Friday Sep 27, 2013

Global Perspective: ACE Director from EMEA Weighs in on AppAdvantage

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 a perspective from a well known ACE Director based in EMEA.

Author: Debra Lilley, Fujitsu

In 2008, just 5 years ago, a friend and I were stuck in an elevator in a hotel during Oracle Open World for a fair while, and at the time it caused quite a stir, not because we were in any danger but because we used social media to get attention. This was before anyone knew what social media was and the term used then was web 2.0. We became the OOW poster children for web 2.0 and came 3rd in Top Five Things you missed at OOW. The first was the HP / Oracle database machine, and we came just behind Beehive! How things have changed!

Looking at any technology we use today it is amazing how quickly things develop and yet, I always think, the uptake of technology in my world, Applications, takes so long. About the same as the web2.0 episode, I was as a user group leader trying to get applications users to understand the value of Oracle Fusion Middleware (FMW). I ran a group called the Product Development Committee of the International Oracle Users Community and we wanted to get the message out that the technology behind Fusion Applications being developed at the time was available already. Oracle had a group named FMW4Apps who had a similar remit and we worked together to find examples of Applications customers who had adopted them. Out of this initiative came the Oracle Excellence Awards but I found that when talking to users the feedback was that these examples were the biggest customers who had enormous projects and not really very representative of most users.

Then I attended a SOA Partner Community event in The Netherlands where Dr Andrew Sutherland, SVP for Middleware EMEA, and one of my favourite Oracle executives, gave a presentation on customer adoption of FMW. Most people who attended the event remembered the app he used to draw on his iPad and the world’s worst iceberg which appeared on the screen behind him. But, what resonated with me was that he was giving an explanation to what I was seeing. He talked about there being 3 strategies for adoption:

  • Standardization of Mid Tier Architectures
  • Rationalization of Integration
  • Extending value of packaged Applications

Those projects wining awards tend to be in the last category but, at that time - early 2010, most were in the first two categories and, to be blunt, not very exciting to a marketer.

I kept thinking about this and wanting to prove it, I thought I would do something for Oracle Open World (OOW) that year. The first thing you have to do when submitting a paper for OOW is come up with a good title. A technical friend of mine suggested that anything with the number 42 would be good. So, I submitted an abstract with the title ’42 Real Life Examples of Fusion Middleware with Applications’, and she was right! It got accepted. So now, all I had to do was find 42 examples!

By this time I had just been asked to be an ACE Director and was quite in awe of all these really technical people and worried about how I would be received by them. These people were the experts in technology. So, I put together a questionnaire asking for examples and without exception everyone I asked said their projects were not really exciting, which proved my point. So I spoke to the group as a whole, explained my theory and asked them to submit their examples. I then wrote a white paper giving all the examples and got accepted by the group.

Giving the presentation was a big challenge initially. How could I cover 42 examples in 60 minutes? But in case you haven’t realised, the number 42 is from “The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. "Forty-two," said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm, "The Answer to the Great Question, of Life, the Universe and Everything". And another friend said just present on that, so I talked about 3 case studies: Life or Life Sciences was based on ALMAC a pharmaceutical company, the Universe was CERN and, Everything was a Public Sector Shared Service.

I gave that paper at many a user group events around the world and real examples made more of a connection with the Applications communities, but over the last few years, FMW has become more mainstream and as I am often quoted “Fusion Applications are a window on FMW” so I am not sure the examples in my white paper are as relevant today. I have thought about repeating the questionnaire but apart from being an updated paper what would be the motivation? Then I was approached along with Mark by a team within Oracle with a new program charter called Oracle AppAdvantage, to discuss how we could work with them

“Oracle AppAdvantage is the incremental value gained by Oracle Applications customers leveraging Oracle Fusion Middleware” - exactly the area I am so passionate about, and the perfect excuse to re-run the questionnaire. The team, Mark and I will be talking to the ACE Directors during this year’s OOW and then collecting the new set of examples. Some, I hop,e will be the same organisations and how they have moved forward since and others will be new. Then, not only will we share the new white paper with this blog but showcase a few of the case studies and hopefully present again at events around the globe.

And, if you have an example I should be including, let me know.

About the Author:

Debra Lilley, Fujitsu Fusion Champion, UKOUG Board Member, Fusion User Experience Advocate and ACE Director.

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

Editor's Note: Debra has kindly agreed to share her musings and experiences in a monthly column on the Fusion Middleware blog so do stay tuned…

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