Friday, 25 October 2013

Today I left Fujitsu

Today I left Fujitsu.

A very difficult choice, I have been with them for almost 25 years and they have given me a great career. Like all large corporations there are regular re-organisations and this has often led to me having new opportunities and learning, but recent changes mean that my role would be split over a number of functions; this is right for Fujitsu but I feel I want to continue with what I do and am will look to do so elsewhere.

This was especially hard a decision to make having been part of the Fujitsu team at Oracle Open World where they talked about their place in ICT, a message I was proud to be part of

Thursday, 24 October 2013

I'm not Technical But...........

If you follow me on twitter you will know how carried away I got yesterday at the Fujitsu Distinguished Engineers Conference. The event was to celebrate those awarded Distinguished Engineer within the company.

The day started with our CEO Duncan Tait speaking about our engineering heritage and the pride we have in our people. Later they launched a new short video on our innovation highlights; well worth a watch.

Dr Joseph Reger our Global CTO talked about the importance of a full customer solution and how that is our differentiator, if we separate services and engineering we compete against the mainstream, but together we are a winning combination.

Professor Martyn Guest from Cardiff University talked about High Performance Computing and the importance of increasing speed. He told us of one simple chemistry research query that in the 80s took 3 months to run and today takes 0.25 seconds. However as Moore’s Law tells us the amount of data to be processed keeps growing and technology must keep up. Fujitsu’s K computer is all about HPC or Advanced Research Computing as he refers to it. He gave examples of where HPC can be used especially around simulations and one that resonated was that 911 was a predictable event. Not the terrorism itself but a fire and building collapse, this should have been simulated and procedures could have been in place.

Amyas Phillips from ARM talked about the Internet of Things – and how this is the next evolution of the web, and is one of the things that feeds big data, when it is the sheer volume of little data that makes it big. He also talked through this and other technology drivers like SOA, Analytics, Cloud and the way they have worked against the Gartner Hype Cycle. This presentation was one of the most thought provoking I have attended outside my own area.

In the afternoon there were some networking workshops and I went to the Internet of Things as the possibilities here are endless. As ever I took it to a personal example. My cooker brain has died and although the cooker works it wont ignite the oven! OH how I would love a chip in that which would tell me not only what the problem is but also recommend someone to fix it. However currently I cannot get an engineer as Corgi Gas Regulationswill not recommend a repair on an appliance over 10 years old, which is ridiculous as my oven only does 2 meals a month! A chip could also measure that and perhaps meals cooked could be the unit of measure rather than age; a bit like miles flown in an aircraft. Fascinating topic, the Internet of Things which will drive so much innovation.

The reason I had been invited was because I had written a couple of white papers in our global Solution and Service Professional (SSP) Awards. The final session of the day was a presentation from 3 of the those who had successfully had their papers submitted to Japan and it was really inspiring to see what others are up to. One of my papers on the adoption and implications of Engineered Systems mad it through this round but I wasn’t asked to speak and it was quite weird in a way being at a conference without presenting.

Other guests were up and coming engineers who it is hoped will be inspired by the event to step up to the attributes required to be nominated in future years.

The event was held in the Science Museum in London and it was an excellent and very relevant venue. We had time at lunchtime and at the end of the day to look around and as a frequent flier I was especially impressed by the History of Flight exhibition. At the end of the day we watched a 3D film on the building of the International Space Station which was really interesting, I never realised it was such a long project and each piece was built separately around the world and they only knew if they fitted together once they got into space!

The day finished with a great dinner and the awarding of Distinguished Engineer to those who had been granted the title. Then they announced the UK winners of the 6 categories for the SSP awards and I was bowled over to win ICT Technical Architecture Award. I was really honoured, it is my paper my work but reflects the various projects my colleagues have worked on and their development of the solution.

It was an awesome day which I will remember for a long time.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

UKOUG Applications 2013

We did it!

Last year we decided to bring all the applications communities together and hold an Apps conference and a separate Tech conference. Perhaps a big risk but having just finished the UKOUG_APPS13 event I would say it was the right decision.

We had planned on attracting about 650 delegates but actually had to close registrations due to Health & Safety when we reached 1,000. The actual number of attendees was just short of that over the 3 days. Excellent.

As well as traditional streams for the existing communities we added Business & Strategy, An Executive Stream and Apps Transformation streams. We also had themes for the days so many people were there for 2 days of the three. I think we had  a great agenda but we can always learn.

The additional non specific application streams had smaller audiences and we discussed this in one of the sessions and someone said the main streams cater for the 'What should I be doing tomorrow?' attendees and the additional streams the 'What should I be doing the day after?' Two different audiences and perhaps we need to do more to attract the second group. We are though in March having a follow on Apps Transformation special event so hopefully we will hit the right group.

I do through my blog and on stage ask delegates to try different sessions outside of their traditional streams and perhaps another tactic could be to have a time period with only the non specific content.

But that is me thinking aloud, it was a great conference, and a real buzz. The community keynotes were very well received and I particularly enjoyed the Executive community where Andrew Sutherland gave a quick review and thoughts on OOW. This really resonated with me as it relates to the AppAdvantage initiative I am working with Oracle on.

I also hosted Jeremy Ashley VP Fusion UX which I always enjoy, the advantages of User Experience in Fusion Applications, but secretly I wish I could have been at our own UKOUG President's session on what keeps him awake at night as a CIO. Another session I wanted to attend but clashed was Fiona Martin on Cloud Adoption, it is easy to forget that most of our volunteers are also excellent speakers in their own way. There were so many other excellent presentations and not enough time to go through them all.

I spoke about BI & EPM in Fusion and had Nadia Bendjedou from EBS in my session, at first I found it intimidating but actually it opened up the conversation which is what members want.

Oracle really did us proud, we asked Karen Clarke VP Applications to be our Executive Sponsor within Oracle and not only did she agree but she also created a Cross Line of Business team to ensure all communities were included. In her keynote following Dermot O'Kelly SVP UK, Ireland & Israel telling us about OOW means to the UK market, Karen gave a fantastic presentation about the Journey we are all on, our speed, our path and how Oracle and UKOUG can help.

One thing we have retained from previous years is our Inspiring Presenters Awards, recognising the speakers that you rate the best at conference.

One initiative that has really taken off and is growing at a great pace is our Recruitment Fair planned for next February which will help people who want a career in Oracle software and not necessarily with Oracle, graduates, apprentices, 1st movers. The press loved this and so did the round tables we had with Oracle Academy and BCS who both have some initiatives of their own which can hep in this space. A bit more investigation to do and I will write another post.

There are lots of photos from the event (official, not the many I came home with from the Motown Social Event), which can be found on the UKOUG facebook page.

There are the surveys to read through from the delegates and lots of comments to process but I am confident we have achieved what we set out to do. We need to work on increasing some of the communities but this is our journey and we are heading in the right direction.

And all too quickly it will be UKOUG_tech13 another event I am really looking forward to.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Quick Trip to Berlin

27 years ago I lived in Berlin, and it is my favourite city, so the opportunity to return again for the DOAG Apps conference was an opportunity not to be missed. Sounds perfect? Yes but then reality set in, less than a week after OOW and just 3 days before UKOUG_apps13, still you know me and commitment.

The event was held in the Estrel Hotel the largest hotel and conference centre in Europe. I was disappointed that it was billed as Europe's largest applications conference, Apps13 has over 1000 registrations but never mind it was a great event, and thank you OTN for your continued support for me to attend.

The conference had 2 days of sessions with a stream each for EBS, Fusion, Hyperion, Primervera. Agile PLM, CRM, BI & JDE and then a third day of workshops, but I will come back to that.

I was impressed that Fusion had equal billing and my first presentation on Extending Fusion Applications had a great audience, and the conversation was really good. My 2nd session looked at start time very empty and Tim Warner , fellow ACE and speaker suggested tweeting a photo of the empty room, then 5 minutes in the audience arrived. Remind me never to follow Nadia Bendjedou (EBS), I love Nadia but she has so much knowledge to share clocks cannot restrain her.

The 2 days finished with a panel session on Fusion and it made me think a lot. I have spent a lot of time especially in the IOUC telling Oracle their market is bigger than North America, but here was a country telling us they are not the same as the rest of Europe especially UK. With Cloud Fusion services there has been a lot said about where the data is stored and to address this Oracle have been opening new datacentres for their clouds and at the moment we have 3; The original Linlithgow in Scotland, Amsterdam and the latest in Slough, England, but none in Germany. The people I spoke to had concerns that their laws needed specific handling of data, especially social data and did Fusion have the right policies as well as locations for that storage? Additionally Germany is not a 'do I upgrade or go to Fusion?' region, it is a 'how does Fusion compare to SAP?' market and whilst the local sales team are aware of this it does highlight the need for Oracle to understand its local markets and where better to start with usergroups?

On Day 3 there was a whole day workshop on Fusion Apps for partners and without any hesitation I am stealing this idea for UKOUG. There is still a lot partners want answered. It was a great day and luckily for me I have seen Fusion before as the sessions were in German although if I had a question or comment it was in English :)

Thank you DOAG for the invitation and the opportunity to visit Berlin again. Just wish I had more time.

Thinking More About Women in IT

A few weeks ago I posted my thoughts on WIT and now I am back from Oracle Open World I have some more.

I did attend the first WIT session at OakTable World as a panel member and although there was not a massive audience I was encouraged that over third of those attending were male. Kellyn Pot'vin who did an excellent job hosting the session had prepared some slides to promote discussion and it flowed well. Men gave their experiences of how they had seen women treated differently in their organizations but it didn't motivate me, because obviously some women, unlike me, do have a hard time. What I did like was that there was a conversation about the different roles available within IT for everyone. I don't subscribe to the idea that you are not really a Woman in IT unless you are a DBA or Developer.

I also attended the Oracle Women's Leadership afternoon at the conference and it was excellent, the speakers included Cindy L. Warner, Managing Director, IT Strategy and Enterprise Architecture, PwC who told a wonderful story about bees...

Beeehive Art - ZAM
Cindy is a keen sailor, and whilst at her cabin on the lake she found a number of bees in her kitchen. Her first thought was to grab a hose and try flooding them, but they just got angry and more appeared. Being an empowered woman she grabbed a tube of GreatStuff and filled the crack she believed they had entered from. Peace and Quiet... for a while, but later the whole house appeared to be filled with agitated bees. She gave in called an exterminator who quickly solved the problem. He then told her bees hate water, get mad if you cut off their route to the hive, are very well organised and send messages to those on the outside to come help. Thinking about it Cindy decided that bees are like women in business. We work hard, we have great networks, we are determined and if anything gets in our way we will use our connections to get to the top. Bees are also reducing in number and Cindy believes women in top jobs are too, but in IT there are opportunities and we should be striving to succeed here.

Cindy believes men are listening and supporting initiatives to encourage woman and pointed at the Military who have taken positive action to encourage women officers, they make great leaders, and as the very proud mother of a female British Army Officer I agree.

I had to leave the OWL session early as I had my own presentation's to attend which is a pity as the schedule was phenomenal, but these were senior women who can take half a day out of their schedule to invest in their own networks, but how does that work for most women in IT? Then finally in her fest of inspiration Cindy talked about PwC's own WIT program, which is open to all in the orgaisation. Women are allowed to articulate a problem but must then debate ways to change it, not moan about it. That is what we need more off. Grass root initiatives that looks for answers.

In my earlier post I reiterated that I think we need to just get more girls into IT but actually we need to simply get more young people into IT. They need to know there are good jobs available and you don't need to be the next Facebook, Microsoft or Apps King. I talked about the Oracle Academy the Chartered Institute for IT (formerly British Computer Society) who will talk about their programs at UKOUG Apps13 conference. Interestingly they are speaking on Ada Lovelace Day - how fitting is that?

Whilst on the subject of Ada Lovelace Day I was honoured to be included in a list of Inspiring Women in STEM by a real inspiration to me Meg Bear.

Then on return to Northern Ireland I was asked to mentor a new initiative called Go-Berserk around social media. I went to meet Ian Simons an academic who is passionate about getting students not only to start IT degrees but also to finish them. He has along with a friend written the first in a series of books for schools to encourage children as young as 8 to have fun coding. The first book teaches them html and they build a website based on their history assignment. Really encouraging is the character teaching the coding is a girl. The have won many awards and have interest from all over the world and ideas for another 10 books, what they need now is the funding to get on with it quickly. They also have an iPad app to go with it - Relive Amelia Earhart's historic solo flight across the Atlantic from Newfoundland to Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland, while learning how to build websites in HTML and CSS. Ian is also publishing a paper on the shortage of graduates in IT and with this empirical evidence I am sure will attract the funding he needs from the industry.

So have I changed my mind about women in IT? No, I still believe the main issue is to get more into the industry in the first place, but then we need to mentor and encourage those who are in the industry to fulfill their dreams.

Friday, 11 October 2013

My Oracle Open World 2013

My tenth consecutive OOW! And as ever it was as manic as predicted. Hopefully these postings will be a mixture of fun and information for those who either didn't or whose path I didn't cross.

I have almost recovered from OOW having been home two weeks and already thinking about next year, see you there.


ACE Director Briefings Pre OOW13

As ever I would like to start by saying these briefings are by far the best benefit of being an ACE Director. It is my annual technical top up, where I learn enough to keep me going for the rest of the year. I think it is so important that you have a watching brief on all things Oracle, my role requires me to be able to explain to colleagues, customers and users at all levels what Oracle does from a business point of view and that means I need to be able to explain it to a CEO or a developer or a data input clerk and to do any of that I need to understand it myself.

The ACE Director briefings happen the Thursday and Friday before OOW, the calm before the storm; everyone getting ready for the big jamboree but still not sure exactly what will be announced. For the briefings we get all the product managers come tell us what we will hear and as well as the normal Oracle Rev Rec slide we constantly get reminded that we are all under a Non Disclosure Agreement. This is a real privilege and an opportunity to ask questions of the people that really know. Getting the main messages before OOW means you have a chance to think about them and plan to go to any drill down sessions or demo stations to understand better. There were breakout sessions for E Business Suite which was great as 12.2 had finally been released and it meant we could drill into that too.

A very popular session was Jeremy Ashley and his team from UX Development. I have written many times about the UX team but as they share their findings with the wider community more people are showing an interest. There was also a dinner for the Fusion UX advocates amongst us and I spent all evening trying out Google Glass, and have to say pretty cool and no harder to adjust to than bi-focals!

Another session I was very keen on was on AppAdvantage a new initiative being launched at an executive lunch during OOW. In the past Oracle had a FMW4Apps team that showcased Application customers who adopted Fusion Middleware and this formed the basis of the Oracle Excellence awards. The FMW4Apps team also worked with OTN to provide images of each of the applications and SOA suite so that we good demo this on our PCs. Oh how I wish I could have a Fusion Apps image on my PC! At that time my concern was that the stories they showcased were all very big exciting projects and the reality was more modest. I ran a survey amongst my ACE Director colleagues which then formed the basis of my 42 Real Life Examples of Fusion Middleware for Apps white paper and subsequent presentation; what was clear was that back then IT drove the adoption. 

Today it is business that drives most projects, business has to find the funding, and AppAdvantage is looking to showcase the different business drivers. The SOA Partner Community (run by the excellent Mr Kress) suggest that fellow ACE Director Mark Simpson and myself might like to get involved.  We had a few calls with the team before OOW and as well as agreeing to rerun my survey and rewriting the paper both Mark and I have agreed to write regular posts for their blog. Mark will be the technical content and I will showcase some of the examples collected. My first posting aired just before OOW.

The ACE Director briefings is also an opportunity to catch up with friends and make new ones before the rush of OOW. Although some of us did take timeout for the now annual swim in the bay organised by Chet Justice. However some of y colleagues should amend their 'I swam in the Bay' T shirts to read 'I got wet in the Bay' as just going in does not count. Great cable car back to Union square and off to OOW for the main event.
 Thanks again to Vikki and Lillian for an excellent event and looking after us all year, and for the brilliant cagoules.

Enjoying America's Cup

Larry Ellison got a lot of stick for not attending the earnings call just before OOW , which is actually not the first time but he had a different excuse last time.

Actually I don't blame him, if I was that rich and my passion was sailing, I would have chosen the America's Cup also. Then he also missed his 2nd keynote which I fail to understand how anyone thought that with his team coming back for the best turnaround in history he would miss the final race? Interestingly in the past analysts have complained there is no succession planning in Oracle, and yet they also complain when he passes the baton. I personally think Thomas Kurian gave a great keynote, he may not be just as charismatic as Larry but the detail was there.

But what I liked about the America's cup being on during OOW was the opportunity to go see it in person, although I was not as lucky as Team Oracle. The Saturday before OOW is the only day I have free at OOW so it was great when Oracle announced free tickets. Along with a few other ACE Directors we went down to watch. Having had a few beautiful days at HQ it was a surprised to find it was raining but the forecast said it would only last a few hours, and we had our new cagoules from OTN which were fantastic, they kept us very dry except small puddles did appear in the front pocket.

We did some shopping, seems everyone except Larry thought it was all over, the merchandise was 50% off and there was a chance to have your photo taken that looked like you were on a boat. Also kept us out of the rain that by now was horrendous.The beer tent had its own pond in the middle but spirits were high and eventually the rain stopped and it looked like the race would be on. We saw the boats crew up and start off into the bay and we rushed off to the shuttles to get around to the viewing area. The skies were still very grey and it was explained that the wind had to be in certain direction before they could start, and although it would it needed to happen before 1440 due to television rights, so it was really disappointing when at 1440 is was postponed till the next day. We saw the boats sail at some phenomenal speeds but they
were not racing and by three o'clock it was a glorious day.

Oracle did honour the tickets all through OOW but unfortunately I never had the chance to go again I was too busy, but the races were shown on screens at the event, and I was at the Oracle Women's' Leadership event during the final were we watched live. Well done Larry.

And thank you Pythian for the America's Cup Jacket I won from you last year, very popular now.

OOW 2013 Main Messages

It has taken me two weeks to post so you will have heard all the messages from OOW, but this is what I took away as important. 

Database, Middleware, BI, Java all available as well as many applications.
For me this means the opportunities for partners have changed and for user groups we need to move more towards the end user rather than the developer for some of the apps.


In Memory options - love this concept and look forward to hearing more on how this will change the way we work.


Fusion on track - some interesting numbers quoted and am still thinking about what that tells us, I also want to follow up on some of the commentary post OOW.

EBS 12.2 available - at last, people have been waiting fro this for a long time but how long before we start to hear customer feedback.

More modules available in the cloud - not really news only to be expected.

M6-32 Big Memory Database Machine - as a manufacturing company, Oracle need to keep coming out with new machines or they will lose credibility. They also set out their strategy as the Data Center for the Future.
All the keynotes can be replayed here.
There are some excellent blog post, these are my favourites:

I also liked the buzz around the Internet of Things and where that might take us in the future.

Oracle Partner Exchange at OOW13

This year for the first time the Oracle Partner Exchange was extended for more than just the Sunday of Oracle Open World. For me that didn't make much of a difference because apart of a presentation I gave there I didn't have time to attend any more or it.

It actually kicked off on Saturday with a reception which my boss arrived just in time for however he had no luggage so stood out a little in his travel clothes.

The keynote presentation was good, quite a high level overview of what was coming but also a lot of interesting information for partners. Partners need this kind of forum, Oracle are good at talking to key Diamond Partners but other partners need the messages too.

There was more on the Partner Cloud Program that was announced last year, and as someone who has gone through getting Fusion HCM Rapid Start it does need refining, however when I first saw it I was surprised that Oracle had thought about it so thoroughly and a year on it is getting there. It is important that Oracle ensure their programs guarantee that customers get the right partners.Last year Oracle raised the bar for Diamond membership and although that was again a big exercise to ensure Fujitsu stepped up to it, we have made it and retained Diamond.

My presentation was actually a discussion with Jeremy Ashley, VP  Oracle Applications User Experience about the latest in Fusion Applications. I have spoken with Jeremy many times but what was different here was that Oracle wanted me to talk about customer feedback we are getting. This was in the Partner Forum and sharing this information was just as important. What are customers saying, what are their concerns, what do they like etc. There was a surprise for us though, the session was translated into Japanese with a lot of partners from there attending. I have often been translated but normally have prior notice.

It may not have been the most important thing that Oracle Alliances had to say but what interested me most was the announcement that their admin systems are being rewritten. Looking after a Diamond partner with lots of legal entities is a nightmare currently. Looking forward to the improved customer experience.

There was also a UK Alliances reception held in Sausolito which was excellent and a great view of Larry's yacht and San Francisco in the background and just want to say thank you to Will O'Brien and his team.

Fujitsu at OOW 2013

Fujitsu were again a major sponsor at Oracle Open World. Last year we were here to talk about project Athena our new chip for Oracle and this year Oracle launched the M10 so we had plenty to talk about.

Our Corporate SVP Toyoki-san gave the first keynote of OOW being introduced by Ed Scriven. Last year Toyoki-san gave a good presentation and talked about our role in society which was well received but criticism was ‘too nice – not enough detail’ and this year he concentrated on the detail. You can see the presentation here. Personally I thought the content was really good, he talked about the world class benchmarks we have already achieved with the M10 but I think it would have been better is the presentation had been punctuated with more video and customer stories. Unfortunately it received a lot of negative tweeting and that is a pity. Ray Wang did criticise it but he also said he would give free consultancy for next year and he did search out Fujitsu afterwards to make the offer in person.

The stand had the most fantastic oak table with power as a centre piece which encouraged people to sit and work and I wanted to take it home, but even with my frequent flier baggage allowance that was never going to happen.

At our customer appreciation event there was a Traditional Saki Cask Ceremony to celebrate engagement of Fujitsu & Oracle. It was great to see VPs on both sides of the Alliance smashing the cask with such gusto.

Fujitsu must also have managed the marketing coup of the century. At the start of America's Got Talent a Japanese man did a tribute to Michael Jackson, the judges liked it but said they didn't think he would go the whole way unless he changed his act. At that stage Fujitsu booked him for their event, but listened to the judges, added to his act and went on to win. Kenichi Ebina was phenomenal.

There was also a marvellous M10 cake complete with cables. It seemed a shame to cut it but it had to be done.

It was a great evening and all our customers and partners had a great time, full of Japanese culture.

And of course as Marquee Sponsor Fujitsu were part of the team that brought you the appreciation event and I loved you, hope you did too.

 Then when everybody else has finished at OOW Fujitsu have a summit when all the teams globally get together, this is a great opportunity to share what we are doing and plan initiatives. There are some exciting things happening.

My OOW 2013 Presentation


As well as speaking at the Partner Exchange I also spoke in the main event about the Fusion Decision Journey which in many cases is longer than the actual implementation.

I wanted to talk about what customers are asking about Fusion and how they are looking to SIs to help them navigate the decision process as much as the actual project.

What about the Cloud question? does it make the decision easier to make and it is more expensive?

For late on the Wednesday I had a great audience and lots of questions. It certainly told me it was a useful presentation to make.

Fujitsu has since achieved Advanced Specialization in Fusion Financials which means we have 50+ specialized implementation resources globally.

What else did I do?

So as ever a really busy Oracle Open World.

There was no time this year for a ride over the bridge, my day off was spent at the sailing, but I did swim in the bay again.

I made a video with OTN's Bob Rhubart on Fusion journeys and Architects.

And all too soon it was time to go home, educated, exhausted and so much to follow up.

OOW Thoughts

Finally Done !!!!

Sorry for the delay

Yep I know, not done this yet, but I will I promise