Here’s Your Help

Atypical solutions for forest maintenance, father/son bonding, and master data management

By Blair Campbell

March/April 2019

Alex Nuijten

Alex Nuijten

Oosterhout, The Netherlands

Company/URL: allAPEX

Job title: Principal

Length of time using Oracle products: 19 years

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Which new features in Oracle Database are you currently finding most valuable? I’m mostly interested in features that make my life as a database developer easier. With every release of the database, there are things added that make SQL and PL/SQL more elegant than they already are. One particular example: the qualified expressions that were added in Oracle Database 18c. They make the code that you write a lot easier to read and interpret. Another thing are the polymorphic table functions, although I’m still studying the details of this functionality.

What’s your favorite tool on the job? Oracle Application Express [Oracle APEX] by far. It makes it easy to create beautiful applications that leverage everything Oracle Database has to offer. The community that embraces Oracle APEX is simply awesome—very enthusiastic about the tool and always willing to help out when needed.

What’s your favorite thing to do that doesn’t involve work? Barbecuing, smoking, grilling, and working in the small forest near my home—where I cut down trees with my chainsaw, split wood, and then can savor the joys of having a nice fire when it gets cold outside. Although I must admit that I created a small Oracle APEX application to help with the maintenance of it all.


Brian Bream

Brian Bream

Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

Company/URL: Collier IT

Job title: CTO

Oracle credentials: Oracle Real Application Clusters 12c Certified Implementation Specialist and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Classic 2018 Certified Associate Architect

Length of time using Oracle products: More than 20 years

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How did you get started in IT? My father was a mainframe programmer working for the Department of Defense on space projects, and his idea of father/son time was my changing magnetic tapes and loading keypunch cards. It rubbed off, and eventually I took a position in the Department of Defense working on transistor-level maintenance and repair of control systems that operated ship propulsion and electrical generation equipment.

What’s the next big thing driving change in your industry? Movement away from platforms and a focus on the data itself. For years companies have failed to monetize data. It was important to have the infrastructure to handle the data, but not much was being done with it. This meant missed opportunities for increasing revenue that were hidden in the datasets. With the renewed focus on data, technologies such as big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and the Internet of Things are improving the lives of humans globally.

What advice do you have about how to get into application development? Be a technologist. It’s fine to focus on a particular vertical, but it’s imperative that the supporting solution sets are understood. Understanding the entire ecostructure of a solution allows for better decision-making, with fewer mistakes, in less time. Consider entry-level positions with a vendor or one of its partners. It’s a fantastic way to grow rapidly, be exposed to cutting-edge technology, and network.


Gary Crisci

Gary Crisci

Norwalk, Connecticut

Company/URL: General Electric

Job title: Principal architect

Length of time using Oracle products: 16 years

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Which new features in an Oracle application are you currently finding most valuable? Zero-footprint Oracle Essbase is something I’m excited about. It appears to be a perfect blend of relational database technology and OLAP. It can provide users the Oracle Essbase experience they love, but it also has the depth and breadth of a relational database. It will be an exciting leap forward for Oracle Essbase when users can query data from an Oracle Essbase cube as soon as the record is created in a transactional system.

Name one unique use of applications at your company. We’re currently exploring how to use EPM [enterprise performance management] and BI [business intelligence] tools such as Oracle Data Visualization to analyze master data. Typical use cases for data visualization focus on numeric measures and key performance indicators. We have a very extensive enterprise chart of accounts with thousands of members across various dimensional segments. New advances and ease of use with visualization tools such as Oracle Analytics Cloud are providing ways to interpret relationships between master data elements that were not easily seen before.

What technology has most changed your life? Oracle Essbase, by far. I would not have the career I have today had I never begun working with this interesting and powerful tool. The second tool I have to credit is internet user forums. Early on in my technical career, I was learning on the fly. Now, having an easily accessible network of experts who can help me figure out how to resolve an issue is priceless. And, over time I’ve become one of those experts giving others advice and solutions.