Friday Feb 07, 2014

From Analysts to Architects: Oracle AppAdvantage

Author: Rick Beers

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 Leader Editorial on a regular basis.

The Oracle AppAdvantage team has kicked off its Executive Roundtable global series covering about 20 locations in North America alone, with a pilot in Boston last week. With its focus on Business Process Agility, one of our entry points, it was a very interactive discussion amongst the audience, the presenting customer, a global communications infrastructure company, and the sponsoring partner, Apps Associates. It certainly set the bar high for the rest of the series. More of that later in the blog, but for now I’d like to relay a conversation I had with one of the IT Leaders attending. After dinner he and I talked about the breakthroughs he was finally having in discussing business process management with his supply chain counterparts and the way in which Business Analysts were actually driving the discussion. In his view they were making a breakthrough in finally aligning technology and process so we did what any two responsible adults do after dinner to kick around a few ideas; we went to the bar for some single malt.

We talked about the way that the Business Analyst role was expanding beyond the traditional scope of fit and functionality, as systems moved beyond the tightly controlled ERP confines of the past.

Social, Mobile, Cloud and Big Data are certainly providing the opportunity to better (finally?) align IT and the rest of the business, but in doing so are redefining the Business Analyst role. As we were talking I began to sketch out the scope of this new breed of Business Analysts. There seemed to be four quadrants of activity involved in the ability of an enterprise platform to align with the business.

But then we discussed the dynamic nature of all this compared with the early days of the evolution of Business Analysts. That’s the reason for the continual loop of Iteration.

In ERP’s early days, from which emerged the modern Business Analyst role, we were all comfortable with a periodic review if business processes during the ‘fit/gap’ phase of an implementation or upgrade. Over time of course, business processes and even business models themselves grew much more dynamic, to the point where change became continual. The alignment between process and technology became even more elusive than before. With the emergence of digital innovations enabling the open architectures of today’s enterprise systems platforms the Business Analyst role is becoming a much more dynamic and strategic one. As a matter of fact, it’s beginning to look like a Business Architect role, but that’s a discussion for another day.

And that was the outcome for me of just one AppAdvantage Executive Roundtable. I can’t wait for the next one. We’ve designed these events to open up such ideas; to focus upon true iterative learning that we can build upon back at the workplace. Follow the link I just provided to learn more about these Roundtables, now underway in APAC, EMEA and North America. Register for one close to you and even better, bring along a functional counterpart. Get those creative juices flowing. And enjoy a scotch afterwards.

On a related note, the Oracle AppAdvantage IT Leaders Series has kicked off with a 30 minute documentary produced with the Pella Corporation, where we explored the impact that Digital Experience (one of our seven entry points) is having on Pella’s relationships with customers, partners and employees. The Webcast will occur on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET. Be sure to register for this unique online event.


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