Editors’ Choice Awards 2008
By David A. Kelly
Honoring Leadership and Innovation in Technology
Each year the editors of Oracle Magazine present Editors’ Choice Awards to extremely accomplished candidates—people who best reflect the highest achievements and vision in their areas of expertise. Nominated from all corners of the globe, these candidates represent the most advanced, forward-thinking, and experienced people working with Oracle technology today.
Selecting the award winners from a pool of such candidates, all of whom are worthy of recognition, is a difficult yet rewarding task. Our deliberations completed, we are honored to announce the winners of our seventh annual Oracle Magazine Editors’ Choice Awards. Together they represent a diverse and vital force bringing innovation and leadership to the workforce every day.
-THE EDITORS OF ORACLE MAGAZINE
This year's recipients:
CIO OF THE YEAR, ASIA PACIFIC
Technology should serve customers and business goals, Telstra CIO says.
For Tom Lamming, Oracle Magazine ’s CIO of the Year for Asia Pacific, IT isn’t about technology—it’s about the business and its customers.
“Our systems and applications are here to enable the business to serve our customers better,” says Lamming, CIO of Telstra, the largest telecom in Australia and the 11th largest in the world. “Our customers don’t buy us because of IT. Our job is to make the business efficient and effective.”
Lamming, a former global managing partner at Accenture, came out of retirement three years ago to manage Telstra’s IT-related transformation processes, part of the company’s AU$11 billion transformation program that covers the entire business, from IT to sales. Although the program is a multiyear process, it is on schedule, with completion of significant migrations of its customer bases expected by the end of 2008.
“Everything we do in the transformation program is focused on creating a fundamentally differentiated customer experience—from new networks to new systems, everything we’re doing is about the customer,” says Lamming. “In addition, everything is interlocked. When we make changes in the network, we’ve got to make changes in the systems and the products and services. We need to have a well-orchestrated program.”
To help accomplish that orchestration, one of Lamming’s key goals for IT has been to consolidate and integrate disparate systems such as individual operational support and billing systems. The company uses Oracle products across the technology stack, from the database to middleware and applications.
“Oracle is a strategic partner that we work closely with to help drive product road map decisions,” says Lamming. “Telstra is using Oracle’s world-class solutions in our environment to retain a good total cost of ownership by optimizing our out-of-the-box experience through a strong partnership with Oracle.”
The partnership is about both products and people. “Oracle has been a tremendous partner, from Charles Phillips on down,” says Lamming. “It’s been important to our relationship to have that range of connections, from senior Oracle managers down to the folks on the ground who use their skills to help support us on the delivery and support of the software.”
CIO OF THE YEAR, EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST, AND AFRICA
CIO leads transformation, adding products and improving customer service.
Konstantinos Kappos, CIO of Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) and Oracle Magazine ’s CIO of the Year for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, thinks that a good CIO should be able to use data to help grow the business and improve service.
“The real challenge for a CIO is to turn internal and external data into customer insight,” says Kappos. “The goal is to achieve higher-quality customer service and avoid customer churn.”
Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, with revenues of €6.3 billion in 2007, is the main provider of fixed-line services (voice, broadband, data, and leased lines) in Greece. The company’s subsidiaries provide services that range from broadband to mobile voice and entertainment to six countries in southeast Europe, serving about 24 million customers. As Hellenic Telecommunications Organization CIO, Kappos is responsible for planning, developing, and operating all of the IT systems of the company.
“As the transformation leader, my challenge is to find a way to support the launch of a new generation of products and services across different areas,” says Kappos, “while at the same time to help the company transform its customer service processes and streamline the service fulfillment processes.”
To achieve these goals, Kappos (and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization) have increasingly relied on products from Oracle, including Oracle Database, Oracle OLAP, Oracle Warehouse Builder, Oracle SOA Suite, and Oracle E-Business Suite. With these products, Kappos’ leadership, and his team’s efforts, Hellenic Telecommunications Organization is successfully reconstructing itself from a traditional telecom company to a forward-looking content and services provider—all while using technologies such as business intelligence to keep closer to their customers and their customers’ needs.
“Business intelligence is critical to address our business challenges because it allows us to better understand our customers,” says Kappos. “We use business intelligence to enable the company to develop value-added services and deliver them at the right time, based on our deeper understanding of customer needs and trends.”
The company achieves its goals with help from Oracle. “Oracle is a very important strategic partner,” says Kappos. “Oracle has been committed to helping us, even when it was necessary to integrate their solutions with other vendors’ software. Their commitment and people were always there for us, and the fact that they’ve developed a broader strategy for telecommunications is very positive.”
CIO OF THE YEAR, LATIN AMERICA
CIO gets an A+ for using technology to solve complex problems in education.
For most people, a mention of Puerto Rico conjures up picture-postcard visions of the perfect tropical vacation.
But to Richard Martinez, Oracle Magazine ’s CIO of the Year for Latin America, Puerto Rico looks a lot different. As CIO of the island’s Department of Education, Martinez recognizes that Puerto Rico is about buildings, schools, people, and processes. He has more than 1,523 schools, 520,000 students, 70,000 employees, and 42,000 teachers to worry about—and then the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) required the island to bring its primary schools and systems into regulatory compliance.
“Our challenge was moving from a paper-based system to digital,” says Martinez, noting that until this initiative, all record-keeping and administration was done manually.
In conjunction with Oracle and other partners, the department undertook a massive transformation effort to deploy an IT infrastructure and student information system. At the same time, the department also deployed Oracle’s PeopleSoft Financials for better administration control as well as improving the purchasing, requisition, and budgeting across its multiple entities. An important part of the solution included using Oracle On Demand for its student information and financial systems.
“What’s really impressive about Oracle On Demand is that its provisioning is only 21 days,” says Martinez. “It would have taken us months or even a year to do the same thing, in addition to the time to mature the support organization and security aspects. I would seriously consider using the Oracle On Demand model with any implementation I’m involved with.”
The results have been amazing, Martinez says. The system, which went into place in February 2007, has enabled the agency to have precise inventories of information about demographics, student enrollment, student achievement, teacher qualifications, groups impacted, and school needs. The new system’s data mining and reporting also drive improved decision-making.
And the Department of Education finally has the information systems to support its educational goals and USDE compliance requirements. For programs requiring data to be submitted during the school year, for example, the submission rate had hovered at less than 20 percent. Since the new system has been operational, “We have made a quantum leap to a 97 percent mark, which is a stunning achievement in such a short time,” Martinez says.
It’s also been a satisfying process for Martinez. “The best part of the job has been working with a team of people across the agency that became part of the solution by wanting to get things done and having the tenacity to see it through,” says Martinez. “By pulling together people from different areas within the agency and other sectors, we could make it happen. Now we’re starting to realize the impact it will have on our schools, students, and teachers—and it’s very satisfying.”
CIO OF THE YEAR, NORTH AMERICA
CIO says technology leaders need organizational and change-management skills.
Ingersoll-Rand has experienced rapid changes. It divested itself of its Bobcat division and acquired air conditioning leader Trane, starting as a US$12 billion company, shrinking to a US$8 billion company, and then growing to a US$18 billion company. Making that kind of huge corporate change efficiently requires a CIO with more than technical skills—as Barry Libenson, CIO of Ingersoll-Rand and Oracle Magazine ’s CIO of the Year for North America, knows.
One thing that has made Libenson so successful at Ingersoll-Rand is his ability to hire bright people and delegate responsibility.
“We help by setting the IT direction for the company and defining tight roles around software architecture, hardware infrastructure, and operations,” says Libenson. “Those roles give a clear delineation on who’s responsible for what’s inside the enterprise, and they help keep us grounded.”
Libenson says it’s not just about the technology anymore.
“The role of the CIO isn’t just about understanding and rolling out technology,” says Libenson. “The job has taken on new dimensions—it’s about change management, the organizational aspects of doing integration, and helping to make sure that we’re using IT resources effectively to get the most value out of an acquisition like Trane. It’s a different skill set than just being a pure technology guy.”
Throughout these changes, the company has stayed on course with a more than US$300 million project to convert more than 90 global enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to a consolidated Oracle E-Business Suite implementation. The company is evaluating what it will take to expand the project to include the Trane business unit.
“Having a world-class ERP platform like Oracle E-Business Suite is critical to being able to do this type of M&A [merger and acquisition] activity,” says Libenson.
“If you have a strong ERP environment, you can gather information more easily,” he says. “The data is more current, it’s more detailed, and you can get a lot of important analytical information from it, slicing and dicing in ways that you can’t with a hundred different systems.”
Oracle’s growth and Ingersoll-Rand’s strategic relationship with Oracle have facilitated Ingersoll-Rand’s IT strategy.
“Our relationship with Oracle has grown because of Oracle’s acquisition strategy and the products they’ve added to the portfolio,” says Libenson. “We’ve gone from being purely an [Oracle] E-Business Suite and database customer to one that’s using Oracle business intelligence, CRM [customer relationship management], HRMS [human resource management systems], and transportation and logistics applications, and the [Oracle] Identity Management platform. My life has gotten significantly easier because of Oracle’s acquisition strategy.”
CIO OF THE YEAR, JAPAN
Planning ahead and providing clear goals help this CIO achieve success.
For Celso Guiotoko, corporate vice president and CIO of Nissan and Oracle Magazine ’s CIO of the Year for Japan, one aspect of success comes from making himself obsolete.
“I always tell my staff not to expect that I’ll be sitting in my office forever—that one day any one of them might have the opportunity to be taking my place and driving this organization,” says Guiotoko, who oversees information services (IS) strategy for automotive giant Nissan.
Like any good car company that comes out with ever-more-successful models, Guiotoko has a solid plan in place for creating his own winning replacement.
“We spend a lot of effort managing and developing talent within Nissan,” says Guiotoko. “Providing clear goals and a high level of transparency helps give our employees a sense of achievement.”
In addition to developing talent, Nissan relies on Oracle software, including Oracle E-Business Suite, Siebel Customer Relationship Management, PeopleSoft Human Resources, Oracle Essbase, and Oracle Database, to help achieve its goals and deliver positive business results.
Creating strong leadership and an effective IS organization is critical for the continued success of US$95 billion Nissan. The company, which grew almost 12 percent in FY 2007 by selling more than 3.77 million cars, has more than 200,000 global employees and strong growth in international markets. Most of the company’s growth is based on investing in new capacity, new sales companies, and new models.
As part of its continued drive to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its IT solutions, Nissan will continue a strong centralization model—although flexibility is still important.
“If our business leaders want a solution to be centralized, we work toward that goal. If they want to have more flexibility for their users, perhaps on a regional basis, we follow their lead,” says Guiotoko. “The business solution should follow the business strategy.”
Nissan’s latest corporate strategic plan is ambitious, including taking a leadership role in zero-emission vehicles; achieving leadership in brand, management, and service quality; and achieving 5 percent revenue growth over five years. This growth will be supported by the launches of 60 new models within five years.
“Having a strategic road map makes my job easier because we’ve got a clear direction from the business,” says Guiotoko. “My team can work with each global function so that we can make sure that whatever IT is working on is synchronized and aligned with what the business needs to deliver.”
CTO OF THE YEAR
For this manager, adaptability and flexibility mean success on the bottom line.
For Mark Tonnesen, Oracle Magazine ’s CTO of the Year, the new yardstick for IT is adaptability.
“The more highly integrated your architecture and technology platform is, the easier it will be to adapt and meet the rapid business changes in your company,” says Tonnesen, vice president of information technology and CIO for Logitech. The company designs technology interface products such as keyboards, mice, and Webcams that connect consumers to the digital world.
Logitech had previously used a best-of-breed approach, integrating and deploying individual solutions for different business needs. But rapid changes in business requirements, an increased global presence and more widely distributed organization, and a greater need to facilitate information accessibility drove the company to reconsider.
“The need for flexibility, the need for change—and the ability to adapt to change quickly—is great, so you need to have as much of an integrated platform as possible to provide flexibility on the delivery of needed information or different business processes,” says Tonnesen. “You can’t have multiple solutions and platforms and be successful anymore.”
Tonnesen and his team put together a distributed but highly integrated architecture that supports all of Logitech’s global business regions. Key components of the platform include Oracle Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle SOA Suite, Oracle Business Process Analysis Suite, and Oracle’s PeopleSoft, Agile, and Hyperion applications. “When we considered total cost of ownership, support, and adaptability, an integrated technology platform with Oracle was much better for our business,” says Tonnesen.
Getting the right information to the right people in a timely manner is also a critical success factor.
“We’ve embarked on a program to improve our ability to get information to decision-makers at the right time,” says Tonnesen. “To do that, we’re leveraging Oracle’s highly scalable technology platform. By leveraging the architecture, we’ve put together a consolidated business view of our business processes—from sales cycles to shipping cycles—that enables our users to correlate information in an immediate fashion to make real-time decisions in our business.”
From Tonnesen’s perspective, IT leaders need to make sure they’re not just focused on day-to-day operations but on identifying technologies and solutions that can help drive new business value. “The days of reacting and working off a project list are over. Instead, I focus on the strategic set of business capabilities that IT needs to deliver that will help move the company forward and achieve its goals,” says Tonnesen.
IT MANAGER OF THE YEAR
IT manager uses Oracle grid technology to manage data and support treasure seekers.
Although Hai Wang’s official job is director of data platforms for China’s Taobao.com, his real job is to enable Taobao.com’s users to buy and sell “treasure.”
Taobao.com, whose motto is that there is no treasure that cannot be found and no treasure that cannot be sold, is the largest consumer-to-consumer auction and business-to-consumer e-commerce Web site in China. With more than 62 million registered members, market share of 70 to 80 percent, and transaction turnover of US$6.2 billion for 2007, buying and selling treasure is big business for Taobao.com.
Facilitating the buying and selling of treasure also translates into the need to manage huge amounts of data effectively.
Wang, Oracle Magazine ’s IT Manager of the Year, led the data platforms team that designed and implemented the data warehouse and business intelligence platforms, based on an Oracle grid stack including Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC), Oracle Automatic Storage Management (a feature of Oracle Database), and Oracle Clusterware, that power the site.
“Our biggest challenge is managing hundreds of terabytes of data,” says Wang. “On one hand, we need to ensure system performance and stability, while on the other hand, we need to be able to mine intelligence from the data.”
All of Taobao.com’s systems are built on a combination of Java- and Oracle-based architecture, with the main data warehouse running on a 12-node Oracle RAC system.
With a huge number of registered users, transaction volume already comparable to eBay, and annual growth of 50 percent, scalability and high availability were important design criteria for Wang and a key reason Taobao.com chose Oracle RAC for constructing its data warehouse solution.
Taobao.com is also using Oracle data warehouse technology to offer personalized recommendations to every auction bidder, as well as analysis tools to the sellers—features that help to increase transaction volumes significantly as well as improve customer retention.
Wang is an Oracle ACE and an active advisor on the Oracle forum at www.itpub.net, the largest independent IT community in China. He continues to sharpen and share his technical knowledge with others, and he believes that successful IT managers need to work closely with business leaders.
“Today’s IT managers need to have a sharp business sense, understand ROI [return on investment] analysis, communicate using business language, and have strong technology innovation capabilities,” says Wang. “But they also need business creativity.”
GREEN IT ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR
Architect shows how making good business decisions leads to “green” success.
Jan Shook, Oracle Magazine ’s Green IT Architect of the Year, didn’t set out to create one of Verizon Wireless’ greenest IT projects. But somewhere along the way on a recent upgrade project, he and his team reduced power requirements by well over 90 percent.
“We didn’t start off as a green project,” says Shook, principal architect on the fraud team at Verizon Wireless. “We were simply trying to make good business decisions.”
Shook and his team were responsible for redesigning Verizon Wireless’ FraudPlus application, which scans 2.5 billion phone records daily to identify fraudulent activity.
The solution uses Oracle SOA Suite, Oracle Containers for J2EE, Oracle Database, and a custom alarm engine. “We’re now process-centric with Oracle BPEL Process Manager and policy-based with the [Oracle] Business Rules engine, which is important from a business perspective,” says Shook. “Instead of everything being hard coded, it’s now very flexible.”
Shook’s redesigned Oracle-based system uses about 95 percent less power—from about 200,000 watts per hour to about 5,000—as a result of migrating from roughly 6 tons of legacy hardware to about 150 pounds of new equipment. The system “significantly reduces power consumption and lowers capital requirements while still supporting huge volumes that grow year after year,” Shook says.
SOA GOVERNANCE ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR
SOA governance ensures standards for infrastructure, technical services, and data elements, architect says.
Implementing any new technology can get sticky—but that doesn’t mean you don’t need glue. In fact, the Zurich Financial Services Group, which operates in 170 countries with 58,000 employees, relies on service-oriented architecture (SOA) governance and Oracle Enterprise Repository as the glue for its SOA implementation.
“SOA governance is the critical glue between our technical services architecture and our business architecture,” says Bryan A. Mjaanes, vice president, Zurich, and Oracle Magazine ’s SOA Governance Architect of the Year. “It makes sure the services we implement are using the standard infrastructure and standard technical service contract, as well as supporting standard service design and data elements.”
Oracle Enterprise Repository provides visibility into the company’s SOA infrastructure and facilitates reuse and IT/business alignment. The result? Faster time to market, reduced costs, increased flexibility, and improved business and IT alignment.
Implementing SOA and SOA governance correctly takes more than technology—it also takes knowledgeable professionals who can build effective SOA solutions. “Everyone’s been very pleased with the quality of the products and the professionalism of the staff from Oracle,” says Mjaanes. “That’s one of the reasons Oracle is an emerging key supplier for Zurich globally.”
PL/SQL DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR
Developer works with 250,000 lines of PL/SQL code that deliver success.
Successful PL/SQL developers require more than just good technical knowledge, according to Alex De Vergori, Oracle Magazine ’s PL/SQL Developer of the Year.
“They also need fine attention to detail, a passion about what they’re doing, and a high degree of pride in the software that they’re producing,” says De Vergori, a database architect who channels those skills at Betfair, an online gaming company that pioneered the concept of betting exchanges in 2000.
To manage customers’ bets, De Vergori and the Betfair team have created a core betting engine and business logic that encompass more than 250,000 lines of PL/SQL code. The Betfair solution runs on Oracle Database using distributed databases around the world and an Oracle data warehouse running Oracle Real Application Clusters. Betfair also uses Oracle Coherence for its in-memory distributed data caching requirements, Java for its middle tier, and Ajax for its front-end applications.
“We take in excess of five million transactions a day, and they all go straight through to the database, where those bets match with other transactions in real time,” says De Vergori. “At peak, we can easily see something like 1,000 bet transactions per second. With Oracle, our growth has been exponential, so that has enabled us to succeed in our market.”
ORACLE ENTERPRISE MANAGER ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR
Architect uses Oracle Enterprise Manager to improve efficiency, consistency, and service.
If you think it’s tough keeping your car clean, maintained, and serviced correctly, try managing about a million cars.
That’s essentially what John Young and his team at Enterprise Rent-A-Car have to do. As lead DBA and Oracle Magazine ’s Oracle Enterprise Manager Architect of the Year, Young heads a team responsible for managing the databases for applications and systems that facilitate buying, moving, maintaining, insuring, renting, and eventually selling the approximately 1 million cars in the Enterprise Rent-A-Car fleet. He relies on Oracle Enterprise Manager.
“Oracle Enterprise Manager is helping us keep track of our software and systems, including managing what’s installed,” says Young. “Instead of going to each server, we can easily go to Oracle Enterprise Manager and run reports.” When you’re managing more than 400 systems and applications, including most of the company’s core business systems such as its car rental application and internet reservation application, consistency and efficiency are important.
“Oracle Enterprise Manager enables us to deliver increased uptime and better service for our application users and the business,” says Young.
SECURITY ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR
Architect finds that better security improves IT administration and enhances the user experience.
Maintaining centralized control of security, governance, and compliance while also empowering individual departments to take management responsibility for their own applications is difficult. But because of Lynn Hersey-Miller and her team, the State of Delaware doesn’t have that problem. That’s because Hersey-Miller, Oracle Magazine ’s Security Architect of the Year, implemented an Oracle Identity and Access Management solution.
“While we have many centralized applications, their administration is decentralized,” says Hersey-Miller, who as chief program officer manages the Office of Major Projects at the Department of Technology and Information (DTI) for the State. The combined budgets of the initiatives managed by the office exceed US$200 million.
“Using Oracle Identity and Access Management is a win/win, because the individual applications can be administered by our agencies at the same time that we implement standardized security processes across the entire enterprise infrastructure,” says Hersey-Miller.
Hersey-Miller and her team implemented a centralized identity management system to facilitate moving more than 15,000 state employees to an online open enrollment application for the selection of healthcare plans and benefits. Oracle Identity and Access Management was chosen, both as the basis for the project and for future access and identity management needs.
Since the system went live in February 2007, the State of Delaware has expanded its use of Oracle Identity and Access Management. Now approximately 35,000 users across multiple systems use it. The result has been not only an enhanced user experience but also much easier IT administration, which is especially important because the DTI partners with different agencies that manage individual applications.
Although Hersey-Miller and her team considered the huge project cutting-edge when it started, the State was able to go live with its identity and access management solution in just over six months.
“Part of our success with this project is attributable to our participation in Oracle’s customer relationship program and the very good working relationship we have with Oracle,” says Hersey-Miller. “It’s been very beneficial. Another part of our success was the outstanding teamwork across our department.”
The results have been impressive—especially when it comes to compliance.
“Oracle Identity and Access Management has helped us to increase our security standards and address a major governance issue,” says Hersey-Miller. “Now we have set a standard for all applications, with a centralized and robust governance structure.”
In addition, there’s the benefit of reduced complexity of application security. “Before, each application used to have its own security table and management processes,” says Hersey-Miller. “But now we have a centralized and standard way to manage users and security. It reduces redundancy.”
DBA OF THE YEAR
DBA finds new ways and new technologies to solve old problems.
When it comes to solving tough IT and business problems, Plamen Zyumbyulev, Oracle Magazine ’s DBA of the Year, looks to Albert Einstein for guidance. Zyumbyulev, the lead DBA for Bulgaria’s Mobiltel telecommunications company, agrees with the physicist’s statement, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” For Zyumbyulev that means using new approaches to solve increasingly complex business problems.
Mobiltel, part of Mobilkom Austria Group, is the biggest telecommunications company in Bulgaria, with more than 5 million customers who expect advanced mobile services such as mobile internet access and content management systems. Zyumbyulev’s three critical business needs are flexibility, effectiveness, and providing better service, and he has aggressively leveraged new technologies such as Oracle Database 11g and Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC) to achieve these goals and help keep up with the rapid rate of business change.
“The pace of business growth has become faster and faster, and we’ve had to create more and more databases and, of course, take care of them,” Zyumbyulev says. “But in the last four years, we have not had an increase in DBA staff. I realized that we could not keep working with the same concepts and be effective and efficient. So that’s when we decided that we would embrace the idea of grid computing and automation simplification—we would think of the whole infrastructure as if it’s one virtual environment grid.”
The change has fundamentally shifted how Zyumbyulev’s team approaches IT. “We’ve heavily invested in knowledge, understanding, and new technologies,” Zyumbyulev says. “The result is that today we spend less time in day-to-day activities like checking file systems and monitoring resources, and more time in preserving the performance of the applications and anticipating the future.”
Grid computing allows Mobiltel to consolidate a lot of services onto a smaller number of databases. “It’s similar to using virtual machines, but with this approach we only have to manage one database instead of many operating systems—there is no additional memory overhead, and one service can run simultaneously on more than one physical machine,” says Zyumbyulev. “With Oracle Database and Oracle RAC, we can serve the business much faster than before, from weeks down to half an hour. It’s that real.”
APPLICATIONS IMPLEMENTER OF THE YEAR
Applications implementer succeeds—in a hurry.
Torsten Minkwitz, Oracle Magazine ’s Applications Implementer of the Year and head of IT solutions for customers and products at T-Home, a fixed-line division of Deutsche Telekom AG, had to make a big fix quickly. Deutsche Telekom was moving rapidly to expand and transform its business by revamping its infrastructure, bundling new services, and providing world-class customer service. But succeeding in those areas required a flexible customer relationship management (CRM) system. That’s why T-Home implemented Oracle’s Siebel Call Center (now Oracle’s Siebel Contact Center) running on Oracle Database and Oracle Real Application Clusters. Although the implementation of the new CRM system was one of the company’s most complex IT projects, it was completed quickly.
“From the moment we switched on the system, we had to be able to accommodate 20,000 concurrent users,” says Minkwitz. “Since we’re in such a competitive environment, we needed to move quickly. We had to invest more in testing, but I believe we saved one to two years compared to traditional approaches.” The new system manages 40 million customer data records, is used by 25,000 concurrent users in call centers and points of sale, and has 500,000 business transactions per day. “The first time I saw 90,000 orders being processed, I sent an e-mail to the project team saying, 'We did it.’ It was a satisfying moment,” Minkwitz says.
SOA ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR
Director saves time and overcomes legacy integrations with SOA.
For Himanshu Parikh, Oracle Magazine ’s SOA Architect of the Year, the key benefits of SOA are scalability, reliability, and time to market.
Parikh, director of enterprise architecture and compliance at Ross Stores, has more than 12 years of experience in retail functional and technical domains. Using his experience in retail IT, Parikh applied a service-oriented architecture (SOA) to drive the maturity of Ross’ retail systems.
Before SOA, Ross found itself deploying more point-to-point integrations among its applications and systems. “The solution,” determined Parikh, “was a service-oriented-architecture approach to help modernize our legacy integration architecture and provide an application platform to help with future growth.”
Ross has successfully deployed two SOA-based solutions. “We leveraged the entire Oracle SOA Suite, including Oracle BPEL Process Manager, Oracle Service Bus, Oracle Data Integrator, and more,” says Parikh. “Using those solutions, we have built what we call a set of composite application integration patterns.”
“Oracle support of SOA architecture has been really great,” Parikh says. “Through SOA our systems’ scalability, reliability, and time to market have improved, since we’re not starting from step one all the time. We are able to reuse previously developed services and save time by adopting a design pattern-based approach and central governance for architecture.”
ORACLE FUSION MIDDLEWARE DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR
Developer finds that integration opens a new world for customers.
For Nathalie Roman, Oracle Magazine ’s Oracle Fusion Middleware Developer of the Year, integration is everything.
“One technology solution that’s made a big difference to me and my customers is Oracle SOA Suite,” says Roman, who is head of the iAdvise Oracle Fusion Middleware Competence Team. “Now we can integrate everything, so we have a wide-open world to connect with. It’s great.” When governing SOA projects, Roman suggests that developers think about business processes and services instead of custom or siloed applications.
“For a successful project, we create a team of motivated and skilled people from IT, as well as the business, to kick off a center of excellence,” says Roman. “Using this center of excellence, we create a proof of concept to show how service-oriented architecture can offer an enterprisewide solution using a standardized approach.” Although learning how to master new technologies can be overwhelming for some people, Roman, who is also an Oracle ACE director, says it’s not that hard—especially when you’re using solutions like Oracle SOA Suite and Oracle Business Process Analysis Suite.
“You can start with the demos and tutorials, picking and choosing what solutions you want to use,” says Roman. “That’s one of the reasons that Oracle’s so great—all the tools are integrated.”
ENTERPRISE DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR
Developer fights segmentation and brings Microsoft .NET and Oracle together.
Sometimes two great things are better when put together. For Bill Evjen, Oracle Magazine ’s Enterprise Developer of the Year, that’s especially true for database and development teams, or .NET and Oracle.
“People make a tremendous mistake by segmenting database teams and development teams,” says Evjen, technical architect at Lipper, a subsidiary of Thompson Reuters that provides news, information, and analytical tools to the financial industry. “By doing that, productivity wanes and you’ll see solutions that aren’t exactly what you’re looking for. When you’re doing enterprise-level solutions, you need to have an integration of those two teams so that everyone can understand each other’s needs and goals.”
Evjen spends a lot of time optimizing mission-critical development efforts that span .NET clients to enterprise Oracle databases. His goal is to create applications that provide the analysis customers need from the mountain of data that Lipper maintains. “Using .NET and Oracle together has worked excellently for us. We can move a tremendous amount of data quickly from our databases to our end clients,” he says. “We’ve found that Oracle Data Provider for .NET is the best data provider for making that link between .NET and the Oracle database—in terms of functionality, performance, and flexibility.”
ENTERPRISE PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR
Architect delivers the right information to the right people at the right time.
Content management might be just another technology to some companies, but not at Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Creating enterprise performance management solutions that can help companies achieve their business objectives requires finely tuned technologies. It also requires a solid understanding of business goals, according to Manoj Bohra, director of business intelligence and development at Merrill Lynch and Oracle Magazine ’s Enterprise Performance Management Architect of the Year. “You need to figure out what the business objectives are, and then come up with a high-level design that can be implemented using appropriate technologies,” he says.
For Merrill Lynch, the appropriate technologies to help deliver the right information to the right users at the right time include Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Enterprise Edition Plus; Oracle Essbase; Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Management; Oracle Applications; and an Oracle data warehouse. “Our data warehouse is updated from our Oracle Applications, with a latency of only a few minutes,” says Bohra. “It’s a very aggressive data warehouse environment powered by highly aggregated Oracle Essbase reporting cubes.” The data can then be reported using Oracle Essbase and Oracle tools, leveraging back-end Oracle databases.
“In the past, users were busy collecting information instead of analyzing it,” says Bohra. “Now, the information is available to them, so they have enough time for analysis. It’s a major shift.”
DATA WAREHOUSE ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR
Architect finds the business gold for customers using Oracle Database and Oracle data warehouse solutions.
Strategic growth requires a flexible IT infrastructure. Yet most organizations still have too many individual systems and unintegrated business processes hampering rapid growth.
To Hannes van Rooyen, Oracle Magazine ’s Data Warehouse Architect of the Year, an average business day involves helping his telecommunications customers to digest billions of call detail records (CDRs) that originate from their network equipment and to mine these mountains of data for veins of business gold.
“Until recently, the primary challenge that prevented most operators from unlocking the intelligence within their CDRs was the sheer volume of data and the costs associated with managing this,” says van Rooyen, chief architect for LGR Telecommunications. Using Oracle Database and Oracle data warehousing, the company has developed a powerful CDR solution that is used by AT&T, Telstra, and Vodafone, among others, for extraction, transformation, analysis, and reporting of all the data coming from telecommunications equipment.
“We chose to use Oracle for our data warehouses because we could get the scalability we needed, and Oracle provided us with the tools and support to get our job done,” says van Rooyen. The choice has helped LGR succeed. “When Oracle came out with partitioning, it just catapulted us into a different world,” van Rooyen says. “It’s bulletproof in the environments we’re running it in. Together with solutions such as Oracle Real Application Clusters, it allows us to provide a highly scalable and extremely powerful solution that is world-beating.”
USER GROUP EVANGELIST OF THE YEAR 2008
Evangelist works to help members succeed and groups flourish.
Ask Debra Lilley, Oracle Magazine ’s User Group Evangelist of the Year, what she thinks about the U.K. Oracle User Group (UKOUG). She’ll tell you.
“It’s the best in the world,” says Lilley, a principal business consultant for Fujitsu Services and deputy chair of the UKOUG. “We serve the entire Oracle community, not just individual products or technology.”
She’s also worked to enrich others. For example, she’s helped the International Oracle Users Group Community (IOUC) create initiatives that have brought together volunteers representing groups around the world to work together for the good of all the community.
“While user groups should be independent, I also think they should support each other and share information whenever possible,” says Lilley. “And interacting with Oracle at this level means we get more of their collective time.”
Lilley is proud of her award, and she specifically thanks Fujitsu for its support. Still, the real benefit from her efforts comes from member feedback.
“I love it when someone says to me, 'I heard you say this, and I went back and tried it,’ or, 'It really helped us in what we were doing,’” says Lilley. “I get a big kick out of being able to help people make decisions and use their Oracle solutions better.”
Lilley admits that one of the attributes that makes her a good evangelist is her tendency to be straight-talking.
“I’m not afraid to give the independent comment even when controversial,” says Lilley, “but I’m also good at motivating other people to come together and do things in a coordinated fashion. Throughout the years, we’ve been able to encourage and motivate volunteers to take part in small and large initiatives that they can accomplish with others in the group.”
Being so involved in the user group community takes up a substantial portion of Lilley’s time, but she feels that it’s time well-spent—what else is there to do in the evenings when she’s on the road with her &lsqo;day job’?
“Through UKOUG and the wider user group community, I have found a lot of like-minded people willing to help and support, and not just when related to Oracle,” says Lilley. “I have made many true friends.”
CONTENT MANAGEMENT ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR
Architect counts on Oracle to help keep the content that’s valuable and pertinent.
For most organizations, content management comes down to putting systems in place to manage, index, and retrieve a wide variety of documents, files, and other content. But for Jim McKenney, Oracle Magazine ’s Content Management Architect of the Year, the first step in creating a good content management solution is deciding what to throw away.
“You actually don’t want to keep everything, because that’s a liability. It’s got risk. You want to keep information that’s valuable, pertinent, and has direct value to the end users,” says McKenney, senior systems analyst for the City of Kent, Washington. The city, which started processing 30,000 pages per month into five applications in 2001, is now processing up to 130,000 pages per month into more than 100 applications using Oracle Enterprise Content Management Suite.
Since 2001, McKenney has helped transform a limited imaging implementation into a nationally recognized repository using records management principles. A key component of his success has been Oracle content management technologies and the stability of the solution.
“It’s been reliable,” says McKenney. “We haven’t had any downtime in about three years. It’s been up 24/7, and it’s just been rock solid.”
EMBEDDED ARCHITECTS OF THE YEAR
Architects depend on Oracle Database for performance, scalability, and high availability.
Designing carrier-grade embedded systems is hard enough. But Omnifone, Europe’s leading direct-to-mobile unlimited music download service provider, must also deliver a superior user experience across a rapidly changing set of mobile devices while ensuring the system’s availability, scalability, and reliability. Phil Sant, Omnifone’s chief operating officer, and Mark Knight, chief architect, do just that. They are Oracle Magazine ’s Embedded Architects of the Year.
Omnifone’s MusicStation allows mobile network operators to provide a music download service and enables them to leverage their networks and billing relationships. Sant and Knight built MusicStation to provide the performance, scalability, and availability characteristics the network operators need to deliver service to millions of subscribers. For the MusicStation server, “We use an embedded Oracle Real Application Clusters 10g database to roll out rapidly scalable mobile music services with a multimillion-track catalog delivered instantly on an unlimited basis across virtually all mobile handsets,” says Knight. The company embeds the Oracle technology within MusicStation, which minimizes their customers’ cost of ownership by eliminating database administration and installation.
“Oracle technologies are particularly well suited to our requirements,” says Knight, “because embedded systems must be totally reliable and not ever fail.”
ORACLE FUSION MIDDLEWARE ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR
SOA infrastructure creates agile IT, architect finds.
Business success requires IT systems that can support constant change. To Paul Citarella, director of enterprise architecture at Synapse Group and Oracle Magazine ’s Oracle Fusion Middleware Architect of the Year, the best way to accommodate that constant change is to embrace service-oriented architecture (SOA) and the Oracle SOA Suite platform.
“SOA was a natural fit for us, since our business model is fueled by continuous innovation and requires an IT landscape that is designed from the ground up for agility,” says Citarella, whose company is the largest marketer of magazine subscriptions in the United States. “We find specifically with loyalty marketing that offers tend to get stale quickly. The only way to compete is to innovate.”
Synapse used Oracle SOA Suite to deploy the first phase of its SOA strategy, providing the core of the company’s SOA infrastructure, which included the service bus, the data services platform, and more. Phase two completed a customer self-service Web presence enabled by SOA.
“Our SOA-based Web presence offers our customers another convenient channel for customer support while reducing the need for costly live agents,” says Citarella. “That’s a benefit for both our customers and Synapse.”
ORACLE APPLICATION EXPRESS DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR
Developer finds a supportive community and powerful functionality in Oracle Application Express.
Denes Kubicek, Oracle Magazine ’s Oracle Application Express Developer of the Year, doesn’t just love Oracle Application Express; he also loves the community that’s grown up around it.
“The Oracle Application Express community is very special,” says Kubicek, an Oracle Application Express consultant who works for T-Systems, BASF, and others. “There are a lot of very nice and knowledgeable people who help motivate me to get involved and contribute.”
Kubicek started a blog in 2007 (www.deneskubicek.blogspot.com), where he’s posted a popular demo application. He’s answered more than 3,000 Oracle Application Express questions in the Oracle Forum (forums.oracle.com/forums/forum.jspa?forumID=137). He’s also created more than 200 examples of specific Oracle Application Express solutions, with full explanations and step-by-step guidelines, which are posted in the Oracle Forum as well.
“Oracle Application Express gives you the capability to create powerful applications in a short time,” says Kubicek. “It doesn’t require a huge investment of time or money.”
Kubicek doesn’t see any limitations to Oracle Application Express. “I haven’t seen a requirement for an application that couldn’t be done with Oracle Application Express,” he says. “It’s suitable for IT development as well as mission-critical applications.”