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 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 

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 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…

Monday Sep 16, 2013

Let's Stop Paving Over Cowpaths

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.

Thinking about an ERP Upgrade? Many others are and many will have a critical decision to make. Make it carefully.

Oracle Open World is almost upon us, and if recent research by Unisphere Research is any indication there is a strong likelihood that top of mind with many customers will be a major applications upgrade. In surveys of applications managers across Quest and OAUG membership last year, Unisphere explored upgrade plans and approaches and published the findings in separate research reports. (Quest Membership Survey, OAUG Membership Survey). The research revealed that over half of respondents either have an ERP upgrade underway or have one planned within the next 24 months. I was struck by the consistency in responses across Oracle’s ERP installed base of E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and JDEdwards, which tends to validate the findings.

There was one finding that caught my eye and that was in Figure 2 (‘Scope of Enterprise Application/ERP Upgrades‘). Here we find that 2/3 of ERP Upgrades are either Technical or purely Functional (a continuation of the existing ERP Footprint). Combined table below:

I know, it’s long been considered best practice to first perform a technical upgrade and once done, to then look more strategically at business processes and platform architectures. I know; I followed this practice back in my own enterprise IT days. During those ERP-centric days, when we all strove for a single, on premise packaged ERP system as the enterprise platform, a Technical Upgrade approach made sense. But no more; technical ERP upgrades are now traps. Consider:

  • The pace of business change and the rate of technology innovation such as Cloud Computing, Mobility and Big Data are accelerating and not naturally in sync. Anything that perpetuates the status quo without a strategic review puts us further behind the curve.
  • Upgrades normally run in 3-5 year cycles. During that time customizations and workarounds creep in and multiply as business models and processes change beyond the limits of ERP code. These simply perpetuate in technical upgrades.
  • Finally, let’s face it, most of us never get around to the strategic view following a technical upgrade; we move on to other things. We lose the transformative potential once the technical upgrade is complete. We’ve paved over cowpaths and prevented transformation.

ERP systems are still critical components of an enterprise systems platform, but they must interoperate in a managed and secure way with a variety of edge applications and services, both On Premise and in the Cloud. No single component, even one as dominant as ERP, should be considered individually. It is for this reason that we have created AppAdvantage, a unified view of Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Applications and Oracle Engineered Systems.

As I described when I introduced AppAdvantage in last month’s blog, this pace layered approach to enterprise platform architecture leverages the inherent advantages that Oracle Fusion Middleware provides to Oracle’s Enterprise Applications customers by simultaneously delivering business value and by enabling their evolution towards the future state of enterprise systems: A hybrid of ERP, best of breed applications and services interoperating in real time (either On-Premise or in the Cloud) in an adaptable architecture that can flex with business requirements.

Yes, periodic ERP upgrades are still a necessity; perhaps more now than ever. But by adopting an AppAdvantage approach, Oracle’s enterprise applications customers will lower costs, deliver greater business value and agility, and begin their journey to the future state of enterprise systems.

Oracle Open World will provide many opportunities to learn more about Fusion Middleware and in particular AppAdvantage. For an overview, read Rimi Bewtra's post from last week. In particular, check out these two sessions, both on Tuesday, September 24:

CON9301: General Session: Transform the Enterprise—Optimize Applications Investment with Middleware
Tuesday, Sep 24, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Moscone West - 2002/2004

Rick Hassman, Pella Corporation
Ron McCutchen, McAfee
Massoud Sedigh, World Fuel Services

CON9302: Enterprise Application Innovation: Business Impact of Oracle Fusion Middleware
Tuesday, Sep 24, 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm
Moscone West, Room 2014

Michael Beattie, Aramark Uniform Services

Aby Joy, Igloo Products Corp
Richard Beers, Oracle

For more details on this and other sessions that explore how Fusion Middleware can enhance and extend the value of Oracle Applications download Focus On Oracle AppAdvantage.

See you at Open World!


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