COVER STORY

As Published In
Oracle Magazine
November/December 2007

  

Editors' Choice Awards 2007

By David A. Kelly

 

Honoring Technology Leadership and Innovation

Selecting the recipients for Oracle Magazine's Editors' Choice Awards is never easy, but it's always rewarding. Nominated from all corners of the globe, the extremely accomplished candidates for this year's awards have distinguished themselves in their leadership and innovation with Oracle technology, and all are worthy of recognition.

The editors of Oracle Magazine are proud to name the recipients of our sixth annual Editors' Choice Awards. The women and men on the following pages exemplify innovation, vision, and dedication in working with and managing Oracle technology today.

-THE EDITORS OF ORACLE MAGAZINE

This year's recipients:

Dasmeet Singh Ahluwalia
Dennis Avondet
Manel Benazet
Thomas Clark
Sergio Coretti
Ramiro Cormenzana
Lonneke Dikmans
Paul Dorsey
Simon Griffiths
Theresa Ho
Dan Kiewlich
Heidi Kujawa
Joan Lawson
Richard LeFave
Rasmus Lerdorf
Hong Li
David McNally
Decio Tomaz Acquino de Oliveira
Job Simon
Jon Waldron
Patrick Wolf

 


 

MANEL BENAZET

CIO OF THE YEAR, LATIN AMERICA

Winner Specs


Name: Manel Benazet
Job title/description: Global Latin American CIO
Company: Telefónica S.A.
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Award: CIO of the Year, Latin America, 2007

 

CIO works to cut costs and be more responsive to business through SOA.

For Manel Benazet, global Latin American CIO for Telefónica and Oracle Magazine's CIO of the Year for Latin America, implementing service-oriented architecture (SOA) isn't about technology—it's about serving the business better.

"We made some very important architectural decisions in our technology road maps, such as deciding to build an SOA environment, so that we could be more responsive to the business," says Benazet. "We also decided to build all of our SOA architecture over an enterprise service bus [ESB] to reduce the number of interfaces. Interfaces are one of the most important costs when you look at the typical traditional legacy architecture."

Cutting costs and being more responsive to the business is critically important when you're serving millions of customers across 14 countries in Latin America. In fact, one of Benazet's big challenges has been the global integration of these systems, including the migration of multiple legacy systems, some of which were 20 years old. Three years ago, Telefónica created a road map to migrate these 14 unique regional systems to Oracle E-Business Suite and integrate them into a consistent, SOA-based global architecture. The objective was to reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and enable Telefónica to take advantage of new market opportunities.

Although Telefónica is still in the process of deploying its global SOA architecture, it has made significant progress. "For example, using Oracle E-Business Suite we have a work management system that manages more than 15,000 telephone technical services and installation employees," says Benazet. "We're using SOA interfaces and the ESB to connect our services personnel to the Oracle workforce management system that dynamically allocates jobs to them based on client requests and their proximity. The solution helps reduce the costs of the global operations of the field workforce."

The overall goal of Telefónica's SOA architecture is to have a very configurable infrastructure to dynamically support business systems—to be able to meet business needs more rapidly and at a lower cost. "Traditionally, you need a huge amount of time to develop interfaces to legacy systems and deliver new systems," says Benazet. "With our ESB and SOA infrastructure, you can change things much more easily and quickly."

Telefónica's projects pay off. For example, the consolidation of its database architecture in its Brazil location using Oracle will result in an estimated US$30 million cost reduction in maintenance and ongoing costs over three years of database operation.

While saving money and deploying new technology is satisfying to Benazet, one of the best things about his job is the people he works with. "I enjoy the challenge of my job and being able to work with different people and different cultures, helping to optimize all our skills and resources across all the countries we serve," he says.

 


 

HONG LI

CIO OF THE YEAR, ASIA PACIFIC

Winner Specs

Name: Hong Li
Job title/description: General Manager, Information Management Department
Company: Sinosteel
Location: Beijing
Award: CIO of the Year, Asia Pacific, 2007

 

CIO leads first deployment of an ERP system—and plans for growth with Oracle E-Business Suite.

In 2004 Sinosteel—a state-owned company in China focused on the development, processing, logistics, and services related to metal production—realized that to continue growing, it needed a comprehensive and integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that would help unify management, resource integration, and information sharing and provide centralized services.

At the time, there were no successful ERP implementation cases among similar domestic companies. Sinosteel, which had more than 32,000 employees and revenues of RMB61 billion in 2006, is already large. But the company has big ambitions, including the goal of becoming one of the top 500 global enterprises by 2010. To help get them there, Sinosteel selected Oracle as its partner.

"We selected Oracle E-Business Suite as the platform for supporting Sinosteel's management and business operation because Oracle E-Business Suite provides a comprehensive solution that meets our strategic goals of establishing an integrated and unified management information platform; enabling cross-region centralized management; and the integration of capital, information, and business," says Hong Li, Sinosteel's Information Management Department general manager and Oracle Magazine's CIO of the Year for Asia Pacific.

Sinosteel's ERP system consists of Oracle E-Business Suite 11I Financials, Human Resources Management System, and Customer Relationship Management, as well as Oracle Discoverer and other modules. An important part of Sinosteel's successful implementation was the flexibility of Oracle E-Business Suite.

"With the flexible configuration and strong adaptability of the Oracle application system, we have solved the problem of integrating our logistics, capital flow, workflow, and information flow and highlighted how a large enterprise group in China's trading industry could successfully build an integrated ERP system," says Li. "In addition, the flexible and open architecture of Oracle application products allowed us to easily integrate them with Sinosteel's existing systems—improving the timeliness of our ERP implementation while reducing the implementation risks and total cost of ownership."

The architecture works for Sinosteel. Among other accomplishments, the company has implemented its business management system, including trading, cargo transportation, and engineering contract applications, in five subsidiaries and has enabled the real-time sharing of purchase, inventory, and project management data. Sinosteel has built a unified financial management system and implemented it across 28 subsidiaries. And its customer relationship management system includes customer information contract, credit, and business opportunity management, enabling the integration of customers and suppliers between the headquarters and the branches. "Oracle E-Business Suite integrates the management process of Sinosteel's critical sectors," says Li.

Being first isn't always easy, but it can pay big dividends.

 


 

DAVID MCNALLY

CIO OF THE YEAR, EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA

Winner Specs


Name: David McNally
Job title/description: Global CIO
Company: Royal Ahold
Location: Amsterdam
Award: CIO of the Year, Europe, Middle East, Africa, 2007

 

For this CIO, integrated technology solutions are about serving the customer better and faster.

While most people think of milk, fruit, and cereal when they think of grocery stores, David McNally, the global CIO for Amsterdam's supermarket giant Royal Ahold, thinks of people and integrated IT systems.

"At the heart of everything we do is the customer," says McNally, Oracle Magazine's CIO of the Year for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. "Having integrated retail systems allows us to provide the customer with better access to the best new products. It also allows us to develop a better understanding of customer behavior and how we can meet customer product, pricing, and availability expectations."

Like many large businesses, Ahold had found itself limited by older IT systems that were poorly integrated and unable to support new initiatives or provide timely and accurate information. In 2006 the company reviewed its retail business, restructured, and developed a strategy for long-term profitable growth. Over the past year, the company has been launching global IT projects—which McNally oversees—in support of these profitability initiatives.

For example, the goal of Ahold USA's most strategic initiative has been to create a new retail business model and the systems platform necessary to support it.

"In conjunction with our operating companies and our business leaders, we've selected Oracle Retail for our next-generation retail systems platform," says McNally. "We feel that this will be a key enabler for our business transformation."

In Europe, Royal Ahold uses Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Capital Management and Financial Management systems to increase its effectiveness and profitability. "We're now deploying Oracle's optimization capabilities to extend our European retail systems," says McNally.

For Ahold's Europe and America operations, the key to competitive success and serving their customers relies on integrated retail systems that can bridge business gaps and deliver the right information at the right time.

"The real value of the integration is around the speed and efficiency of new product adoption and delivery to market," McNally says. "We need to be able to procure, promote, and deliver to our supply chain in the most efficient manner possible. Being competitive is really about delivering the right assortment at the right price with speed and accuracy."

 


 

RICHARD LEFAVE

CIO OF THE YEAR, NORTH AMERICA

Winner Specs


Name: Richard LeFave
Job title/description: CIO
Company: Sprint
Location: Overland Park, Kansas
Award: CIO of the Year, North America, 2007

 

Simplicity, IT synergies, and teamwork fuel this CIO's plans for growth.

Although Sprint serves 54 million customers with its communication products and services, its IT goals are much more concise.

"One of our primary IT initiatives is getting to one—one set of systems, one set of platforms, one set of standards," says Richard LeFave, CIO of Sprint and Oracle Magazine's CIO of the Year for North America. "Oracle has been a major contributor toward that goal by helping us rationalize our applications into Oracle's PeopleSoft ERP [enterprise resource planning] suite, thereby eliminating older, more maintenance-heavy applications." Sprint implemented PeopleSoft's human resources component at the beginning of the year and completed rolling out the ERP functionality for the financials and supply chain in July.

Now into the second year of its three-year integration plan following the merger with Nextel, Sprint is gaining competitive advantage from the combination of PeopleSoft products and Oracle Database by scaling its operations effectively and being able to put out new products more efficiently.

"IT plays a huge role in enabling Sprint to optimize the synergy that results from the merger," says LeFave, who notes that streamlining applications, databases, and business processes is especially important for the combined company's growth. "The combination of Oracle's professional services linked with the fundamental stability of their software has been a significant contributor to the effectiveness of our ability to hit our synergy targets."

A key part of LeFave's success is enabling IT to be viewed as a business unit instead of in its traditional role as a support function. LeFave credits his extensive background in IT, as well as serving five years in the U.S. Army, with forming his leadership skills, building customer-focused teams, and applying technology to drive growth. "Running IT as a business means that we talk in terms of the business and address the business problems."

But being successful also requires simplicity. "Driving simplicity through IT systems yields better scalability," says LeFave. "Greater simplicity enables us to innovate in new spaces, so that our product and marketing departments can drive new ideas and solutions for customers."

In the end, though, all the technology in the world is only as good as the people designing and deploying it. "We've assembled an outstanding team of operators and IT professionals who are focused on delivering high-quality IT solutions. And being part of a team that has clear technology objectives makes my job exceptional."

 


 

DECIO TOMAZ AQUINO DE OLIVEIRA

CTO OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Decio Tomaz Aquino de Oliveira
Job title/description: CTO
Company: MRS Logistica
Location: Juiz de Fora, Brazil
Award: CTO of the Year 2007

 

CTO improves the environment, operational goals, and efficiencies at the same time.

CTOs obviously have to worry about databases and applications, but Decio Tomaz Aquino de Oliveira, CTO of Brazil's MRS Logistica and Oracle Magazine's CTO of the Year, also has to think about plants and soil.

"As one of the largest railroads in Brazil, we believe environmental preservation is important," says Oliveira. "As a result, we have implemented a number of environmental programs, including the recuperation of degraded areas with plant coverage, a program to manage residues from the railroad, and the adoption of preventive measures for eliminating polluting processes."

The environmental impact from such efforts is important because MRS covers three states across southeast Brazil, the most industrialized and populated regions, responsible for 65 percent of Brazil's gross domestic product.

But helping the business grow is still Oliveira's first priority. "Using our existing track system, MRS has committed to doubling our production and revenue in three years," he says. "Our objective is to reach the top ranking in operational efficiency to make MRS the best railway logistics operator in the country."

To do that, MRS works with state-of-the-art rail technology, including GPS equipment to track the position of trains in real time, onboard signaling, and the detection of problems on the tracks with laser and ultrasound equipment. While MRS uses Oracle Database to monitor such information, Oliveira is overseeing the deployment of a new Oracle E-Business Suite platform that will help the company achieve its aggressive growth goals.

"MRS is implementing a new maintenance process for its assets to support its growth and improve critical processes like finance, materials, and planning," says Oliveira. "We chose Oracle as our partner for that project, and in January 2008 we'll deploy a new Oracle-based maintenance system as our first step."

For MRS, having an integrated platform that can both scale with its business growth as well as cover the breadth of back-office and front-office requirements is critical.

"Oracle's solutions are increasingly integrated and provide a wide range of functionality," says Oliveira. "We believe that Oracle systems are strong and will be able to support our business processes now and in the future."

The result is that Oliveira has confidence that MRS's new Oracle-based solutions, such as a new maintenance solution, will give the company a competitive edge and make his job easier. "A good CTO needs to make sure that IT is aligned with our business processes and supporting business growth. Oracle is helping me do that."

 


 

JOAN LAWSON

IT MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Joan Lawson
Job title/description: Senior Director, Information Architecture
Company: Monster Technologies
Location: Maynard, Massachusetts
Award: IT Manager of the Year 2007

 

IT manager says that delivering consistent data in real time is critical to success.

For many companies, data integration can be a monster job. But for online employment leader Monster.com, data integration using Oracle technologies has been a monster success.

"Delivering consistent data in real time to our key end points, such as our Siebel [Customer Relationship Management] CRM application, our Oracle E-Business Suite, and our Monster.com Web site, is critical to our success," says Joan Lawson, senior director of information architecture at Monster Technologies and Oracle Magazine's IT Manager of the Year. "Effective integration is key because it enables greater productivity and flexibility as well as cost savings within our business."

Lawson has worked to eliminate inefficiencies such as redundant data entry and silos of data. "We want to have that single, central view of our customers," says Lawson. "The business benefit of being able to automate the order-to-invoice cycle is that we can reduce costs and improve the cash realization cycle. The integrations between our Web site and marketing applications also allow for a reduction of the cycle time for upsell/ cross-sell opportunities."

An important aspect of her job has been ensuring consistent data quality. "Data governance is critical to a consistent definition of information across applications and databases," says Lawson. "We need to ensure that we know who owns the data, where the system of record is, and what the source of the truth is, as well as ensuring that everyone buys into that data ownership and definition of metrics."

Monster's relationship with Oracle has been extremely helpful. "The Oracle Fusion Middleware suite has served us well—it handles integration, workflow, and more," says Lawson. "The Oracle product suite is fully cohesive; there's consistency in implementation and monitoring. Oracle is truly a business partner. They work closely with our technology and business folks to identify ways in which we can leverage the best products to provide strong solutions based on solid technology."

For Lawson, the real joy in her job comes from participating in the design and evolution of solutions based on new technologies. "I'm particularly interested in the convergence of middleware technologies, along with application integration, data warehousing, business activity monitoring, data governance, and master data management," she says. "Those tools, along with a business commitment to process improvement, enable companies to eliminate silos and open up enterprise information that has a value to all."

 


 

JON WALDRON

DBA OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Jon Waldron
Job title/description: Enterprise Architect, Database Systems
Company: Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Location: Sydney, Australia
Award: DBA of the Year 2007

 

DBA's increased role matches bank's growth.

"The role of a DBA has changed significantly in my time doing it," says Jon Waldron, enterprise architect of database systems at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Oracle Magazine's DBA of the Year. "Instead of just low-level tuning skills, today's DBAs need to be aware of in-depth design principles and application and infrastructure architecture and be able to consult with both the business and the developers on how best to achieve their goals. It's a very interesting and all-encompassing role."

It's a role he has performed exceedingly well for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Commonwealth is Australia's largest bank and its second-largest employer, with more than 38,000 employees and 1,100 branches.

Six years ago, Jon Waldron was the only Oracle DBA in the company. At the time, the bank realized that to be competitive it would have to overhaul its information management and applications so it could take a customer-centric approach. So Waldron and team built a customer relationship management (CRM) system for a small segment of the bank—the Premium Financial Services area—using Oracle Database and Microsoft Visual Basic.

Then the bank's CEO decided that the organization needed a CRM system that could power growth and help deliver expanded customer service. After evaluating off-the-shelf products and outsourced solutions, the Commonwealth Bank settled on the homegrown CRM solution as the best choice. The application has won multiple awards in the Asia Pacific region, including 2007 Asian Banker Best CRM Application. Oracle 10g products provide the power for the solution on the back end, while Microsoft .NET provides the power on the front end, resulting in one of the largest .NET/Oracle CRM deployments in the world.

"The integration of .NET and Oracle works very well for us. We've been happy with the performance and how they've worked together," says Waldron.

Over the past three years, Waldron has championed a team of up to 45 DBAs in concert with 200 developers to create an AU$250 million (US$200 million) CRM and product origination system based on Oracle Database, Oracle Enterprise Manager with Grid Control, and Microsoft .NET. "The solution is all-encompassing—most interactions you can have with the bank from the front-end perspective are run through this system," says Waldron. "And the back end runs on an Oracle 128 CPU RAC cluster."

The result is a massively scalable system that can handle 30,000 simultaneous users. Migration to Oracle Automatic Storage Management and Oracle Clusterware is bringing even greater stability and availability to the system.

 


 

SERGIO CORETTI

APPLICATIONS IMPLEMENTER OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Sergio Coretti
Job title/description: Senior Project Director
Company: Telecom Argentina
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Award: Applications Implementer of the Year 2007

 

Applications implementer finds that one Oracle solution can support many services right out of the box.

Generating invoices effectively and efficiently is a critical function for businesses. That operation can be particularly difficult in fast-moving industries such as telecommunications, where the range of products and services that companies offer and have to invoice against has grown exponentially over the past few years.

That's why Telecom Argentina turned to Oracle. "We chose Oracle for its flexibility, which has enabled us to offer diverse billing plans and customized solution bundles to meet diverse customer needs and help to expand our market share," says Sergio Coretti, senior project director at Telecom Argentina and Oracle Magazine's Applications Implementer of the Year, who has been in charge of the complex project to transform the company's billing applications and architecture.

Previously, bringing out new or different services could require custom or nonintegrated billing applications. "Now with our Oracle-based billing and revenue management solution, we have only one system that can support many services right out of the box," Coretti says. "It has really simplified our billing architecture."

Telecom Argentina finished its implementation of Oracle Communications Billing and Revenue Management on time and on budget in March 2007. One of the key success factors for the company was establishing the parameters of their project very well. "You need to convey to the users what the solution will cover and what it will not cover," says Coretti. "It's very important just to manage the expectation of the project and define the scope."

Another important success factor in the project was executive support. Although Telecom Argentina's IT director was very committed to their technology and the new implementation process, he also made sure to align himself with the business director and business needs. "Thanks to this support, I had the commitment to create the best team for delivering the billing solution," says Coretti.

 


 

DAN KIEWLICH


Winner Specs


Name: Dan Kiewlich
Job title/description: Technical Leader
Company: Cisco Systems
Location: San Jose, California
Award: Embedded Architect of the Year 2007

Designing embedded systems is all about building a stable, high-performance solution, architect says.

For Dan Kiewlich, a technical leader at Cisco Systems and Oracle Magazine's Embedded Architect of the Year, the most important part of designing embedded systems is creating a predictable, stable, and performance-oriented solution.

"We tailor the architecture for platforms with CPU and memory constraints and platforms where we're managing hundreds of millions of records," says Kiewlich, who designed a video-on-demand distribution system for cable and telco operators that is now sold by Cisco around the world. Cisco's Content Distribution System is based on a real-time networked video architecture that pools and load-balances servers based on off-the-shelf hardware to enable scalability, nonstop availability, and low total cost of ownership. Oracle Berkeley DB provides the database needs, including metadata and storage.

The Content Distribution System needs to operate flawlessly in a lights-out environment. "That's one reason why Oracle's Berkeley DB works so well for us—there are so many tuning options in the database that we can optimize our usage of system resources for the particular type of server we're running on," says Kiewlich. "It also provides near-zero maintenance requirements, which means we can embed it in our product and have a high level of comfort that things will work right."

 


 

DASMEET SINGH AHLUWALIA

PORTAL DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Dasmeet Singh Ahluwalia
Job title/description: Senior Consultant
Company: BearingPoint
Location: McLean, Virginia
Award: Portal Developer of the Year 2007

 

Developer finds that Oracle Portal increases productivity and streamlines business processes.

Having the right applications and information is one thing. Enabling thousands of people to access and use them effectively is another.

That's the problem that Dasmeet Singh Ahluwalia, senior consultant at BearingPoint and Oracle Magazine's Portal Developer of the Year, solved for a federal government agency. The organization's users spent too much time navigating environments, logging into multiple applications and browser sessions, and looking for the information they needed.

Ahluwalia used Oracle Portal to create a dashboard incorporating portlets for mail, calendar, tasks, RSS feeds, chat, live streaming video, and more. He also made extensive use of Oracle Portal's personalization capabilities. By developing a single-sign-on process, he eliminated the need for multiple logins and automatically provided authentication based on the user's profile stored in Oracle Identity Management.

The solution has increased productivity and streamlined the organization's business processes. Since the portal pulls data directly from source systems, it reduces potential data redundancy and lets users make decisions faster.

"The customers were very happy to be able to access all their applications and data from one dashboard," says Ahluwalia. "It's a significant improvement in productivity for them."

 


 

LONNEKE DIKMANS

ORACLE FUSION MIDDLEWARE DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Lonneke Dikmans
Job title/description: CEO/Managing Partner
Company: Approach Alliance
Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Award: Oracle Fusion Middleware Developer of the Year 2007

 

For this developer, success is balancing strategic vision with tactical benefits.

"If you're working with IT architecture, you have to look into the future as well as looking at what's practical and makes business sense to do right now," says Lonneke Dikmans, CEO and managing partner of Approach Alliance and Oracle Magazine's Oracle Fusion Middleware Developer of the Year.

Oracle Fusion Middleware and SOA strategies are an important part of Dikmans' toolkit. "I like the fact that Oracle Fusion Middleware is so open. We work with a lot of companies that need to communicate with applications outside their own company and with different departments," says Dikmans. "Since Oracle Fusion Middleware is based on standards, you don't have to throw away all the previous investments."

However, open standards and SOA environments still need to be managed—since the increased flexibility they bring can also mean increased complexity.

"You don't need to define everything as a service just because you're in an SOA environment," says Dikmans. "It's important to look at your architecture from a business point of view so you can identify what should be reusable. Build your SOA up step-by-step, and don't go too fast."

 


 

RASMUS LERDORF

ENTERPRISE DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Rasmus Lerdorf
Job title/description: Infrastructure Architect
Company: Yahoo!
Location: Sunnyvale, California
Award: Enterprise Developer of the Year 2007

 

Developer's home page programming adventure leads to tremendous results.

"I hate programming with a passion," says Rasmus Lerdorf, infrastructure architect at Yahoo! and Oracle Magazine's Enterprise Developer of the Year. "But I love solving problems, and unfortunately a lot of the problems that interest me need to be solved through programming."

Back in 1994, Lerdorf developed the PHP dynamic Web page programming language for producing his personal home page. Today Lerdorf uses PHP to manage one of the largest Web sites in the world—Yahoo.com. "Just about everything at Yahoo! is PHP driven," says Lerdorf, who's responsible for Yahoo!'s PHP infrastructure components and common tools.

The fact that PHP has evolved from managing Lerdorf's home page to massively scalable enterprise Web sites is testimony to not only his original vision but also the support of a wide community of PHP contributors.

For Lerdorf, furthering PHP is all about community and contributions. "Over the past few years, Oracle has assigned engineers to work with the PHP team, and it's been really, really helpful," says Lerdorf. "I wish more companies would do what Oracle has done and make engineers available to open source projects."

 


 

THERESA HO

SECURITY ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Theresa Ho
Job title/description: Director, Risk Management
Company: The McGraw-Hill Companies
Location: New York City
Award: Security Architect of the Year 2007

 

Architect finds that security is a key business enabler, making better-informed decisions possible.

Verifying users and their appropriate access levels is no easy task when you're a US$6.3 billion enterprise such as the McGraw-Hill Companies. The information services provider encompasses brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek, and J.D. Power and Associates and has more than 20,000 employees in 40 countries. Authentication and access strategies for users are critical for growing the business.

"We view security as a key business enabler. Our security strategy enables our employees to perform their jobs and our customers to interact with the corporation with confidence," says Theresa Ho, McGraw-Hill's director of risk management and Oracle Magazine's Security Architect of the Year. McGraw-Hill also uses its security architecture to tie together IT functions to ensure that consistent practice and coherent approaches are applied across the corporation to maximize security and control.

McGraw-Hill's risk management team is responsible for defining security policies, standards, application reviews, strategy, and architecture. Ho is leading an enterprisewide identity management and access control initiative to automate the process of creating, resetting, and removing employees' user IDs and passwords. "We use Oracle Identity Manager and Access Manager to help us manage user accounts and to perform password management," Ho says. The initiative is a key element of, and a foundation for, McGraw-Hill's security strategy and architecture.

"Our initiative focuses on enabling users to access business data in a secure way," says Ho. "The goal is to manage our employees' ID accounts effectively so that we can protect company assets and user privacy, maximize operational efficiency and user support, and meet regulatory requirements while reducing costs."

For Ho, a great security architect needs to understand a company's business and its challenges. "Without that basic understanding, you run the risk of having a mismatch between your knowledge of security strategy and the needs of the business," she says.

 


 

DENNIS AVONDET

ORACLE ENTERPRISE MANAGER ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Dennis Avondet
Job title/description: Senior Technology Architect
Company: Cerner
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Award: Oracle Enterprise Manager Architect of the Year 2007

 

High availability and fast response times are paramount for architect.

Few industries are growing and changing as fast as the healthcare industry, and healthcare leaders need to keep pace. That's why Cerner, a leading healthcare information technology provider, uses Oracle technologies to open up capacity and enable rapid growth for its hosted services.

With many clients, including very large ones like the U.K. healthcare system, Cerner faces the challenge of ensuring high availability and fast response times. To help, Cerner uses Oracle Enterprise Manager in conjunction with other Oracle technologies.

"Oracle Enterprise Manager fits into our infrastructure because of the depth and breadth of what it can manage," says Dennis Avondet, senior technology architect at Cerner and Oracle Magazine's Oracle Enterprise Manager Architect of the Year. "Having a common management tool like this enables clients to break down silos and IT barriers and gives everyone across the health organization a common interface to manage databases, applications, and servers."

Avondet loves doing what Oracle Enterprise Manager does so well—getting to interact with and manage dozens (if not hundreds) of technologies. "The challenge of making them all work together is what's exciting to me," says Avondet.

 


 

PATRICK WOLF

ORACLE APPLICATION EXPRESS DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Patrick Wolf
Job title/description: Senior Solution Architect
Company: Sphinx IT Consulting
Location: Vienna, Austria
Award: Oracle Application Express Developer of the Year 2007

 

For Patrick Wolf, fast and easy development isn't just for small projects.

"Oracle Application Express is a proven technology for any size of project—not just small ones," says Patrick Wolf, senior solution architect at Sphinx IT Consulting and Oracle Magazine's Oracle Application Express Developer of the Year. "Its great performance and scalability allow us to use it for our customers' mission-critical, large-size applications." Using Oracle Application Express, Sphinx IT Consulting can develop state-of-the-art, Ajax-enabled Web 2.0 applications quickly and securely.

Last year Wolf started two open source Oracle Application Express projects, ApexLib (a development productivity framework) and the APEX Builder Plugin, which are already used worldwide. As an Oracle ACE, he contributes regularly to the OTN Application Express forum, and his Oracle Application Express-related blog (www.inside-apex.blogspot.com) gets about 500 unique visitors a day.

Wolf was a beta tester for Oracle Application Express 3.0. "The nice thing about Oracle Application Express is that you don't have to install software on your local PC to test it; you simply use Oracle's hosted environment," he says. "For the beta, we uploaded our existing applications, did tests with them, and corresponded with the developers. Doing the beta testing was a really nice experience for us."

 


 

PAUL DORSEY

PL/SQL DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Paul Dorsey
Job title/description: President
Company: Dulcian
Location: Woodbridge, New Jersey
Award: PL/SQL Developer of the Year 2007

 

Developer uses PL/SQL for speed, efficiency, and ease of maintenance.

An Oracle ACE Director and winner of the Oracle Fusion Middleware Challenge, Paul Dorsey, Oracle Magazine's PL/SQL Developer of the Year, has spoken at Oracle technology conferences, cowritten eight books—including PL/SQL for Dummies, (John Wiley & Sons, 2006)—taught at multiple colleges, and consulted around the world. His company, Dulcian, provides Oracle consulting and Web application development services, among others.

For Dorsey, speed, efficiency, and ease of maintenance are the main reasons for using PL/SQL—even when others disagree.

"There's probably no more pernicious conventional wisdom than the trend to say, 'we need to be database independent,'" Dorsey says. "We've had routines that took 20 minutes to run in midtier logic that were reduced to two-tenths of a second by moving them down into the database in PL/SQL."

In the end it comes down to results. "I'm an engineer. If I haven't provided software that users derive benefits from, I don't feel as if I've accomplished anything," says Dorsey. "I like to make sure that a system works the way it's supposed to."

 


 

THOMAS CLARK

SMB ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Thomas Clark
Job title/description: CIO
Company: Property Condition Assessments
Location: Pasadena, California
Award: SMB Architect of the Year 2007

 

Integration allows users to have better and easier experience, architect says.

"Connectivity is bringing people together in a virtual world," says Thomas Clark, CIO of Property Condition Assessments (PCA) and Oracle Magazine's SMB Architect of the Year. "Oracle understands this and is responding with new products, so we're redeveloping our programs to take advantage of the new technologies that Oracle has developed."

PCA is an architectural and engineering firm specializing in property condition due diligence. Its mission—to reduce client risk in acquisition and operation of real properties—requires the company to have an army of engineers and architectural assessors distributed nationwide.

"By using new [Oracle] technologies, we can integrate business functions, so now it feels like our employees are working next to each other, even when they're spread out across the country," Clark says.

In addition to Oracle Application Server, Oracle Database, and Oracle Collaboration Suite, PCA is aggressively leveraging new infrastructure technologies from Oracle. "We're going with Oracle WebCenter Suite, Oracle Portal, Oracle Single Sign-On, all of it. With these technologies, we can create an environment that will have more richness for our users, allowing them to process data faster, more effectively, with less of a learning curve. We're very excited about our future," Clark says.

 


 

HEIDI KUJAWA

CONTENT MANAGEMENT ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Heidi Kujawa
Job title/description: Executive Director, Information Technology
Company: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Location: Culver City, California
Award: Content Management Architect of the Year 2007

 

Architect uses content management to increase efficiencies and improve ROI.

Content management might be just another technology to some companies, but not at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

"As we deploy this capability throughout the company, it's become much more of a necessity—people realize the value of it, and the efficiencies have increased dramatically," say Heidi Kujawa, executive director of information technology at Sony Pictures Entertainment and Oracle Magazine's Content Management Architect of the Year. "After five years of deploying Oracle Content Management-based applications, over 75 implementations, we continue to see a positive ROI every year."

Moreover, Oracle's content management is something Sony employees want. "We just can't keep up with the demand," Kujawa says. "People are lined up at my door to get it. To me, that speaks volumes about the success of the program and the necessity of the technology."

The project started with the goal of managing content for Sony Pictures' Web site and corporate division, but its success—and the need for greater content management—broadened the scope. Kujawa and her team now provide content management support for Sony Pictures Television and other business units' Web sites and content management needs. They also created a reusable framework to support rapid development and application integration.

Kujawa considers Oracle Content Management a key part of Sony's framework for building enterprise applications. Since each business unit is so different, Sony took the approach of abstracting the business logic to increase flexibility and reduce deployment time frames.

"We architected a business logic layer that sits on top of the [Oracle] Content Management suite of tools and enables us to build very distinct applications that leverage content in a consistent way," says Kujawa. "It has been very successful. It has enabled us to keep up with the demand for content management much more efficiently."

Because much of Sony's business is driven off the content being managed by Oracle products, issues such as access control and security are extremely important to Kujawa. In addition, the content management team works closely with Sony's records information management department to embed retention policies into its implementations, which "makes sure we're in compliance across many different levels within the company," says Kujawa.

The future looks bright. "Oracle is a great partner of Sony Pictures, and Oracle has always been great about investing in their product suites and making them better and more efficient," says Kujawa. "I'm really excited about the efficiencies that they're working on, as well as the expanded scalability they can bring."

 


 

JOB SIMON

SOA ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Job Simon
Job title/description: Senior Director of Enterprise Architecture
Company: Network Appliance
Location: Sunnyvale, California
Award: SOA Architect of the Year 2007

 

Architect uses SOA to achieve growth, performance, and flexibility.

Strategic growth requires a flexible IT infrastructure. Yet most organizations still have too many individual systems and unintegrated business processes hampering rapid growth.

That's why Network Appliance (NetApp), a multibillion dollar company specializing in unified storage solutions, has turned to service-oriented architecture (SOA). NetApp's wide collection of enterprise applications, including Oracle's Siebel, Oracle's PeopleSoft, SAP/Vantive, Agile, Webplan (now Kinaxis), and Oracle E-Business Suite, makes for a complex IT environment but also one that's ripe for the benefits of SOA.

"We are implementing SOA as the basic architectural framework to achieve our growth, so we can easily scale our IT systems to achieve the level of agility and performance that we need," says Job Simon, senior director of enterprise architecture at NetApp and Oracle Magazine's SOA Architect of the Year.

A key achievement has been the transformation of NetApp's B2B process with distributors, using modules of Oracle SOA Suite, to rearchitect and automate, thus minimizing or eliminating unnecessary break points and human intervention points. NetApp used Oracle Business Activity Monitoring to help monitor the health of the system, with real-time dashboards for efficient process management and exception handling. The result was the transformation of a time-consuming, slow process into an automated and efficient process that the company could easily monitor.

"We've laid out a clear vision for implementing the SOA registry, Oracle Web Services Manager, and other foundation components," says Simon. "We're approaching SOA in a very practical way, with a clear approach to achieving specific results over a period of time."

NetApp is also doing extensive business process transformation studies of the company's key processes. "Understanding business processes is very critical," says Simon. "So we're starting to identify potential services that are reusable, and then we plan to utilize Oracle SOA Suite to develop and manage these services to meet our business needs."

Even though it takes lots of technology to make SOA work, the end goal for NetApp's SOA strategy isn't simply technology. "The business process is the driving force behind all this," Simon says. "We're approaching it purely as a business transformation exercise and then backing that into an SOA to realize value."

 


 

SIMON GRIFFITHS

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Simon Griffiths
Job title/description: Business Intelligence Chief Designer
Company: BT Group
Location: Cardiff, Wales
Award: Business Intelligence Architect of the Year 2007

 

Architect delivers tactical and strategic results with agile approach to Oracle Business Intelligence.

Simon Griffiths, Oracle Magazine's Business Intelligence Architect of the Year, faced a challenge. As chief designer for the Enterprise Information program at BT Group, and with hundreds of reporting systems often showing conflicting information, he had to build a world-class data warehouse that would support BT's aim to be a global information and communications technology company while improving the experience for customers.

Griffiths has led BT in establishing a scalable business intelligence (BI) architecture that has delivered tactical and strategic results. One example is increasing the customer save rate by more than 20 percent. Oracle Business Intelligence provided a single login and interface "glue" for the multiple application sets that customer service agents accessed during calls to understand customer complaints.

"It provides a holistic view and enables customer service agents to make better recommendations to the customer," Griffiths says. "It improves the customer experience and uplifts customer retentions for BT."

The data warehouse was a long-term goal with incremental requirements. "We needed to show business benefits every 90 days," says Griffiths. "We used an agile approach to grow our BI capabilities by taking discrete applications and subject matter areas and implementing specific business intelligence capabilities, so the business owners could see benefits quickly."

 


 

RAMIRO CORMENZANA

DATA WAREHOUSE ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR

Winner Specs


Name: Ramiro Cormenzana
Job title/description: DBA/Information Corporate Director
Company: MercadoLibre.com
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Award: Data Warehouse Architect of the Year 2007 of the Year 2007

 

Architect sees phenomenal business growth with Oracle Database and Oracle Real Application Clusters.

When a company's online volume requires that it manage thousands of transactions per second, it's important to have sophisticated data assurance systems to keep this buying and selling flowing smoothly. That's what Argentina's MercadoLibre.com has been doing for the past eight years.

Ramiro Cormenzana, DBA and information corporate director at MercadoLibre.com and Oracle Magazine's Data Warehouse Architect of the Year, and Edgardo Sokolowicz, MercadoLibre.com's chief technology officer, have worked to create an IT infrastructure that can accommodate the company's dynamic growth rate with the highest availability. They've done it by using a combination of Oracle Database and Oracle Real Application Clusters, creating an online transaction system and data warehouse that powers Latin America's largest online trading platform.

The results are impressive, including an ROI of more than 450 percent over five years and net benefits of US$2.4 million. The high-availability architecture allows maintenance to be completed during commercial hours and allows the company to increase computing power as needed.

Oracle enabled this tremendous growth. "MercadoLibre.com is data coming and going, allowing transactions of all kinds," Cormenzana says. "Without the warehouse and technology platform, there is no business."

  

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