Catering to ChangeBy Blair Campbell
Oracle ACEs stay current through advisory boards, social networking, and innovative applications.
What is your favorite tool or technique on the job? Good old-fashioned Oracle Discoverer. I love to enable end users to get at the data they put in. My brother-in-law is an Oracle user in a very large government department. He laughs at me for getting so excited by Oracle technology, but a few days ago he rang up and said he loved Oracle Discoverer. He had problems finding data in the application, and Discoverer solved the problem.
How do you use the internet today? My daughter is at university, and social networking sites are the only way to get her attention, so it's useful for that. . . . I'm also part of the pilot for Oracle Mix, the new community site for Oracle customers [see mix.oracle.com].
If you were going to the International Space Station for six months and could only take one Oracle reference book, what would it be? I'm excited to read Mark Rittman's Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Developer's Guide [McGraw-Hill/Osborne Media, March 2008].
What's your favorite tool or technique on the job? I find Oracle JDeveloper 10.1.3and now Oracle JDeveloper 11gto be an excellent tool. In the ideal top-down/test-first world of service-oriented architecture [SOA], it provides great featuresparticularly with respect to integrating with a range of middleware environments and other tools like Oracle Business Process Analysis Suite.
Which new features of Oracle Database are you finding most valuable? The mature XML processing and internal Java virtual machine capabilities of the Oracle Database 10g and 11g platforms are incredibly important to the sorts of systems we're building today.
What advice do you have about how to get into Web and database development? Be technology agnostic, understand the business, understand the key standards, and take an architectural perspective. With SOA, you're potentially dealing with any number of disparate technologiesparticularly around development platforms and infrastructure. You have to be flexible and cater to change.
Which new features of Oracle applications are you finding most valuable, and why? The new Oracle Manufacturing Execution System in Oracle E-Business Suite 12 is very exciting. Having the ability to run our business in a "demand pull" environment rather than a "push" environment means we're able to align our business to our customers' needs. It lets us proactively act on our manufacturing demand rather than struggling with meeting product demands.
Tell us about a unique use of applications at your company. We utilize a mobile supply chain in such a way that all our transactions are recorded live on the manufacturing floor. For instance, the process of loading and unloading a truck is accomplished through scanning the boxes through the system, which updates our single global instance in real time. This makes the entire company more efficient, ultimately getting our products to customers much faster and more accurately than traditional methods.
What would you like to see Oracle, as a company, do more of? Embrace users' ideas and needs. I've seen tremendous improvement in this area with Oracle's customer advisory board processand continuing on this path is great for both Oracle and the users.