Thursday Nov 21, 2013

ACE Director Challenges the Definition of "Enterprise"

Author: Debra Lilley, ACE Director

Indulge me today, I want to talk about one of my pet hates, the misuse of the word ‘enterprise’.

One of the things that motivates me as a user group leader is helping people get the most out of their investment in Oracle. Let’s face it, Oracle isn’t cheap, but their customers select Oracle based on business cases that says it is value for money, what I want us to do is help them realize that investment. All too often you hear about organizations who did not and they blame the technology. I however often believe it is how it is used, or even more often how it is not used.

The value of Fusion Middleware to me is that it provides a platform for your whole enterprise not just a point solution. So yes, the business case initially may be about one area but you must plan and implement with your whole enterprise in mind, and then you can expand your use and bring additional benefits that one their own did not initially warrant the investment.

A simple example of this is the adoption of SOA. Many organizations have adopted different applications to deliver their business but they are not integrated or only in a crude fashion, and this lack of flow causes duplication, error and poor customer service. The introduction of a single process orchestration platform will allow for automated processing across applications invisible to the business user ultimately improving the service, removing errors and saving money. Then you can continue to increase the return on your investment by using SOA across your enterprise for other process flows that on their own did not justify the spend.

Coming off my soapbox for a minute, let’s look at what I think we should be doing:

1. Understand your organization and its business

2. Understand the main weakness or what change would make the most positive difference to your organization

3. Understand the entire enterprise IT you have to support your organization

4. Understand what advances in IT can help what you have at #3 address #2 to ensure success at #1

5. Identify other areas that could benefit from the investment made at #4

This sounds really simple but I have spent most of my 30 years in IT trying to identify the stakeholders for these points and bringing them together. It always amazes me how many IT experts in an organization cannot articulate their business. Should business leaders be expected to understand the IT strategy? I think IT should be an enabler for business people and not their profession, it is down to us, the IT people to understand what it is we are to enable, and the most important role is that of enterprise architect.

So why am I writing about this under the AppAdvantage banner and not just simply a rant on my own blogpost? Education. Enterprise architects need to learn and people learn by example and showcasing what others have done is a great way to learn what business challenges can be addressed by the FMW stack. The IT Leaders program under AppAdvantage will showcase some of the projects undertaken by Oracle customers and help us relate them to our own organizations. The interviews with Rick Beers will start by explaining the business or the organization, what they needed to do and how Oracle helped them achieve it. I also ask that Rick adds a question, about what next? How else will the company benefit from the initial investment?

Does your organization have something to share? I know the program is still looking for stories and my survey is still running. Here is the link to my survey so do put your examples in.

In my last post I talked about how we introduced AppAdvantage to the UKOUG Applications Community, and in a few days we have our Technology Community Conference, where our members will be drilling down into how the technology delivers. At that event we also have customer case studies which, like the AppAdvantage program, will teach by example because as I was once told by a very technical guru (that would be you, Alex Gorbachev) that being able to ‘do tech’ does not sell tech, it only delivers what you sell, and you can only sell tech if you can articulate the business benefit.

About the Author:

Debra Lilley, 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

Editor’s Note: Debra has kindly agreed to share her musings and experience in a monthly column on the Fusion Middleware blog so look for her next post in Dec…
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