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Team Spotlight: Edward Zou, Vice President, Product Management
Welcome to the team spotlight Q&A, where we introduce the team members behind the innovation in Oracle Fusion Middleware. For this edition, we meet Edward Zou, vice president of product management for the Oracle Fusion Middleware family of products.
Q. Tell us about the professional journey that brought you to your current role.
A. I started as an electrical engineer, and I’m still an engineer at heart. I made my way through business school at UCLA, and from there I did some management consulting, and then software startups. I was with Bridgestream, a company focused on enterprise identity management, when it was acquired by Oracle. When Oracle later acquired BEA, I took an assignment to facilitate postmerger integration in the Asia-Pacific region and to establish a product management team there. Currently, I am at Oracle headquarters focusing on cross-platform solutions and partner initiatives.
Q. What energizes you most about your role?
A. My role covers a couple of areas, and I’d like to share something from each. I do a lot of work with the partner community. Partners play a critical role in Oracle Fusion Middleware’s go-to-market strategy and implementations. More than 80 percent of Oracle Fusion Middleware customers leverage partners to implement their solutions. Globally, there are more than 30,000 partners specializing in Oracle Fusion Middleware, including about 5,000 independent software vendors that build solutions using Oracle Fusion Middleware.
The second area I work in is cross-platform solutions, which involves building solutions and driving go-to-market initiatives that leverage the entire Oracle Fusion Middleware stack. A good example of that is Oracle Fusion Middleware for applications. These solutions help customers integrate and extend their enterprise applications using Oracle Fusion Middleware.
It is incredibly exciting to be able to leverage the whole set of technology within Oracle to deliver value in the marketplace. Given the unprecedented breadth and depth of the technology we have to work with, it makes it easy to come up with solutions and find expertise within the company to bring new ideas to market.
Q. Can you give us a couple of examples of customer solutions?
A. One area is using Oracle Fusion Middleware as platform for mobile applications. For example, SFpark, a project of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, uses Oracle Fusion Middleware to provide real-time availability information to people looking for parking spaces, and then uses that data to tweak the price of parking relative to demand to ensure steady parking availability. The system collects data from parking meters, on-street sensors, and parking garage gates. People can access information via text, iPhone app, or the SFpark Website—and Oracle Fusion Middleware makes it all work.
Another idea we are working on involves device-to-data-center solutions. The idea is to gather the information collected by devices with embedded Java code, combine it with big data or fast data to do analysis, and drive information into business applications to help with decision-making and automated business processing. For example, we are working with Emerson Network Power to use device data to more efficiently manage data center conditions such as temperature and humidity.
Q. It sounds as though the partner community is a key part of this innovation.
A. Absolutely. Oracle has lots of technology and a tremendous number and different types of partners, from integrators and resellers to independent software vendors who can embed Oracle technology into their own solutions (as in the Emerson example I shared). It’s hugely satisfying to help our partners understand how our technology can help them take strong solutions to market.
Q. What's the best tactic you have come across to convey the value of middleware?
A. My favorite way of communicating value is to use customer case studies. They give us a tangible way of communicating the value in business terms—as such, we have developed an extensive repository of customer case studies.
Q. What is a little-known fact about you?
A. I quite often spend my weekend time cooking. I really enjoy getting together a group of friends and slowly cooking a meal. I do travel quite a bit, so when I find an interesting food, I’ll try to find out how to make it and then try it out on my friends. I like it because lots of things at work take a while to come to fruition, but cooking will give you a result—good or bad—by the end of the afternoon. Plus, did I mention the hanging out with friends part?
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