Oracle SOA Suite 11g
This complete and integrated suite lowers the barrier to service-oriented architecture (SOA) by standardizing all components on a single infrastructure based on the Service Component Architecture (SCA) standard. Oracle also standardized on an Event Delivery Network that is built on the SCA eventing model. Now customers can manage business events, services and composite applications in one place without writing custom code. Oracle further lowers the barriers to integration by adhering to industry-standard business process management technologies that allow customers to easily define and manage previously separate processes such as system processes, document processes, and human processes—all in a single environment without custom code.
Title: VP, Product Management, Oracle Integration
Location: Redwood Shores, California
Product: Oracle SOA Suite
Q: What do you think is the most innovative aspect of Oracle SOA Suite 11g?
A: The Oracle SOA Suite 11g eliminates the need for organizations to integrate their integration software and greatly simplifies the lifecycle of building and modifying composite applications. Our major competitors don't have a unified SOA platform that incorporates support for all the different pieces people need to do integration. So this means that, with IBM for example, a customer will buy several components to solve an integration problem, and will be required to do work to integrate those integration technologies—to deploy them all together, manage them, cluster them, etc. This is ironic, but also painful and expensive. So, functionally, other solutions on the market can offer comparable breadth, but Oracle SOA Suite 11g unifies the way in which all the components work together. It's the first SOA platform in the industry built natively on the SCA standard. But the real innovation here is under the covers, with the completion of a multi-year development effort to rationalize and unify the infrastructure of those components. This results in a significant decrease in the total cost of ownership for SOA projects through greatly simplified development, deployment, administration, and management.
Second, Oracle SOA Suite 11g is unique in that it provides a single platform, or engine, for all kinds of business processes. Other vendors in the Business Process Management, or BPM, space have always had a different solution depending on whether processes were primarily being built around systems, human workflow, or documents. However, in the real world, most processes include all of these things. Furthermore, the areas which are the key focuses for a process may change over time. Oracle is the only vendor that believes that a single engine can handle all kinds of business processes, and while analysts were skeptical that it was even possible to do, we deliver on this vision in the 11g release.
And perhaps most importantly, Oracle SOA Suite 11g offers unique innovation when used to integrate with applications. For example, all the Oracle Fusion Applications are being built on the Oracle SOA platform, and Oracle is the only vendor to offer an out-of-the-box blueprint for application integration—the Oracle Application Integration Architecture.
Q: How is it unique?
A: Oracle is the only company that is a leading provider of both applications and middleware. Since one of the most common uses for SOA and BPM technology is to integrate enterprise applications, an SOA suite from Oracle that innovates as a standalone platform and in the way it's targeted at applications integration greatly simplifies customers' IT environments. This will be even more significant as the Oracle Fusion applications emerge and as the vertical applications targeted at retail, financial services, utilities, etc adopt our innovative SOA and Oracle Fusion Middleware platform.
Q: Why would you say you were nominated for the innovation showcase?
A: I believe I was nominated for the innovation showcase because I lead a product management team that creates the necessary preconditions for our SOA engineering team to innovate. In particular, the most important of these preconditions is the free-flowing information channel between our customers and our engineering organization. To do this effectively involves really understanding the customer's pain points and priorities, because in many cases different customers will describe the same problem or requirements in widely varying ways. The greatest innovation in an enterprise software organization comes from internalizing those requirements so that we can identify an approach to addressing them that is truly valuable to the customer.
Q: Why do you think innovation is important?
A: Well, that's almost like asking "why is breathing important?" Innovation has produced all the great leaps in productivity and lifestyle that have ever happened. And while innovation contributes to a company's bottom line in very measurable ways, it has even larger, immeasurable benefits as the innovations become standardized in an industry. In this fashion, innovations appear and often initially benefit a single company or project. But for the truly valuable innovations, they're rapidly distilled down into their essence and radically change entire cultures or lifestyles.
Q: How do you think Oracle's innovative culture benefits our customers?
A: Innovation is something that often comes naturally to small companies but it can be harder for large organizations that have momentum and politics that can prevent innovative thoughts from seeing the light of day. However, customers want the best of both worlds—they want enterprise software from large, stable companies and the innovation that is often seen in start-ups.
While Oracle does many things well, one of the innovations which is most beneficial to our customers is the way we have become an acquisition-friendly culture. At this point, acquisitions are baked into the Oracle corporate culture in such a way that strategic product decisions following an acquisition avoid politics and not-invented-here concerns. The strategy boils down very quickly to: What is best for our collective customers and product portfolio going forward? This means that our large organization provides the stability, but is made up of many small, innovative groups all working toward common goals. This gives customers the innovative nature of a small company—from which many of us were acquired into Oracle—alongside the scale and power of the leading enterprise software company in the world.
Q: What would you call the enemy of innovation?
A: I believe that the main enemy of innovation is a lack of understanding of the customer—often exemplified by an inability to really listen. It's possible to come up with innovative approaches that do not address the top priorities of customers and are therefore of very low value. It is also possible to come up with what seem to be evolutionary advances that are revolutionary in terms of their impact on customers. This, I think, is the only innovation that matters.