A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Oracle Apps User Survey

I recently came across an interesting survey conducted by Morgan Stanley and the OAUG which although rather old provides some food for thought.

This survey was conducted in 2002 and according to Morgan Stanley the stated purpose was "to get empirical data from the source instead of listening to the pundits pontificate."

It discusses upgrades to 11i and customers buying plans. It also rates Oracle Applications based on the following attributes: -

  • Ease of administration for IT
  • Ease of administration for end user
  • Efficiency of design
  • Speed/Performance
  • Internet Architecture Compliance
  • Ease of Integration with other apps
  • Data Model
  • Openness
  • Breadth of Functionality

The attribute with the highest score in the survey was "Breadth of Functionality" whilst the lowest scoring attribute was "Ease of Administration for IT". I wonder what these attributes would score today? Certainly I think that the ease of administration for IT and end users has improved. However, I’m not sure whether there’s been much progress in the efficiency of the design and speed/performance? Presently, I think E-Business Suite (eBS) would still rate highly in "Breadth of Functionality" and will continue to do so now that Peoplesoft and J.D. Edwards have been acquired.

The summary of the survey states: -

Oracle users are happier with the core product and plan to upgrade to more Oracle Applications. On the flip side, they are not pleased with Support and want Oracle to be more customer centric. They are generally betting on Oracle Applications as a one stop shopping standard, see value in the integration message and have bought very few third party applications.

If anyone knows of any other interesting Oracle related survey’s please add your comments to this post.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Photo Gallery added to Oracle Apps Blog

I’ve recently added a Photo Gallery to this blog as the blogging software I use (ExpressionEngine) has incorporated this as an upgrade to their product.

It’s my intention that blog members upload to the Gallery screen shots of Oracle Applications they have implemented as well as photos relating to Oracle Implementations they have undertaken or events they have attended where Oracle was being talked about or promoted - like conferences.

Since the theme of this blog is "A day in the the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant," I’ve incorporated such categories as: -

Consultants Travels and Commutes - pictures of planes, trains, automobiles and scenery from Oracle Consultants business trips.

Consultants Tools and Toys - pictures of cars, laptops, cell phones, PDA’s and any other tools of the consulting trade that are designed to help us improve our productivity.

Implementation Project Teams - pictures of Teams involved in implementing Oracle Applications.

Buildings and Facilities - pictures of buildings and facilities for businesses implementing Oracle Applications (i.e. training facilities, project rooms etc).

Conferences - pictures from Oracle Conferences, including conference memorabilia.

Trophies and Awards - if you received an award for anything relating to implementation or for speaking at an Oracle Conference or event upload your pics here!

I have a number of pictures from historical events and implementations that I intend to upload with time so although there’s not an enormous collection of pics right now, I’m quite sure the gallery will grow. Of course any contribution that reader’s are willing to make is most welcome and much needed. If you are not a member but would like some pics uploaded send them my way and I’ll do the dirty work for you.

Note: To view the gallery you can click on the link at the top of this page.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Open Invitation to J.D. Edwards (JDE) and Peoplesoft Blogger’s

In line with the recent take over of J.D. Edwards by Peoplesoft and the subsequent take over of Peoplesoft by Oracle I wanted to invite any persons with Functional Skills in Peoplesoft and J.D. Edwards to become members of this Oracle Apps Web Log and make any contributions you feel may benefit the Oracle, Peoplesoft and J.D. Edwards Communities.

I have two levels of membership available: -

  • Level 1 - gives you the ability to post comments to existing posts and e-mail other members via the profile e-mail console.
  • Level 2 - in addition to level 1 capabilities allows you to post, edit and delete your own comments (i.e. be a blog author).

Ideally, I’m looking for Level 2 members i.e. persons who would actually be willing to post their implementation experiences on the blog. In particular I’m interested in receiving contributions which discuss how all of these three systems will eventually become one i.e. will J.D. Edwards or Peoplesoft merely be killed or will certain elements of these applications be ported to the Oracle Applications environment? What technologies or applications components will stay and which ones will be binned? A good discussion point is also the impact of these mergers/take overs on all of the customers of these applications.

If you don’t necessarily want to join or are not comfortable with the blogging concept but would still like to submit your articles and papers, please send me your work and I can always upload it for you. If you are a good writer and have plenty of good content to submit but don’t necessarily know how to blog, it is my intention to teach you, so sign up today!! If you know of someone who is interested, e-mail them this post today.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

SAP versus Oracle Blogs

Let’s face it, with Oracle managing to swallow up Peoplesoft and J.D. Edwards(JDE) it seems that when organisations are choosing an ERP system these days they only really have two choices, Oracle or SAP. Of course, there are other players around but if you want systems that offer you Enterprise wide applications that are integrated these are probably your two best choices if you decide not to go for a “best of breed” solution for each area/unit/function of your business. Oracle has the added benefit that even if there is a SAP sale made it’s quite likely the organisation might choose to run it off an Oracle Database. In an effort to see how our competitors in the ERP arena are performing from a blogging perspective, I did some googling and browsing the other day to see what SAP has to offer in the blog arena. I came up with some interesting results…...

SAP Executive Blogs

The first thing I noticed is that there are actually blogs maintained on the SAP site by some of their Executive Board Members. The stated intention of these blogs is to Share Executives’ Vision and Strategy with the SAP Community. According to the SAP Communities blog page: -

These blogs are a platform that facilitate learning and the sharing of best practices. Occasionally, Shai Agassi, Léo Apotheker, Claus E. Heinrich, Peter Zencke and Peter J. Kirschbauer post new entries on topics of interest. And they encourage you to submit comments so you and other members can share thoughts. An e-mail subscription service can notify you that a new topic has been posted. These blogs are only available to SAP Community members.

I found myself promptly signing up to the SAP Community as I was really quite interested to see what these guys had to say. What a traitor I am - I have to admit though, I’m a bit of SAP consultant wanabee as I believe it’s important to be multi-skilled and process focused rather than having all your eggs in one basket. Although the blogs are not updated frequently the concept of Senior Executives maintaining blogs really appeals to me and I think this is an excellent way for management to communicate their vision and ideas with the public and at the same time obtain feedback. It’s a perfect example of a concept I firmly believe in and which I’m certain all organisations should implement, namely 360 degree or multi source feedback. Examples of some of the blog titles are: -

  • Customers need Flexibility and Agility to Grow and Survive
  • Strengthening One Face to the Customer
  • How Real-World Awareness Creates Business Value
  • The Real Value of Mobility as an Offering in the Value Chain
  • The Business Process Platform: Enabler of Innovation

Notice the words value and customer appear quite often so it gives some insights as to what SAP’s strategies are. I actually wondered whether these SAP Exec blogs were actually penned by them or whether it was a marketing ploy. As far as I am aware there are no blogs maintained by Oracle Executives. In fact a search for the word blog on the Oracle site returned no results whilst on the SAP site the same search returned 56 results, seems like Oracle’s internal search engine is ailing. I did a site specific search on Google for both Oracle and SAP to get a fair comparison - Oracle turned up 56 results whilst SAP returned 76 - SAP’s the obvious winner here.

SAP Developer Network Weblogs

This is a pretty cool site such which is updated frequently with contributions by SAP developers. It seems quite similar to the Microsoft Developer Network Blog but is obviously a bit smaller. I guess the Oracle Equivalent is the Technical Articles for Developers page, however, it’s not updated that frequently and doesn’t come near to what SAP has to offer - no doubt, SAP wins in this blog category.

Blogs and Feeds by Customers, Consultants, Partners, ISV’s and Individuals

A Google search for "SAP Blog" returned 319 results whilst a search for "oracle blog" returned 1,790 results. These results when interpreted and compared with the results from the previous search tell me that SAP doesn’t have a lot of blogging activity taking place outside of it’s organisation. I’ve listed a couple of the SAP Blogs I found here but I have to say there’s a surprisingly small number.

Hans@SAP weblog - the blog of Hans Senden a SAP developer in Wijlre, The Netherlands.

Venture Chronicles by Jeff Nolan

Kishore Balakrishnan’s Blog

Apolemia - SAP APO and Development Blog

A SAP Blog by Dennyx of Romania

SAP Specialist - seems to be in a mixture of Chinese and English.

ITtoolbox SAP Blogs - here you will find a few SAP blogs and a number of other blogs relating to the implementation and management of IT and Technology Solutions, all of which make very good reading (I’ve added most of them to my RSS feed reader).

The number of search results returned for the "oracle blog" key phrase, on the other hand,  indicates what I believe to be true and that is that there is a much larger amount of blogging activity outside of Oracle than there is outside of SAP. By outside I mean, not sponsored or promoted by, but rather it is the effort of various consultants, partners, ISV’s, customers and individuals which is causing this activity to take place. Oracle itself lists a number of RSS Newsfeeds and Blogs on their site which you can read, but none of these is actually part and parcel of an Oracle Strategy to add value to it’s services. In addition to this listing, you can also find various feeds of Oracle Blogs at or - I haven’t come across any such feeds for SAP, probably because there’s not enough SAP blogs out there to support this kind of activity. Certainly outside of Oracle Corporation itself there is much ongoing blogging activity, although there is plenty of room for improvement - hence, Oracle wins in this category.


I’ve compared blogging at various levels within the SAP and Oracle businesses, from strategic to development to partner/ISV/consulting/individual or customer blogs. It seems that Oracle should do a lot more to encourage blogging activity within it’s own organisation and also to promote blogging activity outside of their organisation, that is, if they don’t mind giving away an secrets. Essentially they need to be more strategic in their approach to blogging. There’s definitely been some movement in the right direction here, for example, at their last OpenWorld conference in San Francisco attendees were able to write blogs covering the conference - I discuss this here. Certainly for the upcoming SAP Sapphire Conferences in Copenhagen and Boston, as well as for past conferences there doesn’t seem to have been much blog coverage. Despite this, SAP has strong blogging strategy within their own organisation and would appear to be taking a more strategic approach, however, the blog offerings outside of their organisation are some what non existent.

I’ve tried to be as objective as possible when writing this post, it’s not my intention to be destructive in my criticism of SAP or Oracle but rather to provide both parties and readers with constructive criticism that can allow them to make decisions that would benefit both communities. Feel free to add any remarks and if you know of any SAP blogs that I haven’t mentioned here, update this post with your comments.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Blogging is good for your health - now I have an excuse!

This article by two doctors provides some pretty good reasoning as to why blogging is good for you - now I know why I always feel on top of the world 😊

Check out this article entitled “Brain of a Blogger” from two doctors, Fernette Eide M.D. and Brock Eide M.D. M.A. of Eide Neurolearning Blog (is this blog different or what? - check out all the brain scans!). It lists the following 5 reasons as to why blogging is good for your health: -

  1. Blogs can promote critical and analytical thinking.
  2. Blogging can be a powerful promoter of creative, intuitive, and associational thinking.
  3. Blogs promote analogical thinking.
  4. Blogging is a powerful medium for increasing access and exposure to quality information.
  5. Blogging combines the best of solitary reflection and social interaction.

Sounds like it’s good for your mental health but how about your physical well being or is that directly co-related to your mental health? Can’t see how sitting in a chair for 16hrs a day staring at a monitor can be good for you, but perhaps the positives outweigh the negatives? Anything that justifies my Oracle and other blogging activities sounds good, so in line with that I’ve decided to post several blogs that have been waiting in the queue of ideas I have listed to post on. More power to bloggers and blogging and don’t forget of course, Oracle Apps!!

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