productivity—and most importantly helped to shave time off our days sales outstanding since we can invoice new customers immediately.

And, if you are at Oracle OpenWorld this year, hear first-hand the details on Aramark Uniform Services’ implementation and get your questions answered live.

CON6102: Aramark Automates Oracle E-Business Suite Invoices with Oracle Fusion Middleware
Wednesday, Sep 25, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Moscone West, Room 2014

Add to your Schedule Builder

From Sri Ayyeppen:

Aramark has embarked on a transformational IT project to deploy an Oracle Fusion Middleware infrastructure. This cloud-to-premise integration is just one piece of the larger puzzle, but it is a critical one. Creating customer records and performing credit checks have to be automated—to speed the process, eliminate data errors, and streamline workflows. Without key integrations like Aramark's cloud-to-premise example here, the company wouldn't be able to tackle larger projects like optimizing their AR process and automating billing.

Is your organization in a similar situation? Are you struggling with manual processes that take days and could be automated with a SOA interface that connects two systems? I'd like to hear about your challenges. email: mailto:sri.ayyeppen@keste.com

About the Authors:

Michael Beattie, VP and CIO, Aramark Uniform Services

Mike Beattie is VP and CIO for Aramark Uniform Services headquartered in Burbank, CA. He has spent the last 15 years of his career managing IT organizations in companies of various sizes, from startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. Prior to joining Aramark three years ago, Mike was a member of the IT leadership team at Intel Corporation in Folsom, CA. At Intel, Mike held several roles including Business Unit CIO, Director of IT Strategic Planning and Director of IT Program and Project Management. He received his BS in Mathematics and Computer Science from the US Naval Academy and has advanced degrees in Nuclear Engineering and Business Administration. Mike lives in Burbank with his wife and two children.

Sri Ayyepen, CTO and Co-Founder, Keste

Sri Ayyeppen is chief technology officer (CTO) and co-founder of Keste, a leading worldwide Oracle solutions provider based in Dallas. As the CTO, he is responsible for leading teams delivering solutions with Oracle Applications, technology and infrastructure. His primary focus is on applications and business process integration through service-oriented architecture (SOA) technologies and highly available enterprise deployment with Engineered Systems and Oracle Cloud. Within this role, some of his key areas of responsibility include leading Enterprise Architecture team for Keste customers, driving principles and practices around creating best-in-class architecture leveraging present-day technology like enterprise software, business integration products and mobility.

Sri is a well-known industry expert and you can find him discussing IT on @SriAyyeppen and LinkedIn: SriAyyeppen

Focus on AppAdvantage at Oracle OpenWorld

Heading to Oracle OpenWorld this year? With the conference less than a month away, as you start to build your schedule, we wanted to make sure you had some key information handy.

If you are an Oracle Applications customer or looking to modernize your company’s IT infrastructure, or are interested in finding out how current and expected industry trends like social, mobile, cloud, big data and more are impacting IT plans for organizations today, you may want to look at the Focus on Oracle AppAdvantage document and attend one or more of these sessions.

This year, Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle AppAdvantage sessions are designed to give you a 360-degree perspective on business transformation and IT platform modernization implementations. Hear first-hand from your peer organizations, implementation experts, consultants and technology experts on how you can bring a successful implementation to bear. You will especially find multiple sessions focusing on how Oracle Fusion Middleware is augmenting the value you are deriving from your Oracle Applications implementation. Oracle AppAdvantage sessions this year are all about how the sum of Oracle Applications and Oracle Fusion Middleware is greater than the individual parts.

We suggest you bookmark the Focus On Oracle AppAdvantage document link. The document lists the schedule for primary Keynotes, General Sessions, relevant Oracle AppAdvantage conference and Hands-On-Lab sessions that you will find at Oracle OpenWorld.

And here are the top must-attend sessions we recommend for our readers:

CON9600: General Session: Accelerate Business Innovation with Oracle Fusion Middleware
Monday, Sep 23, 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm
Moscone North, Hall D

CON8082: Innovation Awards Ceremony: Oracle Fusion Middleware: Meet This Year’s Most Impressive Innovators
Monday, Sep 23, 4:45 pm – 5:45 pm
YBCA - Lam Research Theater

CON9301: General Session: Transform the Enterprise—Optimize Applications Investment with Middleware
Tuesday, Sep 24, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Moscone West - 2002/2004

CON9302: Enterprise Application Innovation: Business Impact of Oracle Fusion Middleware
Tuesday, Sep 24, 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm
Moscone West, Room 2014

For complete information, please view the Focus On document.

We recommend you log in to Schedule Builder to search sessions, view schedules, browse exhibits and demos, and add events to your calendar.

A complete listing of Focus On documents across all solutions and product areas can be found here

Thursday Aug 22, 2013

Global Perspective: Oracle AppAdvantage at Work Down Under

Global Perspective is a monthly series that brings experiences, business needs and real-world use cases from regions across the globe. This month’s feature showcases real-world business stories from the APAC region.

Author: Juliana Button

We recently had the pleasure of Mohamad Afshar, Vice President, Oracle Fusion Middleware Product Management and Rick Beers, Senior Director Oracle Fusion Middleware Product Management, join us in Australia for our inaugural Business Innovation Summit. This full-day thought leader’s event was attended by 50 business and IT leaders, and proved to be an excellent opportunity to network and share ideas and best practices around Oracle’s key mobile and cloud-based strategies for infrastructure modernisation and business transformation. The interactive agenda included joint customer/partner presentations, panel discussions and workshop exercises where attendees discussed Oracle AppAdvantage, Engineered Systems and Oracle Fusion Middleware and how these technologies provide a pathway to simplify IT complexity, support innovation and agility to reduce costs and deliver competitive differentiation in their organizations today.

Let’s take a look at how some of these Australian customers are using Oracle AppAdvantage today to deliver benefits in each of the three Oracle AppAdvantage layers.

Simplify IT by minimizing complexity, improving performance and lowering cost with secure and reliable systems across the entire Enterprise.

Yarra Valley Water (YVW) – YVW needed to upgrade its IT infrastructure to better support its Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing system and its plans for creating customer-facing Web portals. In mid-2012, the organization developed a private cloud infrastructure, based on Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, and Oracle Enterprise Manager. The infrastructure includes a pair of Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic engineered systems at YVW’s production and disaster recovery centers. By taking advantage of Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic’s high performance and stability, YVW ensured its Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing applications can reach their full potential. It reduced application response times from up to 9 seconds to a subsecond, lowered average customer call times by 30 seconds, and cut the overnight batch processing time by 71%. It has also reduced the time required for development, testing, and production tasks by 30%. For more information you can read the full case study or watch one of the videos - Exalogic Boosts Performance / Streamlines Resources for YVW | YVW Streamlines IT Practices with Exalogic and Exadata | YVW Uses Oracle Identity and Access Management

Differentiate Layer: Move business specific processes and applications to the Differentiate Layer, thus creating greater business agility with process extensions and best of breed applications using standards-based re-usable integration, managed by cross- application process orchestration.

Jurlique – Jurlique has experienced significant growth in online sales in the U.S. When Jurlique’s products were featured on The Today Show in the U.S., the company received 16,000 orders in a 24-hour period, and it took more than one month to settle the orders. Jurlique quickly realized it needed to automate its online ordering process to cut down transaction processing time and deliver a better service to its customers. This involved integrating its online ordering application with the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne system to create a streamlined service-oriented architecture (SOA) framework. SOA has reduced the time it took to complete online product orders by at least 20%, and it accelerates delivery times from order to shipment by 50%.

More recently, Jurlique has extended its SOA footprint to (i) support real-time standards-based integration between its third-party warehouse management systems and JD Edwards EnterpriseOne manufacturing systems, (ii) integrate with third party credit card provider, (iii) implement mobile ordering , and (iv) deliver a business activity dashboard. OPN Platinum partner UXC Red Rock, delivered the SOA integration solution for Jurlique. For more information take a look at the Jurlique Presentation from the Business Innovation Summit, read the full case study or watch one of the videos - Jurlique Uses Oracle SOA Suite to Extend JD Edwards | Jurlique Streamlines Online Ordering with Oracle SOA Suite | Jurlique Streamlines Wholesale Order Process with Oracle ADF |

Engineers Australia – Engineers Australia needed to replace its aging legacy IT infrastructure, redefine its business processes, and develop new online and customer relationship management (CRM) functions to improve the services it provides to engineers. The organization’s system, which it calls eChartered, went live in November 2012. It provides new online self-service capabilities that improves the user experience for Engineers Australia members and replaces many cumbersome manual processes. In 2012, the organization implemented Oracle Business Process Management Suite 11g and Oracle SOA Suite 11g, integrating with E-Business Suite and cloud-based Salesforce.com, running on Oracle WebLogic Suite 11g, to support its eChartered system.

Engineers Australia moved from paper-based to online processes, improved monitoring, management, and visibility of its chartered engineer processes, and ensured seamless integration for eChartered, thereby reducing the time and effort required to manage members’ enrollments, assessments, and registrations. It now completes the enrollment processes 90% faster, while staff can generate assessment reports in seconds rather than taking 45 minutes, as was the case previously. The organization also has cut the time to develop new system modules by three to four weeks. OPN Platinum partner UXC Red Rock, delivered the BPM solution for Engineers Australia. For more information take a look at the Engineers Australia Presentation from the Business Innovation Summit, read the full case study or watch one of the videos - Engineers Australia Recognises AppAdvantage | eChartered Built with Oracle BPM Suite and SOA Suite | Engineers Australia Transforms eChartered Process

Innovation Layer: Drive business innovation by connecting people, information, and applications anywhere, anytime.

Stryker South Pacific - Stryker South Pacific, a global organisation that provides a wide array of medical devices, needed to streamline its business critical manual ordering process for surgical kits. OPN Partner Intelligent Pathways, delivered a SOA-based mobile solution for Stryker South Pacific to enable surgery kit bookings to be captured in the field on laptop or mobile devices, with booking data automatically entered into JD Edwards EnterpriseOne via SOA-based business services with an automated approval process. The integrated mobile solution has improved customer service, reduced errors and improved the user experience. For more information take a look at the Stryker South Pacific Presentation from the Business Innovation Summit.

We hope you have found these Oracle AppAdvantage customer case studies insightful to help you on the journey to delivering Business-IT alignment and enhanced business value from Oracle Applications, in your own organizations. The Oracle AppAdvantage customer reference booklet available off oracle.com showcases additional business use cases and customer examples so do take a look at it. And, I look forward to hearing from you on which business case you best relate to.

About the Author:

Juliana Button is Director of Product Management, Oracle Fusion Middleware. Since 1992, Juliana has held various technical and management positions in Oracle Corporation based in Australia and at Oracle Headquarters in Redwood Shores. Juliana's current responsibilities include supporting go-to-market initiatives for Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle AppAdvantage, and working with customers and Partners across the globe.

Wednesday Aug 21, 2013

Keste Blog Series: Delivering Extreme Business Value - Integrating Industrial Devices with Core Business Processes

By Sri Ayyeppen, CTO and Co-Founder, Keste

In the last blog, I discussed the overall structure and goals of Cloud Integration and the business drivers for integrating cloud and on-premise applications. The first in a series of real-world examples success stories, today we will discuss a success story that utilizes real cutting-edge technology. The post outlines a customer use case where they undertook warehouse management system modernization by integrating a robotic pick, pack & ship system with Oracle E-Business Suite via a cloud-based message broker, leveraging Oracle SOA Suite and Oracle Service Bus to accomplish the integration.

This customer—a large medical device manufacturer—was looking to modernize their warehouse management system to enable faster shipment and delivery.  They faced significant challenges in delivering accurate shipments with short lead times to meet their rigorous customer service demands. The customer operates multiple manufacturing and distribution centers in North America and Europe, and is committed to shipping orders the same day they are placed.

To deliver on this commitment, they implemented a robotic inventory system in their largest distribution facility. Kiva Systems® (wholly owned by Amazon.com) provides a material handling system that takes the manual processes out of inventory picking and packing. Instead of personnel roaming a large warehouse, the robots bring the inventory to the pickers, just in time for the next order. To achieve operational efficiency and reduce the amount of personnel required, the customer decided to automate the complete process of fulfilling orders by integrating Kiva and Oracle E-Business Suite. (See an example of these amazing devices here.)

Keste was brought in to design and deliver the integration solution leveraging Oracle SOA stack. We first worked with their WMS architects to create a solid reference architecture establishing a foundation for future growth. Once the reference architecture was vetted with a proof of concept, we scaled the solution to the entire warehouse to multiple robots to deliver the expected business benefits.

To replace multiple legacy ERP systems, it was critical to integrate the Kiva system with their global E-Business Suite implementation The Kiva integration handles bidirectional communication via SOA Suite for inventory transactions, including Pick Release, Pick Confirm, Sub-inventory Transfer, Adjustments, Cycle Count, Container Creation, and LPN assignment.

Once a sales order has been entered into Oracle E-Business Suite and released via a BPEL process to the warehouse, the Kiva system receives the Order, prioritizes it based on order attributes, routes it based on inventory location and robot positions, and begins delivering inventory to the Picker (the actual person filling the order). The Picker scans the inventory, packs it into boxes, and repeats until the order is complete. The Picker never has to perform transactions in Oracle E-Business Suite. Once the Picker has scanned the completed order, all of the Kiva transactions are then automatically pushed back into E-Business Suite for inventory control.

The customer’s goals are to have orders shipped on the same day that the order is received—at the same time reduce costs through automation and fewer human touch points. Near real-time integration between Kiva and Oracle Order Entry/Shipping Execution is critical to achieving these goals. Eliminating the users’ need to perform redundant transactions in Oracle eBusiness Suite is also critical. The implementation of Oracle SOA Suite enabled them to achieve this. Orders are shipped on the same day and all Oracle EBS transactions are automated once a sales order is booked.

The SOA model was designed to enhance the agility and cost-effectiveness of their business operations. This has been accomplished by aligning the technology architecture with the business architecture. Establishing the SOA framework with Oracle SOA Suite enabled the customer to not only develop complex integrations, such as Kiva, but also integrate with newly acquired companies or cloud solutions, in an efficient, reproducible, and maintainable manner. Integrations with cloud platforms did not just stop with warehouse management systems but extended to shipment tracking, returns management with third party logistics platforms (3PL), thereby providing a superior customer experience - delivering accurate and fast shipments and quicker ways to return shipments as needed.

Like this customer, many companies are looking for cloud integration solutions to enhance and improve specific business functions or simplify IT environments. The challenge then becomes how to keep processes streamlined and eliminate duplicate data and efforts—and that's where a cloud – on-premise integration solutions can add value. If your organization is in a similar situation, consider the potential benefits of a cloud integration solution:

  • Faster time-to-market with integrated transactions and processes
  • Reduced complexity through standards-based (SOA) integration
  • Increased control through end-to-end cloud and on-premise visibility
  • Ensure real-time data synchronization between cloud and on-premise applications

In the next post, we'll share another real-world example of an integrated cloud based CRM solution that is helping another customer reap business benefits.

*customer name withheld by request

Sri Ayyeppen, CTO and Co-Founder, Keste

Sri Ayyeppen is chief technology officer (CTO) and co-founder of Keste, a leading worldwide Oracle solutions provider based in Dallas. As the CTO, he is responsible for leading teams delivering solutions with Oracle Applications, technology and infrastructure. His primary focus is on applications and business process integration through service-oriented architecture (SOA) technologies and highly available enterprise deployment with Engineered Systems and Oracle Cloud. Within this role, some of his key areas of responsibility include leading Enterprise Architecture team for Keste customers, driving principles and practices around creating best-in-class architecture leveraging present-day technology like enterprise software, business integration products and mobility.

Sri is a well-known industry expert and you can find him discussing IT on @SriAyyeppen and LinkedIn: SriAyyeppen

Previous Posts in the Series:

Keste Blog Series: Integrated Cloud Solutions - Bridging the Integration Divide across Cloud and On-Premise Applications

Monday Aug 19, 2013

Oracle Fusion Middleware Newsletter - August Edition

The August Edition of the Oracle Fusion Middleware newsletter is now available. This month's feature includes:

  • Oracle AppAdvantage Builds Pathways to Business Transformation
  • Oracle Cloud Application Foundation 12c Helps Customers Deliver Next-Generation Applications on a Mission-Critical Cloud Platform
  • Developer's Corner: ADF Mobile Tutorial, Oracle JDeveloper 12c and Oracle ADF 12c, Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse 12c and WebLogic Devcast Series

You will also find links to webcasts, podcasts, customer spotlights and more. Click here to access the latest newsletter.

Thursday Aug 15, 2013

Mobile AppAdvantage by Kevin Moulton

You are in IT, and you want to support the demands from business managers and customers for mobile access to applications and data. They want it now!

You know that extending your enterprise applications to mobile device will increase productivity for your employees, consultants, and partners. You know that you can improve the experience for your customers with mobile transactions and self-service.

You have a great IT staff, but they have mobile development experience, and you don’t have budget to add staff or bring in consultants to build mobile apps or add infrastructure.

Even if you could develop mobile apps, how would you deploy them and manage them, and how would alleviate your security concerns once the whole world has access to your data on their smartphones and tablets?

What can you do?

Oracle AppAdvantage

Oracle AppAdvantage will turn your Enterprise Applications and data into a Mobile Enterprise. Oracle AppAdvantage will allow your Java development staff to extend your applications to mobile devices using their existing Java skills. They can develop mobile apps once in the development environment they are used to, and then deploy those apps to iOS and Android mobile devices. Oracle ADF Mobile leverages the power of the Java and HTML5 technologies along with visual and declarative development approach to provide a faster way to build on-device mobile applications.

What’s more, Oracle AppAdvantage will allow you to build and deploy mobile apps without adding additional infrastructure. AppAdvantage will allow you to easily extend your Oracle Application environment, and will allow you to easily connect your mobile apps to backend systems using Oracle Service-Oriented Architecture.


Oracle AppAdvantage will also allow you to dramatically improve your customer experience and expand revenue streams by adding self-service, social networking, collaboration, and account management capabilities.  You will have access to reporting and analytics to monitor your business. Your web content will be personalized to your customers, while your content will be rendered to display correctly on any device.

To learn more about how Oracle AppAdvantage can help you to extend your application environment to mobile in a rapid, efficient, and secure way, click here.

About the Writer:

Kevin Moulton has been in the IT industry for more than 25 years, and with Oracle for 7 years. Kevin is responsible for facilitating technology discussions on social and mobile technologies. He is also a Distinguished Toastmaster. Follow Kevin on Twitter at twitter.com/kevin_moulton, where he sometimes tweets about technology, but might also tweet about running, beer, food, baseball, football, good books, or whatever else grabs his attention. Kevin will be a regular contributor to this blog so stay tuned for more posts from him. To read his previous post, "Going Mobile" click here.

Wednesday Aug 14, 2013

Keste Blog Series: Integrated Cloud Solutions - Bridging the Integration Divide across Cloud and On-Premise Applications

By Sri Ayyeppen, Keste CTO and Co-Founder

I recently authored a whitepaper entitled, "Migrating Applications to Engineered Systems: A Strategic Roadmap to a Cloud Integrated Platform," which discusses how companies can capture significant business impact through an integrated cloud-based solution. Over the course of this blog series, I’d share some of these findings with you and will also hone in on use cases with organizations looking to take advantage of integration with applications, especially Oracle Applications, Fusion Applications, custom Oracle Applications, among others.

Many companies are taking advantage of the proliferation of cloud-based SaaS applications (Salesforce®, Workday®, etc.), yet the need for on-premise applications isn’t going away. In order to find a solution for integrating across applications and platforms, companies need to take a broader, comprehensive and standardized approach to bridging this divide.

An integrated cloud solution is a great fit for companies that need more out of their applications environment. For example, companies that need to incrementally expand their IT application footprint, or companies that need to quickly and confidently scale their IT infrastructure without impact to performance (e.g., SaaS companies whose products depend on IT for delivery). Integrated cloud solutions can take many forms, but most often I find clients need to link their existing IT applications together, such as:

  • Existing cloud applications—like social media, networking, or marketing sites
  • On-premise applications—like HR, ERP, service, and support programs
  • Mobile apps—for smart phones, tablets, or other mobile devices
  • Partner or business-to-business applications—connecting vendors, suppliers, or distributors
  • Devices—any end-point that could potentially integrate with a cloud such as cars, satellite receivers, smart phones, HVAC systems, communication or utility grids, etc.


Over the past several years of working with customers to develop integrated cloud solutions, I have found that it's very important to start by documenting the current and future business use cases that the IT environment must support. Understanding these business requirements allows me to analyze both the business and data integration needs for my clients:

  • Business integration needs—understand the required service processes such as orchestration, mediation, and service routing to meet key business requirements/outcomes.
  • Data integration needs—analyze the transactional processes such as batch vs. real-time, ETL, and data replication requirements to ensure the right data is passed to the right application at the right time.

This leads me to a key step in supporting my customers’ integrated cloud journey—developing an IT reference architecture. This ‘IT blueprint’ ensures that the integrated cloud solution will meet both current and the future business needs. The reference architecture shows optimal transaction design patterns and the configurations of hardware and software. It also provides a well-defined feedback loop that allows IT staff to monitor and adjust transaction parameters as necessary.

I also find the reference architecture as a useful tool to determine the best product mix for organizations looking at cloud and on-premise integration, including:

  • Oracle SOA Suitewhich offers the middleware tools and capabilities to create a fully scalable, integrated cloud-to-cloud or cloud-to premise platform, such as Oracle API Gateway for external cloud communications, Oracle Service Bus for internal service virtualization, and Oracle Coherence to speed data transaction processing.
  • Oracle BPM Suite—which supports design and implementation of all process types and case management flows, delivering immediate and impactful ROI and driving enhanced customer experience and intelligent operations.
  • Oracle Data Integration products like Oracle GoldenGate, which offers real-time data integration, transactional data replication, and data comparison across heterogeneous systems.

And for organizations with Oracle Applications or custom applications built on Oracle technologies, there are obvious advantages to leveraging Oracle for cloud integration—these include lower total cost of operation (TCO), a standardized platform, and a proven solution built on industry best practices, among others.

After helping dozens of companies implement integrated cloud solutions, we have found that we can deliver these new architectures in as little as two to three months, making the leap to this next generation IT solution fast, without disrupting current business capabilities.

In the coming weeks, I’ll continue my discussion on the business value that integrated cloud computing can provide by showcasing a series of customer experiences.  We'll discuss specific use cases for cloud integration deployment based on real world implementations like those at Aramark, JDSU, and other organizations. The series will continue to focus on implementation strategies and best practices while highlighting the business impact of this new technology paradigm.

About the Author:

Sri Ayyeppen is chief technology officer (CTO) and co-founder of Keste, a leading worldwide Oracle solutions provider based in Dallas. As the CTO, he is responsible for leading teams delivering solutions with Oracle Applications, technology and infrastructure. His primary focus is on applications and business process integration through service-oriented architecture (SOA) technologies and highly available enterprise deployment with Engineered Systems and Oracle Cloud. Within this role, some of his key areas of responsibilities include leading Enterprise Architecture team for Keste customers, driving principles and practices around creating best-in-class architecture leveraging present-day technology like enterprise software, business integration products and mobility.

Sri is a well known industry expert and you can find him discussing IT on @SriAyyeppen and LinkedIn: SriAyyeppen

Tuesday Aug 13, 2013

The AppAdvantage of Oracle Cloud & On-premises Integration

Are you an Oracle application customer wondering:

“How do I avoid a nightmare of complexity while expanding my application integration infrastructure from on-premises to a hybrid mix of cloud and on-premises?”

If so, your awareness of the complexity that results when departments develop a growing patchwork of cloud integrations independent from a cohesive enterprise strategy, is an important first step. This naturally evolving complexity, known as the “Accidental Cloud Architecture” returns enterprises to the painful pre-SOA days of point-to-point integration. Much has been written on this phenomenon including a recent Forrester report (“The Hybrid2 Integration Challenge” by Stefan Ried, PH.D., May 1 2013) which states:

“…the existing integration tool landscape at most large enterprises is simply too varied and disparate to support full implementation of a digital business design strategy”

The image below shows a visual description of the challenge of managing a growing collection of disparate integration toolkits and their associated disparate standards and non-standards.

Disparate Toolkits

Oracle’s solution to simplifying the complexity of cloud and on-premises integration is based on removing the distinction between cloud and on-premises integration with a unified approach to integration regardless of deployment location. As shown in the image below, this includes a single standards-based toolkit (using Java, BPEL, etc.) across all applications.

Unfied Toolkits

In addition to the simplified complexity of a unified approach to integration, the following additional features describe the AppAdvantage that Oracle customer’s benefit from when using Oracle Fusion Middleware to integrate Oracle applications.


  • Developed by Oracle Application Software Developers – When using Oracle SOA Suite to integrate with Oracle E-Business Suite, the implementation for selecting application data was developed by the Oracle E-Business Suite software development team for Oracle SOA Suite. This close level of collaboration between Oracle’s application and integration teams minimizes risk by providing you a fully integrated and application version-aware integration solution.
  • Oracle Fusion Applications are Pre-integrated with Oracle SOA Suite – Oracle Fusion Applications already include the core features of Oracle SOA Suite such as the BPEL Process Manager for orchestrating flow between applications and other data stores. When you are ready to expand your integration into an unified platform across your enterprise, you are simply extending the foundation embedded within Oracle Fusion applications.
  • Common Policy Management Between Oracle Fusion Applications & Oracle SOA Suite – Instead of one policy management implementation for your applications and another for your integration platform, Oracle Fusion Applications shares the same Oracle Web Services Management policy management solution with Oracle SOA Suite which simplifies complexity and reduces time to integrate. Policy management for signing messages, performing encryption, authentication, and role-based access control is greatly simplified. Furthermore, changing policies is done independent of the end-points (such as services) so you have greater flexibility and security throughout your enterprise.
  • Mobile-ready Application Enablement & Integration – Instead of splintering off a new mobile enablement and integration platform that will eventually require some form of integration with your enterprise integration platform, Oracle SOA Suite spans the needs of the enterprise developer building SOAP-based services as well as newer mobile application enablement with RESTful services within Oracle SOA Suite's enterprise service bus, known as Oracle Service Bus.  Your enterprise developers can immediately expose services for mobile, cloud, and whatever comes next with this unified approach to integration.

For more information on Oracle's solution to simplifying hybrid cloud integration complexity, download the white paper "Cloud Integration - A Comprehensive Solution"

Friday Aug 09, 2013

A Taste of Things to Come on Oracle AppAdvantage

All this week we have been discussing Oracle AppAdvantage. We started off this month with Howard Beader’s Middleware Minutes and a preview of Oracle AppAdvantage. Earlier this week, the interview with Howard went into the details of Oracle AppAdvantage and the business value it provides our oracle Applications customers. The customer brochure that we published in our post on Tuesday further attests to the business impact of oracle AppAdvantage and hopefully has got some of you thinking about where in the Simplify->Differentiate->Innovate spectrum does your organization fall in.

Rick Beers’ IT Leaders Editorial tied the essence of Oracle AppAdvantage with how successful CIOs think and operate. Unless we are on a continuous path to reinventing ourselves, we are likely to get overtaken by others who are doing so. Rick Beers’ paper is also a good statement to that effect.

Over the next few weeks, we will focus on specific business value entry points and the specific use cases that organizations field today. We will aim to provide you a 360-degrees perspective on the business value, discussing the entry points from solution, implementation and business strategy perspectives. We will showcase the business drivers we see for the entry points, discuss the implementation use cases with customer examples and get the experts to weigh in on deployment and design strategies.

Through it all, we welcome your feedback, input and of course your experiences. Please continue to share your thoughts to make these pieces relevant and useful for our industry peers.

Wednesday Aug 07, 2013

Embracing Situational IT


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.

With a 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.

I did, 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.

During my 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?

I considered 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 CIO.” (The 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.


Tuesday Aug 06, 2013

Oracle AppAdvantage Customer Stories

In my last post, I had shared the excerpts from my interview with Howard Beader, senior director for Oracle Fusion Middleware. Howard shared some insights into the genesis of Oracle AppAdvantage. Oracle AppAdvantage discusses different approaches Oracle Applications customers can take to extend and enhance the value of their existing investments.

In Oracle AppAdvantage, we have started with nine of the most common business value approaches for Oracle Applications customers. Whether the business need is to simplify IT infrastructure and reduce operational costs with the use of engineered systems, centralized access control or ensure zero downtime during applications migrations and upgrades, or if the business goal is to differentiate from competition by building agile business processes, build composite applications with ease or integrating applications across enterprise and cloud deployments, or if the organizations are on the innovation track looking to enrich customer experience and build enhanced online or mobile engagement, Oracle AppAdvantage recommends guided paths for each of these strategies.

And these paths are not concocted by a solution vendor. These are proven, real-world use cases we have seen across industry in recent years. You see, Oracle is in a unique position with an end-to-end offering starting from systems to database, middleware and applications. With that, at Oracle, we have the privilege to partner with our customer organizations and understand deployment use cases. This, in turn, allows us to better anticipate and understand the needs of the organizations moving forward. And, Oracle AppAdvantage is a direct result of those findings. Oracle AppAdvantage captures how organizations today are extending their use of Oracle Applications with IT.

We have compiled a list of actual customer examples to highlight the use cases we have come across most often and those that have become the building blocks for the oracle AppAdvantage program.

Do check the customer brochure out and explore where your organization fits in the Simplify, Differentiate, Innovate spectrum. Find out which business use case you most identify with and can leverage. Let us know if we can help with the use case assessment. There is also more information on www.oracle.com/appadvantage

And, like always, we look forward to hearing from you.

Sunday Aug 04, 2013

Partnering With Your Applications. The Oracle AppAdvantage Story.


“But that’s like saying a smartphone is good for making and receiving phone calls” said Howard Beader, senior director of product marketing for Oracle Fusion Middleware, when I recently sat down with him to discuss the role of middleware as a foundation for business innovation with enterprise applications and follow-up on his recent update in Middleware Minutes. Howard’s point was that Oracle Fusion Middleware is much more than an application infrastructure foundation or the platform for Oracle Fusion Applications. “Leverage Oracle Fusion Middleware to enhance and extend the value of your business applications and you will realize the potential of the innovation platform. And, that is what Oracle AppAdvantage is all about.”

Here is the excerpt of my recent conversation with him on Oracle AppAdvantage.

Q. Has the role of middleware evolved over the course of these years?

Howard: Traditionally middleware has been referred to as the “glue” or “plumbing” that connects two sides of an application and passes data between them. But that’s just half the story. When you start to think about your business applications in mobile, social, cloud and big data context, the only way you can avoid bringing in customizations or making changes to your core-ERP systems is by using standards-based middleware technologies and leveraging middleware as the business application development platform. And it is those use cases that we talk about in Oracle AppAdvantage.

Q. What is Oracle AppAdvantage?

Howard: Oracle AppAdvantage is the approach Oracle Applications customers can take to extend and enhance the value of their existing investment across all Oracle Applications including E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, and Siebel.

Based on your immediate need(s), whether that is extending your applications to mobile devices, building a customer self-service portal, creating a dynamic collaboration front with partners, taking applications to the cloud or securely extending them to serve your specific needs, you can take the extension or customization work out of your applications and seamlessly extend with Oracle Fusion Middleware technologies as required. Plus, middleware ensures zero downtime for your applications during upgrade and migrations; something that we all passionately care about.

So, with Oracle AppAdvantage, you are using IT to achieve business objectives by combining the power of Oracle Applications and Oracle Fusion Middleware solutions to simplify your IT infrastructure, differentiate from competition and innovate for the future by embracing new technology trends.

Q. Can you elaborate, how does Oracle AppAdvantage help align IT and business initiatives?

Howard: In my conversation with executives of our customer organizations, regardless of industry or region, there seems to be one common objective – improve our company’s bottom-line. You do that by one, creating business value and two, decreasing the total cost of operations (TCO). Oracle AppAdvantage allows you to use and extend your business applications to create business value for your organization and, at the same time, take the customization and management burden out of core applications and into the “process” layer leading to dramatic reduction in the cost of operations.

Oracle AppAdvantage takes a layered approach to aligning IT strategy with business strategy – Simplify IT, Differentiate from others in the industry and Innovate for business growth.

Q. Can you please provide examples of the layered approach with Oracle AppAdvantage?

Howard: Sure. Much thought has been given to how we create value for Oracle Applications customers. Where our customers are looking to Simplify IT, they are focusing on real-time data integration for maximum performance and availability and ensuring zero downtime during upgrades and migrations, enforcing secure, centralized access across all applications and leveraging engineered systems for higher reliability, reduced TCO and streamlined IT support.

Opportunity exists for businesses to Differentiate from competition by offering value-added services. These you do by developing and extending your composite applications to create value, bringing agility to your business by modeling at the business processes level or by leveraging cloud and on-premise deployment as dictated by the business needs.

To bring Innovation to bear and stay ahead of the industry, organizations might be looking to enable mobility – extending their services via mobile, creating exceptional user experiences with online engagement and offering intuitive, streamlined self-service for employees, partner or even your customers.

Each of these layers are, thus, supported by a breadth of business value entry points designed to impact cost reductions and/or fuel business growth.

Q. What, according to you, are the 3 most compelling things about Oracle AppAdvantage?

Howard: You will find that Oracle AppAdvantage is unique in 3 respects:

1. Oracle AppAdvantage offers guided paths for organizations looking to leverage their existing investment in Oracle Applications and extending it to create value in a manner that is scalable and sustainable. You can choose your own path across a myriad of ways. We have highlighted 9 of the most common business value entry points. There is no throwaway work involved.

2. This truly is a program that aligns IT spending and resources with business objectives and demands. For example, if your goal is to improve customer satisfaction and better the engagement model, you would look at how to better your online engagement and/or self-service model. With Oracle AppAdvantage, you are able to show a direct correlation between your IT investment and business growth.

3. As part of the Oracle AppAdvantage program, we are building an AppAdvantage IT Leader network to showcase industry thought leadership and their innovative thinking. The idea is to build models for other organizations to leverage and emulate based on their business objectives. This should allow for cross-pollination of ideas and overall industry development.

Q. How do you recommend organizations get started with exploring if Oracle AppAdvantage is the right fit for them?

Howard: Knowledge is power. Please arm yourself with information on Oracle AppAdvantage program, the philosophy and the alignment with your business objectives. A good place to start would be to browse http://www.oracle.com/appadvantage and download our latest White paper: IT-Business Alignment: Why We Stumble and the Path Forward (PDF). Then, I suggest, you take a look at the Readiness Assessment there and get engaged in a strategy discussion with the experts.

Q. Would we hear more about Oracle AppAdvantage at Oracle OpenWorld?

Howard: Absolutely. We recognize that leveraging IT to create business value is a need that most organizations have and Oracle is honored to be a partner in your business transformation journey. We have an entire track of sessions dedicated to Oracle AppAdvantage at Oracle OpenWorld this year. And, you’ll hear about it across middleware and applications discussions and sessions. Over the course of next few weeks, my team will start to share comprehensive guides that should help you find the sessions, experts and resources on Oracle AppAdvantage while at Oracle OpenWorld and online.

Thank you, Howard, for spending some time with us and sharing information on Oracle AppAdvanatge and giving us some insights on what keeps you and the team busy nowadays.

Here are the quick links to materials on Oracle AppAdvantage that Howard alluded to during his interview:

Visit Oracle AppAdvantage webpage

Get started with the Readiness Assessment guide

Download the informative whitepaper: IT-Business Alignment – Why We Stumble and the Path Forward

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