By Blair Campbell
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Company/URL: Profource B.V.
Job title: Solution architect
Length of time using Oracle products: 23 years
How did you get started in IT? After earning my computer science degree, in 1995, I went to work for Oracle, building customizations in Oracle applications. During my time as a presales consultant, I developed a UI modeler tool to enable my colleagues to personalize their demos. In 2004, I received an Oracle Innovation Award for this tool, and it was incorporated into Oracle E-Business Suite for form personalization.
Which new features in Oracle Applications are you currently finding most valuable? As a custom developer and designer of form personalization, I love the personalization features the cloud offers such as Oracle Sales Cloud, which gives you enough freedom in making a standard application fit your specific purpose. The integrated pages and Oracle Application Builder Cloud Service are also tools that have potential in this area.
Name one unique use of Oracle Applications at your company. For one client, we are currently using Oracle Policy Automation Cloud integrated with Oracle E-Business Suite on premises to streamline sourcing requests in a very advanced manner. The rules provide you with the right method for engaging the suppliers and make sure you add the correct information and documentation to be able to approve requests and send them to an external sourcing application.
Company/URL: ClarTech Solutions
Job title: Founder and director
Length of time using Oracle products: 9 years
How are you using social media in your work these days? I love teaching, and social networks not only help me share my experiences and knowledge in the classroom; they also let me reach the world by sharing my articles, posts, videos, webinars, and everything else that I periodically publish. The more we share, the more we learn—it opens a world of possibilities. On one hand, sharing allows me to connect and collaborate with other people and receive different opinions, which helps to increase my knowledge. On the other hand, helping people motivates me to continue learning—which in turn leads me to continue sharing, thus creating a cycle.
What would you like to see Oracle, as a company, do more of? I would like Oracle to increase its efforts in making Oracle Application Express known in Latin America as well as having the option to offer Oracle Application Express courses in Spanish at Oracle Academy. Despite my efforts to evangelize Oracle Application Express in the Hispanic world, I feel there is still a long way to go for Latin American companies to opt for Oracle Application Express for their web application development using Oracle Database.
What’s your go-to Oracle reference book? I have the entire collection of books on Oracle Application Express in my library. My main reference books are both editions of Expert Oracle Application Express [Apress, 2011 and 2015], which are very special books for me because each of them has a dedication from my friends Dan McGhan and Jorge Rimblas—both coauthors.
Company/URL: Database Whisperers
Job title: Co-owner
Oracle credentials: Oracle Database Certified Master
Length of time using Oracle products: 12 years
What’s your favorite technique on the job? I love to dig into traces and hex dumps to find a solution to complex problems. I also enjoy checking security for my customers and trying to find an escalation path for privileges. I use my own set of scripts and tools, plus official ones, such as Oracle Database Security Assessment Tool, and open source ones, such as John the Ripper and Metasploit. I usually try to find a way of escalating from a database application account to gain access to the operating system.
What advice do you have about getting into database development? The amount of knowledge on the internet is amazing. Take advantage of that by identifying Java Champions, Oracle ACEs, and well-known bloggers, and build your personal list of favorites. Learn from them. Start to write something that is useful for you—a tool that will help with something simple. And challenge yourself each week with something new. Don’t get into the trap of DBA versus developer. There’s no such thing as developer knowledge or DBA knowledge—there’s only knowledge about the product.
What’s the most common cause you see when IT projects go wrong? People who don’t understand that nine women can’t give birth to a child in a month—or who want things to be done quickly without proper testing and without thinking about security and scaling performance. It’s also important to remember that if you hire developers and DBAs who lack experience, they need to be supported with appropriate education and guided by a manager who can help them learn quickly.