General - Misc. Tips

2017: The Year that Technology Mediation Becomes Invisible

on Thursday, 12 January 2017. Posted in General - Misc. Tips

2017: The Year that Technology Mediation Becomes Invisible

(Also posted on linkedIn)

As we begin the new year, many people are speculating what 2017 will bring in terms of new technology— especially with the events of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas recently. While the last couple years seem to have been dominated by new wearable tech, it seems that in 2017, we’re taking a step further. 2017 is set to be the year that hardware technology becomes invisible and information becomes more actionable. It seems like only the natural progression of technology that started as stationary—with computers--, then turned to mobile—with smartphones, tablets, and watches—and now is becoming virtually invisible by existing entirely in the cloud.

Amazon Echo was arguably one of the first to start the trend and this year, it shows no signs of stopping. In fact, the Echo dot was Amazon’s top seller over the holidays and just a few days ago, Ford announced that it will be the first automaker to integrate Echo into their cars. Forgot to turn the lights off in the house before you drove away? No problem, just tell Alexa to turn them off—no touch screens required.

Even wearable technology is going more invisible this year. Instead of the obvious “wearable” tech like smart watches, this functionality is now being integrated invisibly into other items we already wear like belts, handbags, and even fabric itself. But beyond that, its invisible, wearable technology is doing more than just recording data—like how many footsteps you take or what your heart rate is. Instead, this new technology takes that data and forms it into actionable information. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

  • Omron – An example of one of many healthcare companies that is making strides with wearable technology. Known as a leader for blood pressure monitors for the past several decades, Omron’s next prototype Project Zero 2.0 is wearable technology that tracks blood pressure and other heart activity with the same accuracy as you’d find in the doctor’s office. With Omron’s wearable tech, blood pressure monitoring isn’t just limited to the doctor’s office or pharmacy machine any longer.
  • Xenoma – This wearable tech isn’t an accessory—it’s the clothing itself. Xenom’as e-skin is machine washable fabric created with tracking technology that is as comfortable to wear as an everyday long-sleeve shirt. It seems as though the applications for this have scratched the surface of possibilities, but for now, it can easily be used for gaming as an input controller, for fitness as a personal coach for tracking and improving form, and for healthcare to monitor movement, posture and respiration.
  • ReSound – Another long-time leader in their space, ReSound is revolutionizing wearable tech with hearing aids. Their latest models are capable of being fully adjusted through a smartphone app, which means wearers no longer have to visit their audiologist each time they need a tweak with their devices.
  • AcousticSheep – There is a lot of tech out there that tracks sleep patterns, but AcousticSheep has found a way to put that data in action with their latest wearable tech, the SleepPhones PERFORM. This device is a soft, comfortable headband thin, wireless audio headphones one can easily wear to sleep with. However, this device also has internal sensors that use the body’s own feedback to create a customized music soundtrack to making falling asleep, and staying asleep, even easier.

Just as has happened with all of the industry-changing technology of the past, at first we question if it will ever really “catch on” with everyday users, but soon we find ourselves just a few years later wondering how we ever lived without it. 

 

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.

Refrain

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.

Redirect

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. 

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 :

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-can-banks-insurance-companies-learn-from-tesla-under-antonatos?trk=prof-post

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 (https://support.oracle.com), 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.

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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.

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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

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

Extract from the Oracle June 2013 Newsletter - Various Global Experts share their Knowledge

on Tuesday, 16 July 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

Extract from the Oracle June 2013 Newsletter - Various Global Experts share their Knowledge

Here is an excerpt of the Oracle June 2013 Newsletter, different global experts share their knowledge and enthusiam on Oracle functional and technical topics:

 

Primary Keys Guarantee Uniqueness? Think Again!

 

ACE Director Arup Nanda provides a great explanation and examples of primary keys and table constraints. And, if you ever wondered about Big Data and what exactly it means, you'll want to read Arup's post "Demystifying Big Data for Oracle Professionals".

 

Practical Cutover Tips for Your Enterprise Project

 

Provided by Oracle ACE Alex Antonatos are tips and tricks on the critical last 6 weeks before going live in the areas of testing, data conversion, training and cutover validation.

 

Java EE 7 is Final!

 

Thoughtful summary of insights and pointers from ACE Director Markus Eisele regarding Java EE7. Find a list of articles from Markus about the Java EE 7 launch here.

 

Additional posts by Markus:

 

- Java SE 7 Update 25 - Release-Notes explained
- GlassFish 4 brings Java EE 7
- Interview with German iJUG e.V. (JUG Umbrella) in Java Magazine (Free subscription required to Access article)

 

Health Check of Oracle eBusiness Inventory by using the Inventory Analyzer

 

In this post written by Oracle ACE Kashif Manzoor, he covers the use of Inventory Analyzer tool to evaluate Inventory setup, patch levels, runtime tables, profiles, settings, and configurations with recommendations. This script delivered by eBusiness suite for quick health checkup of most common Inventory issues usually facing by different customers.

 

Capture Workload using Database Replay in 11g

 

Satishbabu Gunukula, Oracle ACE, talks about how to simulate actual production load for performance as well as functionality test and how to adopt changes quickly in an easy and cost effective way. Read more here.

 

MySQL Plugin for New Relic

The popular SaaS Monitoring product New Relic has added support for monitoring of existing data store products. ACE Director Ronald Bradford has written the open source MySQL plugin that gives developers additional insights to monitoring the entire stack.

 

Common Causes Resulting in ORA-01115 ErrorACE Director Syed Jaffar Hussein provides a list of common causes of an 'ORA-01115ORA-01115: IO error reading block from file (block # ).

 

He also shares a learning experience about how to rejoin a node to a 2 node cluster on a Windows Platform.

 

Deploy Agent In Enterprise Manager 12c

 

Enterprise Manager 12c provides very useful tools for all DBA and developers. In this post written by Oracle ACE Osama Mustafa, he explains how to deploy agent in EM 12c to monitor or host a database.

 

Part 3 – Getting started with Statistics for Oracle Data Science Projects

 

ACE Director Brendan Tierney shares part 3 on getting started with Statistics for Oracle Data Science projects which provides a summary of the other statistical functions that exist in the database.

 

Brendan also blogs about The DBMS_PREDICTIVE_ANALYTICS package & Predict procedure and The DBMS_PREDICTIVE_ANALYTICS package & Explain procedure

 

Productivity Tips for using SQL Developer Data Modeler (SDDM)Kent Graziano, ACE Director, has two recent tips on his blog for SQL Developer Data Modeler. The 1st tip is free: Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler . And another free tip for SQL Developer Data Modeler (and a Challenge) .

 

WebLogic on the Virtualized Oracle Database Appliance X3-2ACE Director Simon Haslam is currently working on a proof of concept for running Fusion Middleware, along with RAC, on an ODA and is writing a series of blog posts describing his findings: #1 Planning , #2 Unboxing, with more to follow over the next month. Middleware types may also like this post, and debate, around Admin Server location.

 

Why is Flashback Slow?

 

In this paper written by Oracle ACE Chris Lawson, it explains some interesting phenomenon regarding flashback queries.

 

TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE Aggregation

 

Check out the interesting observations and discussions in ACE Director Randolf Geists post about how the Oracle database treats the TIMESTAMP WITH TIMEZONE datatype when performing aggregation.

 

More to SQL Joins than Meets the Eye

 

Oracle ACE Kyle Hailey discusses in his post surprising visualizations of SQL Joins that can be more complex than you think. He also discusses a new feature in DBaaS: OEM Snap Clone.

 

Oracle 12c RAC On your laptop, Step by Step Guide" or "Back to School Again

 

To get you up to speed with Oracle RAC 12c and let you focus on the important stuff (e.g. features research), ACE Director Yury Velikanov provides detailed step by step installation instructions.

 

Dude, Where is my Redo?

 

This blog entry written by ACE Director Riyaj Shamsudeen discusses a method to identify the objects inducing higher amount of redo. Separately, he disscusses Clusterware startup details here.

 

Lessons from Fusion HCM Implementations

 

At this years OHUG conference Oracle ACE Tim Warner had the opportunity to hear from some organizations who have been through the Fusion HCM implementation process. He shares some those experiences in his latest post.

 

Oracle Fusion Application Documentation Release 7

on Friday, 05 July 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips

Oracle Fusion Application Documentation Release 7

Use this page to access the latest Oracle Fusion Applications documentation and how to make the most of the help embedded within the application pages.

Oracle Fusion Applications Release 7 Documentation

I've decided to take one month off from blogging to spend time with family and friends

on Friday, 21 June 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips

I've decided to take one month off from blogging to spend time with family and friends

To all my readers thank you for your continued support and have a great summer my next blog entry will be in a month.

Alex

Extract from the Oracle March 2013 Newsletter - Various Global Experts share their Knowledge

on Monday, 08 April 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

Extract from the Oracle March 2013 Newsletter - Various Global Experts share their Knowledge

 

Here is an excerpt of the Oracle March 2013 Newsletter, different global experts share their enthusiasm on Oracle functional, technical ideas and concepts:

- UKOUG Magazine Oracle Scene: Database Virtualization and Instant Cloning (p26) written by Oracle ACE Kyle Hailey

- Professional Software Development using Oracle Application Express written by Oracle ACE Rob van Wijk

- Dutch IT magazine: A seven part series on the OTN Yathra Tour 2013 and IT in India written by ACE Director Lucas Jellema (in Dutch)

NEW VIDEOS

MySQL Stored Routines Debugger & Debugging API: Sneak Peek II created by Oracle ACE Shlomi Noach

Blog Post: How to Implement Fusion Applications

Oracle ACE Alex Antonatos shares his knowledge on Oracle Fusion by answering questions and providing a visual diagram on the steps required to implement an instance of fusion applications.

He also provides a whiteboard animation video discussing Fusion Financial and HCM Apps benefits.

Blog Post: ADF, Oracle SQL and more posts by ACE Director Lucas Jellema

- ADF: (re-)Introducing Contextual Events in several simple steps

- Oracle SQL – Finding free adjacent seats in an airplane, using Subquery Factoring, Analytical Functions (LISTAGG and LEAD), Outer Join, PIVOT and good old INSTR

- Out of the box usage of ADF DVT Scheduling Gantt Chart to report Database Query Results using stacked bar charts per time period

- Oracle SQL – spotting combinations that occur and those that do not – demonstrating Analytical Functions, Outer Join and SubQuery Factoring

- Oracle SQL: Using subquery factoring in an INSERT statement

- How Oracle Database uses internal locks to make statement level constraint validation robust at the transaction level

Blog Post: When 'FREE' costs more in the long run: Why WebCenter often costs less then SharePoint - despite the stunning license price difference

Are you clear on the Great and the Ugly of WebCenter and SharePoint - enough to recommend one over the other for an enterprise-wide deployment? Feeling that your company has made a mistake by picking the wrong product? Or simply wondering "what if... ?" Check out this 2 page mini-whitepaper written by Oracle ACE Dmitri Khanine for some answers. It’s a quick read, that may shock and excite you.

Blog Post : Exadata Optimization Tips

Where do I start with Oracle if I want to be a DBA? written by Oracle ACE Kyle Hailey

Blog Post: Amazon EC2 - RDS quick comparison

Oracle ACE Marco Tusa provides a review of the real status about Amazon RDS in comparison with EC2.

Blog Post: Possible Data Corruption, ORA-600 on RAC Instances Shutdown

ACE Director Syed Jaffar Hussain discusses how a typical RAC instance shutdown sometimes can lead to data corruption and produces senescence of ORA-600 and what is the recommended RAC instance/database shutdown procedure to avoid the issue.

If you are planning a Database 11g upgrade with downgrade in mind, you will might find these tips provided by Syed helpful.

Blog Post: 5-Part Series on Oracle Clustering

ACE Director Brendan Tierney has published a series of 5 blog posts on how to do Clustering using the Oracle Data Miner Tool and how to do Clustering using the ODM SQL and PL/SQL functions. Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Another post by Brendan will help determine whether you are a Type I or a Type II Data Scientist. Find out here.

Blog Post: Using Production Data for Testing

Daily DBA tasks, dealing with development environment and refresing using production data... is this a good idea? Production Data contains sensitive information and should not be shared with unauthorized people. Read this post, including data research on security, provided by Oracle ACE Osama Mustafa.

Blog Post: CBO 10053 Trace Files Series

A series of posts provided by ACE Director Doug Burns on what he thinks is the most important reason to use 10053 trace files.

Blog Post: Bash Script to Upload RMAN Backups via FTP

Oracle ACE Gokhan Atil shares a small bash script which calls an SQL script to queries RMAN backups and demonstrates some interesting methods such as handling arrays returned from SQLPLus.

Blog Post: Convert JSON to XML/SOAP (in Spanish)

A common occurance these days, Oracle ACE Rolando Carrasco provides a guide to converting JSON to XML/SOAP using Oracle Service Bus.

In a different post, he shares an introduction to Oracle ADF Mobile.

Blog Post: Debugging Data Pump session

While importing a dump file, it can sometimes be a long process. ACE Director, Kamran Agayev, shares his command solution he runs to import the dump file into the new database.

Blog Post: What is the Oracle Cloud Really?

If you ever wondered what is the big deal around Oracle Cloud Service, you'll want to read this post written by ACE Director Markus Eisele. He explains it well and also provides an example on how to use JAX-RS with Jersey on the Oracle Cloud Service

Another interesting post Markus shares is about Test driving Java API for Processing JSON with GlassFish 4.0.

Blog Post: Installing Oracle Business Transaction Monitoring 12.1.0.3

Oracle ACE Rob Zoeteweij created virtual Servers and describes the installation process of BTS in his latest post.

Rob continues to share his knowledge on EM 12c, this post describes how to setup Database as a Service using EM12c DB Plugin 12.1.0.3.

Blog Post: Pseudo Cursors and Invisible SQL

Do you ever wonder why Oracle Enterprise Manager and AWR reports show the SQL text for some SQL IDs as not available? ACE Director Julian Dontcheff provides an explanation in his latest post.

Here's another good read by Julian on the definition of "The Oracle Platform Administrator".

Blog Post: Cost Free Joins

In this two-part post, ACE Director Randolf Geist first demonstrates an unexpected Nested Loop Join caused by an extreme data distribution. In the latter, he presents another case of an unexpected execution plan, this time about Merge Joins.

Blog Post: Oracle Background Process Killed

Oracle ACE Asif Momen demonstrates how to connect to the Oracle Database even if background processes are k.illed

Blog Post: Adding HINTS in ODI

Read this post written by Gurcan Orhan as he explains how to implement adding Oracle HINTS and Variable HINTS into ODI (static and dynamic).

 

 

Google Glass - Augmented Reality Headgear 4 pros and 2 cons

on Sunday, 24 February 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips

Google Glass - Augmented Reality Headgear 4 pros and 2 cons

 

 

 

This weekend I had the pleasure to test Google Glass, I think that Google's augmented reality headgear is equipped to transform everyday life. This prototype isn't the final version of Google Glass, I was told expect a public available version by the end of year at a cost between 1200-1500$.

If you want to get a beta version of the glasses here is the link: http://www.google.com/glass/start/how-to-get-one/

Pros

  1. The glasses will free you from having to constantly pull out your phone for calls, emails or texts.
  2. Navigation by foot through the city is fantastic with Google Glass quite precise
  3. The recording of video quality is superb. The take a picture command worked well.
  4. Google Glass is heavily dependent on voice commands, worked quite well just received one misunderstanding error but I think it was me mumbling, very responsive.

 Cons

  1. I think we may have privacy issues. Google glasses is able to record everything one sees and does.
  2. My perception Google glass the frame seems fragile and maybe easy to break.

In conclusion Google Glass hopes to be one of the newest and most innovative technologies in recent times. The world of wearable computers and augmented reality has barely been introduced, and Glass intends to be a pioneer into this field in the same way that the iPad was in the tablet industry.

Even though Google Glass is still in the development process, there are already numerous of capabilities and applications that could be very useful for consumers, such as live video and data streaming. Users will be able to utilize email, video chat such as Skype, and social networking services such as Twitter and Facebook. Looking forward to the final product!

 

Article Written by Aidan Duffy - The hours tick down towards Go-Live

on Thursday, 21 February 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips

 

I am a big believer in creating a "Knowledge Sharing Culture". Below is a article written by Aiden Duffy an Oracle Consultant based in Ireland and he is sharing his insights:(From the comments received, you should expect more guest bloggers sharing their knowledge and experience on appsconsultant.com)

The hours tick down towards Go-Live.

Tomorrow morning the new system will be switched on. Billions of dollars of transactions will start to flow through the framework I have created.

This is where it all begins. My program is the gateway to Oracle. The rest of the processes and the success of the project depend on me.

This Client has implemented Oracle in multiple European markets, but nothing as difficult as this before. They chose to work on this market last. It was expected to be the most challenging; they were right about that.

I have been stretched far beyond what I expected. I have managed a team of inexperienced people. I completed tasks I didn’t think I could do. I have made many personal sacrifices. I’ve put way too much of myself into this, for it to go wrong.

I have learned a lot about myself. I can execute tasks and perform well under pressure, even in the “white heat” of a large Oracle project. At the end of tomorrow, I will present the metrics at the Go-Live meeting. I need to be able to say ‘We had a good first day’. Nothing less will be accepted. Dare I hope to say, ‘everything got through successfully, 100%’?

Despite all this though, I feel calm. I have double and triple checked everything, and tested from every possible angle. I’ve used the experience gained over many years as a consultant. I have leveraged the relationships I’ve built up over the life span of the project. I am happy this will be enough.

I can’t wait for tomorrow.

I have been an Oracle consultant since 1999. Many Clients have paid me thousands of dollars to help them with Oracle. I have worked with the largest multinational Clients including Accenture, General Electric & Pfizer. I have worked in the hottest locations in the world, such as London, Prague, NewYork, Amsterdam. This book will tell you how to position yourself intelligently, package your experience, promote yourself to the Oracle market, & partner with the right people.

Position Yourself

When I say position yourself, I mean, exactly what do you know about Oracle? Can other people understand exactly what you do? Can you explain it in a single sentence? If you are short on skills, what are you missing? How can you get those missing skills?

Package Your Experience

You have some experience in Oracle, but can you communicate that in your resume or profile? Have you really thought hard about what you can do, and where you might fit in a project team?

Promote Yourself

A lot of consultants think promoting yourself stops when you start a new role and starts again when you finish up. They couldn’t be more wrong. Promoting yourself is an everyday activity both with your current & potential new employers.

Partner with the Right People

As a consultant you need to partner with your client, with other consultancies and with end client staff, in order to succeed. This book will tell you how to interact with these people. It will also tell you what is expected of a consultant, and how to be retained by a client.

One of my managers said the most memorable thing about me was that it was obvious that I really cared about what I was doing. I think we’ve gotten too far away from that in the consulting world. Some consultants have one aim in life, to maximize their billable time. I will talk about how to act with integrity, respect the Clients you are working for, and the people you are working with.”

The above is the Introduction to my new book “The Oracle Opportunity – A Blueprint for Success as an Oracle Consultant”. Once I had completed the book I spread the good news by publishing on Oracle interest websites & blogs, telling as many people I could about this great new blueprint for Oracle EBusiness Consultants. Oracle had started an exclusive program of Oracle Influencers, so that consultants, industry analysts, bloggers & clients could share information on Oracle products.

They consider me to be an authority on Oracle consulting, and were looking to provide a tool to help Oracle consultants thrive in today’s market. The book was a perfect fit for them as it was directly aimed at all Oracle consultants, and not only specific to the EBusiness/Financials suite. Oracle are delighted with the results of the collaboration, and the book is very popular with members of the program!

You can get the book on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/Toqeru

Feel free to connect with me on Linkedin using this link ie.linkedin.com/in/aidanduffy/, and check out my blog for lots more information on Oracle Consulting: www.ILoveOracle.com

Wishing your continued success in your Oracle career,

Aidan Duffy

ie.linkedin.com/in/aidanduffy/

 

What I learned from installing Google and YouTube Analytics

on Thursday, 31 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips

 

Tracking analytics are a polarizing subject. On one hand, its precise measurements and metrics can provide invaluable, information crucial to fine-tuning your website, and answer questions like Where are they coming from? What are they using to access your site? How are they finding your site? What information are they finding on your site? These are all viable questions every website owner should ask. Answers to these questions were given to me by Google and YouTube Analytics. I was impressed on how much information is gathered on each visit and I am only using the free version of Google Analytics.

The installation is quite simple you install a unique code tracker on the pages you want to be tracked and this transmits the data captured to the google data servers , then this data is crunched and displayed onto the online dashboards.

For Google Analytics, I selected January 29th as data points:

Below are some statistics, Graphical display user hits/by Country and the average duration time spent by the user on that date.

 Snap 2013-01-30 at 19.54.10

Ranking of hits by country

Which default language the system connecting to your site uses

Operating system used,

Internet Browser and Mobile OS

Snap 2013-01-30 at 19.52.50

Youtube Analytics

As well as being the most popular video site in the world, YouTube is also the second biggest search engine next to Google.Considering that over five billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube, we’re spending more time than ever on the site. Now that the site has been given a new layout, one that places a greater focus on subscriptions, it’s now more vital than ever to understand your audience and what content works best.

The YouTube Analytics show the number of times the video has been viewed, your audience (male/female), It allows a drill down to a specific country like the screenshot for a more detail analysis on Age Group. They also have metrics on how engaged your users were by your videos.

 Snap 2013-01-30 at 20.20.43

These tools have become essential for every business and website owner. Why? The effectiveness of your website is largely dependent on the overall online experience of your visitors. Google and Youtube Web analytics provides you with the ability to collect, measure and analyze activities of your online visitors. If you can measure something, you can understand it. Once you start understanding it, you can control it. It also allowed me to understand what devices visitors are using to connect to my site this helped me reduce the time spent testing and focused on these devices.

In addition, with Youtube Analytics it allowed me to understand the demographics and which countries visit my Channel.

 

Happy Holidays and my 2013 predictions

on Wednesday, 02 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

Dec 24, 2012 at 10:04 PM

First off, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with prosperity, health and happiness!  Wishing you all the best for 2013. 

Below are my personal predictions for 2013: 

In the technology space, Saas (cloud) will continue to rise, IT will continue to deploy new technologies using the cloud technologies like ERP, EPM, CRM and helpdesk will be moving to the cloud for IT to focus on higher value activities. As we became proficient in social and mobile, I think the cloud will change the traditional way of doing business and will continue to be embraced by businesses. Smaller and mid-size companies will likely continue to adopt the SaaS model more rapidly, but I find that large, multi-national clients will continue to be uncomfortable and the adoption rate will be slower for reasons of lack of control and security offered by SaaS solutions. 

I think 2013 the nasty fights between these large players will continue: Apple vs Google. Apple vs Samsung etc.

ERP/CRM/EPM space will go mobile, integration , solution architecture will remain hot skillsets for 2013.

Lawsuits in 2013 will continue. This prediction should not happen if ERP/CRM vendors, consulting firms and implementation partners win projects with accurate and truthful estimates. Some companies still work by promising the world and delivering less than expected, over budget and later than promised. Lawsuits often describe instances where the ERP/CRM/EPM systems failed to deliver any of the expected business results. 

SAP and Oracle will continue they’re buying spree and continue the path towards consolidating the market.

CIO’s biggest headaches will continue to be increasingly complex infrastructures, distributed end users, and a constant expectation for performance.

As for BI/DW, the concept of single corporate data warehouse is dead. Multiple systems need to be tied together. The Big data push will continue as Hadoop and nosql should maintain their upside momentum. 2013 part of many solutions of that puzzle will be corporate data that already exists and how to make it available for decision making.

The end of privacy for all of us, if you don’t believe me, just ask David Patraeus. He thought Google Gmail’s Draft folder would protect his privacy. As you read in the news, it did not...

My top 5 2013 hot skills will be

1)    Brain Power: Critical Thinking, Complex Problem Solving, Judgment and Decision-Making

2)    Application development, I think a trend will evolve and the death of legacy applications may occur faster than we think, companies should continue their affection with vanilla/out of the box implementations, developers will be required to support the decommissioning of these legacy systems.

3)    Having experience in production implementations in corporate wide systems the trend of integration and solution architecture in corporate enterprise will be stronger than ever in 2013.

4)    Project management with know-how It's no longer enough for project managers to possess good people skills and to be fluent in tools and methodologies. To succeed , project managers need technical skills and need to understand the different type of personalities that are included in any organization.

5)    Business intelligence/logic analysis skills must possess the technical knowledge, business knowledge, and strong data and mathematical analysis skillset 

As I mentioned last year my favorite area of growth is Artificial intelligence and the consumerism of robots will begin in the next 3 years.

Check out this link:

http://mashable.com/2012/11/14/rise-robots-video/

Watch the robot trend things will change fast in the next 3 years

In the financial markets, this year’s Barron’s end of year magazine most financial experts predicted a 2013 sloppy growth, as a contrarian be very aggressive invest 100% in the stock market (my portfolio is 80 % Tech stocks and 20 % Energy), I expect big returns for the market. I believe all these analysts are too conservative with their analysis when it comes to the stock market. Interest rates will remain low, Stock market high.

Last piece of advice, negative news on tv, radio, internet is increasing at an exponential rate. Be a contrarian.

You are capable of extraordinary things. Be optimistic.

Optimism, therefore, is also an important component of achievement, and is especially important in times of chaos, change and turbulence. Those who have an optimistic outlook will roll with the punches, will be more proactive and persistent and will not abandon hope. Never forget ... Your Success is not an accident.

Highly recommended book 'Connecting the Dots' by Cathleen Benko and F. Warren McFarlan

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 

The book speaks about organization decision frameworks, provides a good mix of practical and strategic advice. I found the book's frameworks easy to understand and functional; highly recommended, very interactive and a good cheat sheet of vocabulary to working through the often painful process of prioritizing our many ongoing and pending projects. Overall, the book gets you thinking about the importance of your project portfolio and how it can help you prepare for uncertainty. It then provides interesting tools and techniques for achieving greater alignment.

The book is an easy to read and engaging. Lots of historical references and analogies. Moreover, the book doesn't "preach at you", rather it understands that each business has it's own context. And recognizes that you don't need to adopt all their recommendations and techniques.

For theoretical thinkers, I'd read quickly chapter 6 Taming the future. They are for people who like to go through the details. I found Chapter 1 was a great overview and Chapter 4 provided concise summaries of all the tools and techniques. If you are looking for a practical but sound approach to producing results, I recommend this book.
 

If you do read the book, do not hesitate to email me any feedback.

 

Different Point of View

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

The beauty of having a different point of view is exactly that, having a different point of view.
If a person is offering an opinion that seems to be more of an off–the-cuff statement, it’s more beneficial to challenge the content rather than the individual. If approached in this manner, both parties will learn something. If a person is offering a point of view based on research and proven theory, I think you can have a good debate which can lead to new discovery. Nobody has the correct answer because everyone has different experiences. If you attempt to apply someone else’s experience as if it were your own you will have varying results and not necessarily positive ones. I prefer not to shadow anyone but at the same time use what I have learned from others and draw my own conclusion.

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.

Minto Pyramid Principle

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog, BPM

 

Minto Pyramid Principle is a technique used for making decisions for business; it involves the use of diagrams and works through decision problems.

MPP (Minto Pyramid principle) is being widely used in consulting firms like (McKinsey,Deloitte, Gartner, etc…) and apart from them, I have not seen many clients trying to utilize this BDM (Business Decision Mapping) technique.

As consultants we structure our approach and communication logic around this and we are starting to see clients adopting similar flows and structure.

I still do not understand why companies are not recognizing MPP as a standard, there are many ways you can make logic flow but it is quite well structured within MPP.
There is no widespread knowledge about MPP. I have often used it to help clients in their thinking and critical communications. Most have never heard of it. I usually buy Minto's book for them and we go from there.

Here is a link to some interesting books on MPP

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=barbara+minto

I think most companies can be helped by using MPP for business critical thinking.

The most important value comes from learning how others structure their thinking and it provides a clear workflow to the business issues, risks and decisions that need to be taken.

 

What factors would a CIO or VP evaluate from a company before awarding the project?

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 

 

 

 

In addition to the basic offering (can the vendor's approach meet the requirements), I like to look at the people that the vendor has on staff.

Take some time to interview the staff of the vendor and you'll soon find out which vendor is the best fit for your organization. If all things are equal on the business-technology front, the people will help pick the real winner.

  

I’ve sold many large projects to CIOs and VPs. They are generally looking for  individuals that can provide them with confidence.

- Does the vendor understand the project, goals, and environment?
- Can the vendor articulate their approach?
- What risks has the vendor identified and what is their plan to mitigate
those risks?
- Does the vendor have the skills, expertise, and experience to be
successful?
- Is the vendor trustworthy?
- Does the vendor have a professional appearance and presentation so that
they can speak with executives or the Board and do a good job
representing the sponsor?
- Does the vendor understand the alignment between the business goals
and the technologies being used?

 

The right vendor should be able to explain why their solution is the best solution, and why their solution is superior to their competitor's solutions.

The right vendor should be able to enhance the solution with ideas that haven't been brought to the table yet.

From my experience these are the key factors that lead to sales. They are far more important than price since the cost of failure is very high. Of course, you have to do an excellent job executing the project.

Success is the ultimate value proposition.


ROI (return on investment) should be addressed, either in money saved or revenue improved, or both.

The solution should have no unnecessary complications. There is a tendency today to create a complicated mix of server, middleware, and front-end that is usually hard to maintain and hard to migrate from.

There should be training options for end users and sysadmins at your company.

Their implementation staff should be able to think on their feet really well and answer all questions. There should be a closed process loop at the vendor that integrates sales and services and you should be able to talk to representatives from both sides of the company. Their sales team should be knowledgeable people - not just schmoozers who are charming.

Make sure that the implementation plan includes people from your company and make sure that you have an internal project manager with the power to halt implementation if the solution as delivered differs from the solution that was sold to your company.

Watch out for vaporware solutions. It is not uncommon for companies to sell a solution as something that they have already developed, when, in fact, they are really only going to send out consultants that create this solution on your dime.


Closing the deal

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 
A great salesperson has the following 10 qualities:

1. Integrity & Character: 100% honest, always transparent and represented himself and the organization with great class.

2. Tenacity: relentless in his pursuit of success, never giving up or allowing a set back to cause him hesitation in driving the business forward.

3. Adaptable: always flexible and embraced change.

4. Innovative: continually thought outside of the box for new and better ways to do things.

5. Self Aware: learned from his mistakes and built his confidence through his successes.

6. TEAM Player: subscribes to the "Together Everyone Achieves More" philosophy, never getting caught up in the exaggeration of personal recognition and reward.

7. Loyalty: never held myself or the organization hostage for more money by presenting a better opportunity that he may have had elsewhere.

8. Generalist: welcomed many hats and a broad range of responsibilities and accountabilities, never protecting his role as defined by a job description, was always willing to do more.

9. Macro/Micro: capable of high-level strategic thinking as well as flawless, hands-on execution of tactics.

10. Teacher: didn't protect information or use information as power, he taught others his skill sets, tranferring his knowledge to countless people within the organization thereby increasing the organization's bench strength.

ERP Business Process Reengineering

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Business Analysis, General - Misc. Tips

 

As a business analyst one important skill set is understanding how to tackle Business Process Reengineering, aiming at improvements by means of elevating efficiency and effectiveness of the processes that exist within and across organizations. It is a fundamental and radical approach by either modifying or eliminating non-value adding activities.

The key steps involved in a BPR are:

  1. Defining the purpose and goal of the BPR project;
  2. Defining the scope of the project so as to include (or exclude) activities; A flowchart of the activities can assist to define the scope of the project;
  3. Identifying the requirements that will meet the needs of the clients;
  4. Assessing the environment - the position of competitors, prospective changes in technology, legislation or socio-economic factors;
  5. Redesigning the business processes and activities in light of the above;
  6. Implementing the redesigned processes;
  7. Monitoring the success/failure of the redesign.

Here is an example of an expense process that we implemented in a previous project (all proprietary info have been removed and transformed it  into a more generic process)

 

 

Oracle Global Architecture

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Solution & Business Architecture, General - Misc. Tips

A powerful force drives the world towards a converging commonality, and that force is technology. It has proletarianized communication, transport and travel. It has made isolated places and impoverished peoples eager for modernity’s allurements. Almost everyone everywhere wants all the things they have heard about, seen, or experienced via the new technologies.

The result is a new commercial reality – the emergence of global markets for standardized consumer products on a previously unimagined scale of magnitude. Corporations geared to this new reality will benefit from enormous economies of scale in production, distribution, marketing, and management. By translating these benefits into reduced world prices. That is good for everyone.

Companies are now forced by globalization aspect to innovate and get to the market faster and to plan, define and support their products at a very quick pace.

I will be sending to all registered members a presentation that I did in San Francisco on the possibility of merging the oracle applications towards a global architecture and a Visio on the intricacies between modules.

5 rules that consultants must master

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips

 

The consultant field is changing quite rapidly. Clients are demanding more value from their consultants also the new trend is for the consultant to be cross functional and adaptive to the rapid client changes. To succeed in this new world of Oracle expertise you must master these five areas of expertise and understandings :

1) The need of information and communication skills you must develop your abilities to search, find, organize, and clearly communicate information.

2) Thinking and problem-solving skills: You'll need verbal literacy, mathematical literacy, and document literacy.

3) Interpersonal and self-directional skills: Consultant jobs increasingly require you to work both independently and with teams if you want to come out ahead.

4) Global awareness: Boundaries?, companies have become global and the demand to understand in the cross-cultural awareness and language skills.

5) Finally all business consultants must have an excellent understanding of Financial, economic, technical and business concepts.

Interesting book living to 100

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 

Just finished reading a fun book on living to 100 most of it was more or less general knowledge such as men's waist line, diet, have a purpose in life, no stress, eat a healthy breakfast, physical activity. One thing got me by surprise that i was not aware, people that have many friends and a larger circle of friends tend to outlive people by at least 10 years that have a just a few friends, and also married men tend to die before men that have never been married by 7 years in average.  Another interesting point, those with more than 12 years of education -- more than a high school diploma -- can expect to live to 85; for those with 12 or fewer years of education, life expectancy is 76.

 Why do women live longer than men? is brought up and they talk about the chromosomes how women have two X's, and men X anY, and how aging and damage, they have a choice in terms of genes — either on one X chromosome or the other.

It also emphasizes throughout the book how staying thin increases dramatically your life expectancy.

 

Respect the limits of your client abilities

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

In my experiences, I have noticed you can come up with the most brilliant strategy in the world, it wont help you if your organization can't implement it.

If your football team does not have a strong offensive line, there's no point in running the ball in the middle. Slow down and understand your client, be careful what you promise, engage your client in the process, always pluck the low hanging fruit to start the buy in process.

 When gathering data, facts are always friendly, be prepared  when conducting interviews guide and listen only. Most important don't re-invent the wheel. Most important keep the information flowing and always adjust to your clients ability to deliver.

 

 

 

Popular thinking brings only average results

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 

 

In my experiences when dealing with ERP-CRM implementation projects, we limit our success when we adopt popular thinking, we must reject common thinking if we want to be successful and accomplish great results within our projects. Why is popular thinking bad?

 

1)      Popular thinking loves the status quo, it puts its confidence in the idea of the moment, and it resists changes and dampens innovation.

2)      ERP projects are about transforming or improving your way of doing business, a successful ERP implementation should provide better business intelligence, streamline business operations, reduce costs, and ultimately help you grow your business.

 

Popular thinking has often been proved wrong and restrictive for business transformation projects.

 

Some ways to question popular thinking

 

1) Think before you follow (don’t follow automatically, we tend to take the path of least resistance, do not fear rejection, we need to think what is best and not what’s more popular

 

2) Appreciate others thinking and always criticize your own thinking

 

3) Try things in new ways (always seek new options)

 

Enterprise Project Success = Dedication, Passion and Humor

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 

When I graduated in the 90’s, I was reporting to a person that influenced and helped shape my career. He was the project lead, had an impressive track record on enterprise projects (solid resume), Harvard graduate, 20+ years of experience, overall people person and knowledgeable.

 

He always smiled, in a good mood and joked quite often with the team and the management team. This did not seem, the right behavior especially when you read his resume and most off the shelf management books this was part of his strategy of creating a high performance team. (At the end he did it)

 

We still talk quite often; he is now a C level for a large global US corporation.

 

Here were some of his ideas:

 

  • Team building is almost impossible when it comes to collective decision making. Each person will have his own agenda, and won’t say it in public. He knew how to breakdown walls between each other.

 

  • Unless you understand the agenda of all stakeholders, the power centre within the organization (he called it the structure behind the org) you will be set to fail.

 

  • Always show your passion, a job is what we do for money work is what we do for love.

 

  • A smile is a curve that can set a lot of things straight, it disarms and embraces teamwork.

 

  • Laughter is good for your health, use humour to overcome challenges, it promotes team bonding. He obliged us to read a study on the benefits of laughter during the project.

 

  • He had already mapped the solution, and was slowly using meetings and discussions to share his thoughts. The team felt empowered.

 

Another analogie:

 

To decide which kind of team is going to be most successful you need to know what is your challenge, or the game. At the Olympics, a gymnastic team is a team of great individual performers who create an aggregate result from their individual performances, although they provide a supportive team environment. When looking at an Olympic hockey team on the other hand, they have to deliver a result which can only be delivered as a product of their interdependent effort - the team has to be more than the sum of the parts and they have to be a great team.

 

This drives my last point the future of work will be accelerated by more change, companies will need to innovate and co-create unique value with their customers and in today’s knowledge economy creativity will be more important than ever.

 

9 Tips for Making Smart Decisions

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 

Being smart doesn't make you all knowing. Nor does it make you better than anyone else. It just means that you should be more willing to put forth what you do know in a manner that is more compassionate and understanding to those who are not so knowledgeable. In any ERP project especially at the more senior project positions you must take decisions that are difficult.  Here are some of my tricks I have been using for the past years and work well for me:

1.       Take action to define the problem and find its root cause will usually lead to an optimal solution

2.       Examine your motives, do you have an alternative option before making a decision, always step back and make sure you are not falling into the emotions and cognitive biases that typically derail decision makers.

3.       Create your own safe space, brainstorm and review alternatives and challenge your thinking.

4.       Always set broad objectives for your solution with multiple possible solutions

5.       Study past decisions (I always study each decision after it occurs)

6.       Think about your project risks, once a week

7.       Always listen, to your teams concerns, deadlines and emotions.

8.       I like to implement mandatory feedback and alternative options (Very important reduces the concept of group think).

9.       Understanding the underground organization, trust me – I know how decisions work in this place (Only if I had a dollar for each time I heard this saying….) Organizations are complex, must make sure you don’t fall in this trap make sure your ideas are concise, factual and use a logical process modeling approach.

 

The Difference Between Uncertainty and Risk - Practical Project tips

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

A common mistake made by decision makers and practitioners alike is confusing the notions of uncertainty and risk, especially as they apply to enterprise projects. Uncertainty is a property of nature that resists quantification, and therefore cannot be effectively reduced to probabilities and scenarios. Risk is by definition quantifiable and manageable.

A project risk is an uncertain factor, managing an ERP or enterprise project is unlike any other effort because of the huge number of variables, people and risks involved. The complete replacement of an organization's information systems has a tremendous impact on the people in the organization, the company, its suppliers and even its customers. An ERP project manager must possess an intimate understanding of the business and how it will change when the ERP system is rolled out, and must also have a solid technical foundation. One common mistake, I usually see in enterprise projects is groupthink I call it the danger of compromise.

Enterprise projects is about making hard choices, not ducking the issues. Groupthink makes it harder for us to choose properly; it is a delusional process that exploits the members of a group and costs organizations dearly.You have probably experienced groupthink during meetings and may have fallen into its clutches occasionally; perhaps despite fairly strong feelings or personal reservations about the fairness and sensibility of some of the decisions you have supported while groupthinking.The valid opinions and due concerns of members are always at risk of being steam-rolled by groupthinking groups.

Once groupthink takes a grip, the affected group members are at risk of being gulled into unthinking acquiescence and a consequent, downward spiral of individual and collective weakness. For sure, groupthink is a powerful force and it can be hard to resist.But it’s all about compromising principles and individual responsibility, in the mistaken belief that the short-term advantage of group harmony will provide long-term satisfaction through the avoidance of proper consideration.

The consequences of groupthinking are invariably poor decision-making and damaged integrity. (In my years of experience, I think this is the number 1 reason why projects are delayed)

On a side note when a project plan is slipping before you announce that the go-live date is in jeopardy make sure you look at these points below:

Work overtime

Everyone hates it, but one logical place to start is with overtime. If people work more hours, they can get more work done in the same amount of calendar time. Overtime may be the best option if you’re close to the end of the project and just need a final push to get everything done on schedule.

Crash the schedule

Crashing the schedule means applying additional resources to the critical path, the sequence of activities that must be completed on schedule for the entire project to be completed on schedule. It’s always possible to just throw more resources on the critical path, but crashing also means you try to get the biggest schedule gain for the least amount of incremental costs.

Scale back the scope of workOne option that is usually available is to look at the work remaining and negotiate with the client to remove some of these deliverables from the project. Example: non-core reports, some interfaces or extensions that can be pushed after go-live, manual conversion instead of automated, training material, etc. If you think some of the remaining work is not core to the project, you should discuss eliminating it quickly, to re-focus on the core areas.

Last tip, this has worked for me on all my enterprise project, do consider internal employees in addition to consulting help. Projects are more successful when the internal staff owns the project and the consultants are there to support, advise and teach.

 

4 Tips to Manage Know-It-All Personalities

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

We all want to be better at something, after all self-improvement is necessary to grow as a person, but some people believe we live in a "me" world where everyone’s own opinion is the right opinion. I have met lots of people that will fight tooth-and-nail to make sure their opinion is the right one;Have we really become a society of know-it-all? Do you work with someone who always tries to make you feel like you were born hundred years ago.  If you haven't encountered that condescending person, you will eventually. It's almost unavoidable, and it's how you handle these know-it-alls that make all the difference. What's perhaps most annoying about know-it-all people is that they usually know about as much as you do (or less) but try to pass themselves off as the office expert. A master of any environment.

So what should you do when you have to deal with a condescending co-worker/person? Here are a few basic tips that may be helpful:

1) After many years of practice, before you correct someone, ask yourself what will stand to be gained by risking offending someone. Will correcting them actually be helping them, or will it just give you the satisfaction of being right? If someone is trying to teach you something you already know, you can be polite about letting them know. Don't cut people off or lecture them, this comes across as arrogance. If it's something that may affect their school or job performance, be nice about it. "Oh, that's interesting. Let me show/tell you how I learned to do that..." Don't insist that your way is the right way, even if it is. Most people would rather learn for themselves.

2) We are all hard-wired for imitation, If you put your face right in front of a young baby and stick out your tongue, the baby will stick out his or her tongue too. This happens from a very young age (even as young as a two months old). So? What does this have to do with know it alls? It’s an example of the built-in, wired-into-our-brain capacity we have for imitation. When you encounter this type of personality ‘walk away’ and try to recognize this behaviour since we are prone to imitations and may cause bigger issues in your work environment.

3) Figure out what's worth ignoring. The know-it-all co-worker could be saying condescending things all day long, he or she isn't going to change overnight, if ever. You'll have to decide which comments to ignore and which comments to confront.  Avoid directly challenging a know-it-all's facts or interpretation of the facts.Instead, pose a question that can open their thinking. Example of what NOT to say: "Your data from last quarter can't be right." Better: "What are the sources of that data?" Better still: "What do you think we can do to make sure our quarterly data is accurate and relevant?"

4) A must read book, Managing  Creativity and Innovation (Harvard Business Essentials), the book discusses how they  need to be controlled and how hurtful they are to organizations. http://www.amazon.com/Managing-Creativity-Innovation-Business-Essentials/dp/1591391121/ref=cm_syf_dtl_pop_8

2012 Another Record Year – Thank you

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 

As of December 18 at 8 pm, my blog hit 779872 unique website hits for the year.(I will reset the hit counter at the end of next week)

websitehits

 

 

As professionals, we all have a lot on our plates. This is why I appreciate every single comment my blog receives, thank you to all for all those emails.

I know that someone took time out of their busy schedule to read my post and share their thoughts with me and leave me their thoughts/comments by email or phone.

 

Some statistics for 2012, below is the top 10- most popular articles on appsconsultant.com

top10

My next steps, by the end of this week will write up my predictions and trends for 2013(Some trends of 2012 will continue into 2013).

 

During the holiday break I will be upgrading my website to change technology to Joomla 3.0 reason for the change to better support mobile technologies , after that I expect a complete tune out and plan to spend quality time with my family until January 2013.

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