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Peer-to-Peer

Changing It Up

These peers delve into IaaS and PaaS, trade accounting for IT, and soak up foreign cultures.

By Blair Campbell

March/April 2018

Francis Mignault

Francis Mignault

Montreal, Canada

Company/URL: Insum Solutions

Job title: Chief technology officer

Length of time using Oracle products: More than 30 years

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What advice do you have about how to get into web and database development? The best way is by using a low-code development tool such as Oracle Application Express. You can start creating applications without any web knowledge. Once you gain knowledge using the tool, you can learn to use JavaScript and CSS, and do more coding.

How are you using cloud computing in your work these days? Currently we have a lot of clients moving to Oracle Cloud instead of renewing and buying hardware. Infrastructure as a service [IaaS] might currently be the cloud service that appeals to customers the most, for its flexibility and capacity of provisioning new services. We’re also using platform-as-a-service [PaaS] solutions from Oracle, because we specialize in web application development.

What would you like to see Oracle, as a company, do more of? I believe that user groups and real-life networking are important, and I’d love for Oracle to get more involved in local user groups and encourage the creation of those local user groups. The internet made it easier to find technical information, but I believe people should still meet, attend conferences, and network. [Editor’s note: Find local user groups, including how to find a group in your area and a list of upcoming local events, here].

Kiran TailorOracle ACE

Kiran Tailor

London, England

Company/URL: The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

Job title: Senior enterprise data architect

Length of time using Oracle products: 20 years

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How did you get started in IT? Before I went to university, I wanted to be an accountant. I seemed to excel in computing rather than numbers, which made me opt instead for a degree in business and information systems. Once I left university, I started to work at an IT consultancy company using Oracle Forms, Oracle Reports, and Oracle databases. Ever since then, I’ve been using Oracle technology.

What’s your favorite tool on the job? Currently it’s the Data Sync feature of Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service, which is a great tool for extracting information from Oracle Fusion applications. Say you’re using a cloud enterprise resource planning [ERP] solution integrated with an on-premises customer relationship management [CRM] system. You process payments in your CRM system and send these to the ERP system. How do you know that everything you’ve sent has been processed or received by the ERP system? With Data Sync we can automate a download of data from our cloud ERP system into our data warehouse, and thereafter have some sort of exception report that checks this data to validate the integrations and raise exceptions so that problems can be identified.

What technology has most changed your life? Cloud computing. We no longer have to think too much about installations, because now with a few clicks, your machine is ready. At my organization, our financials, HR, and marketing applications are all run in the cloud. That’s allowed me to move away from certain operational issues and concentrate on how our technologies can be applied to business and ensure better operations.

Ronald Francisco Vargas Quesada

Ronald Francisco Vargas Quesada

San José, Costa Rica

Company/URL: Novacomp

Job title: Consultant

Length of time using Oracle products: More than 20 years

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Which new features in Oracle technologies are you currently finding most valuable? Right now my focus is on artificial intelligence and machine learning—not because these technologies represent some distant future, but because they are now embedded in the new applications we use every single day. Since last October’s announcement of Oracle Database 18c and its autonomy characteristic, I’m now developing and improving my knowledge of machine learning within the database and the creation of bots.

What’s the most common cause you see when IT projects go wrong? The lack of defined objectives, goals, and properly managed expectations. The client can have expectations raised by sales personnel who aren’t ultimately responsible for the technical work involved—so it’s not until the project is already underway that they realize that technically, it’s going to take a lot more work to achieve that goal than they thought. As a result, the client is already frustrated by the time the results finally come. And this detracts from what should be the focus: the benefits of the new solution.

What’s your favorite thing to do that doesn’t involve work? Travel. The person who travels is not the same when he or she returns. In the course of participating as a speaker on the Latin American OTN Tour since 2012, I’ve visited Guatemala, Honduras, Panamá, Colombia, Perú, Chile, Ecuador, and Argentina. For other work reasons, I’ve gone to México and Brasil. Being able to exchange thoughts, observe foreign traditions, and engage with new communities is a massive experience.

Illustration by iStock.com/Giii