How did you get started in IT? I learned quite a lot about computers during my time at college. After graduation, my major in Japanese helped me land a job at an offshore IT company that got most of its contracts from Japan. At first, my job was to translate program specs from Japanese to Chinese. Three months later, I was put on the testing team, and another six months after that, I started to teach myself Visual Basic. That was my starting point as a programmer.
Job title/description: General manager of technical services, in charge of the company’s service team
Location: Beijing, China
Oracle credentials: Oracle Certified Professional (Oracle9i Database), with 13 years of experience using Oracle products
Oracle ACE Director
Which new features in Oracle Database are you currently finding most valuable? Without question it’s the Oracle Database In-Memory option in Oracle Database 12c Release 184.108.40.206. No need to ETL [extract, transform, and load] huge data to another column-format database—instead you can just modify a parameter value and restart the database instance, and generating the report becomes as fast as flying.
What’s the next big thing driving change in your industry? The cloud. We’re a professional service provider for Oracle Database, and historically we’ve helped clients make the database construction plan, implement the plan, and maintain the databases. We also help clients recover the database in the absence of an effective backup implementation. Over the next several years, a lot of clients will move their databases to the cloud platform, and that platform takes care of the database installation, backup and recovery, and high availability. That means a lot of what we used to do for our clients will have to change, but I think it can change for the better.
Which new features in Oracle applications are you currently finding most valuable? I’m currently at a client where we are replacing a custom Excel template using Visual Basic and the Oracle Essbase API with Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service. We’re looking at replacing some of the old functionality with newer features of Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service.
Job title/description: Delivery director–west, responsible for the successful delivery of projects on the US West Coast
Location: Los Angeles, California
Oracle credentials: Oracle Hyperion Planning 11 Certified Implementation Specialist and Oracle Essbase 11 Certified Implementation Specialist, with 20 years of experience using Oracle products
Oracle ACE Associate
What’s your favorite tool or technique on the job? I love to create business rules that build forecasts and budgets that are driver-based and run when the user saves the data input form. The rule runs all affected calculations, performs currency translation, and aggregates up the hierarchy so the data at the “top of the house” is real-time. This tends to be quite an improvement for customers who are replacing spreadsheets with Oracle Hyperion Planning. Even when I’m enhancing existing applications or migrating them, this isn’t always part of the prior application build—and by implementing these techniques, it can take a lot less time to complete the forecasts and budgets, especially when drivers are used.
What’s your go-to Oracle reference book? I use the online Oracle Essbase Technical Reference when I’m writing business rules or calculation scripts that have more-complex requirements. I’m also using the Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service administration documents quite a bit these days, because I’ve been doing more cloud implementations now, and new functionality comes out first on the cloud before it comes out for on premises.
What advice do you have about getting into application development? Enthusiasm is crucial. When I was part of the hiring process at my last company, I was looking for a reasonable level of technical expertise and a lot of enthusiasm. People who are enthusiastic can quickly learn whatever they need, work efficiently, and spread joy on their teams. An interesting fact about enthusiasm is that you can train it, through positive self-talk and physical posture.
Job title/description: Principal, mentoring and training Oracle ADF developers and advising organizations on Oracle ADF architecture and development best practices
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Oracle credentials: Oracle ADF 11g Certified Implementation Specialist, with 21 years of experience using Oracle products
Oracle ACE Director
How are you using cloud computing in your work these days? I’m working with Oracle PaaS products, especially Oracle Database Cloud Service and Oracle Java Cloud Service. We used to spend a lot of time juggling environments to support various code branches and different tests, because we had to order environments at the start of the project, and we always ordered—or were given—too few. Now we can just spin up new dev/test environments as needed.
What’s the most common cause you see when IT projects go wrong? There are two kinds of IT project failures: not building the right thing, and not building the thing right. Both are caused by lack of communication. When the IT people don’t communicate among themselves, the project becomes late and bug-ridden. But when the business and IT don’t communicate, the project doesn’t even deliver what the business needs. This lack of communication can be caused by many things, but the most typical is that the business specifies the software with hundreds or thousands of detailed requirements without talking to IT, and IT then implements every requirement without talking to the business.