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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Oracle Apps Blog - 10 Questions

I got 10 interview questions from Marian Crkon of The Feature blog, which I’ve answered as follows:

1. How did you get involved with Oracle Applications?

My original profession was that of an Accountant and Auditor with Deloitte & Touche in Zimbabwe. I then got involved in developing Executive Information Systems (EIS) with the Microsoft Office Suite of Products with the Business Development Services (BDS) side of Deloittes. After Deloittes I moved to PricewaterhouseCoopers where I joined them as a BaaN consultant. With the collapse of BaaN, PwC decided to turn all BaaN consultants into Oracle consultants and I got sent on an Oracle Bootcamp at RPC Data in Botswana. I did pretty well on the Bootcamp and six months later ended up getting a job offer by the company that trained us. I’ve been implementing Oracle E-Business Suite ever since April 2001, 5 years now.

2. How are you involved with the applications now?

I’m implementing internally for Thales, a large defence company where I head up the Financials Team. We’re rolling out across the group and trying to come up with a standard implementation methodology as well configuration for all companies within the organisation.

3. What applications or functionality have you implemented recently?

All of the Financials modules really and I’m getting the chance to make use of some of the more advanced features which is pretty much why I came to the UK in the first place.

4. What is your favorite application or feature?

Probably Oracle Financial Analyzer which I haven’t touched in some time. It’s being replaced by Enterprise Planning and Budgeting (EPB) but I haven’t had the chance to implement EPB yet or play with it that much.

5. If you could change one thing about the applications, what would it be?

I think it would be standardisation between how the different modules work. When you use the different modules you get the feeling they were all developed by different people who weren’t talking to each other (which is probably the case anyway). For example, lets say your are running the interface to General Ledger in Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable, or maintaining a Customer or Supplier in these modules, they are both done in completely different ways and the interface for performing these operations is different. I think there’s a lot more room to give various components of the application a consistent look and feel. I guess this will happen over time but considering all the acquisitions that Oracle is going through as well as what’s happening with Project Fusion it does make the whole exercise a little difficult.

6. What inspired you to start blogging about Oracle Applications?

Originally I started up RichardByrom.com to share tips and tricks about Oracle as well as just get more exposure as at that time I was working in Africa and considering a move to the United Kingdom or United States. I soon found that my site wasn’t getting as much traffic as expected and through trial and error discovered the secret to having a really good web site and getting more visitors was to have good content that changed on a frequent basis. I discovered Mark Rittman’s blog and realised that this would be a good way to build up some really good content and at the same time document solutions to problems encountered at work. The thing about having a blog is that the site administration side is a lot easier. With my first site I found that I spent more time administering all the pages and trying to optimise it for searches than actually getting around to building content. After investigating all the options of what I could use to blog and trying out a lot of different software and service providers I eventually decided to use ExpressionEngine, which I believe is the best blogging software about.

Blogging has enabled me to share what I am learning through implementation experience with a global audience as well as given me the ability to publicly document these learnings. I try as much as possible to use my blog as a knowledge management tool.

7. What are some of your favorite blogs (Oracle or otherwise)?

I read a couple of the main stream blogs and also have an Oracle Blogroll and Personal Blogroll that I read using FeedDemon, another excellent software product. The main blogs I read, apart from yours are:

8. Are there any special topics or issues that you enjoy covering?

I like to blog about things I’m learning at work or how I solved a particular problem at work. I also like keeping track of any new products coming out so that I can understand the potential impact this will have on our customers and learn the new product as soon as possible.

9. How does blogging fit into your job or your business?

It’s helped me to connect with more people that I can obtain advice from or ask questions as well as provided an effective way of documenting everything I’m doing.

10. Where do see business blogging in three years from now? How will the Web 2.0 infiltrate the enterprise?

I think we’ll see more internal blogs by large software and IT companies such as Oracle, SAP and Microsoft as a means of documenting employee conversations as well as more blogs aimed at enhancing relationships with customers i.e. bringing in that element of a two way conversation with customers. Essentially organisations are going to have to be more open and engage with customers at earlier stages of product development.

From a consulting point of view they provide a very effective mechanism for sharing knowledge with customers as well as showing them that you have the knowledge in the first place. I’m sure we’re going to see more consultants using these as a medium for demonstrating, managing and sharing their knowledge.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Big4Guy ERP Blog

Came across this new ERP blog the other day which is worth a read. Big4Guy is blog which has confessions, thoughts, musings and observations of a Big4Guy. The description of the blog states:

Big4Guy is an online resource where I will share with you the latest news, insights, knowledge and my experiences as a Big 4 consultant. I will discuss some of the important issues which organisations are facing today in the areas of information security, security and controls in SAP R/3, Oracle Applications, J.D.Edwards, Peoplesoft and various other ERP’s. I will also attempt to provide valuable resources for individuals interested in the CISA, CISM, CISSP, and various other security certifications considered essential for entry in any Big 4 accounting, auditing and consulting firms. You are invited to post your comments and viewpoints to my posts. I sincerely hope my online journal will be useful to everyone from a budding student to a professional in the accounting, auditing, management and consultancy professions.

Recent posts:

If you’re an Oracle fan, check out the Oracle Applications section of the blog.

New Oracle E-Business Suite Technology Blog

OK it’s not so new but I haven’t mentioned it yet on this blog and wanted to plug it. Steven Chan, Director, Applications Technology Integration has started an Oracle E-Business Suite Technology Blog which is really hot. Loads of interesting news and features and updated on a regular basis.

The about section of the blog states its:

An Oracle insider’s take on technology stack-related topics for the Oracle E-Business Suite, with sneak previews of upcoming releases, new product announcements, glimpses into the inner workings of Oracle Development, in-depth discussions of technology-stack architectures, and the occasional desupport notice.

Some recent posts from the Blog:

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

More Oracle Execs doing the blogging thing

The list now looks as follows:

  1. Jesper Andersen – Senior Vice President of Application Strategy, where he is responsible for the overall product strategy and direction for Oracle’s business applications.
  2. John Hall – Senior VP of Oracle University, the education and training division of Oracle.
  3. Luiz Meisler – Senior Vice President for Oracle Latin America and serves on Oracle’s Executive Management Committee.
  4. Wim Coekaerts – Principal Member of Technical Staff, Linux Kernel Group, Corporate Architecture for Oracle Corporation.
  5. Lenley Hensarling – Vice president and General Manager for Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne product line.
  6. Scott Rae – VP of Business Assessment and Audit at Oracle, where he is responsible for global internal audit and business assessment services.
  7. Don Deutsch – Vice President of Standards Strategy and Architecture for Oracle Corporation.
  8. Christophe Job – Vice President of Application Development Tools at Oracle Corporation.
  9. John Schiff – Vice President and General Manager of JD Edwards World for Oracle
  10. Sergio Giacoletto – Executive Vice President of Oracle Corporation, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, and serves as a member of Oracle’s Executive Management Committee.
  11. Doug Kennedy – Vice President of Global Alliances and Channels at Oracle Corporation.
  12. John Wookey – Senior Vice president of Applications Development, responsible for the strategic direction and development of JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, and Oracle business applications.

Nice to see some JD Edwards contributions in the mix and that Oracle finally caught up with SAP in this area.

It’s a feature - a new Oracle Applications Blog

I’ve come across a few new Oracle and Peoplesoft blogs recently, check out SmartDB Blog, Extra Hot, The Oracle Fusion Blog, Peoplesoft Corner and CRM Blog

In particular I wanted to mention It’s a Feature, another Oracle Apps Blog, which has some good content and is updated regularly.

Marian Crkon write’s in the About Us section of the blog as follows:

It’s not a bug - it’s a feature!

This is a new web log about implementing and using Oracle ERP Applications. It’s a Feature! is here to provide an alternative platform for independent, in-depth reviews and analysis of current Oracle Applications releases and features; an opportunity to share knowledge and resources, voice opinions and show a little attitude! Where else can you do that?

I plan to seek out a diverse group of Oracle professionals - users, consultants, managers, business analysts with a lot of Oracle expertise and something interesting to say who are passionate about the applications and motivated to share their experiences.

I want this site to be about the functionality (not just technology) of Oracle Applications. The clients keep reminding me they do not care about how it’s done, but rather that it is done right. I want this blog to be useful to other people in the Oracle community. I want to provide a productive feedback to Oracle program managers and developers who design the applications. I want to give a “second opinion” for clients who buy them, a sounding board for consultants and business analysts who implement them, and last but not least, a valuable resource for users who use them every day. I promise no sales pitches, no bragging, no censorship, only practical advice.

A couple of recent entries from the blog:

  1. CRMBuyer.com’s Survey of SAP Customers
  2. Oracle Applications Day Continues in Select Cities
  3. OAUG Releases Skills Marketplace
  4. CIO Article About Fusion and SOA
  5. Oracle To Lay Off About 2,000 Employees
  6. Oracle Has Its Eyes on Open Source Competitors
  7. Are You Eligible for Oracle Fusion Upgrade?
  8. Conversations with iExpenses Users from Avenue A | Razorfish
  9. Do Not Forward Oracle Notifications from Outlook!
  10. Oracle Applications Security Is Changing in Project Fusion

Marian is interviewing me over Skype next Tuesday and I’m sure the notes from that conversation will be posted on this blog.

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