Tuesday Feb 17, 2015

ACE Director on Choosing the Right User Group Conference

by Debra Lilley, ACE Director

The best way to decide if your applications can be enhanced a certain way with Oracle technology – Oracle AppAdvantage, is to see what other people are doing, and the best way to do that is go along to a user group event and have a look at several examples.

As spring arrives so does the conference season and how do you know which one is for you? The best thing is to join a local group where you can be part of an ongoing community, you can find which ones are available in your region by looking at the International Oracle User Group Community webpages.

If you are able to attend a major US conference this year and are not sure which one, then I would ask yourself what is the most value to your organisation? User groups are generally regional, product driven or industry.

If you are in Higher Education  for instance they have a number or global  but very specific conferences. If you are interested in HCM then perhaps the right conference is with OHUG in June. 

If you are still in the ‘getting ideas’ stage then I would recommend Collaborate, in April. Here you will see many application customers showcasing what they have done to extend their reach using Oracle. If you have decided on the tools you need and your projects are being planned then go to ODTUG’s KSCOPE in June where experts will teach you the best practice in all the different areas and share their tips and learning with you. I will be speaking about PaaS at both these events. Of course if you can wait till December I highly recommend a trip to UKOUG.

So many existing customers have done many innovative  things with Oracle technology to drive more business benefit from their applications. So, go see them, and hopefully it will inspire you.

About the Author:

Debra Lilley, VP Certus Cloud Services, 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 



Friday Jan 23, 2015

ACE Director on Clearing the ConFusion – Oracle Cloud Applications

Author: Debra Lilley, ACE Director, EMEA

As I typed that title I cringed. I have been an advocate for Oracle’s development of Next Generation Applications from the day they announced Fusion, and I hated the term quickly coined by pessimists of 'Fusion – Confusion'. But now as Oracle drops the name Fusion, for its applications, I feel there really is some confusion, so I am going to use this post to clarify to this community.

Why am I writing this post for this blog? Well the problem is Oracle knows it has renamed the products, but their customers don’t. If you are attending COLLABORATE in April the stream is called Fusion Applications, and if it wasn’t the number of attendees would be very small, but more and more you need to recognise the Cloud brand. The components of Cloud that Oracle developed in their technology (okay, Fusion applications), are 100% written on Oracle Fusion Middleware, that hasn’t gone anywhere and continues to be developed, and it is the use of these Oracle Fusion Middleware technologies that Oracle AppAdvantage is all about - extending the capabilities of "Fusion" Applications with Oracle Fusion Middleware. My starting position and reason I became involved with this AppAdvantage initiative is that there is no better shop window for what Oracle Fusion Middleware can do than the applications that Oracle has developed itself.

I did try an explanation on my own blog after Oracle Open World but this time I will be more succinct.

FACT : All Fusion Applications are now Cloud Applications.

Each pillar is now renamed Oracle …. Cloud , so Fusion Financials is now part of Oracle ERP Cloud, within each pillar there are the separate offerings which are normally desecrate process areas and with discrete pricing.

FACT : Not all  Cloud Applications started Life as Fusion Applications.

As part of their Cloud journey, Oracle has acquired some native cloud-delivered applications, such as Taleo and RightNow. The plan, being executed is that these products are being unified, i.e. integrated with other offerings, where possible being delivered on the same technology stack and being given the same User Experience as Oracle’s home grown offerings. 

RightNow has for some time been known as Oracle Service Cloud  and the recruiting module from Taleo as Oracle Recruiting Cloud

FACT: Cloud Applications don’t have to be SaaS

Software as a Service is the deployment of an application in a cloud environment. Oracle, or a third party in some cases, hosts the application and look after not only the infrastructure but the patching and security, and in turn you pay a subscription to use charge.

Most of these same applications could be deployed on-premise with you being responsible for all the above and with the more traditional upfront licence costs. 

Oracle have called the products Cloud because they are available and are being deployed as such more and more that way.

FACT : Oracle are trying to make it easy for you to find this all in one place.

This is a great place to start: https://cloud.oracle.com/home. The Applications tab goes through the offerings and you can find the PaaS offerings to extend and strengthen your SaaS.

About the Author:

Debra Lilley, VP Certus Cloud Services, 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 

Wednesday Dec 24, 2014

Partner Column: It's All About the Cloud

Author: Debra Lilley, ACE Director

If you attended Oracle Open World, the talk was all about Cloud. Now Oracle have published their Q2 figures and analysts are talking about Oracle’s Cloud strategy being the reason behind the increase in share prices.

So do we really understand Cloud? When the term first came up, every session on cloud was about ‘what is cloud’, thankfully we have moved beyond that. Each vendor has there own subtly different definition but to me it is a disruptive technology that changes the way we consume the IT, not worrying about the infrastructure, and paying for it by use. At a recent Oracle event I heard an even better way of explaining this. Cloud is about having access to software, not owning it.

But do we really understand Cloud? Oracle’s cloud is actually a lot of different moving parts and different components. How do you visualise this? I found this video Cloud Periodic Table: Chemistry of Cloud Computing and it is a fantastic way to understand and see what is in Oracle’s Cloud.

If you look at Cloud.oracle.com there is a comprehensive list of announced cloud modules, some of which are ‘coming soon’. I need to use at least two of these in my day job, Process and Integration Cloud, and need to learn quickly.

I spoke in July about how I find communities the best way to learn. Partners need to learn first, they are the ones who role out this technology to end users. I talked about the Partner SOA community run by Jurgen Kress and I have to give him credit for the video information, it was in his last newsletter. Every year this community holds a Community Forum where they update and teach, two days of presentations and two days of hands on workshops, and this year they have a dedicated AppAdvantage track.

Why is Cloud important to AppAdvantage? Well its very simple - cloud means you can adopt middleware quickly, with fixed costs and get a return on your investment much quicker, which ultimately is what we all want. Better, Quicker, Cheaper. With Cloud availability the components of Oracle Fusion Middleware will be adopted on a much steeper curve. You don’t need to necessarily move your applications to get value from your investments. 

If you are a partner I hope you are doing the same as me, and if you are an end user, talk to your implementation partner and make sure they are keeping you up to date with the exciting, fast moving world of Oracle Cloud.

About the Author:

Debra Lilley, VP Certus Cloud Services, 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  

Tuesday Nov 11, 2014

ACE Director Tells Us to Speak to Each Other

Author: Debra Lilley, ACE Director

Oracle Open World  (OOW) already seems a long time ago, but actually only a month and if like me you are still absorbing all the messages then the timing of this posting is just right.

Prior to OOW, the AppAdvantage team asked if I would join them in a panel session hosted by Rick Beers and of course, I said yes, really honoured to be included. Later Rick invited me to an executive luncheon being hosted by the team and it was great to hear real customers who had expanded their applications value with Oracle Fusion Middleware. 

During the customer discussion Bruce Callow from Griffith University in Australia, who I am pleased to have known for many years he is a great user group advocate, talked about some of their challenges which prompted me to speak up about something I have been thinking about a lot recently.

Business users will not get the benefits of technology, what AppAdvantage is all about, unless they can articulate their challenges to those in IT. Equally IT will not be able to service the needs of their customers if they can’t understand the business requirements. We have to talk to each other.

This is a concept I witnessed first hand in a university in Costa Rica, when a class half of technology students and the other business students sat separately and admitted that almost 4 years into university they didn’t know each other. I feel so passionate about this I chose this as my topic for an Oracle Technology Network Top Tip video.

Investment in technology is more and more coming from business, technologists must be able to talk their language and likewise if the Business don’t understand the technology and what it can do, they won’t buy it.

About the Author:

Debra Lilley, VP Certus Cloud Services, 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  

Wednesday Aug 20, 2014

In Technology, Ignorance is NOT Bliss

Author: Debra Lilley, ACE Director, UK

Proof I’m not technical - 

I’ve just finished a Latin America tour with OTN and a funny thing happened that I want to share with you; because it is quite a good analogy for how many of us use technology today and you know how I love analogies.

In Costa Rica we had a really long journey up through the mountains to where our conference was to be. The road was windy and narrow and once it got dark there was no scenery to see, boredom set in. At one stage I looked at my watch to see the time, but in the dark I couldn’t make it out, so I thought I would be clever and use the torch in my smartphone! Even though as soon as I switched on the phone it showed the time, I ignored it and used the torch to read my watch.

That’s us when we pay maintenance on software, ask for enhancements, and either chose not to upgrade or as I have seen so many times, upgrade but don’t use the new features. I know there are always other factors not least the upgrade costs themselves but in the later releases of all the Oracle family of applications Oracle have done a lot to make the interoperability of them with Oracle Fusion Middleware more successful and in many cases for the first time. My heritage is Oracle E Business Suite (EBS) and the availability of Oracle Weblogic for EBS is fantastic for an Oracle powered organisation that can move away from supporting multiple flavours of application server. The same release made available  - the no downtime patching that Oracle Database 11g introduced with Edition Based Redefinition.

I am not saying you must use these features but you must be aware of what each release of your application brings and make a business based decision as to whether it is for you or not. I like to have a simple spreadsheet of features with no-value, nice-to-have, must-have ratings, but make the spreadsheet cumulative so that when you do upgrade you have all the features listed you previously didn’t take up. That way you can avoid the ‘using your phone to read your watch’ scenario.

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  

Friday Jul 25, 2014

Community Powers Oracle

Author: Debra Lilley, ACE Director

Once you have decided on your initiative to drive value from Oracle Applications using Oracle Fusion middleware you need to think about the skills you need. Are you going to use a Systems Integrator, in house capability, or increasingly some form of cloud offering? Whichever you decide on you will still have a learning curve which is where I believe community is the answer. Not all learning has to be formal classroom led, look at the skills needed and select the formal training for the base skills, but for the areas you need an understanding of, and these won’t even be all be technical and then to learn more about the formal skills, I recommend community learning.

The Oracle Community is an enormous wealth of groups all offering their members a different angle on learning, through education, through sharing and through asking questions.

This blog, has the strapline, ‘Inside Oracle’s Middleware Community’ and is the sharing of knowledge from a wide range of contributors.

Oracle itself has Oracle Technology Network (OTN) which is a phenomenal resource. It is ‘the world's largest community of developers, admins, and architects using industry-standard technologies in combination with Oracle its articles, blogs and forums cover most of the technology’. Check out this infographic to appreciate the impact OTN has on the community.

OTN is also responsible for the ACE Program which I am so proud to be a part of, they recognise individuals who have demonstrated both technical proficiency and strong credentials as community enthusiasts and advocates. Most people in the ACE program present on their topics at User Groups and these are in my opinion the best place to learn, from people who have the knowledge, the passion and the experience.

I started my Oracle community life in my local usergroup UKOUG and love the opportunity to share my knowledge with others, and to learn. Just look at the agenda of usergroup events to see just how much opportunity there is to learn; for UKOUG we have just launched both our Technical and Applications agendas, take a look and see the wealth of content.

This year I attended both Collaborate and Kscope in the US. One of the downsides of being involved in the running of a usergroup is you don’t get the chance to attend any sessions (other than the ones you give), so I use these two conferences to do my learning. Collaborate covers the deeply technical mainly database side with IOUG, and then for this audience the Applications through Quest and OAUG. Kscope is run by ODTUG who cover development and middleware and the home of the technology this blog covers. Most countries have a usergroup and OTN through the ACE program helps great international speakers attend so be a part of the user group. In fact, usergroups have a community themselves, the IOUC, where they share and learn from each other. There is also User Group Sunday at Oracle Open World and along with both Oracle and non-Oracle speakers the whole event has almost 2,000 sessions.

And if you haven’t made that decision yet, user groups are a great place to see and hear what others have done with their Oracle investment.

Most of the great educators, ACEs, Speakers, Oracle Product Managers also blog, a quick Google search on your topic will show up the best, or check out the ACE register and subscribe to the ones that interest you.

And ever wondered where your partner learns? Well they too have communities, the Oracle Partner Network, OPN have them for different areas and the blueprint for the best of them is the SOA & BPM Community with over 5,000 members run by Jürgen Kress.

My final thought is about Cloud. It sounds like utopia, no need to worry about anything, and yes you may not need to worry about the technology, but it introduces new challenges - managing the cloud provider, new constraints and how to get the best from it? All questions that require a new community, for cloud users and in UKOUG, we will be launching this soon.

Community - no better place to start your Oracle AppAdvantage learning. 

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 

Thursday Jun 26, 2014

Disruptive Innovation: Using Oracle Technology

Written By: Debra Lilley - ACE Director, Fusion Applications 

I love the term ‘disruptive technology’ – disruptive appeals to the rebel within me, but it actually refers to technology that changes what we do http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_innovation

Mobile and social are two examples of disruptive technology, you may not think it but remember my first blog posting https://blogs.oracle.com/fusionmiddleware/entry/global_perspective_ace_director_from 6 years ago we didn’t even have these in the mainstream, and they have so changed the way we live and do business.

If you are looking to bring these new technologies to your enterprise, they have to be disruptive, don’t simply use Fusion Middleware to do what you have always been doing, there will be little or no business benefit.

When you implemented your existing applications you probably did a lot of process mapping and gap analysis with your processes against the application. When implementing Fusion Applications best practice is not to do that initially, look at what Oracle offers as a process and then see if it works for you. Unless it is a mission critical or so unique it is your business differentiator there is probably not much to change, and you will be amazed at how the technology allows you to work. A great example is reporting in Financials, today we typically have many reports and yet in Fusion there are very few ‘printed’ reports because you don’t need them, the specialized analytics gives you all the information you need at your fingertips.

And my favourite but very simple disruptive technology in Fusion Apps (which uses webcentre) is the simple way to interact with a person or customer every time you come across them in a transaction. A simple over the field exposes their name, a direct link to email, the ability to phone if you have VOIP, etc etc. Simple, yet changes the way we do business, disruptive technology.

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 

Thursday Mar 13, 2014

Standards Corner: Maturing REST Specifications and the Internet of Things

Last week was the IETF's 89th meeting in London. Phil Hunt summarizes news relating to RESTful services (OAuth, JOSE, JSON, SCIM) and new work beginning at the IETF on an authorization standard for the Internet of Things.[Read More]

Friday Feb 21, 2014

Thought Leader or Thought Provoker? An ACE Director Weighs in

Author: Debra Lilley, ACE Director

I guess the term thought leader means I share my thoughts with you, but actually I believe we are more successful if after reading my post you are the one doing the thinking, more of a Thought Provoker than leader.

The social world in which we now all reside, makes thought more visible and so much easier to share. Communities share, and all the areas they touch overlap and create the outreach we all feed from. In this post I want to share a story about one small outreach, the chain of events behind it, and what that teaches us.

In my bio I am introduced as an Oracle ACE Director and so I thought I start my story with a little bit more about it, because these are people you should follow.

The ACE program is run by the Oracle Technology Network OTN and recognises people in the community to have Oracle skills and more importantly share them with the community.

For those who are recognised subject leaders and who are very active advocates, speakers, authors, bloggers there is the ACE Director designation, which I am very proud to be part of.

This community of ACE Directors has spawned a few initiatives one of which I am very honoured to have been a catalyst for, the Applications UX Advocate program. Here a group of us in the Middleware area have been working with Oracle Development looking at the User Experience and the discipline and research invested in by Oracle. We have learned through workshops and collaborative projects and in turn present in usergroup events to share back to the wider community. The value to Oracle above us simply being advocates is the feedback from a wide range of experts about the applications and approach.

One of my peers here is Sten Vesterli, a quiet Dane who likes in his spare time to compete in Triathlons, Sten is a thought leader in the development world and his latest book ADF Enterprise Application Development - Made Simple has been very well received. As part of the UX advocates group when we were looking at the design patterns used by the Fusion Applications development teams, Sten sked if these could be shared with the wider development community. Not long after they were. Sten has recently started a newsletter series called Technology that Fits which I recommend to all Oracle AppAdvantage followers. Sign up now.

Last year Oracle released ADF mobile, and the adoption is widespread. Mobile has taken over the way we work, in fact I am typing this on my iPad mini as I fly to a diving holiday in the Philippines! In business we see mobile or the need for mobile everywhere. If you are using or thinking of ADF mobile look no further than OTN for the design patterns created after 1,000s of hours research by the UX team, allowing you to adopt industry standard, proven designs quickly and make your mobile applications efficient and easy to adopt.

This is a very practical example of the benefits of using social in business. Oracle through their flagship OTN community, initiated the ACE program which reaches out to all users of Oracle technology and spawned from that was the UX program and then Sten, an individual component set off the chain of events that led to a valuable resource being made available free to that community.

Social could be an enabler for your business, and the Oracle social tools may be your Oracle AppAdvantage entry point.

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.

Friday Jan 24, 2014

ACE Director Ponders on "Which Way Do I Go?"

Author: Debra Lilley, ACE Director

I live in Northern Ireland about 20 miles from Belfast and just today I asked a friend for directions. You see I don’t know Belfast very well, which was fine when I first moved here but now it is embarrassing, but I don’t have a need to go very often and didn’t need to learn and whenever I do need to go. I rely on friends who do know the city to give me advice.

Interestingly, cities where I need to go often or have lived in, I know very well such as London and Berlin; still it gives my Northern Ireland friends something to giggle about.

Asking for directions is also valid with Applications, they are also a journey. And like many a journeys there are so many options that you turn to those who know for advice and guidance. To me there is no better place to start than to go to a User Group for an idea on those options.

During our UKOUG Applications Conference, Oracle’s Karen Clarke VP Applications Cluster Lead talked about the journey, the journey that takes your organization to new productivity, efficiency and success and how that journey is not the same for all organizations.

In her keynote, Karen shared a video link that her team had made to set the scene for this journey.

Within UKOUG we launched the Applications Transformation Community last summer and many members declared an interest because what to do next is something that they’re interested in. I talked more about this in an earlier post.

One of the things we worked with Oracle on was AppNav the working title for a GPS concept, identifying ‘Points of Interest’ for different pillars of Applications; what may be useful for Financial, Human Capital Management and Supply Chain Customers. A few of these sites were explored during our Apps13 conference but now we’re ready to drill further and are holding a dedicated event on 18th March in London.

We hope that we will then be able to share the AppNav content wider and I will talk more about it in my March post here.

The Oracle AppAdvantage initative is showcasing many of the technology paths that you can take on this journey, extending your applications footprint using the same development tools and solutions that Oracle themselves use. If you are new to this blog then I recommend you back over previous articles and look at what people are doing and how they are transforming their businesses with Oracle technology.

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.

Tuesday Dec 24, 2013

ACE Director Discusses Oracle AppAdvantage Use Case for Improved User Experience

Author: Debra Lilley, ACE Director

Oracle AppAdvantage is about understanding the gains an Oracle applications customer can derive by using some or all of the Fusion Middleware stack. One of the areas where we are seeing a lot of adoption is being driven by mobile, not only to access your applications on the go but in a more simplified and easier to use experience for perhaps the casual user.

There is no better example of how this adoption can work than in Oracle’s own applications. If you attended Open World you would have seen the simplified UI that is the main enhancements of Fusion Applications Release 7. The Oracle user experience team have done phenomenal work understanding how users can benefit from a springboard entry into their applications. All of the simplified UI is written using ADF mobile.

However it is not only Fusion Applications that can benefit from these enhancements and the example I want to talk about is PeopleSoft Campus Solutions. I was once a PeopleSoft user (emphasis on the once) and I experienced first-hand where simplified UI would be great the casual user. In 2008 my daughter was at her first year of university and had gone to Australia for a placement year where she did an internship with the Australian Outward Bound. Her first trip into the Bush coincided with the day that the first-year exams results were available online, however she did not have Internet access. She rang me and talked me through the access process to her University system (no comments about security please). When I logged onto the system it said welcome to Oracle, and then the next click took me into the PeopleSoft homepage, and even at this point I thought the harmonisation post acquisition not being complete was a missed point, simple but something that good user experience will avoid. Anyway, back to the story. I eventually navigated through the system and finally found her results and am glad to say she passed. This process took quite a while because the navigation meant I had to go through her account and drill down into her modules and then drill down into the exam results.

But things move on and last year I had the honour of being a keynote speaker at the higher education user group international conference in London and I listened to the Oracle executive explain plans for the next release that would include a simplified UI or kiosk type entry point into campus solutions. I was able to explain more about how this would work by demoing the release’s even simplified UI for Fusion Applications on my tablet. And as was expected the audience liked what they saw. This springboard entry point is now available in production and there is lots more information available for campus solution users.

In this AppAdvantage example, Oracle have added or enhanced an existing application using the Fusion Middleware stack, in this case ADF mobile. Is there a process that your organisation would benefit from being simplified, available from a kiosk, or on a mobile device? Not only can you use ADF mobile with your application but the UX team have shared their design patterns that they developed with all developers including yours through OTN. This will ensure that you can quickly develop applications that not only can be deployed across multiple devices using the ADF framework but have the same look and feel as the Oracle applications thanks to their considerable investment in what works best for users.

Has your organisation created any simplified UI with your applications? If so share your story with other readers of this blog. And participate in my survey on this topic.

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.

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…

Friday Oct 25, 2013

Global Perspective: Oracle AppAdvantage Does its Stage Debut in the UK

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 is a follow-up from last month’s Global Perspective note from a well known ACE Director based in EMEA.

Author: Debra Lilley, ACE Director

My first contribution to this blog was before Oracle Open World and I was quite excited about where this initiative would take me in my understanding of the value of Oracle Fusion Middleware.

Rimi Bewtra from the Oracle AppAdvantage team came as promised to the Oracle ACE Director briefings and explained what this initiative was all about and I then asked the directors to take part in the new survey. The story was really well received and then at the SOA advisory board that many of these ACE Directors already take part in there was a further discussion on how this initiative will help customers understand the benefits of adoption.

A few days later Rick Beers launched the program at a lunch of invited customer executives which included one from Pella who talked about their projects (a quick recap on that here). I wasn’t able to stay for the whole event but what really interested me was that these executives who understood the technology but where looking for how they could use them to drive their businesses.

Lots of ideas were bubbling up in my head about how we can use this in user groups to help our members, and the timing was fantastic as just three weeks later we had UKOUG_Apps13, our flagship Applications conference in the UK. We had independently working with Oracle marketing in the UK on an initiative called Apps Transformation to help our members look beyond just the application they use today. We have had a Fusion community page but felt the options open are now much wider than Fusion Applications, there are acquired applications, social, mobility and of course the underlying technology, Oracle Fusion Middleware. I was really pleased to be allowed to give the Oracle AppAdvantage story as a session in our conference and we are planning a special Apps Transformation event in March where I hope the Oracle AppAdvantage team will take part and we will have the results of the survey to discuss.

But, life also came full circle for me. In my first post, I talked about Andrew Sutherland and his original theory that Oracle Fusion Middleware adoption had technical drivers. Well, Andrew was a speaker at our event and he gave a potted, tech-talk free update on Oracle Open World. Andrew talked about the Prevailing Technology Winds, and what is driving this today and he talked about that in the past it was the move from simply automating processes (ERP etc), through the altering of those processes (SOA) and onto consolidation. The next drivers are around the need to predict, both faster and more accurately; how to better exploit the information that we have available. He went on to talk about The Nexus of Forces: Social, Mobile, Cloud and Information – harnessing these forces of change with Oracle technology. Gartner really likes this concept and if you want to know more you can get their paper here.

All this has made me think, and I hope it will make you too. Technology can help us drive our businesses better and understanding your needs can be the first step on your journey, which was the theme of our event in the UK. I spoke to a number of the delegates and I hope to share some of their stories in later posts.

If you have a story to share, the survey is at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/P335DD3

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 experience in a monthly column on the Fusion Middleware blog so do stay tuned…

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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