Wednesday Apr 29, 2015

On PaaS, Mobile Security, Cloud Content Sharing: April Newsletter is Out

The April edition of the Fusion Middleware newsletter is now out. This edition is all about Digital Transformation. Find out how Platform as a Service (PaaS) is driving the digital revolution and get access to the latest IDC report on the PaaS market, business drivers, benefits and more. As personal and work boundaries blur in the digital age, organizations are getting increasingly concerned about security. The challenges is more acute with trends like Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD)and even Bring Your Own Applications (BYOA). How do you open your company without incurring the security risks? Find out how Mobile Security can help protect your IP, your brand reputation while still enabling a digital trend. And, we continue our ongoing series of Cloud Computing use cases. In this edition, we take a closer look at cloud content sharing and collaboration. Oracle Documents Cloud Service (OracleDOCS)  is an enterprise grade solution that not only offers the intuitive features of cloud file sync and share but to support the various use cases drives a PaaS for SaaS solution allowing you to unlock your company potential. be sure to give it a read to understand how enterprises today are leveraging OracleDOCS.

The newsletter comes complete with news, recent press announcements, information about upcoming events both regional and online, latest market and product materials, and more so don't miss it. And we recommend you subscribe to the newsletter today.


Wednesday Jan 28, 2015

Partner Column – The Journey to PaaS, Part Two

by Debra Lilley, ACE Director,  VP, Certus Cloud Services

I was looking back at my first partner column and realised I jumped straight into PaaS 4 SaaS – the ability to extend Cloud applications with PaaS, and actually didn’t make the point we can extend any application with PaaS including our existing on-premise investments with Oracle E Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel etc.

What we have learnt over the years is that customization of the base application should be avoided.  So many of us have had difficult or even impossible upgrades because of what we have done in our applications and have therefore learnt this the hard way. However that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t extend our applications, (perhaps the topic of another posting and I need you, the readers, to let me know if that is a good idea).

If every organisation used the same set of applications for both front and back office there would be no differentiation from a technical approach but in reality, that is what all organisations need - a differentiation from their competitors. It may be as simple as storing additional data, or an additional process. So there is balance to be sought between staying standard and as is and what adds value. What Cloud applications have taught us is to create these extensions separately and then execute from your standard applications. 

How do you do this? Well, in simple, non technical terms you probably want a 3 step process:

1. Extract data from main application.

2. Your extension.

3. Return or load data back into main application.

Here is a very simple example:

1.  You take a single person record from your main application, and getting data out is the easiest part, use an existing API or simply extract in a suitable format using your analytics tools.

2. Your extension use case could be to populate a small application for a special initiative. 

3. Then, you return to the main application and mark the record (e.g. A descriptive flexfield in Oracle E-Business Suite to say they are part of the initiative). This stage is the trickiest. If there is an existing API in your application to update the object it is straight forward. Otherwise it depends on the tools and flexibility of that specific application.

This third part of the process, may dictate that you don’t go back into the main application. So, in this example, you still have the power of the extension but no marker in the original. Your use case may not need that anyway.

Equally you may not need the first step, if you are using your extension to collect data, especially additional fields which you can hold in the application but the system doesn’t give you the flexibility to validate or ease of entry online, you may use an extension to capture, validate and process this data and use a standard API to load it.

This last example made me think of a conversation I had with an ACE Director about 7 or 8 years ago about Application Express (APEX) and Oracle E Business Suite. He was looking to see if there was a need for APEX here and every use case he suggested people were doing with customisations quite happily. Now there is a real move towards extending with APEX and I recommend this white paper

What PaaS gives us is development tools in the cloud. The same advantages as for SaaS - no infrastructure, pay as you go, and predictable on-going costs. PaaS gives SaaS customers the ability to extend their functionality with the same benefits as with their applications but equally on premise application customers could build their extensions in the cloud if they wanted to, although I accept there could be less of a driver. But something else I didn’t make clear last month is that PaaS is not just about extending your application with code, it is also about other middleware components as well. 

The Oracle Business Intelligence offerings have had a barrier of entry around the commissioning of the infrastructure and platform build, so adopting them as PaaS may make a lot of sense. Similarly there are other applications you can use with your existing investment which again make so much sense to adopt in the Cloud like Planning and Budgeting. 

Take a look at Oracle’s Cloud offerings portal; it is very easy to navigate and understand. The Applications and Platform tabs are worth a browse just to see what Oracle have made available this way.

Next month I’ll talk more about the Rapid Development Kit I mentioned last month.

Editor's Note: And don't miss Oracle Cloud Online Forum taking place today, Wednesday, January 28 starting at 10 am Pacific, to get more details. Register now.

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 03, 2014

Partner Column: The Journey to PaaS, Part One

Author: Debra Lilley, ACE Director

I have been writing a monthly column on this blog discussing AppAdvantage and totally random thoughts but now I am going to add to that a monthly update on the road to PaaS.

As customers adopt SaaS (Software as a Service) either as a replacement system or to co-exist with their existing applications they are looking for ways to extend them to add additional value to their investment with extensions.  The design principles of Fusion mean this is possible without the old problems of customisations, but Cloud means you can’t get to the development layer of your applications, so how do you extend?

PaaS, Platform as a Service gives you and your partners the development layer needed, and allows the extensions to be hosted and sold just like SaaS and use the same integrations utilised for coexistence. 

The first step is to understand PaaS, and what is available today.

For simple extensions that have a set process and simple integration you can use the Java Cloud Service and APEX in the Database Cloud Service

Ultimately every extension you create should look and feel like Fusion,  the same user experience (UX) Oracle has delivered. So this means you need to use the same tools. This means Oracle SOA Suite for both configuration for different needs as well as integration.

Where do you start? Well again, Oracle can help. The UX team have developed the Rapid Development Kit and you should consider using this as a blueprint.

This is an exciting journey and one I hope you will follow with me.

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 

Sunday Nov 23, 2014

Multi-channel Service Delivery Demo

Customers today constantly engage with companies across multiple channels. Companies need to be able to engage, sell to, and service customers across all channels: the web, in a store, over the phone, via a mobile device or through social channels. This demo showcases how customers can be quickly and efficiently serviced across multiple communication channels or touch points such as a mobile phone, tablet or a desktop over a secure infrastructure.

Use-case:


A fictional company PowerCo, which is an industrial manufacturer, wants its customers to be able to access the mobile application it provides, to conveniently research and resolve any issues they may have. Furthermore, the company wants to increase the productivity of its Service Reps and field technicians by providing them with a single unified view of all the issues its customers are facing. By delivering consistent, accurate and the most up-to-date information, regardless of who is handling the issue, PowerCo aims to provide a seamless experience to all its customers.

The sequence of steps are highlighted below -