Demystifying IT

Three peers on faith in end users, straightforward problem solving, and specializing.

By Blair Campbell

January/February 2012

Susan Behn

Which new features in Oracle applications are you currently finding most valuable? Oracle E-Business Suite Diagnostics is one of the suite’s best and most underutilized features. Rolling this out to those in the user community who use our applications to perform their job functions can take a huge load off already overworked IT departments.

Peer Specs

Company: Infosemantics, a professional services company specializing in Oracle E-Business Suite, business intelligence, and Oracle Fusion Middleware solutions

Job title/description: Vice president of Oracle delivery, responsible for managing Infosemantics’ Oracle practice

Location: Grapevine, Texas

Length of time using Oracle products: 18 years

Oracle ACE Oracle ACE

How have you seen the relationship between IT and your user community evolve? I remember the days when IT was thought of as that geeky group in the back room who could automate some business processes mysteriously, and any minor deviation required significant help. Now, with everyone using the internet and smartphones, it’s not so mysterious. Those of us in IT need to have confidence that the user community can manage more of their own applications, including error corrections.

What advice do you have about how to get into application development and support? Start early, be open to trying new things, and be very self-motivated. When I want to learn something new, I start by trying to build a presentation to teach it to someone else.

Connor McDonald

How did you get started in IT? When I was 10 years old, if you won the weekly classroom math quiz at my school, you got a precious hour on the school’s sole Apple II computer. From that point on, I was hooked. I worked as a mainframe IMS [Information Management System] programmer before being exposed to Oracle Database during the client/server boom. A talk by [longtime Oracle expert] Dave Ensor inspired me to invest more time in continuous learning about Oracle technology, rather than being happy with the status quo.

Peer Specs

Company: Self-employed

Job title/description: Independent consultant, responsible for database configuration, tuning, and PL/SQL development

Location: Perth, Australia

Oracle credentials: Oracle Certified Professional (Oracle8i Database, Oracle9i Database, Oracle Database 10g), with 15 years of experience using Oracle products

Oracle ACE Director Oracle ACE Director

What is your favorite technique on the job? It’s actually from the movie Apollo 13: “Let’s work the problem, people.” People think that getting the best out of Oracle technology is some sort of mystical art. It’s not. You just need to take a methodical, disciplined approach without resorting to guesswork or unproven claims.

What is your go-to Oracle reference book right now? Probably Expert Oracle Exadata by Kerry Osborne, Randy Johnson, and Tanel Põder (Apress, 2011). Everyone seems to be getting on Oracle Exadata, so it’s good to be getting some solid insight into it.

Rob Zoeteweij
Peer Specs

Company: Zoeteweij Consulting; current clients include ING Bank and Rabobank, both financial services institutions

Job title/description: Independent senior Oracle consultant, involved in the implementation of Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control

Location: Various cities in the Netherlands

Length of time using Oracle products: 26 years

Oracle ACE Oracle ACE
Which new features in Oracle Database are you currently finding most valuable? I’m especially enthusiastic about the Oracle Provisioning and Patch Automation Pack [now part of Oracle Database Lifecycle Management Pack]. With this pack you can really achieve a high level of standardization—for instance, when deploying complete Oracle Real Application Clusters [Oracle RAC] and when creating Oracle RAC database instances in a fully configured grid infrastructure and Oracle Automatic Storage Management environment. What advice do you have about how to get into Oracle technology? As Oracle Fusion Middleware becomes more and more important, try to specialize in this area—and focus in particular on products such as Oracle WebLogic Server, Oracle Universal Content Management, Oracle WebCenter, and Oracle Identity Management. What technology has most changed your life? I would say Oracle Database has most changed my life—next to Harley-Davidson technology, which has made it possible for me to relax riding my 2010 FLHX Street Glide after a hard day’s work.