Imputabilité - Accountability

on Thursday, 15 February 2018. Posted in Blogue (En Français)

Imputabilité - Accountability

Une représentation graphique est plus souvent parlante qu'une description. On dit souvent qu'une image vaut mille mots, voici une bonne sur l'imputabilité.


The Difference Between AI and Deep Learning—And Why You Need Both

on Monday, 01 May 2017. Posted in Blog

The Difference Between AI and Deep Learning—And Why You Need Both

(Also posted on Linkedin

If you were to name the buzzword of 2017 in the tech space, artificial intelligence would definitely be at the top of the list. AI has already made its way into our smartphones, homes, and gadgets, and it continues to transform other sectors of society like ecommerce, healthcare, and more. It’s the next “big thing” in tech, just like mobile platforms have been in the past decade, and internet-based platforms in the decade before that. AI is such a big deal, in fact, that just recently, eBay’s CEO Devin Wenig said “If you don’t have an AI strategy you are going to die in the world that’s coming.” 

AI may get all the buzz in the industry, but what most people don’t recognize is what’s really behind the rise in AI—and that’s Deep Learning. 

What’s Deep Learning, Anyway?

Deep Learning is what goes on behind the scenes to make the AI we use on our devices, gadgets, and in our homes possible. In technical terms, it’s defined as a class of machine learning algorithms based on learning multiple levels of features or representations of the data. Experts refer to this “artificial neural networks” with huge amounts of data in hierarchal representation. 

It’s called “deep” learning because it’s structured in many different layers, and these layers build on each other to interpret sensory data for a given output. In other words, it takes data like images, sounds, text, etc. and processes it through series of these hierarchal layers to produce the output that we ask for. If you’re interested the in-depth explanation, here’s a great resource

Examples of Deep Learning you might already be familiar with are things like facial recognition in photos or sentiment analysis in text (like you might see on Facebook). But the potential applications for Deep Learning are practically endless and are applicable in practically every sector—from manufacturing and automotive, to communications, security, finance, and more. 

Why Having a Deep Learning Strategy is Important

Having an AI strategy is great—and will be a necessity to keep up with the market in the near future. But without a Deep Learning strategy, your AI strategy won’t be able to keep up. It’s the advances in Deep Learning that produces that improvements in AI we see and use on a daily basis. Big names like Google are already diving in to improving their use of Deep Learning technology—just in the past 2 years the deep learning used in their apps has grown exponentially. And companies who want to stay ahead of the game will need to follow suit, too. Now is the time to start getting involved with creating and growing your Deep Learning strategy rather than waiting for the technology to catch up to what you hope or need it to be able to accomplish. Its algorithms are improving so quickly that starting sooner rather than later means you can take advantage of these improvements as they develop, rather than playing catch up after the fact. 

Where Do You Start?

Before jumping into the AI space just because it’s “the next big thing,” it’s smart to determine which tasks it would be most efficient for. Despite the advances in AI we’ve seen just in the past year or two, it still isn’t the most efficient choice for all processes. In some instances, human intervention is still the best option. If your business has tasks that:

·      Are repetitive

·      Are high volume

·      Follow patterns 

·      Require limited judgement

·      Have a low cost of mistake

Then these are the best places to start implementing a Deep Learning and AI strategy, while leaving the more complex tasks to humans. That’s not to say however, that both AI and human intervention can’t work together, though. 

For example, in the marketing space, AI can help personalize offers to consumers using micro segmentation and customization, but decisions about marketing strategy that will heavily impact revenue or market share are probably best left to humans. In the customer service space, AI systems are great for creating better responses to transactional requests, but decisions for that customer still need to be based on empathy which means human intervention is still a necessity. In sales, AI chat bots can be effective as aids to the sales process, but an actual sales person will still be much more in influencing buyer decision, especially with high ticket B2B scenarios. 

However, no matter the sector, AI is sure to disrupt industries more than we can probably even foresee today since it becomes more advance by the day. As an example, scientists in the U.K at the University of Essex and experts at Orbital Media just rolled out a new AI system to aid the NHS in providing customized medical advice and tips to patients. It’s easing the burden on doctors, helping people with self-treatable and minor issues find solutions to their problems without requiring human intervention.


Amazon Echo and the Future of The Connected Home

on Monday, 17 October 2016. Posted in Social Media - Linkedin - Twitter Accounts - YouTube

Amazon Echo and the Future of The Connected Home

It’s the type of lifestyle that movies and TV shows of the past could only depict – average people living with machines and robots in their house that had conversations with them and performed tasks. And while our life today might not necessarily look like a scene from the Jetson’s, our technology is proving to be a lot more advanced than we could have ever dreamed a decade ago. It started with personal computers in the home that let us access all sorts of information and perform tasks online. Then it shifted to smartphones allowing us to do the same (plus more) from practically anywhere with the touch of a finger. But now the latest technology is not even requiring us to lift a finger! 

I’ve been using Amazon Echo in my home for the past six months and I must say that this technology is quite remarkable. As voice-controlled artificial intelligence, I don’t even have to press a button to ask this machine to perform a task for me:

Originally published on linkedin, full article with the videos


Industry Classification: Is It Outdated? in Today’s Economy

on Friday, 16 September 2016. Posted in General - Misc. Tips

Industry Classification: Is It Outdated? in Today’s Economy

If you were asked to define what industry some of the world’s most valuable companies fall into, how would you do it? Let’s look at Google, for example. At first, you may think it’s obvious that it could be considered a part of the information technology industry. But what about the fact that most of their revenue comes from advertising? Does that make them more of a media company instead? Or, let’s consider Amazon. Yes, they are certainly defined as a retailer, but they are also a big player in the Technology sector. 

The reality is that the systems we’ve used to define the companies of yesterday aren’t necessarily working in defining the companies of today. Now, that’s not due to the lack of variety in available industry classes, but rather that today’s companies transcend more just one industry as technology plays more of a role in how businesses function today. But these classifications are more than just a definition. They’re a means of grouping similar companies together in a way that allows insiders and outsiders to compare those that are most successful amongst others in their same category. In many cases, it’s not a fair comparison. 

How We Classify Industries Today

The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) is the most widely used system in the global financial community for categorizing public companies. As of this year, there are 11 different sectors companies can be classified into. These are:

·     Energy

·     Materials

·     Industrials

·     Consumer Discretionary

·     Consumer Staples

·     Health Care

·     Financials

·     Information Technology

·     Telecommunication Services

·     Utilities

·     Real Estate

Until recently, this classification system was fairly effective given that most companies operated mainly in their specific niche. But with the rise of technology and a growing global economy, more companies—particularly those that are most successful—are starting to encompass more than just one of the sectors listed above. And that means that within each industry class, it can seem like apples are being compared to oranges. 

How Companies Should Be Classified in the Future

With the ever-changing nature of today’s companies, it makes sense that we should start defining them less by one vertical industry and more by business model instead. Rather than assigning companies to one particular sector—when it’s likely that they span over more than one sector—we should be defining them by how they operate. For example:

·     Service providers – these companies primarily offer a service performed by people to other people

·     Asset builders – these companies make and sell physical goods

·     Technology creators – These companies are in the business of creating and delivering software and data

·     Network orchestrators – these companies facilitate interactions and transactions between other people and businesses within a network 

Using classifications based more on business model means that in many cases, it allows for a more equal comparison of similar companies, rather than putting companies in the same sector classification when only one portion of their business model is similar. 

As a society and global economy, we’ve all become fixated on learning within the several years. With the world changing as rapidly as it is, everyone—both individuals and businesses—needs to constantly learn and adapt to keep up with the market we work in. This is a big factor in achieving success. But interestingly enough, with this outdated system has it all backwards. It’s not necessarily the learning that presents the challenge. Rather, it’s our ability to unlearn that’s holding many of us back. The faster we can realize the need to let go of ineffective systems, practices, and methods of the past, the more productive we can be in the future. 

*Originaly published on linkedin on Sep.12 

Negative Conversations in the Workplace: 3 Tips for Staying Positive

on Tuesday, 09 August 2016. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

Negative Conversations in the Workplace:  3 Tips for Staying Positive

In previous post, we discussed the benefits of choosing positivity in the workplace and how it can make a big difference not just in your work life, but in your personal life as well. While it’s one thing to choose a positive outlook for yourself at work, unfortunately, not everyone in your work environment will make the same choice.  In fact, you might find that you’re in the minority of colleagues who choose positivity, which means you may be spending a good portion of your interactions dealing with negativity of other co-workers, especially in conversation.

Whether it’s official business matters around the conference table or casual conversation in the break room, you’re bound to encounter negative conversations at some point during your day. These could be directed at you personally or could be just about office frustration, gossip, or other situations. Whatever the subject matter is, however, it can be difficult to not let this negativity turn your day (or week) upside down. Here are some important points to keep in mind the next time you encounter a negative conversation at work that seems tricky to navigate:

Remember You’re In Control

The biggest mistake you can make when encountering a negative conversation is forgetting that you still have control. You have control over how you react, how you choose to steer the conversation once you’re involved, and most of all, how you choose to let the conversation affect you once it has ended. You don’t have to let other people’s actions or words sideline your efforts of focusing on positivity.


Sometimes your first reaction to a comment, question, or conversation won’t always be the best response—especially when this negativity is directed to you personally.  Your first instinct for a response to a critical comment made towards you might be to act defensive or to send another negative comment back their way, but this is far from the most productive choice. In other instances, you may find yourself in the midst of a conversation that involves office gossip or backbiting. In either case, remember to refrain. Refrain from saying what may immediately come to mind as a response, or in other instances, refrain from getting involved in the conversation at all if you can tell that it’s not headed in a positive direction.


Refraining from responding with your first reaction to a negative comment doesn’t always mean that you just have to not respond at all. With a bit of emotional intelligence, you can effectively redirect a negative comment directed towards you or even an entire conversation centered around negativity.

If someone in the workplace makes a condescending, attacking, or negative comment towards you personally, you can still stand up for yourself while redirecting their negativity. For example, if someone makes a comment toward you about what they view as a negative trait (i.e. being stubborn, incompetent, looking for a argument, etc), redirect that comment by clarifying or restating their negative wording, such as saying, “It’s unfortunate that you feel that way, since that is not my intention,” or “I’m a very determined person, but I don’t consider myself stubborn.”

If the negative conversation isn’t directed towards you specifically, you still have the opportunity to redirect it toward a more positive place depending on how you choose to get involved. If you find yourself involved in an office conversation that is centered on complaining, gossiping, or backbiting, try to offer a different perspective that may help change the outlook of those involved. It’s possible to offer verbal validation for their feelings while still helping them see a different, more positive picture of the situation they may be frustrated with.

When it comes down to it, the key to navigating any negative conversation is to simply think before you speak or act. Don’t go with your first-impulse reaction, and think about how what you say or how you get involved will affect the conversation. With the right foresight, you can be a big influencer of positivity for other colleagues in your workplace, and in the meantime, you’ll be happier, too. 

The Next Level of Cloud Transformation

on Wednesday, 30 March 2016. Posted in Enterprise Software

The Next Level of Cloud Transformation

Ten years ago if someone would have mentioned “the cloud” in a business setting, people probably would have immediately thought about the weather. Flash forward to today and it’s likely that we talk more about the digital cloud in business than we do about the weather. The point is that cloud computing has dramatically transformed the business world as well as our personal lives over the past three years.  The reality is that cloud computing continues to transform how we do business, and to keep up in the industry businesses need to keep up with these changes or get left behind in the marketplace.

As this transformation continues over the next three years, here is what businesses will need to be aware of:

  1. Every Company will need to become an IT Company

As the cloud transforms business, it becomes more and more apparent ...

to read the entire article click on the link below

Noticing the Good at Work: How It Can Change Your Life

on Sunday, 29 November 2015. Posted in Blog

Noticing the Good at Work: How It Can Change Your Life



Over the course of a lifetime, we spend up to 35% of our time at work. When you consider it from that perspective, work becomes more than just a job. It’s a part of your life that affects everything else you do—including who you socialize with, where you live, and what you think about day to day. But unfortunately for the large majority of those in the workforce, their job is the biggest source of stress in their life. This stress can come from everything from the commute, or frustrating co-workers, to strenuous daily tasks, the fear of getting laid off, or having to face the wrath of bosses or clients. Whatever the source of this stress though, study after study has proven that stress leads to very real health problems due to increased cortisol like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Not only that, but it takes a toll on mental health as well.


So how can you combat these stressors that you’ll inevitably face every day at work? Well, the answer is fairly simple. Choose to notice the positive parts of your day rather than dwell on the negative.


Negativity Changes Your Brain


By nature, our brains are wired to register and react to negative emotion. It’s an innate survival tactic that causes our brain to focus only on that negative emotion so we can get away from danger. And while this is useful if you have to run or fight for your life, in an everyday sense, focusing on this negativity can quite literally narrow your mindset. Focusing on the negative emotion causes your brain to shut off the outside world and limit the other options and choices that surround you.


It’s easy to let stress at work consume you and occupy most of your thoughts during the day. Oftentimes, it even spills over into conversations with friends, family, or other co-workers where you complain about this negative stress as a way to release it. Unfortunately though, this behavior, over time, can re-wire your brain into only ever seeing or talking about negative events. It can literally re-shape your brain as the synapses for these thoughts grow closer together. So how do you prevent that from happening?


How Seeing the Positive Benefits You


Positive thinking is a feel-good word that for a lot of people doesn’t carry much weight. Some people may see it as just having a false sense of reality, but research shows that it’s quite the opposite. Choosing positive thoughts over negative and stressful thoughts can help you build skills and see things in a way that those who focus on negative thoughts aren’t able to. Those who continually focus on positive emotions open their mind to more options and sense of possibility, and because of that they develop an enhanced ability to build skills and develop resources. Whereas negativity closes off much of the outside world, positivity breeds the development of valuable skills and resources for everyday life that last far longer than the emotion itself.


Choosing Positivity At Work


While for many, this might be easier said than done, anyone can make the choice to start noticing more positive elements of their work day. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to walk around with a grin on your face all day or never feel stressed about a deadline or project, but it does mean that you’ll need to adopt a different mindset than what you’ll find most people have in the office. Here are a few tips to help you do that:


  1. Don’t start your day with a negative attitude – If you walk through the door with a stressed or cynical attitude, your day will most likely continue with those emotions. If you don’t have time to take a few minutes to clear your mind try prayer/meditation in the morning before leaving home, utilize your transit time to take a few deep breaths and listen to music instead of world/business news to clear your mind of any negative expectations for the day.
  2. Don’t let negative emotions fester – As you already know, negative emotions can cause your brain to close off and only focus on that feeling. When a co-worker does something to annoy you or your boss lashes out at you for something that wasn’t your fault, try not to fixate on that experience for the rest of the day. Take a break and do something to take your mind off of those negative feelings so you can get back to the real task at hand.
  3. Pay Attention to Your Conversation Topics-In office culture, it’s quite common for co-workers to bond over complaining about things around the work place, whether it’s policies, administration, or environment. This is not only damaging to individual mindsets, but harms office culture as well. Try to notice when you’re quick to jump in on this complaining, and when you catch yourself playing along, make a conscious effort to either re-position the topic or politely excuse yourself.
  4. Write it Down - One of the best ways to solidify a memory is to write it down. Journaling is one of habits of successful people and they use it as a tool to gain insight, record goals, and live a better life. Whether you choose to hand write it or keep a simple file on your computer, make a habit at the end of each day to record three positive things that happened during your work day—even if it just happens to be the delicious lunch you had—and you’ll find yourself having a better attitude when you leave for the day.


When it comes down to it, choosing positivity really is a simple choice that pays off big time in the future. Making the conscious effort to notice even the smallest positive elements in your work day helps you have a better attitude about your job, a better outlook on job satisfaction as a whole, and as studies show, even helps you build life skills. Plus, it can even help you live longer as you train your brain to focus on the good instead of the bad, reducing stress levels along with way. With so many benefits that positivity can bring in your life, you really can’t afford not to choose it! Hopefully these simple tips will help you start noticing the good parts of your work day and by making a better workplace for others, we make ourselves better leaders.


 ***Also published on LinkedIn :



What Can Banks and Insurance Companies Learn from Tesla and Under Armour

on Sunday, 01 November 2015. Posted in General - Misc. Tips

What Can Banks and Insurance Companies Learn from Tesla and Under Armour


At first glance, two brands like Tesla and Under Armour might seem completely unrelated to any business in the banking or insurance sector. And while the products and services they offer might be completely different, the fact is that banks and insurance companies can learn a lot about how companies like Tesla and Under Armour brand themselves.

Hyperlink to the complete article on linkedin :

7 tips to maximize your Oracle OpenWorld 2015 Conference Experience

on Monday, 28 September 2015. Posted in Blog, Oracle OpenWorld

7 tips to maximize your Oracle OpenWorld 2015 Conference Experience

Less than a month to Oracle OpenWorld, the conference will officially kick off on Sunday, October 25th. The location alone should be enough to get most of you excited. San Francisco is an amazing city to visit. The business and technical content, networking, and after hours social events are just bonuses.

Below are some tips after a decade of regular attendance as a speaker and attendee of Oracle OpenWorld.

1- Book and plan sessions as soon as possible, here is the link to the current Content Catalog list the best ones are "sold out" swiftly. Currently 1600+ sessions are available, plan what you want to learn this year and keep that in mind when registering for the session. Use the target audience information on the left of the catalog.


2- This year’s OpenWorld major themes I will focus

  •       On enterprise cloud solutions and deployment strategies to move your on-premise Oracle applications like Siebel, EBS, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Primavera into the Cloud with a strong option of co-existence. Over 800 sessions on cloud computing!
  •        On a comprehensive enterprise big data solution with, Big Data Appliances, 12c database, NoSQL Database and Big Data SQLData is the lifeblood of most organizations.
  •         IoT – Internet of things this year has lots of new sessions in this area.

         3- Lots of sessions on customer experience: A must see is the state of the art Customer experience lab, here is a sneak peek:

  • lab

4- This years business and technology conference will have a focus on the intersection of cloud, social, and mobile business opportunities.

5- Planning and preparing will be key. Make sure you can write & measure your conference objectives. 

Here are mine:

30% learning (sessions & Oracle headquarters) to help me advise better solutions for my clients

50 % sharing good practices, knowledge sharing with different Oracle clients – these sessions have already been planned and scheduled with the clients in advance date&time confirmed.

10% attending networking events, I plan to grab a coffee in the morning and a well-deserved beer one of the day’s in the afternoon at the Tap and Brew, 

10% Unwind by riding a bike over the Golden Gate Bridge and visiting Alcatraz.

On my side I am also looking forward to the following Oracle ACE activities during OpenWorld 2015:

  •           Sunday, October 25: Annual Oracle ACE Dinner 7pm-10pm
  •           Monday, October 26: OTN /Partners Meetup, 7-9pm
  •            Wednesday, Oct 28: Bloggers meetup

             6- This year's conference is a month later than usual, bring a great pair of comfortable shoes and dress for colder temperature than usual. 

                 7- Don’t miss Larry’s keynote, usually he provides the big announcements and summarizes well the strategy and themes of this year’s OpenWorld and the ongoing strategy.

             I’ll be there, and you can follow me at @AlexAntonatos. Also you can click on Contact (on the bottom right of the webpage and select schedule a meeting request a 1-1 with me or other Oracle experts in San Francisco.

Feel free to share your Openworld checklist and thoughts on the topic!


Have I missed any helpful tips? Leave a comment!

See you in San Francisco,





3 step process in modifying BI dynamic reports, dashboards or KPI's

on Thursday, 20 August 2015. Posted in Enterprise Software

3 step process in modifying BI dynamic reports, dashboards or KPI's

This blog entry is dedicated to a question, received on august 16th from a reader in Sweden.


This process/methodology can be used for all large enterprise vendors (Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, and IBM)

Every business has its own reporting requirements, new requirements come up constantly with the ever changing corporate vision to adapt to the constant technological evolution and meet the ongoing client experience requirements.

By modifying, we mean changing the out-of-the-box (OOTB) data warehouse structure, ETL logic or BI repository and front-end to cover the customer specific needs that aren’t covered by the out-of-the-box solution.

All the OOTB large vendors BI Apps offer a good framework to build custom reporting – Make sure to use it -  first rule of thumb : Customization is additive so we never lose the out-of-the-box objects when we customize BI Apps, the OOTB object will always be available. Don`t be fearful in modifying reportsAll OOTB large vendor solutions come pre-populated with a specific field mapping as shown below. (you can download the specs. from the vendors support website)

 Field mapping

Below is an example of a supplier spend dynamic report – Note again that all vendors provide the OOTB definitions as a starting point on the vendor support website, here is an example of a supplier spend report:

supplier spend

This above mentioned definition provides the specific field mapping as compared to the front cover.

To recap, in your BI work area, create a custom folder where you need to paste the copied report. Right-click on the report and select Rename to give the report a different name (all vendors have incorporated this functionality to improve user experience).

You now have an exact duplicate of the original report which you can use to make the required changes as per your business need.

Final tip, always treat your BI projects as business projects and always put solid governance in place. In the context of BI, there are two key aspects to governance: data governance and BI deployment


A Powerful Testing strategy - 5 tips

on Thursday, 23 July 2015. Posted in General - Misc. Tips

A Powerful Testing strategy - 5 tips

What is a Test Strategy ?

A strategy for defining a testing approach, what you want to accomplish and how you are going to achieve it, the details how the testing objectives would be met effectively. 

This document removes all uncertainty or vague requirement statements with a clear plan of approach for achieving the test objectives for your project. Test strategy is one of the most important documents for the QA team. 

You should look at any defined test processes (e.g. entry/ suspension/ resumption/ exit criteria for test, process to execute test cases and process to report a defect) to examine their feasibility in your situation. Identify the required test processes that will be re-used, modified or create them from scratch.
1. Encourage clarity in reporting bugs, always propose a standardized test template for the users.
2. Identify the data that will be recorded, measured, analyzed and reported to show the progress of testing.
3. Challenge all assumptions while you design your test strategy. Provide safeguards if any of your prior assumptions prove incorrect later.
4. Remember that a powerful strategy is never static. Monitor the results obtained from the test strategy and do not hesitate in making the desired modifications towards completing your test strategy.

5. Last tip, a great testing strategy should include all areas included in this table of content.

test strategy


Work and Vacations: Integration is the New Separation

on Thursday, 21 May 2015. Posted in General - Misc. Tips

Work and Vacations: Integration is the New Separation

                                                                         Chances are you or someone you know in the workplace often talks about “needing a vacation” but never take one because you just “can’t break away.” In fact, studies show that millions of Americans intentionally take less vacation days now than they did 40 years ago because they believe that no one else can do what they do at the office. Ironically though, studies also show that those who take vacations make better employees. They lead to better physical health, more productivity, increased mental power, newer perspectives, and a lower chance of burn out.

In today’s corporate culture, it’s becoming much more common to find employees who are blurring the lines between their work and personal lives. With emails, text messages, phone calls, and social media being accessible all in one place at the literal touch of a button, it’s easy to let work creep in to personal time even while employees are away from the office—especially on vacation. Interestingly enough, however, today’s workers are beginning to show a preference for less separation between work and personal life in favor for more integration. Mainly because it allows for one overarching quality: flexibility. When flexibility is part of the equation, workers don’t hesitate to mix work with personal life because it means they can do what they want, when they want. Even on vacation.

While many people see technology as a hindrance on work-life balance, it can also be one of the best tools to allow employees to actually live their lives a little more fully—to break away from the traditional 8-5 model during the day-to-day, but actually feel like they can take a vacation without it sacrificing the success of their careers, too.

Granted, a vacation isn’t really a vacation if it just turns into an extension of the office – it’s essential to be able to disconnect from work while on vacation. But that same technology that keeps employees tied to their smartphones is also what can allow them to join in on a conference call when they are at a beach resort 4 time zones away from the office. Or even respond to important client emails when they are 30,000 feet in the air while traveling to or from their vacation destination. It allows employees who typically forego vacations because of the stress of leaving work to actually enjoy the best of both worlds from time to time.

So instead of letting technology tie you down to your job, look at it as your golden ticket to being able to integrate work into your personal life so that work doesn’t have to completely control it. This year, do yourself a favor and put your vacation days to use. You’ll be a better employee because of it.  


If you would like to read my regular posts on Linkedin send me a LinkedIn invite. And, of course, feel free to also connect viaTwitter.

Here are some other recent posts on Linkedin:

Centralized Documentation for All Oracle Products

on Wednesday, 01 April 2015. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

Centralized Documentation for All Oracle Products

I should know get less calls/email on where can i find .... :)

Oracle has centralized all product documentation within the oracle support website.

Once logged in, Select the Knowledge tab and then select online documentation.

My thoughts it's quite simple and intuitive and some other benefits include

- Comprehensive centralized documentation on (, No need for Oracle clients to copy onto internal work repositories.

- Accurate and continuously updated official information all within the same location.

- This easy access to documents supports collaboration between many project users. The centralized location of documents also promotes easy distribution of documents to users on your project.

This action from Oracle, helps simplify the overall customer experience. This type of centralized user design model (one stop shop) is gaining traction and should be part of corporate strategy in helping to simplify corporate processes.



The Secret to Enterprise Projects: Don’t Care Who Gets the Credit

on Wednesday, 25 February 2015. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

The Secret to Enterprise Projects: Don’t Care Who Gets the Credit

For a lot of people, having to work alongside others to complete any given project is their least favorite part of the job. Teamwork can be difficult, especially if all members involved have very different personalities that sometimes clash. In fact, 97% of employees and executive surveyed believe that lack of alignment within a team directly impacts the outcome of a project (source).

But usually one of the biggest sources of content when working on a project comes from members becoming more interested in proving their worth by getting credit for their own work, rather than wanting credit for team completion of a project. And really, the truth is that when you stop caring and who gets the credit, you’ll find that working on a project gets much less stressful. Though it might seem counterintuitive, forgetting about who gets the credit for a project will only benefit you as a leader in the long run. Here are 5 reasons why:

Your teammates will enjoy working with you

No one enjoys working with someone who is power hungry or someone who micromanages. Unfortunately for many, teamwork is a necessary evil that dominates the white-collar professional world. According to a recent survey by BusinessWeek, 82% of those surveyed said they depended on partnering with others throughout the day to get their work done. By being the type of team member who is more concerned about the group as a whole, they’ll know that you give them enough room to breathe and develop. Since they don’t feel smothered, it will be much easier for them to follow your advice and requests during the course of a project.

Team efficiency will be boosted

When it comes to team projects, time management is key. And the stress of deadlines is amplified even more when team members don’t agree, can’t get along, or just simply don’t work well together. By focusing on the greater good and helping the cohesion of your group, you’ll find that time coordination will be amplified and your team will finish more work in a given time frame.

Team moral will soar

When people like who they’re working with, team projects can really be an enjoyable experience. On the other hand, team projects can be extremely disappointing if there isn’t cohesion within a group. When surveyed, 86% of employees and executives sited lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures (source). Making an effort to be more of a team player and less concerned about individual will help you boost team moral. All members involved will be energized and ready to face any obstacles, ultimately resulting in a positive experience and a successful project outcome.

Their skills will develop more

Because your team members know that they can shine with their individual skills, they’ll do their best in developing them. They won’t stifle their creativity or productivity due to reservations they have about potential reactions from their team.

They’ll stick more to your team

In the business world, a team that works well together on project is as good as gold. Being the type of team member people like to work with means that you’ll have team members who last longer and actually want to stick around to work with you. In the end, you’ll have even more success as a group as you continue to develop the synergy you helped start in the first place.

As Henry Ford stated, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” And this entire process is dependent on that team sharing a common goal, using their individual talents to work toward that goal, and using those talents and skills in unison. Worrying less about who is getting the credit and more about the success of the entire group is the first step to achieving that.


Here are some other recent posts, I've wriiten on Linkedin:

How Today's Workforce has Changed the Rules and Lens of Engagement

Optimism Why It’s Important

3 Lessons We Can Learn From the Homeless This Holiday Season

Corporations are Transforming into Professional Sports Teams-Data is the Game Changer

Let's Fix It: Deliver Your Business Project, or You're Just Another Person With an Opinion

Avoid a Public Speaking Meltdown with These 10 Tips

Minimize your TV watching, watch TED instead

on Tuesday, 27 January 2015. Posted in Blog

Minimize your TV watching, watch TED instead


TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. A great global success.


The below hyperlink wll bring you to the top 20 most popular (all great inspiring videos! I strongly recommend, watch all of them)

The official website is

Miinimize your TV watching, watch TED instead.






A Conceptual Data Model (aka BIM) is Not Technical - It's about clarifying ...

on Sunday, 28 December 2014. Posted in Business Analysis, Blog

A Conceptual Data Model (aka BIM) is Not Technical - It's about clarifying ...

                                                                                                                                             the business language describing the problem domain so that everyone understand exactly what is meant by the model. And this is something we need to put together independent of the systems or technology— this becomes a road map that helps determine the BIM (Business Information Model) and this output is going to be in the process definition.


A conceptual data model identifies the highest-level relationships between the different entities with no technical information like primary keys or attributes.













The figure below is an example of a conceptual data model.



The conceptual model helps breakdown for the business stakeholder the planning and to start top-down modeling to do a model driven architecture (MDA).


In my view, every enterprise project needs conceptual data models or Business Information Models.Why? 


  • It describes exactly the information needs of the business.
  • It facilitates discussion.
  • It helps to prevent mistakes, misunderstanding.
  • It forms important “ideal system” documentation.
  • It forms a sound basis for physical database design.
  • It helps in forming sound logical data and functional models.


*** Happy New year , wish you all a great, healthy and extremely happy 2015.

Why implement a centralized CRM package - Main Pitfall & 5 tips

on Tuesday, 18 November 2014. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Why implement a centralized CRM package - Main Pitfall & 5 tips

In my view, the top 10 reasons most companies move towards a centralized CRM (customer relationship management) system

  1. Move to get a more complete view of customers
  2. Automate previously manual and repetitive processes
  3. Make business processes consistent across the company
  4. Improve the quality and velocity of data.  Enter once.  Use many times.
  5. Replace of various systems/databases by one system
  6. Improve sales force efficiency, forecasting
  7. Deploying CRM enables corporations to become more customer-centric with their business processes
  8. Better user access to data and instant mobile analytical tools
  9. Improve communication among groups within sales and marketing organizations
  10. Leverages best practices throughout the organization 

A CRM system provides a one face to the customer and a 360 degree view of sales and opportunities, by establishing the reflex of having a common customer ID across data dimensions, you can provide visibility to all of the customer-related activity across the enterprise.

Tip #1 Dont focus on functional requirements

When focusing on functional requirements take into account all Tier 1 CRM, share the same functionalities, provide a better scoring to the vendor that is already deployed internally, for example if your company is more Oracle centric select Oracle if its SAP centric select SAP, this will help reduce the risks related to integration. 

Tip #2 Biggest risk will always be the data migration


          In a CRM project, put a focus on the data migration, bad data is the number 1 reason for project failures and overruns: 

     Main Pitfalls of Converting Bad Data

       Inaccurate report metrics

       Bad information wastes users time and effort

       Marketing wastes money and effort pursuing bad prospects

       Understanding your “customer” is impossible

       IT wastes time sifting through information and trying to make sense of it

       Operations has difficulty reconciling data against financial and other backend information

       User get frustrated, you lose valuable buy-in and adoption

Follow a structured approach and limit your initial scope of your data migration to converting:

 Accounts, Contacts, Addresses, Opportunity, Products, Notes, Attachments and Territories.

   Tip # 4 Data Cleansed then Loaded into CRM

   Define key systems where data will be cleansed and then convert to CRM

   Do the same with the transactional data, that will be loaded into CRM and which loaded into the BI for analytics

Tip#5 Setup CRM Center of Excellence 

      Provide one level 3 support group for all user queries, incidents, and changes requested.   Across all business unit lines.
     With established partnership for software break & fix, establish business-oriented service level agreements for availability, time to respond, and bandwidth/capacity for changes.

      I would say that the Achilles heel to all IT systems especially in CRM systems is user-friendliness. If in doubt, use the KISS method'Keep It Simple Stupid'. Do you have 2 ways you could do something? Always work with the simpler of the two. It's much easier to add a bit of detail rather than trying to take away from an overly complicated process.



Oracle Business Flow: Project Expenditure to Revenue Recognition

on Friday, 17 October 2014. Posted in Oracle Project Suite, Blog, Oracle Financial Applications

Oracle Business Flow: Project Expenditure to Revenue Recognition



In this article I share the Oracle business flow: Project expenditure to revenue recognition business process with the associated enterprise roles. The Oracle Business Flows— Enable you to relate your business requirements to the E-Business Suite functionality. I recommend these flow models to assist you with the project scope and increase end-user  awareness of the project. It also establishes a common understanding of the integrations required to deliver the project.

Be aware not all consultants have this information, E-Business Suite accelerators are available from Oracle Consulting and other approved partner channels.



Sharing OBI Best Practices - July 2014 SIG (Special interest group) sessions

on Friday, 01 August 2014. Posted in Solution & Business Architecture

Sharing OBI Best Practices - July 2014 SIG (Special interest group) sessions

Last three weeks have been working/sharing with different EMEA and US clients, this included other Oracle Aces on the topic of Oracle Business Intelligence. Below is a quick recap of 3 best practices, every customer should follow unfortunately it seems still today not everyone is following:

1)On the metadata – presentation layer,  seemed a rampant issue within the the sessions, lots of companies still use too many columns in their tables. Follow the Rule of 9; Tables should be organized to show nine or less columns per level.

2) To make the dashboards more effective – Use visualization a picture is worth 1000 words, don't forget the human brain processes pictures better than words.

3) Be highly selective in determining which metrics make it on your dashboard. Ask yourself how your metrics dashboard, connect to the bottom line. Does everyone understand the metrics that matter? An example within these sessions we had employees working for the same company that had different definitions on the same metric.

On the Oracle Knowledge Management site, search for 1455806.1, a must read presentation for any client invested on the Oracle Business Intelligence products.




Get rid of the lengthy COTS Feasibility Study, Interesting facts & data to make you think twice

on Friday, 30 May 2014. Posted in Blog, Enterprise Architecture

Get rid of the lengthy COTS Feasibility Study, Interesting facts & data to make you think twice





                                                       Feasibility studies permit planners to outline their ideas on paper before implementing them. This can reveal errors in project design before their implementation negatively affects the project. Applying the lessons gained from a feasibility study can significantly lower the project risks. In my view feasibility studies should never be longer than 4 months, no matter how big your project is let me explain:

The Feasibility study is not a sales pitch, way too often we focus on the COTS (Commercial off the shelf ) product, In my view, this is a fundamental mistake all these products work and are already integrated (PeopleSoft, Oracle EBS, Fusion,JDE, SAP, Siebel) it does not make sense any longer with the vast information out they’re to be completing Feasibility studies with full system analysis like Oracle or SAP that last longer than 4 months.

Why? I have yet to hear in my career that Oracle or SAP cannot perform a certain business function if not vanilla or with a RICE(Report-Interface-Conversion-Extension). Especially know that everyone has adopted a SOA more Open based Architecture.

Below is an email I received by an individual that gave me approval to print this email onto this article, he shares his experience about their feasibility study:

From: **************************************
Sent: ************************
To: Alex Antonatos [mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ]
Subject: RE: Oracle Fusion vs PSFT


Hi Alex,

Great read on your Fusion article, just to let you know we just performed a 10 Month feasibility study on PeopleSoft or Fusion and we came up with the similar conclusions as per your article.

The only thing that bothers me, we could of donated that money to a worthy cause. I think we spent almost a million dollars if you tally up the employees like myself hourly rate and some consultants that were with us.

I have been in the IT field for 25 years, and the end game is always the same ;consultant come in make the money and leave after 3-6 months to the next project and the employees get the s**t for why we spent so much money, and the employees are stuck to show the value add of the 10 month feasibility project.

On a side note, I really enjoy your blog and thank you for the whitepapers.


Best Regards,









In the case above, we all sense some passion&frustration, I dont blame him they spent over 1 million dollars to go ahead to say that PeopleSoft 9 or Fusion can integrate to the current landscape of systems. Same answer as day 1. They’re study presented risks and returns associated with the project so the prospective managers can evaluate them. Again in their case they also believed their Finance and HRMS systems where so different compared to the norm and fell into a sales pitch of functionalities.

Here are some more examples of long feasibility studies that went the wrong direction:

1) ERP implementation , business functions inability of Hershey to ship candys for Halloween (The Feasibility study was 10 months)

2) ERP Implementation Nike Losing major shoe orders (The Feasibility study was 9 months)

3) Foxmeyers failure to process financial information and orders (The Feasibility study was 11 months)

4) BSkyB (BSY) got a 318 Million pound settlement in 2010 for a COTS system that did not work (The Feasibility study was 13 months)

5) UK Government scraps a 12 Billion National Program to provide integrated electronic records (15 Month Feasibility)

6) State of California spent 300 Million dollars in implementing a COTS software (12 Month feasibility study)

Here are some practical tips and guidelines:

  1. Use social media, an example when i wrote the article about Fusion and asked people to share their go live experiences i received 87 emails in 72 hours. These answers helped me understand quickly the different strengths and weaknesses of the product.
  2. In my view, The acceptable level for any business feasibility of a COTS package should not be more than 4 months, but the appropriate risk rate will vary for each individual depending on their personal work situation. Less experience teams usually require more time to complete a COTS Feasibility study.
  3. No SALES Pitch, focus on the integration, economic viability and operational zing of the project
  4. Don’t expect perfection in a feasibility study this is the main reason it should be short and done quickly.
  5. Bottom lines there are dozens of reasons why a feasibility study can't be done in a shorter timeframe, but perhaps only one why it can. It’s up to you to decide whether you are going to search for a way to do it, or regularly settle for a handy excuse. Some companies fall into the trap and use the feasibility study more like a sales pitch . Don’t do it!.

I am a big fan of the feasibility study but it should be a quick study and low cost exercise to determine if your COTS project (Commercial Off the Shelf Product) makes sense to adopt it within your organization.




Interpersonal communication - 10 tips

on Monday, 14 April 2014. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

Interpersonal communication - 10 tips




                                                                       One of the hardest things to do for all of us is to explore communication with an open mind - the key to influencing is to first understand the person you are influencing. Ask lots of open, neutral questions and listen actively to the answers. Different views, well managed, increase creativity and innovation. Avoid compromise try to aim for true collaboration.


On a lighter note, there must be other's who are managing with us because of our different point of view. Having different point of view is not bad, it's the most natural thing. No two persons are the same so definitely there will be difference of opinion. With my experience I have observed, if one is confidant & have strong conviction about the subject, then it's not that difficult to convince other's. One has to be patient & respectful for other's opinion then only one can win other's mind and persuade also with facts and data. By the way having discussion with different perspective always brings out something new & helps most of the time.

We can always agree to disagree but in the end at least you will have a great debate and learn something new, what ever that might be.

Quick recap

1. Allow them to have it
2. Be curious about it
3. Learn something about yourself from it
4. Be open minded enough to consider changing your view
5. Think about how they could add benefit because of their view
6. Relax (Do not lose your cool...sometimes not that easy)
7. Look for shared ground
8. Find the shared ground
9. Use the shared ground to build rapport and trust
10. Consider "leading" rather than "managing


Like usual share your thoughts on this topic

Sharing tips in developing team work plans

on Thursday, 20 March 2014. Posted in Project Management, Blog

Sharing tips in developing team work plans

 The project manager determines whether any project management activities should be included in the team workplan. Be specific when defining the skills, background, and experience required for each task. This allows you to make more accurate work assignments (role) to team members and minimizes problems caused by assigning a team member to inappropriate responsibilities.

·          Do not create artificial contract deadlines that are actually target dates. Dates that are deadlines should be specified in the contract. Dates that are not in the contract are typically target dates, which are objectives or goals that may move.

Critical Path Versus Critical Chain Approach

·          Workplan development follows either a Critical Chain or a Critical Path method.

-       Critical Chain Approach—Focuses on the final deliverable due date for the project rather than on interim due dates. Activity durations are estimated with no safety factor or time buffer included. Instead, Project Management incorporates safety into the Workplan to protect the final due date.

-       Critical Path Approach—Project duration is driven by the interim activities that must be completed, the availability of resources, and safety factors built in to each task or activity.

·          The Critical Chain approach is concerned with the latest date that a task or activity may be started to meet the final due date of the project. 

·          In the Critical Path approach, a project start date must be determined. If a start activity is not obvious, create an activity entitled "project start" or "initiate project" to indicate that the project does have a real start time. 

·          In a Critical Path approach, resource availability affects the duration of tasks, milestones, and the overall project completion date. The more resources available, the shorter the durations. In the Critical Chain approach, the required completion date determines the resources required. If resource availability is limited, the scope of work must be re-evaluated and possibly reduced to meet the completion date. In either case, the resource model is updated to reflect actual resource assignments.

·          In the Critical Path approach, identify activities that can begin immediately (that is, they have no predecessors), and make the start activity their predecessor.

·          Using the activity list and dependency information, sequence the remaining activities. A simple activity-sequencing example is shown below.

Activity Sequencing 1

Activity ID


Immediately Preceding Activity


Project A



    Initiate project



    Assign project manager



    Establish constraints



    Develop project schedule

3, 4


    Prepare estimate expenses

4, 5


    Assign resources

5, 6


    Distribute project documents


 ·          The same information is presented in the Microsoft Project example, as shown below; however, Microsoft Project automatically draws the precedence diagram.

Activity Sequencing 2


·          Identify the finish activity for the project. For example, include a milestone called "project end." Every activity in the project needs to be completed before this milestone is reached.

Workplan Standards and Guidelines

·          Review any guidelines, practices, or procedures for preparing a Workplan. Verify that the WBS is in line with the Project Charter, and update sections of the Project Charter as necessary.

·          The baseline Workplan and framework documents for the standard methodology can be used as a starting point. Also refer to any lessons learned documents and other, similar workplans. Expert advice or opinion is also valuable when performing this step.

Workplan Review

·          Workplan development is an iterative process because the resulting schedule needs to be compared with the scope and other constraints to verify its feasibility.

·          The Workplan should be reviewed frequently. The best project managers continually try to assess what can go wrong and perform up-front analysis on the schedule. Clearly, project constraints and objectives can change; therefore, schedule analysis should be an ongoing activity.

·          Obtain Workplan buy-in from all key team members. In many ways, this is more important than formal approval, because team members who are committed to the Workplan are more likely to put forth the effort required to adhere to it than those who are not.

·          Review of deliverables includes reviewing action items and verifying actions to improve performance, revisiting and refining the Workplan, and acknowledging that the plan meets the expectations of the management team.

·          Reviewers should typically include the project sponsor and the organization. They may also include other organization authorities who have direct influence or need-to-know responsibilities. Reviewers can vary from project to project but should be determined early in the project life cycle.

·          To avoid delays in the overall project schedule, the time allotted for reviewing the Workplan should be formally communicated to the project sponsors before submission for approval.

Please share your thoughts and tips on workplans 




5 Tips to engage more efficient meetings

on Wednesday, 22 January 2014. Posted in Blog

5 Tips to engage more efficient meetings




Most of us believe we are very efficient in our meetings, the main issue meetings are not effective we waste valuable time figuring out what we are trying to accomplish in them.

Here some data, in an informal poll conducted by Forbes several years ago, they asked 1000 professionals how they would rate their overall experiences as meeting attendees throughout their careers. Here’s how they responded:

79% rated meetings as “run terribly”

14% rated meetings as “run fairly well”

7% rated meetings as “run extremely well”

Some more statistics:

Don’t fall into the bad statistic categories! Here are some tips that I try to follow:

1) A change of scenery and a bit of fun does wonders for getting people thinking differently and loosening up! (Coffee, power walk meeting, restaurant meeting instead of a conference room meeting with PowerPoint)

2) The meeting notes need to be laser focused in answering 3 questions

What do we see as the next steps?

Who should take responsibility for them?

And what should the timeframe be?

Record the answers and send out an email so that everyone is on the same page. This helps with accountability also no one can say they're not sure what really happened.

3) Don't skip writing minutes just because everyone attended the meeting and knows what happened. Meeting notes serve as a record of the meeting long after people forget what happened.

4) Ban the words "cant" "unable" "not possible" from the room and establish a clear donation to local charity by anyone that utters those words

4) Always provide an escape valve, some meetings tend to be intense, following a meeting, it is vital that your team know that your door is always open if they are struggling with the outcome

5) Do use positive language. Rather than describing the discussion as heated or angry, use passionate, lively, or energetic--all of which are just as true as the negative words. 

Wish everyone a 2014 filled with productive meetings captured efficiently in crisp, clear meeting notes!Never forget Ideas are cheap;come with solutions in your meetings

Like usual share your thoughts and advice on the topic.


Best practices in solution architecture for Oracle EBS, OBI, Hyperion Planning

on Wednesday, 04 December 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Best practices in solution architecture for Oracle EBS, OBI, Hyperion Planning

A perfect design is an enemy of a good design. Often, we strive for a perfect design by customizing our systems, with what we currently know and forget quickly that the out of the box design may not provide the best solution to a given problem but it would probably have the best chance of meeting the schedule , regulatory compliance and cost constraints with acceptable quality.

I just completed US financial services solution architecture and noticing a trend with enterprise customers towards simplicity and making sure the business is provided tools to adapt to the new out of the box functionality reality. 2014 focus seems to be on essentials, mobile and providing a responsive design to the end user.

Having been lucky enough to have implemented multiple times EBS R12, Hyperion Products, OBI and CRM projects, I share some best practices on what in my view should not be modified and other areas that should be slightly improved from a business architecture standpoint:


Architecture OBI Hyperion  EBS


One question that comes often what is each product main purpose: here is a quick 1 liner on the products.

Hyperion Financial management is Oracle’s consolidation tool and statutory reporting

Hyperion Planning is the Strategic Planning, Budgeting and forecasting tool

Hyperion Financial Data Management is a tool to map different chart of accounts between source systems (EBS and non EBS applications) and HFM

Oracle EBS R12 is the ERP that store the Financial, Project, Procurement, Supply chain transactions

OBI Oracle Business Intelligence is the BI platform that stores the OLAP analytics, provides enterprise reporting, mobile BI and different scorecards.

When implementing your enterprise software keep in mind the following best practices:

1)  Times are changing; your approach to BI must change, Mobile Users Deserve the Same Quality of Browsing Experience as on your computer, one financial services company in the US is making sure most ERP, CRM transactions can be performed by mobile or tablet. Put in place mobile responsive design architecture when designing your solution. Your competitors are probably doing it or thinking about it. Technology has become the differentiator, not the business process.

2)  Capture integration requirements, then challenge all requirements that don’t respect the out of the box functionality, always make use of the product API’s to customize your solution if required. Focus on essential requirements only.

3) All enterprise software now integratre with Microsoft Excel, Microsoft’s classic spreadsheet program, is a favorite of sales and finance teams everywhere, use it to minimize change management

4)  One that I see often, not matching the growth strategy for the company to the capabilities of the system being implemented. Make sure everyone understands your functionality/ project scope and ROI to avoid the smoking mirror syndrome were the expectations and money spent do not correlate to the required outcome. Communicate with facts and data only!

Like usual please provide your thoughts and comments on solution architecture best practices.



7 Tips to Improve your Project Solution Architecture Outcome

on Wednesday, 23 October 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Solution & Business Architecture, Blog

7 Tips to Improve your Project Solution Architecture Outcome

The goal of architecture is to identify the requirements that affect the structure of the application and design a business solution.

 A well thought-out architecture should always consider these important principles:

   Build to change instead of build to last

   Understand the end user needs and the domain before designing components

   Identify sub-systems in your product and consider layers and components to abstract them and identify the key interfaces

   Use an incremental and iterative approach to designing the architecture

   Learn from company history, document your decisions and identify and mitigate key risks

But as we all know: every organization has its share of political drama: personalities clash, diverging agendas. Having worked at many companies here are some thoughts and tips to avoid architecture delays or having your project stopped:

 *** Communicate like you are a Teacher, not a Preacher

 A general assumption, architects are supposed to share their knowledge and experience. Failing to share that information is pretty much against the job description. But how you communicate that experience is the most important part of the job.  Think of your best teachers in school—did they ever go in front of the classroom and tell you how smart they were?  I don’t think so.  They found subtle ways to express their knowledge that encouraged learning and asking questions.

 Tip #1 that I often use , I start my sentences with ‘I think’ this will open discussion items and questions and encourage a two-way discussion.

 Tip #2 Architects are usually quite smart and have a breadth of knowledge but the tone, quality and delivery of the Information is more important than the content, try to always communicate like a teacher .


*** Standards apply to Architects, Developers and COE (Center of Excellence)– Don’t take the easy path take the smart path

 Enterprise architects put together standards documents that lay out , architecture patterns, coding conventions, infrastructure, source code nomenclature, and build structures.  But to publish those standardsand fail to hold yourself to them is the highest form of hypocrisy.  If you can’t follow a standard, why would you expect anyoneelse to follow it too?

An example, a company wanted to perform a point (system)to point (system) development, in this case standards existed to use web services with these systems, the development team took a quick decision and coded the point to point development and satisfied the business requirement. The director of the COE (Center of Excellence) did not realize an impact existed onto a surrounding system , the issue caused a security and reconciliation issue. In this case the cost to fix the data & interface was 4 times the initial budget.

 Tip #3 : By applying the standards to your work, you’re respecting the standards of the organization; you also see what will be painful for other groups. Respect your standards and reduce the power politics within your organization.

Tip #4 : Always try to eliminate 'it’s not my job” attitudes at your workplace, especially when you have the role of the architect.


***Command from the dugouts, not from the Ivory Tower

Not once, in any company I’ve ever worked with or for, did this idea bear positive fruit for the development teams involved.  Instead, these segregated groups architecture and development teams have generated one or more of the following:

 *        Contempt for the architecture because the developers had no say in

the architecture

*        Rejection of the framework because it was impractical to apply to

the project at hand

*        Blatant disregard for the standards set by architects because the architects did not have to respect company deadlines as a result of the delays introduced by their work

 Tip # 5: Architects should be a member of the project team, never as a visiting diplomat to the team.  Teams respect the opinion of someone who lives their daily reality side-by-side with them, not someone who hands them the Ten Commandments.

  *** Architecture teams that believe their involvement is limited to the design phase don’t really understand what it means to be an architect

 An example, when a building is being built, the architect is on site during the majority of the project, overseeing the effort at a high level, ensuring that little changes are not impacting the big picture.  All the while, the architect assists in solving problems that arise from his or her design from a practical standpoint, same as any enterprise software deployment

 In short, the architect’s involvement is continuous, not disconnected.

 Tip #6 : Make sure the architect is involved in the design, build and deployment phase.



Tip #7 : Always begin your intervention with a contextual diagram and perform a walk through with the team, don’t write too much text it may cause confusion at the beginning. Developers and implementers interact better with diagrams.

 For architecture projects to succeed there must be a partnership of developers,implementers and architects. Successful partnerships require two way communication and trust, none of which happens when someone acts like God’s gift to mankind, insists on his way or the highway and doesn’t actively get his hands dirty.

Feel free to share your tips , comments and thoughts.



4 things you need to do in your next software selection project & 4 things you need to stop doing

on Saturday, 07 September 2013. Posted in Blog, Enterprise Architecture

4 things you need to do in your next software selection project & 4 things you need to stop doing



                                                         Software selection is a tricky and strategic process for any corporation. Here are 4 tips, on how to tackle a system selection process:  

1- The system selection process should follow a fact based approach. Gather Application or functional requirements via interviews and workshops from various groups like Operations, Finance, Marketing, and IT. These requirements should provide the basis for the selection. 

2- Employees in various functional areas, including Business Verticals, CRM, BI,ERP or any other type of system of engagement should participate to determine which value add features should be included in the selection criteria process. Through primary and secondary research (e.g. analyst reviews, vendor calls, subject matter expert reviews, independent consultants, vendor websites, etc.), select three to four vendors to issue the selection and invite them to demonstrate their offering.

3- Have a consistent approach for vendor selection analysis, a scoring schedule with weightings should be developed and validated internally. Further, scoring criteria should be established to evaluate the vendor’s software response.

4- Based on the scoring results and qualitative assessment of the vendors’ response and product demonstrations, short list two vendors and perform a total cost of ownership and a internal high level implementation plan. An important rule never select a software that has no product roadmap.


Below are some of the most common slipups, If you see your organization doing any of the following, take action quickly!

1- Not knowing up front the full Total Cost of Ownership . A previous client called me last week and was shocked to learn that their perfect $80K open source solution would cost $700K to make useful in their environment and another $250K annually to support. Make sure you perform a TCO.

2- Believing that newer technology will fix business problems is a trap that organizations repeatedly fall into

3- A software selection process that assumes the consent of other stakeholders without their involvement can easily get derailed. I know of several projects that experienced considerable delays after purchase or the software was put on the shelf do to internal reasons.

4- One that is often forgotten, not paying particular attention to integration points, the software selected must fit within your company’s spiderweb architecture.

Feel free to share any useful tips you've experienced.


Business architecture always adapt to your audience - 4 tips

on Thursday, 22 August 2013. Posted in Business Analysis, Solution & Business Architecture, Blog

Business architecture always adapt to your audience - 4 tips


Always make a point to understand your audience, audience analysis involves identifying the audience and adapting a speech to their interests, level of understanding, attitudes, and beliefs. Taking an audience-centered approach is important because your material effectiveness will be improved if the deliverable is created and delivered in an appropriate manner.

I have seen many times technical people speaking to the business and not talking at the right level and emphasizing technical information like security, protocols and interfaces. An example application A will push the actuals to application B (good) instead of saying Application A attributes are connecting to table AR_Actuals and the trigger releases the information into Application B table GL_Open_balances. 

Depending on your audience adapt your architecture diagrams accordingly.

In my view, here is a sample architecture of a business architecture diagram that will connect with business savvy people to initiate architecture discussions. here are my tips:

  1. A Business Architecture must be process centric
  2. Be able to apply enterprise-wide architecture and process-level models and techniques that are aligned to your roadmap
  3. Develop a measurable architecture for planning, budgeting, organization design, compliance, human change management, and the introduction of breakthrough technologies
  4. Be able to use an architecture model to accelerate capability change projects and model development


 Do you have any favorite tips or would like to share your experience on this topic?

The Biggest Problem in Corporations - Data Proliferation, 3 tips to tackle this issue

on Friday, 14 June 2013. Posted in Solution & Business Architecture

The Biggest Problem in Corporations - Data Proliferation, 3 tips to tackle this issue
Data is impacted by numerous processes, most of which affect its quality to a certain degree. As data proliferation in the enterprise continues its exponential expansion and the size, complexity, and heterogeneous nature of IT systems environments scales to keep up, data quality and trust become increasingly important. Trusted data initiatives will remain strategic.

The business drivers that are pushing (Master Data Management) MDM:

•   Runaway costs that include bad data

•   Missed opportunities mostly from lack of transparency from the business pipeline

•   With the potential jail time to corporate officer’s regulatory compliance, security and sensitive data will continue the push towards a standardized view of critical data.

•   Integrating new businesses as M&A continues, consolidating corporate data from multiple acquisitions.

2014-16 will be great years for MDM, I think standards and the trustworthy view of critical data will be propagated and included in the processes of most businesses. I think we will soon reach a meeting point between MDM and Big Data, as we know big data comes in many forms: some is structured, some unstructured; some is generated internally, some externally. The current MDM solutions are know being built with internal and some external integration points.

When selecting an MDM technology I would recommend use the Gartner or Forrester reports, and in my opinion I would only spend time looking the top right quadrant.

Some companies are naïve when it comes to choosing MDM technologies, wrongly assuming that the market is mature and that everything works fine these days. In my view, this is wrong it will take another 3-5 years for this area to mature.

Below is the year over year Gartner Magic quadrant on MDM

MDM 2012-2013 Gartner Comparison

Three tips

  1. Shortlist your suppliers and make sure they have a track record with your type of data
  2. MDM projects are always tricky, follow a think big start small approach. The approach should consider all data domains, but take a gradual, step-wise approach to implementation, delivering incremental business value
  3. In 2014,I think companies will be moving toward an Enterprise App Store similar to Google and Apple store and this will oblige companies to accelerate their efforts on MDM.(look into creating an enterprise app store)

One of the big accomplishments of these technologies, analysis of data has become a key differentiator within many industries.

Like usual please share your thoughts on MDM, Big data and the Enterprise App Stores trends

Architecture for the cloud; Tips to build and deploy your cloud based applications

on Friday, 12 April 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Featured, Solution & Business Architecture, Enterprise Architecture

Architecture for the cloud; Tips to build and deploy your cloud based applications

The cloud and cloud-based solutions are here to stay. This will continue to drive business solutions for a long time. Why? Clear and measurable benefits below i believe are the top 4 reasons :

1- Almost zero upfront infrastructure investment

2- Just-in-time Infrastructure

3- More efficient resource utilization

4- The possibility of usage-based costing on your back office applications

Cloud is a disruptive force. However, the cloud’s “Achilles heel” is a lack of integration with the rest of the enterprise. Realizing its full potential relies, for the foreseeable future, on integrating data in the cloud with on-premise applications and databases.

Today’s enterprise cloud initiatives require decoupled data systems working together , without the need for personnel and other resources to set up and maintain them , making integration key to a successful deployment.

Most companies cannot and will not abandon their previous IT investments to make the leap to the cloud all at once. Instead, there is more likely to be a gradual shift in business processes to the cloud over time, similar by nature to a perpetual proof of concept.

As the cloud delivers on its promise, more processes will be shifted to this computing model. Complexity and diminished ROI will be the consequence when long-term strategy and goals are not implemented in advance. Put simply: integration needs to be a forefront, not on the afterthought of your project strategy.

Always design for failure, be a pessimist when designing architectures in the cloud; assume things will fail. In other words, always design, implement and deploy for automated recovery from failure.

In particular, assume that your hardware will fail. Assume that outages will occur. Assume that some disaster will strike your application. Assume that you will be slammed with more than the expected number of requests per second some day. Assume that with time your application software will fail too. By being a pessimist, you end up thinking about recovery strategies during design time, which helps in designing an overall system better.

If you realize that things fail over time and incorporate that thinking into your architecture, build mechanisms to handle that failure before disaster strikes to deal with a scalable infrastructure, you will end up creating a fault-tolerant architecture that is optimized for the cloud.

Questions that you need to ask: What happens if a node in your system fails? How do you recognize that failure? How do I replace that node? What kind of scenarios do I have to plan for? What are my single points of failure? If a load balancer is sitting in front of an array of application servers, what if that load balancer fails? If there are master and slaves in your architecture, what if the master node fails? How does the failover occur and how is a new slave instantiated and brought into sync with the master?

Just like designing for hardware failure, you have to also design for software failure.

Below is a baseline to help you consider all the moving parts required to build and deploy your cloud based applications.


Lastly build process threads that resume on reboot and good cloud architecture should not be impacted to reboots and re-launches.

Like it or not, the cloud is a disruptive force, that i think will require us to move towards a more data centric business model.

Like usual, please share your thoughts and experiences

Stay Optimistic

on Saturday, 05 January 2013. Posted in Blog



I was reading this weekend, the most watched TV programs were MSNBC and CNN Money.


Also looking at NY Times, Financial Post and the Economist reported 35% increase in their paper sales - All with pessimistic news as front page. Let’s take a step back this concludes that fear sells do not be a pessimist. No depression is coming unemployment is 7% and not 40 %, in those times no government programs existed and governments made crucial mistakes by staying on the side lines in the 30's.



Here are some quick tips on how to start seeing the glass half-full:


  • Find the good. Even in less-than-great situations, there’s a way to find something positive. It may be hard to see at first, but try looking closer!


  • Write it down. First thing in the morning, make a list of everything you’re grateful for and start the day with a positive attitude. Or end the day with a smile and write down a few good things that happened, like finishing a big report at work or getting an e-mail from an old friend. The habit makes it easier to appreciate the positive parts of life.
  • Stay Balanced. Life isn’t all good, all the time, so don’t worry if those positive thoughts don’t flow freely. Staying realistic is also important to help manage anxiety and boost productivity.



Our leaders have studied the depression case of the 1930's, it will not be repeated.


The problem is not a recession but the credit issue and lack of faith in our governments, recessions happen and they are healthy for the economy, they remove excess(if any).


In a study of 99 Harvard University students, those who were optimists at age 25 were significantly healthier at ages 45 and 60 than those who were pessimists. Other studies have linked a pessimistic explanatory style with higher rates of infectious disease, poor health, and earlier mortality.


Enjoy your first weekend of 2013!













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