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:
- Deal Architect by Vinnie Mirchandani – my top ranked blog right now, followed by Steven Chans Blog.
- Oracle E-Business Suite Technology by Steven Chan
- Scobleizer – Microsoft Geek Blogger by Robert Scoble
- Micropersuasion by Steve Rubel
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.