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 

Wednesday Jul 24, 2013

A Goldmine of Information

In a recent conversation with a couple of IT architects, we got into the nitty-gritty of how middleware truly is the lynchpin for most platform modernization and business transformation stories. As we got discussing some of the use cases, I remember thinking how I wished I had my phone recorder on since the conversation would serve as good material for IT architects, implementation teams and managers. 

Well, here's the good news! If you haven't, I highly recommend checking out the Architects' Resources page. From technical whitepapers to architect FAQs, recent documentation on specific Oracle Fusion Middleware technologies, implementation gotchas, primer on implementation best practices, details on use cases, architectural considerations to architects' perspectives, this page is truly a wealth of information. Capturing the experiences, opinions and knowledge of the architect community, this is a portal that you may want to bookmark and check out often.

We will continue to keep you updated on the very latest news, activity, releases and information portals via this blog. So, please do keep sending us your feedback and let us know if there are specific topics that you'd like us to cover and that are of interest to you.

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