Editors’ Choice Awards 2010: Delivering InnovationBy David A. Kelly
Leaders and teams who deploy technology to give their organizations a competitive advantage, improve customer satisfaction, and increase profitability are all worthy of recognition. This year, 27 innovators have earned our stamp of excellence as the winners of Oracle Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Awards. The winners of our ninth annual awards come from every corner of the globe and span diverse job roles and technology areas, but they have at least one thing in common: the drive for excellence. We are honored to feature them on these pages. —The Editors
27 WinnersRajeev Agrawal
Francisco Munoz Alvarez
CIO of the Year, Latin America
CIO helms technological transformation to support business growth.
When Alexandre Vasconcellos, CIO of Brazil’s largest retailer and Oracle Magazine’s CIO of the Year for Latin America, initiated a massive project to convert the company from using customized, internally developed applications to an off-the-shelf Oracle Retail solution, he thought more about the company’s employees than the technology challenges.
“This was not an IT project,” says Vasconcellos, CIO of Grupo Pão de Açúcar, a US$20-billion-a-year retailer of everything from groceries to clothes to electronics. “It was a change in the management model for the company, supported by a new system.”
Over the past 60 years, Grupo Pão de Açúcar has grown from a small bakery to a major food and specialty retailer with more than 1,300 stores across Brazil. It’s a sophisticated multicategory business, with convenience stores, grocery stores, gas stations, electronics stores, and even e-commerce operations. As the company expanded rapidly into lines of business, management realized it needed more-sophisticated software.
“We needed a packaged solution for retail that would cover a multiformat, multicategory business and enable us to speed up our infrastructure, systems, and business processes,” says Vasconcellos. “After evaluating different options, our team decided Oracle Retail was the best choice.”
The company committed to a three-year process of technological transformation called “The Future of Retail,” which started in November 2008 when Grupo Pão de Açúcar acquired an unlimited licensing agreement for Oracle Retail applications.
“We took a change management approach that allowed us to reduce the customization to less than 2 percent,” says Vasconcellos. “We were very successful in having our users adopt Oracle concepts while still achieving their business objectives.”
For Vasconcellos and Grupo Pão de Açúcar, shifting the focus from technology to business processes and from customized internal systems to Oracle Retail has already delivered benefits. The pilot project completed with the group’s pet supply business showed an opportunity to eliminate seven days’ worth of inventory. And so far, sales figures are showing that reducing inventory hasn’t damaged business. In fact, sales have increased. In addition, the new solution has decreased out-of-stock occurrences by 50 percent. Completing the rollout to all the company’s businesses will make it possible to save an estimated US$300 million.
“Now that they see the results, everyone in the company is aligned with our targets because it means a lot of money,” says Vasconcellos, who says credit for the project’s success is due in part to his team sharing ownership of the change. “It’s a program that’s enabled our employees to transform themselves from passengers into pilots. We want our people to drive the change.”
CIO of the Year, Asia Pacific
IT fundamentals help drive growth.
No one ever said building the right technology infrastructure was easy. Especially for a HK$160 billion Fortune 500 company like China Resources (Holdings) Co., Ltd.
“Managing the information technology for a company like China Resources, whose core businesses cover many industries, is very challenging,” says Peihui Wang, general manager of the Information Management Department at China Resources and Oracle Magazine’s CIO of the Year for Asia Pacific. “But even though it’s complicated, I’m proud to be leading a team that’s helping to establish comprehensive IT solutions that strengthen the fundamentals of our company.” Wang adds that both the chairman of the board and the CEO of China Resources pay close attention to the company’s information architecture and provide support and understanding to her department. “Their support continuously encourages us to keep moving forward,” she says.
China Resources traces its roots back to 1938, when it was established in Hong Kong. The company’s businesses range from consumer goods to power, real estate, medicine, gas, and finance.
Like many companies in the Asia Pacific region, China Resources has been growing rapidly; its turnover has quadrupled in the past eight years. That pace of growth requires an agile and enterprise-oriented IT infrastructure. In the past, China Resources had used a combination of global and local enterprise resource planning and custom-developed applications. As a result, the overall IT infrastructure was very fragmented and could not support the company’s fast business growth.
However, in the past 24 months, Wang and her team have undertaken the creation of an enterprise infrastructure that can help integrate business processes. The new strategy is aligned around 12 key horizontal IT projects that will be rolled out across the company over the next three years. Tying these projects and the underlying IT strategy together is a collection of comprehensive solutions including Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition and Oracle E-Business Suite.
”My goal is for our new IT systems to provide faster, more flexible, and greater alignment with the business,” says Wang. “The solutions and practical management best practices provided by Oracle are very valuable for China Resources, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Oracle.”
Making the right technical decisions to effect this type of massive change within an organization requires more than just a solid understanding of technology. While in the past many CIOs focused primarily on providing technical support to the business, Wang sees the role very differently today, especially as companies have become increasingly complex and far-reaching, like China Resources.
“CIOs need to devote their attention to the improvement of IT systems to match their companies’ strategic plan and drive the innovation to strengthen companies’ profitability and competitive strength,” says Wang.
CIO of the Year, Japan
Technology leader balances strong traditions with an eye on the future.
Sometimes, big things can start small, like Panasonic.
Since the company’s founder invented a simple yet elegant two-way socket light fixture in 1918, Panasonic has grown to be a leading global consumer electronics company whose mission has always been to contribute to progress and development and to the well-being of people worldwide.
Yasutomo Fukui, CIO of Panasonic and Oracle Magazine’s CIO of the Year for Japan, continues the company’s tradition of putting the needs of the customers first. For Fukui, that means focusing his employees on innovation and business opportunities instead of simply on technology details. “I want my IT organization and employees to focus more on process innovation, which should be their core competence, rather than individual system development,” says Fukui.
One of Fukui’s goals is to transform the values of Panasonic’s information systems department, including the way employees work and think, to shift them from focusing primarily on technology to a more holistic and business-oriented approach.
To do that, Fukui is using his leadership capabilities to help distinguish between core and noncore objectives for the information systems group. “My goal is to retain and further improve our core competencies and differentiators such as expertise in best-in-class supply/demand visibility systems and cost management systems,” says Fukui, “while leveraging as many generic and packaged solutions from third-party suppliers as possible for noncore tasks such as enterprise resource planning and cloud.”
Oracle plays an important part in Panasonic’s efficient IT infrastructure—not only does the organization run Oracle Database and Oracle E-Business Suite, but it’s also starting to use Oracle On Demand in critical areas such as supply chain and production management. “Oracle On Demand allows my organization to focus on its core competencies and process innovation,” says Fukui, “instead of infrastructure issues.”
An important component of Fukui’s strategy is standardization of the company’s enterprise architecture and processes so they align with business processes. “Standardization of our infrastructure, processes, and data will serve as a common language throughout our company so the IT organization can orchestrate a true business collaboration between management and staff,” he says.
Building next-generation enterprise IT infrastructure solutions requires some perspective on where technology is headed and what customers want, so Fukui is an active user of social networking services such as Twitter and Facebook. “Participating via social media provides insight into many areas, including one-to-one customer relationship management,” says Fukui. “I also find it’s interesting because it’s usually a reverse stream of knowledge, with older people learning from younger people. It’s a great way to stay up-to-date.”
CIO of the Year, Europe, Middle East, and Africa
Information is healthcare’s lifeblood.
Rob James, group CIO of the US$45 billion Swiss healthcare leader Novartis and Oracle Magazine’s CIO of the Year for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, is constantly thinking about opportunities to better help patients. “What gets me fired up in the morning is the potential for enabling better patient outcomes as the healthcare value chain becomes increasingly digitized,” says James.
Doing that requires an IT infrastructure that supports business innovation, delivers market insight, and establishes integrated data management, while still ensuring efficiency and compliance.
“We have to have the right foundation, with reliable IT infrastructure and application platforms that allow us to take concepts from early drug discovery and manufacturing through the commercialization process to markets worldwide,” says James. “That means managing and mining vast amounts of data to really gain the types of insight we need.”
To do that, James and his organization are on a journey to take IT to the next level. For example, technology advances in social media, monitoring devices, and ways of making data available to physicians are offering new ways to help physicians improve patient outcomes in areas such as compliance and health monitoring. “Increasingly,” James says, “we are seeing new and exciting opportunities to positively make an impact.”
Making a substantial positive impact in an area like healthcare often takes a team. That’s why James is also excited about Novartis’ partnership with Oracle.
“Oracle maintains a strong focus on healthcare and is committed to innovation and willing to step up as a strategic partner,” says James. “Novartis has made a big commitment to Oracle as a technology standard, especially with Oracle Clinical and Oracle Fusion Middleware. These applications will help increase innovation and drive efficiency. We have invested in a long-term program to implement leading-edge clinical data systems with Oracle that give us the ability to manage and gain better insights from the many clinical trials we run and help our company bring important drugs to market faster.”
As good as the new technologies are, James doesn’t lose sight of the ultimate goal and the reasons why Novartis is pushing the IT envelope.
“In a nutshell, I believe that the right IT solutions can make a big difference in peoples’ lives,” says James. “I’m humbled to work for Novartis, whose work positively impacts the health of millions of people and in many cases saves lives. And it is great to have Oracle with us on the journey.”
CIO of the Year, North America
For this CIO, doing well means doing more.
“Success breeds more work,” says Norm Fjeldheim, senior vice president and CIO of Qualcomm and Oracle Magazine’s CIO of the Year for North America. During the past few years, a number of operational processes—from contracts and vendor management to help desk functions—have moved into Qualcomm’s IT group, Fjeldheim explains. “Our business units are happy with how effective and efficient our IT organization is and feel that we can manage some business processes cheaper and faster than the businesses are able to do themselves.”
Qualcomm, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, has evolved into the mobile phone industry’s largest chip supplier. However, all that growth means new challenges for the IT organization, especially as it grows its operations around the world.
“Qualcomm has been growing its global presence, and IT is following suit,” says Fjeldheim. “We’re also becoming a much more global organization, with IT teams on every continent except Africa and Antarctica. To compete, you need to have systems that perform globally.”
For Qualcomm, that has meant rolling out its Oracle-technology-based business platforms around the world. Qualcomm’s Oracle footprint includes everything from Oracle Database to Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle’s Agile product lifecycle management, Hyperion, supply chain management, and business intelligence applications. As Qualcomm expands its global operations, consistent and integrated metrics and analytics are becoming more important, as are applications that help teams communicate and collaborate.
“We were growing our products and customers at double-digit rates, and the systems we had previously couldn’t keep up. Implementing Oracle was something that was necessary just to keep the business going,” says Fjeldheim.
As with most companies, cost management is critical for Qualcomm’s success, which is why its implementation of Oracle solutions is particularly important. “Going with a single vendor and single solution really helped us manage our costs more effectively,” says Fjeldheim.
From a CIO perspective, part of Fjeldheim’s success has been developing a partnership with Qualcomm’s business leaders. A key component of that relationship is having the IT budget be part of the budget for each functional area. “Setting it up this way gets the business very involved with IT because it’s part of their budget process,” says Fjeldheim. “They have a great deal of control over the projects, priorities, and spending with the IT group that’s specific to them.”
But Fjeldheim hasn’t achieved his success alone. “I couldn’t have done all this without the great team I have,” he says. “I’ve been very fortunate to have really talented people working with me at all layers of the organization.”
CTO of the Year
Veteran technologist loves the work of choosing the best products for her company.
Perhaps it helps that she lives in Hawaii, but Ipolani Tano, vice president and CIO of electronics payment leader VeriFone and Oracle Magazine’s CTO of the Year, loves getting up to go to work each day.
“It’s a great job. I get to work with the newest technologies and people who are the best and the brightest. And they pay me to do that!” says Tano, who started at VeriFone in 1986 as the company’s 75th employee. Back in the 1980s, VeriFone literally created the electronic payments industry when it started offering little gray boxes with modems that could call out to banks to authorize credit cards presented for payment. The company now has millions of highly sophisticated devices deployed around the world, in everything from checkout registers to taxi cabs to gas pumps—all enabling electronic purchases.
Although Tano started in an engineering consultant capacity, she has since done just about every job in the company, from R&D to technical communications to marketing. Her role now is to ensure that VeriFone acquires the best technology and applications to run its business, as well as integrate new acquisitions.
During the past few years, the company has expanded rapidly, including three acquisitions this year. Successfully integrating organizations at that pace requires an integrated IT infrastructure—which is why VeriFone turned to Oracle. “You need a flexible system to enable rapid integration of new business units and acquisitions,” says Tano. “Oracle E-Business Suite is the core of our best-of-breed applications portfolio—it provides a solid backbone for rapid integration and extensions to meet changing business needs.”
With Oracle E-Business Suite financial applications, VeriFone is also able to complete financial consolidation in record time. “Running a 24/7, global company is very complex,” says Tano. “Partnering with our business leaders, we’ve implemented solid processes that enable us to typically close our books and complete our global consolidation within days rather than weeks.”
Another win for VeriFone was its deployment of Oracle’s Agile applications. “Agile has been an incredible system for us from Day One,” says Tano. “The first quarter we went live with Agile Product Cost Management, we reduced our quarterly component costs by several million dollars, and we have continued to see consistent cost reductions.”
But for Tano, the key to cost savings, flexibility, and ability to adapt to rapid change comes down to an integrated IT infrastructure built on best-of-breed applications.
“Broad system functionality and integration is what enables a company like VeriFone to support this type of global environment with minimal staff—and be successful at it,” says Tano. “Oracle has played a major role in our ability to integrate new acquisitions and rapidly adapt to changing business needs.”
DBA of the Year
DBA sees IT’s role as enabling business and serving customers.
For Vinod Haval, Oracle Magazine’s DBA of the Year, a superb IT infrastructure isn’t the primary goal in his job at Bank of America. Great customer service is.
“Our customers don’t bank with us just because we have great IT,” says Haval, vice president, database product management, at Bank of America. “Our systems and applications are here to enable the business and serve our customers better.”
Yet when you’re acquiring as many large companies as Bank of America has in the past few years (from MBNA to Merrill Lynch), it’s hard to deliver integrated and consistent customer service without a solid IT infrastructure. According to Haval, IT plays a vital role in enabling Bank of America to optimize the results from the many acquisitions the company has completed.
“Our biggest challenge is managing many petabytes of data as well as ensuring system performance and stability as we grow,” says Haval. “And at the same time, we need to be able to mine the data intelligently and provide the right type of intelligence for our business partners so they can do business more efficiently and effectively.”
Haval is responsible for the entire lifecycle management of the Oracle database products at Bank of America. He started at the company as a DBA but now leads the Bank of America Oracle Group and advises all the Oracle DBAs, architects, and developers within the bank.
“The best part of being a DBA is working with the constant evolution of database technologies—new features, new technologies—and discovering new ways to do things is a wonderful challenge,” says Haval. “Personally, I’m a big adopter of new technologies, because it’s so interesting,” he adds. “They add value, but for a financial company of our size, we have to be very, very critical and do our due diligence to choose the right product at the right time to add the right business value.”
As database product manager, one of Haval’s primary challenges has been to help define and implement consistent database standards, for everything from installation and configuration to deployment and security.
“While the immediate focus for each of the huge acquisitions we’ve made has been completing the transition successfully, the primary focus is always getting to one set of systems, standards, and platforms so that we can provide the right business value by implementing the right IT solutions,” says Haval. “Because IT doesn’t drive the business; business drives IT.”
And being more responsive to the business is critically important when you’re serving millions of customers across the globe.
“The heart of everything we do at the bank,” Haval says, “is the customers, shareholders, and communities worldwide.”
Oracle ACE Director of the Year
Oracle ACE director hones skills while helping others.
When it comes to learning something new, Francisco Munoz Alvarez doesn’t look for a teacher; he looks for someone who has a problem.
“One of the best ways to learn is by helping others,” says Alvarez. “When someone has a problem on an OTN [Oracle Technology Network] forum, I enjoy trying to assist them with it. I’ve learned a lot by trying to help other Oracle users to solve their problems.”
Over the years, he has learned enough to become an Oracle ACE, an Oracle ACE director, and now Oracle Magazine’s Oracle ACE Director of the Year. Alvarez is also the founder and CEO of Database Integrated Solutions.
For Alvarez, learning—and helping others—takes legwork. This year, as an Oracle ACE director, he has appeared at 22 conferences in 18 countries, where he not only gives talks but takes the time to answer questions and assist users with complex Oracle challenges. In addition, he frequently helps his blog visitors (about 25,000 per month) solve difficult Oracle-related problems.
Given that he’s also president of the New Zealand and Chilean Oracle user groups and the Latin American Oracle User Group, Alvarez’ energy seems to have no limits when it comes to the Oracle community. He himself puts it best: “I never get tired of helping people learn how to share their knowledge and experience.”
Oracle Applications Implementer of the Year
“Finance is the first step” in managing change.
You might think that big companies can’t move quickly. But that’s not the case with AT&T.
“It’s been fast and furious over the past few years,” says Roxanne Shelton, executive director, Sarbanes-Oxley and financial systems integration, for AT&T and Oracle Magazine’s Oracle Applications Implementer of the Year. AT&T is a communications powerhouse, with more than US$123 billion in revenue. But it’s also a company that continues to grow and change through acquisitions, which have a direct impact on AT&T’s financial systems and applications.
“Finance is the first step for other groups within AT&T to standardize the processes of an acquired company,” says Shelton, and she explains that having common financial language, methods, and procedures lays the groundwork for other organizations.“ Our financial applications meet our needs very well, and we have only a few customizations in place,” she continues, adding that the financial systems in place have enabled the company to streamline the close process, while reducing journal lines by 63 percent and facilitating the reduction of its chart of accounts by one third.
Shelton attributes AT&T’s success to the strong partnerships developed over many years: “No one does anything by themselves.”
Virtualization Architect of the Year
Architect uses cloud solution to keep pace with tremendous growth.
MercadoLibre, a fast-growing Buenos Aires, Argentina–based e-commerce company, didn’t exactly decide to move its infrastructure to a virtualized environment. It made that move because it had to.
“We were running out of space, out of power, and out of cooling in our datacenter,” says Rodrigo Benzaquen, site operations and infrastructure director at MercadoLibre and Oracle Magazine’s Virtualization Architect of the Year. “So we decided we had to do something different.”
MercadoLibre is the largest online trading platform in Latin America, with operations in 13 countries. With its recent quarterly payment transactions increasing more than 90 percent year-over-year, keeping up with growth required a change. That’s why in 2009 MercadoLibre implemented a private cloud environment based on Oracle and NetApp solutions, including Oracle VM and Oracle Enterprise Linux support.
The virtualized infrastructure gave MercadoLibre room to grow, and it had a significant positive impact on the company’s environmental footprint—reducing power, space, and cooling requirements by 75 percent. It also saved on disk storage. “We realized a reduction of 50-to-1 on storage space when we implemented Oracle VM,” says Benzaquen. ”It gave us a very significant storage reduction.”
Data Warehouse Architect of the YearArchitect focuses on developing and evolving applications.
It takes a little something extra to manage a data warehouse that has half a trillion rows of data. That’s why Jim Duffy, senior data warehouse architect for BNP Paribas—a European leader in global banking and financial services, with offices in 84 countries—recently migrated his data warehouse from a clustered environment to two Oracle Exadata Database Machines.
“We’re seeing enormous performance gains with Oracle Exadata, easily 17 times on average, with certain requests being hundreds of times faster—from minutes to subseconds—compared to our old cluster,” says Duffy, Oracle Magazine’s Data Warehouse Architect of the Year. “And that’s without changing anything. The architecture of the Oracle Exadata system just runs our code better, and now we can spend more time putting richer analytics and presentation layers on top of near-real-time datasources.”
Duffy continues, “One of the clearest benefits that I see from the Oracle Exadata platform is that it gives us the ability to spend much more of our time developing and evolving our applications rather than tuning database volumes or concerning ourselves with system-level details,” he says. “The Oracle Exadata platform handles the bulk of that for us.”
Cloud Architects of the Year
Ease of use and availability help make cloud a game changer.
For some, cloud IT architectures might be as intangible as a wispy cirrus streak across the sky. But for TeleTech Holdings’ clients and employees, cloud solutions are remarkably tangible. Just ask Theresa Enebo and Aaron Seabaugh, Oracle Magazine’s Cloud Architects of the Year.
“The most-important experiences our clients have with our cloud services are ease of use and availability,” says Seabaugh, director of IT client solutions at TeleTech. “We needed technologies that could handle volume, scale easily to accommodate growth, and have a disaster recovery strategy. That’s why we selected Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Database solutions running on Oracle’s Sun hardware.”
TeleTech Holdings is a US$1.2 billion global business process outsourcing company that provides front-office and back-office customer relationship management solutions to Global 1,000 companies through a cloud platform. The company’s 40,000-plus employees handle more than 3.5 million customer interactions per day with end customers in 85 countries.
Enebo and Seabaugh’s team created the technology infrastructure that supports TeleTech’s cloud platform. Previously, the company was using homegrown middleware. By using an Oracle-based cloud platform to help companies outsource their sales and customer contact interactions, TeleTech has reduced the time it takes to provision new clients or projects from days to a matter of minutes.
“With cloud computing, our clients can meet rapidly changing service requirements by adding service delivery resources from anywhere in the world without installing new infrastructure,” says Enebo, vice president, enterprise applications and development. “We selected Oracle Fusion Middleware to enable our cloud platform because of the proven components of Oracle WebLogic Suite and Oracle’s ability to provide expert services through each phase of the project.”
Enebo sees cloud computing as a game changer, at least in terms of the types of partnerships that can be formed and solutions that can be delivered.
“The collaborative effort of multiple companies coming together to create new revenue streams and address underserved markets in a whole new way is very exciting for me and TeleTech,” says Enebo.
IT Manager of the Year
Creative problem-solving helps IT manager do the impossible.
For Keiichiro Shimizu, Oracle Magazine’s IT Manager of the Year, part of being a good IT manager is exceeding your own expectations.
“Successful IT managers need to be able to look beyond the surface of a problem to discover the true nature of a business need and develop creative solutions,” says Shimizu. “The secret is to continue taking on challenges without creating limitations for yourself.”
As a senior general manager in the information systems division of Japan’s SoftBank Mobile, Shimizu certainly knows about challenges. He was responsible for the development and operations of enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, data warehouse, and other back-office systems. SoftBank Mobile has approximately 23 million customers, and for two consecutive calendar years it has had the #1 net increase in subscribers in Japan. Keeping up in the fast-moving world of mobile communications requires agile systems that can handle huge volumes of information and adjust quickly to changing business needs.
SoftBank recently upgraded its 100 TB data warehouse system and migrated from Teradata to Oracle Exadata to overcome capacity and performance problems while it streamlined its new customer billing system. The new Oracle-based solution is now able to efficiently and effectively handle the 800 million call data records and 4 billion (yes, billion) Web access log records that the company has to handle each day. In addition, SoftBank Mobile migrated its Web access log analysis system from Teradata to Oracle Exadata.
“In the past, analysis of billions of access logs each day suffered from poor performance and took more than a day to process in some cases,” says Shimizu. “After our migration from Teradata to Oracle Exadata, we can now complete our business analysis in four or five hours. That’s allowed us to provide additional analysis tools for direct marketing, which have resulted in higher earnings.”
The new Oracle Exadata solution is also paying benefits for users when it comes to speed. “We’re seeing performance improvements of between 100 percent and 700 percent over the previous systems, and an average increase of four or five times,” says Shimizu.
In addition, the company is actively exploring new, revenue-building lines of business based on providing cloud services—a move that fits well with Shimizu’s fondness for using technology to solve problems creatively.
“I feel a sense of accomplishment when I have achieved something difficult or succeed at something that others have said is impossible,” he says. “It’s a wonderful feeling when I hit a roadblock but am able to continue thinking and overcome the obstacle.”
But perhaps the best part of his job, Shimizu says, is hearing from his users: “I was deeply satisfied when our users expressed their gratitude regarding our migration to Oracle Exadata.”
Enterprise Performance Management/Business Intelligence Architects of the Year
Team deftly handles complex project.
For Ajay Yelne, senior relational architect at General Dynamics Information Technology—a large-scale systems integrator providing technology services to government and commercial customers—the key to successful business intelligence is the data.
“Understanding the whole range of data, across business processes, is the key to architectural success,” says Yelne, who, along with teammates Rajeev Agrawal, Brian Deegan, and Kathy Josephson, is Oracle Magazine’s Enterprise Performance Management/Business Intelligence Architect of the Year.
General Dynamics’ team used Oracle technologies including Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management, Oracle Hyperion Planning, Oracle Essbase, and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition to create a solution that calculates forward pricing rates and allocations of overhead costs for government projects. It marks a significant improvement over the previous, partially manual process.
“It’s always great to deliver a project that enables people to work more effectively and efficiently,” says Josephson, senior architect. “The new Oracle-based solution empowers our users to access and analyze information, rather than simply spending time gathering it.”
MySQL Developer of the Year
Scalability is the key for architect developing MySQL solution.
Smaller doesn’t necessarily mean less powerful. In fact, sometimes it can be an advantage. That’s why Nokia chose MySQL as the basis of its new back-end data platform for smartphone applications.
“When you use MySQL at its sweet spot, it provides really good performance,” says Yekesa Kosuru, distinguished architect at leading mobile device maker Nokia and Oracle Magazine’s MySQL Developer of the Year. Kosuru and his team developed a new MySQL-based key-value data platform for large-scale, mission-critical Web-based services.
Nokia’s goal was to build a back-end platform that could fulfill the data requirements for all its internal services supporting a variety of smartphone applications. That platform uses MySQL, which according to Kosuru is optimal for Nokia’s back-end data platform partly because it provides a streamlined, easy-to-deploy, scalable solution for simple key-value-like queries. With an orchestration layer on top, it also enables Nokia to tune the consistency and availability characteristics required for different applications.
“As we’ve really scaled and stressed MySQL, it’s been a great learning experience for us,” says Kosuru. “Oracle and MySQL have really worked to make it better and faster.”
Java Developer of the Year
Innovative author embraces community.
Adam Bien, Oracle Magazine’s Java Developer of the Year, thinks that change is good.
“You have to be open to changes and suggestions,” says Bien, whose innovative Java development and knowledge sharing sets him apart in the Java community in which he is so active. “The key is to continuously learn and improve your skills and then apply what you’ve learned to your existing projects. This not only maximizes fun but also maximizes a customer’s satisfaction.”
Bien works with many companies as a Java architecture consultant for enterprise applications, helping organizations design and implement high-performance Java solutions and troubleshooting mission-critical problems. He’s also the author of eight books and more than 100 articles on Java, architectures, and best practices. His latest book, Real World Java EE Patterns: Rethinking Best Practices (press.adam-bien.com, 2009), has been his most successful.
Bien was awarded Java Rock Star status at 2009’s JavaOne Conference for his session on a Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 6 project called GreenFire, a residential energy monitoring and management system. He also serves as an Expert Group member for multiple Java Specification Requests.
“Whether I’m writing books and articles or blogging,” says Bien, “I love the critical and constructive feedback and interaction with the Java community.”
Oracle Database Developers of the Year
Immediacy plus customization equal success for database development team.
From HDTVs to home theaters, audio and video technologies have certainly changed rapidly over the last few years. But with Oracle Application Express, Liberty AV Solutions—part of WESCO/CSC, a US$5-billion-a-year distributor of electrical products—is keeping pace with that change by delivering customized solutions to its customers, sometimes instantly.
“Our applications need to be able to change and evolve rapidly,” says Gary Clark, Liberty’s CIO, and, along with his team, Oracle Magazine’s Oracle Database Developer of the Year. “Oracle Application Express is the heart of our success.”
Liberty specializes in professional audio-visual solutions, supplying and supporting major consumer electronics retailers. For Clark and his team, a development process that allows customers and end users to see their suggestions implemented almost as soon as they make them has created a sense of ownership over the applications that other development paradigms can’t match.
“We’ve even had developers add features to applications during meetings,” says Clark. “That’s the power of Oracle Application Express.”
Security Architect of the Year
With trillions of dollars at stake, identity analytics are key to head of IT infrastructure governance.
Although security and compliance issues may seem like overhead to some organizations, they’re core business enablers for global financial institutions like Deutsche Bank.
“We’re moving trillions of dollars a day through the bank, so governance and information security is critical,” says John O’Donnell, global head of IT infrastructure governance at Deutsche Bank and Oracle Magazine’s Security Architect of the Year. “Anytime there’s a glitch or IT systems are down, we lose money. Having the right types of controls gives us better availability and enables us to be in the markets and do our job.”
Recently, one key focus area for O’Donnell has been the thousands of applications within the bank (and interactions among those applications) that need to meet strict compliance regulations. According to O’Donnell, Deutsche Bank has thousands of people managing the firm’s different applications. “If they can spend half an hour instead of four hours managing the compliance issues related to their applications, we gain huge efficiencies,” says O’Donnell.
The solution that O’Donnell designed uses role-based certification to verify the validity of the accounts used to log in to the most critical of Deutsche Bank’s applications. “Role-based certification is the cornerstone for all the compliance and security things I’m doing,” says O’Donnell. “We need to be able to easily verify that the accounts we have in production are the right accounts, so our governance process starts with identity verification.”
As a result, Deutsche Bank has been able to automate a process that was previously fragmented. Now, it can easily understand the connections between its applications and its infrastructure and identify the owners of each application and account. So far, the solution has already grown from managing 600 applications to managing more than 1,400. “There’s a constant demand from our users to add more applications,” says O’Donnell. “It saves people time and gives them a level of comfort with compliance and security that takes much more work to achieve without the solution.”
But what O’Donnell finds most satisfying about working on IT security issues is the broad scope and the potential for positive impact on Deutsche Bank. “I love that my role is always changing,” says O’Donnell. “It’s my job to think about where we are and where the company is going and to help design business-focused solutions that keep us on the cutting edge of risk, control, and compliance. It’s very dynamic.”
Oracle Fusion Middleware Architect of the Year
Streamlining business processes and increasing efficiency are all in a day’s work for architect.
When your strategy for growth is built on managing multiple lines of business, it’s critical to have something that can tie them all together. For Mexico’s Grupo Actinver, a rapidly growing financial services company, that something is Oracle Fusion Middleware.
“When we started working with Oracle Fusion Middleware, we found it to be a powerful tool,” says Yamil Ahuatzin, business intelligence project leader at Grupo Actinver and Oracle Magazine’s Oracle Fusion Middleware Architect of the Year. “It’s very intuitive, and it’s a strong tool for connecting a heterogeneous environment, which is critical for us since we have an IT environment with many technologies.”
Grupo Actinver, based in Mexico City, originally started as a brokerage, specializing in investment funds and asset management. But in January 2010, it expanded into banking, and plans are now in the works to offer its high-value customers a wide range of banking products, including credit and debit cards, insurance, and more. A key part of building its banking business is managing customer and financial information across different product lines. To do this, Ahuatzin created a sophisticated IT infrastructure from scratch, in which Oracle Fusion Middleware plays a major role in integrating information from across multiple lines of business (banking, stock exchange, and financial services) into a single data warehouse for analysis throughout the company. In addition, Grupo Actinver created a data warehouse using Oracle Database and deployed Oracle Fusion Middleware, including Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition and Oracle’s Hyperion applications such as Oracle Essbase.
“We currently have more than 50 heterogeneous sources feeding into the data warehouse using Oracle Fusion Middleware,” says Ahuatzin. “We’ve found that the solution makes it very easy to add more.”
In addition, Grupo Actinver is using Oracle Fusion Middleware to streamline business processes and increase efficiency. For example, the company is developing a solution with Oracle GoldenGate to provide real-time data integration between its call center operators and customer information, ensuring that its employees have the most up-to-date information in front of them when customers call in.
One important result from its use of Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition is that the time required to generate reports has decreased significantly. “We replaced an important weekly report that used to take three hours to generate with a new one based on our Oracle infrastructure,” says Ahuatzin. “Now, it takes four or five seconds to create, and our users can do it any time they like.”