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November 2012

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Meet the Oracle WebCenter Team: Christian Finn

The Oracle WebCenter team includes some of the best minds in the industry. In this edition, we turn the spotlight on Harvard graduate Christian Finn, who joined Oracle in 2011 and now serves as senior director for Oracle WebCenter product management.

Q. Tell us about the professional journey that brought you to your current role.
A. Just as I was getting my undergrad degree in the liberal arts, it was becoming clear that computing was the next big thing. So I decided to get my start in the profession as a trainer and developer, eventually becoming a consultant to a Fortune 500 company.

In 1998, I joined Microsoft, where I became director of product management for SharePoint. In a short time, my team helped build SharePoint into the market leader with more than US$2 billion in revenues.

Then about a year ago, Oracle approached me just as it was building and acquiring some exciting products in the social business market, with an impressive vision for how mobile, social, and cloud technologies can improve how we work, market, and collaborate. When Oracle asked me to come aboard to evangelize the Oracle WebCenter brand in this new era, I jumped at the chance.

Q. Describe your typical day.
A. I think a week actually is the best time sample to get a feel for what leading product management is like. First, there's planning, strategizing, and reviewing campaigns with my team. I also meet regularly with our Oracle WebCenter development team to keep up to speed on the products and integrations we’re building.

In addition, I devote about 20 percent of my schedule to our customers. That includes communicating what we're up to and also listening to their challenges so we can better serve their business needs going forward.

Finally, I make sure I devote time to other Oracle product teams. Increasingly, the power of Oracle WebCenter solutions depends on how intelligently our solutions are embedded into Oracle's comprehensive offerings and initiatives. For example, Oracle WebCenter has a critical role to play in both customer experience and social relationship management, to name just two efforts. Much of my time is spent collaborating in areas such as those with my colleagues from across Oracle.

Q. What keeps you up at night?
A. Moving fast enough in the market, and shipping! We have some amazing products in the pipeline, and I really want to ensure we ship them, with quality, as soon as we can.

Oracle Q. Can you explain the Oracle WebCenter flying monkeys?
A. Basically they're these furry little dolls that wear capes with our logo. Their arms are actually elastic bands, which turn them into slingshots. They can fly screaming through the air for 50 feet or more, which is a great way to get attention at a trade show or to break the ice with an audience if you're giving a speech. People—and dogs—love them!

Q. Are there any upcoming programs or events that would be of interest to Oracle WebCenter customers?
A. If I had to choose one thing, it would be the Social Business Thought Leaders Webcast Series. It's a monthly series that features top industry leaders and opinion makers such as MIT's Andrew McAfee and Altimeter’s Brian Solis. Together, we investigate the rapid changes affecting business and technology—and how organizations can best capitalize on them.

I really believe that people don't buy enterprise software. They buy into business strategies, and to do that we need to share a common view with our customers of how the world is changing and where it’s headed. Only then can we really be successful in showing how our software meets their needs. So we began this Webcast series to bring thought leaders who are at the intersection of business and IT to our customers to really explore how the world is changing in the social business era.

Q. How do you like to spend your time when you're not thinking about enterprise software?
A. I have three kids—they're 11, 9, and 6—and I spend most of my time outside work with them, from school activities to gymnastics meets. They seem to be a bunch of budding entrepreneurs, because our only appointment-TV as a family is "Shark Tank," a reality show about entrepreneurship. Even my six-year-old offers critiques!

Watch Christian Finn moderate the Social Business Thought Leaders Webcast Series.

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