Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Finally My PaaS4SaaS Workshop Blog

I know this posting is a bit late but at the end of January I took part in a proof of concept workshop for PaaS4Sass and it’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since.

When I was thinking about moving to Certus one of the things that attracted me was there intent to write extensions for Oracle’s CloudApplications using the just announced PaaS4SaaS solution.
I attended Oracle Open World with an open mind and trying to learn as much as I could about the solutions. The Larry Ellison demo was really impressive but then Oracle has always been a brilliant marketing company.

I came back to UK and set about validating what was available, some of the components Database and Java Cloud had been available for a while but I wanted or would want to also use the Process and Integration Cloud offerings.

As regular readers of this blog will know, I am an OracleApplications User Experience advocate and am very committed to the user experience work that goes into Oracle Cloud Applications.  Extensions delivered by Certus will have this same user experience and I made this video on the half of Certus.

The user experience team have been given funding by Thomas Kurian who is personally committed to making PaaS4SaaS work, to carry out a number of proof of concept workshops with Oracle partners. The UX team asked Certus to be part of this. Certus have not been a development company and so in the same way customers come to us because we are the best at implementing cloud applications we looked for a partner to help us with development, and weselected eProseed who have the same commitment to UX as we do.

The workshop took place in London at the end of January with four people from each of Oracle UX, eProceed and Certus taking part. We work through a use-case taken from an existing Application from one of our customers who is considering modernising this and moving it to the cloud. In three days we were able to build a working application and prove to ourselves that when the customer says, “go” we will be able to deliver what they need.

Oracle UX team have in their blog already covered the workshop and I have also written about it in the AppAdvantage blog I am a guest author for. The following month I took part in the Partner SOA Community Forum in Budapest when we had the opportunity to work with product management teams of both the Process and Integration Cloud offerings and further validate our approach, understanding the possibilities and the constraints. The UX team also had a stand there.

I was very pleased on behalf off both Certus and eProceed to accept the first Community Cloud award. These awards are a bit like the Oscars and awarded to individuals Lonneke from eProseed and myself, however we had a similar thank you to all those involved in our acceptance speech.

The Community Leader Jurgen Kress said:
I awarded my first SOA Community Outstanding Contribution for Cloud to Debra Lilley of Certus Solutions and Lonneke Dikmanns of eProseed because they not only took on board the messaging of PaaS 4 SaaS from the last Oracle Open World, but also their collaboration between an Applications partner and a Middleware partner, sought out answers and training and with Oracle Development giving feedback and  validating their approach in this area. All good things but bringing that back to the community and sharing is the outstanding contribution.

I have written a White Paper, which will be published for Collaborate in a few weeks and Certus along with Oracle UX Will be presenting this twice both for  OAUG and Quest. I’ve also had an article published in this month’s Profit Magazine.

Thank you to the UX team and the SOA Community. I’m still not technical enough to do this but I am technical enough to understand that PaaS4SaaS is a game changer and will continue to be seeing more and more in our community.

Norwegian User group Cruise

My next trip was for OUGN.  This is, one I have done before and I really want to support their growing apps community, unfortunately I was too late to get ACE funding so this one came at my own pocket (well with a bit of help from Airmiles).

OUGN is on the boat ColorMagic, and she sails between Oslo and Kiel. Internet is patchy and out at sea non-existent, but knowing that in advance makes it easier to deal with.

Traditionally there is a speakers' evening the day before the sailing. Here is the chance to meet the local community and the other speakers taking part. It seemed odd not to have Tim Hall with us this year especially as this boat means so much to us, but there were lots of other people lots of other friends both new and old.

The organisers sent a taxi for us the following morning to take us to the boat and we then had the keynote presentation before getting to our cabins. James Morle gave an excellent keynote on how the world of IT especially data is changing and I’m sure it gave everybody something to think about.

Then there were sessions for the rest of the day but I wasn’t speaking until the second day. The first evening late at night when the normal cruise guests had eaten we had an amazing dinner with different wines for every course. How anyone is expected to function the next day always amazes me.
The next morning I had my first session which was on ‘Are Cloud Applications ready and I had a full room which was really great and lots of really interesting questions. Cloud Apps are still very new in the Nordics, data residency has not yet been ironed out but people are curious and starting to look.

The boat then docked at Kiel in Northern Germany and you are able to get off for a few hours.  Here BjoernRost was waiting for us for what is the now traditional gin party. This may seem very self indulgent but actually the discussion was about arranging the next OTN EMEA tour. We were joined by others who also think of OUGN as an annual 'must go' event, Tim and Kellyn Gorman, Dan Morgan, and new comers like Gurcan Orhan

I wandered into town with Michelle Malcher who was over to speak from the States and then it was quickly back to the boat for my second session, the first outing of my PaaS4SaaS session. It went OK and I had good questions always my guide level but a few people looked lost as I started and I had this horrible understanding that it was too technical for the audience. Luckily I was able to switch into a more ‘why’ than ‘how’ mode and recovered. Not something I ever thought I would do.

I had intended to go watch Alex Nuijten in his session but got caught up talking to some delegates, they really are working hard on their apps community and I was pleased to be able to help. Having missed the start of Alex’s session I peeped in through the door and decided he was in full flow so I took this picture through the peephole.

The boat is great, the conference side of it makes money and they are every well equipped (except for the already mentioned wifi), I loved the notice to speakers, which basically says ‘ if you need anything to drink, wine, beer or water, just let us know’.

The exhibition for the conference has grown over the years and was too big for the area outside the classrooms, so it was held on a car deck! Food at lunchtime was served here and it got quite a buzz. I was really happy I won an iPhone in the Cognizant draw, although Heli came out top she won an Apple Watch!

Dinner the 2nd night was not quite so formal and since we had a lie in the next day we decided to explore the ship. Having spent a few minutes playing lego in the children’s play room we moved on upto the adult playpit known as the disco. I cannot remember the last time I danced at a disco and a purist would probably find it hard to call this dancing, but Michelle, Alex, Roel Hartman and I gave it our best. I gave it my best until midnight and then left the rest to party on.

We docked the next morning and again the OUGN provided transport to the train station, most people had flights that day so just went to the airport but Michelle and I had all day to wander around Oslo, see the Scream (again) and then after lunch in the harbour we spent time at the old fort, before rounding off a fantastic day drinking coffee in the sunshine albeit with a blanket to keep warm.

I stayed a final night and then flew out Sunday afternoon, having spent the day working in the sunshine.

Thank you OUGN for another wonderful conference.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance - my tale of woe

Not really an excuse but when it is your conference, you don't have time in the run up to 'polish your slides', so my top tip, Never agree to a new presentation at you own event, stick to one you are happy with so you can simply switch on the projector and go.

Great advice, wish I had listened to it.

Thursday in Ireland I had two presentations, the first was a great slide deck, it was Jeremy Ashley's slide deck for Cloud User Experiences, Trends & Strategy first seen at OOW14. As an Oracle User Experience Advocate I had been asked on behalf of Jeremy's team to present this. Slides were great, I'm passionate about the subject and I think the session went well.

My second session however went less so. UKOUG have set up a Cloud Forum, to help members who are now Cloud Customers share their experiences of the Cloud, not so much the functionality but what it is like to be a Cloud Customer, and I submitted a paper on that. Great idea, I also do this in my day job, so lots of ideas, what could go wrong?

In the run up to Dublin, I had a conference in Norway, different sessions, blog postings to do for Oracle, Profit Magazine, Oracle Scene and O Tech articles to complete, the day job (which I love), and all the preparation for the Ireland event itself where I was project lead. So whilst the session was in my head it wasn't on slides. By Monday evening panic was setting in and all day Tuesday I was at the UKOUG Tech 15 kick off. This was down to the wire.

Then I remembered my boss had a presentation he had done at Apps 2014 in Liverpool, and the content in that would be a great start. I had the PDF version, decided which slides I wanted to keep, and when he sent it over, it was simply a cut & paste job. I told myself it would be fine, I knew what I wanted to say.

Roll forward to Thursday, brilliant event, great high and I'm the last session before the keynotes. I walked into the room, there was a good crowd but sat at the back were the two keynote speakers, both great friends, Nadia Bendjedou, EBS, and Maria Colgan, Database in-Memory. Their work actually overlaps a fair bit, Nadia works on that technology side of the house for Cliff Godwin, but they had never met. So I introduced them and got ready for my session. Nadia has seen me present before but I don't think Maria has.

I could say I was nervous, having two such luminaries in the room, but to be honest I wanted to impress them, that you can share valuable information with an audience without being technical. I like to wander along my script with stories from members and customers, share analogies they will understand and try and get it to be interactive.

It was a disaster. Not the content, not the stories, but my delivery of the slide deck. I hadn't run in through in view mode and it was full of screen building which I never use. I wonder around the room and don't use a 'clicker' either. it completely threw me. All my fault, as they say in the army, Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

I'm giving the same session in Holland on Tuesday so I hope I will do better, I must do better, the only person I let down was myself.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

SOA Partner Community Forum Budapest

March was such a busy month and I just haven’t got around to blogging about what I got up to, so am taking the opportunity to put that right.

It started with the SOA Partner Community Forum in Budapest with I have mentioned in my last PaaS4SaaS update.  My daughter lived in Germany and I had spent the weekend with her and I flew from Dusseldorf to Budapest with Germanwings. As I write this blog today I continue to pray for all the families affected by that disaster.

I did actually manage to see Budapest, I did one of the two hour bus tours which I think that the best use of two hours any delegate or traveller can have.  In Budapest our hotel was actually one of the stops on the tour. The New York Café is now the restaurant at the hotel we stayed and it was amazing to eat twice a day in such a beautiful building.

The forum had some demo grounds from product management and for the first time I met Vlad Babu who had been drafted in to cover UX, he did a great write up of UX at the event.
Budapest is a beautiful city with the old castle looking down over the city and in the Danube River; it is lit up at night and is just phenomenal.  I actually did the tour twice, once on a morning when I had no sessions and second late afternoon when the forum finished. I did try to get fellow delegates to come with me but it encroached on their drinking time!  After the second tour I took a boat along the Danube as the sunset and it was just so beautiful. I got back to the hotel in time for the second or third drink so I didn’t really missed much at and all this for just €25 euros, the cost of a two day ticket. 

Was the forum worth it? Defiantly  not only did I learn what is coming, but I got to try out how they work, and ask the people who know, how that specifically will help my use cases. To get all of that in a few days, rather than trying to navigate around the relevant parts of Oracle, is a major time saver, and now my network includes more useful people as we move into using these products. And the award, well that was wonderful. 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Learning Cloud 'Down Under'

I chose to go to Certus, because they are the leaders in Cloud HCM. It is now a little over 6 months since I started and they are living unto expectations.

In the UK everyone knows Certus lead here and in November we received two gold awards from UKOUG, best Fusion and best Training.

So we are bringing this to Australia, one of our global customers has just gone live including Australia and whilst we work on their next steps my colleague Richard will running training courses on Oracle E-Business \ PeopleSoft to HCM Cloud (3 days) and Implementing HCM Cloud (5 days) in Sydney/Melbourne in April and May 2015.

If you are an independent functional consultant looking to become a certified Oracle HCM Cloud implementation consultant this course is ideal for you. This course is delivered by Richard Atkins, a certified trainer who is also a certified and highly experienced HCM Cloud implementation consultant.   Richard has successfully implemented HCM Cloud across the globe for multiple clients, trained multiple customers and partners on behalf of Oracle University and privately.  Richard is well recognised in the industry as an expert in implementing in the cloud and has conducted expert seminars on the subject across Europe, and regularly presents at conferences.

Course details are provided below:

Oracle E-Business \ PeopleSoft to HCM Cloud:

Melbourne (3 days) 13th – 15th April 2015

Sydney (3 days) 20 – 23 April 2015

Melbourne (2 days – weekend) 25 – 26 April 2015 or 2 – 3 May 2015

Implementing Oracle HCM Cloud classroom course (5 days):

Melbourne (5 days) 13 – 17 April 2015

Sydney (5 days) 20 – 24 April 2015

If you are interested, please express your interest by sending an email to training@certus-solutions.com

Friday, 6 March 2015

Oracle Java Download Add Ons, My non technical rant

Yesterday my UKOUG board college Bryan Foss shared this article with me about Oracle including  Ask Toolbar Add ons with Java downloads on Macs.


I am new to the MAC and one thing I really liked the idea of was no viruses. IDIOT, they may not be attacked as often as PCs but just this morning Facebook presented me with the MAC Defender download option for what I now know is (I was crafty, I googled malware on Mac before pressing a button, so proud of myself).

Another thing I didn't know was that Microsoft make it very difficult for an Oracle Professional who needs to use their add ons for office products to do so on a MAC. For Cloud Apps, the add ons I need have to be Office for Windows, so I am now the proud owner of a MAC, with Office for MAC and a Windows Virtual Image running Office. I have Java in that image and I had to go through the Ask download dance, and although I am not technical I thought I was doing OK, but I still went through a period of time of other malware crap (not a technical term but it will do).

There is no excuse for people to just accept the Ask Toolbar, I would suggest that you read the  comments on the above article, people have given alternative ways to download Java, how to reinstall and point out that windows users have had this for over a decade, and also that the practice started with Sun.

I am not apologising for Oracle, I think this stinks, it is bad practice and I am not happy, but we need to be careful with everything we download. And when the computer asks me if I trust the source, the answer here is NO.