Changing Lanes

by Aaron Lazenby, November 2010

When I started planning this issue back in the summer, my thought was to make it Profit’s “Innovation” issue, with stories featuring some of Oracle’s most advanced systems and demanding computing environments. I was mostly inspired by the work Oracle has done over the years at CERN, the European research organization behind the world’s largest scientific experiment, the Large Hadron Collider. Using CERN as a starting point, I went fishing for other real stories of IT innovation.

What I found was the automotive industry.

It was a surprising discovery, considering U.S. carmakers were near collapse less than three years ago. But today the industry, like so many others, is being remade in some fundamental ways. Many thanks to Jeff Liedel and Doug Mutart for showing me around the OnStar command center and sharing their accounts of the transformations under way at parent company General Motors—from OnStar’s move to a SOA to the launch of the company’s first electric plug-in vehicle, the Volt.

Special thanks also goes to Paul Perrone of Perrone Robotics for telling us about the role Java is playing in the zero-emissions car he is building with music legend Neil Young. And also to CIO Tony Vaden of American Tire Distributors for describing how he is improving system performance even as his company’s executives wrestle with a major challenge facing IT departments around the globe—the data explosion.

In Profit news, I’m pleased to announce some innovations of our own. First, you’ll see a new column called “Luminaries,” a guest submission from someone in the Oracle community—a customer, partner, or other IT expert. This issue features Joe Jorczak, one of the winners of Oracle IT 2020—a competition that invited some of Oracle’s top minds to submit papers about how they see technology evolving over the next 10 years. I’ll be showing off other winning Oracle IT 2020 entries in future issues, but feel free to send your own submissions to my e-mail address below—I’m always looking for ways to get readers involved with Profit.

One final note of correction; I’d like to extend my sincerest apologies to Fari Ebrahimi of Verizon, whose name we misspelled on the cover of the August issue of Profit. It was an embarrassing error that I hope does not distract from the story of his amazing work with Verizon Services Operations.

Until 2011,

Aaron Lazenby
Editor in chief, Profit