As Published In
Oracle Magazine
September/October 2009

CHANNELS: Peer-to-Peer

Mind Your Business

By Blair Campbell

Three Oracle ACEs who recognize the value of understanding the enterprise

Karen Brownfield

Peer Specs


 Company: Solution Beacon, a firm specializing in enterprise management systems and technologies, with a focus on Oracle Applications

 Job title/description: Solution architect, working with clients to improve their use of Oracle applications

 Location: Atlanta, Georgia

 Oracle credentials: Oracle Implementation Champion and Oracle Presales Champion, with 19 years of experience using Oracle products

Oracle ACE
Oracle ACE

Which new Oracle products or features are you finding most valuable? I’d say Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher, because it enables me to tailor a report without knowing how to use Oracle Reports. For the applications, the most valuable features are the new Oracle Subledger Accounting engine in Oracle E-Business Suite and the Oracle Approvals Management engine.

You’ve taken Oracle University classes in the past. What led you to do this? I turned to these classes because I needed to dedicate time to learning an application quickly, while avoiding the pain of trial and error. I find that I learn just as much from the other students in the room as from the instructor and materials.

What would you like to see Oracle, as a company, do differently? As Oracle acquires more companies, it would be great to see more-obvious “It used to be called . . . and now it’s called . . . ” types of information. But I must add that the information that is available for each product is amazing and much appreciated.

Eric Helmer

Peer Specs


 Company: Hackett Technology Solutions, a global strategic advisory firm

 Job title/description: Director, infrastructure practice, responsible for advising clients’ IT departments

 Location: Dallas, Texas

 Length of time using Oracle products: 8 years

Oracle ACE
Oracle ACE

What advice do you have about getting into Oracle technology? A great place to start is to get Oracle certified. It’s also important to get experience in the major enterprise systems that employers are looking for, such as business intelligence, ERP [enterprise resource planning], and CRM [customer relationship management].

Does that advice hold true even in a tough economy? Definitely. These are the technologies that are mission critical to companies even in down economies, and technical skills needed to maintain them are hard to find. System administrators can no longer simply keep the machines running; they must be intimately familiar with the applications from a business and end-user perspective.

What are your favorite activities outside of work? I’m an avid IT blogger. All too often we see companies purchase major strategic solutions, and suddenly an unsuspecting IT department gets blindsided by the need to implement software they’ve never heard of, almost overnight. I’ve been there, so my mission is to help others by sharing knowledge and getting them up to speed as quickly as possible.

Dimitri Gielis

Peer Specs


 Company: Apex Evangelists, an IT consulting firm specializing in Oracle Application Express

 Job title/description: Director and cofounder, managing the firm’s day-to-day operations

 Location: Louvain, Belgium

 Oracle credentials: Oracle Certified DBA (Oracle8i, Oracle9i, Oracle Database 10g) with 12 years of experience using Oracle products

Oracle ACE Director
Oracle ACE Director

Which capabilities in Oracle Database are you finding most valuable? Oracle Flashback. With every new release, you’re able to recover more—and more quickly. In addition, Oracle Application Express is another very valuable feature. It provides you with a real development environment from directly within the database. No need to get any other software; just connect with your browser to your database, develop an application, and send the URL to everybody you want to have use it.

What technology has most changed your life? Oracle Database holds a special place in my heart. I always try to do everything in the database. For example, I can easily store my files inside the database and access them through FTP or WebDAV.

If you were going to the International Space Station for six months and could only take one Oracle reference book, what would it be? One of Tom Kyte’s books. Tom always explains why things happen the way they do. Even more important, he proves what he says with real examples, so you’re able to test it in your own environment.