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  

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  

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 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…

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