The Oracle Australia and New Zealand Middleware and Technology Blog.

Friday, May 23, 2008

What Makes for a Successful IT Project

There have been a few recent blog posts concerning IT project success and failure. Kate Carruthers on her blog and Alex the Geek on his blog talk about some reasons why implementations go belly-up.

In my experience, having worked the tiles with Peoplesoft, SAP, Siebel and Documentum, the number 1 reason why things don't go as planned is the lack of involvement of the end-user community. However, there are a number of other reasons why projects fail.

What is Success? Well, the dictionary defines success as "The achievement of something desired, planned or attempted". Well, in my terms this translates to an IT definition of "Implementing a technical solution that your end-users do NOT reject".

Having worked as a consultant, specifically working with customers who have had some issues with their implementations, the following summarises the reasons that businesses state why their projects failed.
  • The technical solution was too difficult to implement
  • The software didn't live up to the sales-persons promises
  • The project ran out of money
  • The business executive changed their minds or reset priorities
  • The implementation team, didn't!
The IT industry states their own set of reasons why projects fail....

#6 Poor system, integration or end-user testing
#5 No change control system
#4 Scope creep
#3 Poor or no requirements
#2 Long or unrealistic project timeframes
#1 Lack of end-user involvement in the project

....and as a balance to this, also states the reasons why projects succeed.

#6 Open Communications
#5 Technical competence and maturity of implementation partner
#4 Structured project management
#3 Developer has understanding of the clients business (implementation partner)
#2 End user participation
#1 High level executive sponsorship

If you are entering into a new implementation of almost any technology, there are some key drivers that you should definitely consider. Firstly, remember that the end-users are always right - these are the people who most need influencing that your solution is right for them and meets their every need. Ensure that the project has high-level executive sponsorship so that the entire business buys into the solution and looks to adopt it as an integral part of their daily lives. Obviously ensure that the project has budget - there's nothing worse than getting half-way through something and running out of cash! Choose the right implementation partner - one of "Paul's Rules" is that you invariably get what you pay for here - low-cost definitely does not equate to a successful project, but there again a high-cost doesn't either. Have your business requirements defined and agreed upon with the end-users up-front in the project lifecycle. Define your project success criteria as the #1 priority, closely followed by placing an order for the project t-shirts and identifying the project scape-goat. Form a team with the business, IT and your implementation partner. Review progress regularly, promote the project, celebrate success and communicate effectively.

Equally important is the choice of methodology to be followed by the project team. There are lots of methodology choices out there, I've followed most of them and been generally frustrated by all of them! At the very least, your project methodology checklist should include the following:

  1. Formal project scoping
  2. Business requirements
  3. Functional requirements
  4. Solution design
  5. Build
  6. Deploy/Roll-out
  7. Informative training for project team
  8. Formal product training
  9. End-user training (change-management)
  10. Structured project lifecycle
The choice of implementation partner is one of the most important decisions that any business makes within any type of project. The factors that usually influence the choice of partner are the price, the methodology, experience, industry perception, change-management approach, technical capability and finally resource pools and mobility. In general, the cheapest partner price usually ends up being the most expensive project!

Scott Adams created a great cartoon that sums up a lot of business's approaches to the implementation of technology.

To summarise, the most important thing to remember if you are looking to ensure success in your project is the establish what the business wants from the solution and then deliver!

  • Remember the Importance of your End-Users, Involve Them in the Project from Start to Finish
  • Seek Executive Sponsorship and Market the Project Internally
  • Allocate an Appropriate Budget, Software, Hardware, Services
  • Select Your Implementation Partner Carefully and for the Right Reasons
  • Define the Project Success Criteria as Your #1 Priority
  • Form a Team with the Business, IT and your Implementation Partner
  • Have Fun on the Project, Bond as a Team, Wear the Same Hats, Order T-Shirts
Good luck and happy implementing!


Oracle Data Security Self Assessment Tool

A simple calculator-style tool to help drive awareness around basic data security issues and Oracle’s Database Security products.

This interactive tool walks the user through key areas of security, then rates the organisation's exposure level and educates how Oracle solutions can address their privacy needs, insider threats, and regulatory compliance challenges.

On the right is a sample graphic from the tool. It takes
approximately 5 minutes to complete.

If you would like to use this tool you can directly access it at

Oracle Database Vault

Recent statistics indicate that there is a shortage of experienced IT staff across Australia. Here in Sydney, it is estimated that around 3000 additional DBA’s are required to meet projected database management requirements. What does this mean for Oracle’s customers? Well, first of all the DBA’s that are currently employed or engaged by organisations are in ever-increasing demand and secondly the demand on these DBA’s to do more has increased dramatically and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Trying to do more with less time and less human-resource inevitably leads to errors being caused by these stretched resources so is it any wonder that Forrester reports that operator and user errors account for 40% of all unplanned IT downtime?

So, what does this mean to Oracle customers out there in the big-wide-world?

IT staff are being worked so hard they make errors! In a recent study we found that more than 50% of all database support calls occur outside working hours. Additionally, a significant percentage of these support calls concerned the rich-features of the Oracle database product-set and focussed on 20 of these that if used incorrectly, can cause a database to become unavailable.

When we talk to Oracle customers (in particular, the IT area responsible for providing a stable database environment to the wider-populace) about availability we ask a common set of questions…

• Have you had an unplanned outage in the last 12 months?
• Is availability important to your organisation?
• How long can you afford to be down?
• When does an inconvenience turn into a disaster?
• Are Service Level Agreement with the users being met?

We usually hear the same answers to these questions from a wide-variety of differing customer types (both by business vertical and size of deployment) and typically find that customers put up with downtime because they don’t know that there is a solution to their problems – Oracle Database Vault (ODV).

So what does ODV Do?

In simple terms it prevents unplanned downtime due to human error by restricting the use of certain commands. It does this by creating customisable realms and rules that provide multi-factor authorisation capabilities. This means that administrators and IT staff only have commands available for their role and responsibility. This is a bit like someone standing behind you and asking “are you sure you want to use the “DROPTABLE” command just before you hit the enter key – or more simplistically, preventing the command from being called in the first-place.
For a piece of technology that provides a high-degree of protection, ODV is an incredibly simple and easy piece of software to deploy. Most deployments and configurations, including mapping roles and responsibilities to functional capabilities, take place within a week. Of course, some deployments can take longer than this period and other take less – it really comes down to the customer-requirements for the implementation.

We would be very interested to hear from anyone that believes they could make use of Oracle Database Vault or who would like more information – contact me directly via email or visit our website at


Web 2.0 Expo 2008

Web 2.0 Expo returns to San Francisco April 22-25 2008 to take the pulse of the Web ecosystem and look to its future. This combined conference and tradeshow for the technology and business community is a companion event to the Web 2.0 Summit, focusing on education and reaching out to a broader audience. Oracle is a Gold Sponsor this year and will be offering a micro-unconference in its booth.

Oracle "Web 2.0" Resources
Oracle Mix - Oracle's social network
Oracle Wiki - you're here
Oracle WebCenter - Web 2.0-esque features for enterprise apps
AppsLab Blog - blog by Oracle's own Web 2.0 think tank
OTN TechBlog - official voice of the OTN (developer) community
Oracle Community on Ning
Oracle Tweeters
Application Express

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Next Generation Datacenter

Oracle ANZ just completed an event in Sydney around next generation datacenter.
Peter Thomas from Oracle got things started with an insider view of Oracle's own datacenter, the statistics amazed everyone with 2 acres of raised floor space, diesel generators that can run a week ( i hate to think what the fuel costs would be now). Next we had a customer presentation from the Commonwealth Bank's Jon Waldron. Peter Thomas then returned to the stage with an overview of Oracle's Enterprise Manager and its array of solution offerings. Finally i completed the event with an overview on new security solutions for datacenters including encryption from rest to the application over the wire and adaptive authentication.
If you attended the event i hope you enjoyed it, here are the Oracle presentations and if you have any questions please contact us.
Thank you
Carl Terrantroy
Read this doc on Scribd: 3 - Jon Waldron CBA-updated preso

Read this doc on Scribd: 2 - peter thomas1

Read this doc on Scribd: 4 - peter thomas2

Read this doc on Scribd: 5 - carl terrantroy

Friday, May 16, 2008

Oracle Open World 08

Suggest a Session for Oracle OpenWorld 2008

New! Want to present your own session at Oracle OpenWorld 2008? Or suggest a topic for someone else to present? Here's how. Complete the fields with a relevant subject you would like to present or see presented at this year's Oracle OpenWorld 2008 conference. Your peers will vote on the topics they are most interested in. The top sessions will be selected for participation in this year's event. Deadline to submit is Friday, June 13th. Deadline to Vote is June 24th.

Go to here for your chance to contribute to what will be presented or submit your own paper

Good luck

Business Process Management Breakfast Seminar Series

Hi all,

we recently did a series of breakfasts around Australia covering most major cities. The topic was Business Process Management and its relationship to SOA. Over 300 people attended in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra with very positive responses to a stimulating set of presentations and discussions.

The event saw four great presentations from:

  • Professor Micheal Rosemann. Micheal is a world leading authority on BPM and a recognised thought leader. He spoke about the impact business process centricity is having on business, dimensions of success and future trends that are starting to emerge. Michael's presentation is available here.

  • Mervin Chiang. Mervin is a Principal Consultant with Oracle's specialist BPM Partner Leonardo Consulting. Leoanardo are the leading organsiation in Australia skilled in BPM and the ARIS toolset. The ARIS products form the basis of Oracle's Business Process Analysis Suite (BPA Suite) that allows Business Analysts and IT Developers to work in unison around a shared repository of business process definitions. Mervin gave a demonstration of the Oracle BPA Suite and SOA Suites using a system Leonardo has developed to support their Quote-to-Cash process. Mervin's presentation is available here.

  • Jack Harris. Jack is the Managing Director of the Watership Group. He has many years experience in helping organisations transform to be more agile using BPM approaches. Jack spoke about real world lessons learned from his involvement in several company changing initiatives at Fonterra. Fonterra uses Oracle SOA Suite and BPA Suite to streamline and refine their key business process. Jack's presentation is available here.

  • Saul Cunningham. Saul is the SOA Business Development Lead - Oracle ANZ. Saul spoke about how BPA Suite and SOA Suite work together. The key to understanding this is shown in the picture here:
This diagram shows three parts of the BPM Lifecycle. The blue zone is where the Business Analysts using Oracle's BPA Suite document the business - people, systems, data and processes - and the relationships between them using a business oriented tool. These process designs are written to a shared repository that is read by IT developers using a technical tool called JDeveloper. This is the green zone. Here the process design (called a "blueprint") is wired up to the systems, people and business partners that are required to make it real and executable. Once deployed into the running process server the process is then monitored by a Business Activity Monitoring tool (the brown zone). This is a key part of Oracle's SOA Suite that allows a real time view of how business processes are meeting the Key Performance Indicators of the business.

If you want to know more then register for the most convenient of a series of workshops that Oracle and Leonardo Consulting are running in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth. The workshops will provide an indepth understanding of how Business Analysts and IT developers can close the business IT gap and make their organisations more responsive to change. You will see the complete lifecycle of BPM from:
  1. business process conception
  2. design in the business domain using BPA Suite (ARIS)
  3. transfer to IT using a shared repository approach
  4. construction of executable process in Jdeveloper
  5. deployment of process to Oracle BPM (BPEL)
  6. and monitoring of process with BAM
To register for the workshops click on this link

If you want to listen to one of the sessions the podcasts are below

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oracle Universal Online Archive Has Analysts Buzzing

Oracle Universal Online Archive (UOA) is getting positive notice in the email archiving space. According to Ovum Research: "This is another demonstration of the bringing to fruition the combined capabilities of both the Oracle and former Stellent teams, melding understanding of content types with that of high volume storage. Good move, very timely."

Oracle recently announced its latest offering to help organisations manage their information. This product, the Oracle Universal Online Archive, provides a secure repository accessible through an Open API including pre-defined web-services. The repository provides record retention and disposition management, auto-classification and information de-duplication for any type of corporate information including structured data from applications and semi-structured and unstructured data from desktop-systems, collaborative interfaces, scanned or faxed imaged, audio from telephony systems and video from closed-circuit security systems as examples.

By far, the leading source of information within an organisation is within the email system. The first release of the Universal Online Archive solution addresses this precise issue by supporting email management from Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes and a more generic SMTP interface. This integration allows for a filtered set of all inbound and outbound emails to be captured and stored within the repository. The repositories data de-duplication solution allows for single-point storage of these emails dramatically reducing the storage overhead for the archive in this environment.

An organisations' intellectual property is most often held within semi-structured and unstructured information formats including Microsoft Office formats, blogs, wiki’s and other solutions. The archive allows for this information to be ingested and managed securely within the repository alongside emails. The same set of retention and disposition policies can be applied to all formats of data held within the repository and information can be auto-classified in the same way also.

Data held in a financials solution can also be managed by the online archive repository as can data from HRMS, CRM and even an ERP solution and yes, we support SAP here as well!

Being based upon Oracle’s 11g platform, the archive provides you with unparalled scalability and all 11g database options are enabled including RAC. A wide-range of back-end storage platforms are natively supported including EMC, HDS, IBM and Pillar Datasystems Axiom product that offers equivalent storage and capacity at roughly a quarter of the price of its competition.

Oracle's research and development team has built a set of tools around the archive repository ensuring that data ingestion as well as data-analysis occurs with industry-leading performance and responsiveness.

Of course, the primary reason for implementing an archive is to support eDiscovery activities that could include legal-litigation against an organisation.

eDiscovery is a 7-step process for most organisations - reducing potentially millions of items of information down to the level of hundreds relevant to the activity. The Oracle Universal Online Archive is designed to provide an organisation with a secure, online repository of all corporate content. This ensures that in the event of an eDiscovery event taking place – there is no need, or at least a significantly reduced need, to load information from either paper of from disk-drives.

This means that organisation's can see significant reductions in costs associated with eDiscovery as well as reducing risk. New Australian legislation, currently in the court system, will enforce a requirement to adequately retain and dispose of corporate information in preparation for eDiscovery and in particular – litigation. Oracle’s Universal Online Archive solution is the only end-to-end platform that is capable of storing ANY corporate asset including documents, audio and video alongside structured data from your core-systems including CRM, HRMS and ERP.


Well, it seems silly-season is back with us again with yet another acquisition announced to the world this morning.

After last weeks announcement that Microsoft was pulling the pin on its acquisition of Yahoo (and the resultant bouncing around of the stock prices) HP confirmed the worst-kept-secret, this weeks anyway, that it is in advanced negotiations with EDS. What does this mean to the market and the IT industry in general? Well, it would give HP a large service-delivery team that is currently independent, sort-of, of major IT vendors link Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, EMC etc.

What does this mean for these organisations who currently leverage partnerships with EDS - will anything change, will HPEDS purely focus on their own in-house technologies? Personally, having looked at HP's current product offerings there are some obvious gaps in their portfolio including relational-database, desktop OS, Office-tools, enterprise-storage etc. etc. etc.

HP has been striving to become more that just a mash-up of two large organisations for many years now and with the recent acquisition of Tower - you can see where they are wanting to head (little-IBM anyone?). Rumours of an EDS take-over by quite a few organisations have been floating around for a few years. HP's announcement followed a report in the Wall Street Journal and was met with mixed reactions. Some said that there was little synergy between HP and EDS and they were uncertain of why the acquisition would happen whilst others said that it made sense for HP to enter the global-services market and expand on their current limited offerings with the weight of the EDS brand and staff-numbers behind them.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Oracle Web 2.0 for the Enterprise Podcasts

We now have podcasting and RSS feed capability

You can now subscribe to our blog's using either RSS feed subscription on the right hand side or via the itunes store which we will feed audio podcasts to.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Oracle on SAP Special Interest Group

Stop Press

For all you Oracle/SAP technical people out there.

Tony de Thomasis is the process of establishing an Oracle/SAP Technical special interest group in Melbourne.

The main purpose of the group is to: -

· Meet at Oracle 417 St Kilda road monthly over sandwiches
· Discuss only technical Oracle items relating to SAP (no sales pitch)
· Provide a forum to build further Oracle and SAP social capital

Oracle has kindly offered an hour with Frank Closheim from Germany to talk about the Oracle Archiving solution for SAP Applications during the first session.

If you are interested in attending this (date TBA at this time, or subsequent) session/s, please drop me (Tony de Thomasis, email a note by COB 05/05/2008.

Friday, May 2, 2008

WEB 2.0 for the Enterprise Technology Day

We have just completed the first Oracle Technology days for WEB 2.0 and the Enterprise. Attendance was quiet strong and from the feedback we have a lot of people wanting to know more about how to commence the journey of WEB 2.0 in the Enterprise.

A unique feature of these two events in Sydney and Melbourne was that Oracle utilised partners that are domain experts to deliver the content around Portal, SOA integration, Security for Mashups and Content Management for WEB 2.0.

Attached are the presentations from the events. If you would like to know more information please contact me or the relevant partner. Shortly we will publish the podcast that correspond to each presentation and also details of the follow up workshops. The workshops will allow each of you to get a hands on feel for how to integrated the various components of Fusion Middleware into existing corporate applications to gain WEB 2.0 experiences.

At the end of the 4 sessions we had a preview of Oracle's Social CRM or Seibel On Demand V15. Some WEB 2.0 features of this product i can see as offering real usability and productivity advantages to sales teams or anyone that is involved with customers. These features included integrated Instant Message IM, ability to leverage public API's from social sites liked linkedin to see how you can link to someone, for instance imaging if you need to contact a CFO within an account. You may now his/her name but that's it, if your sponsor doesn't have access what do you do? Well with these API's like linked in you could simply click a button within your CRM and the magic of WEB2.0 would occur. The result could be a list of people you know who can introduce you through their contacts to the CFO. We all know an introduction will be more successful than any form of cold call or unannounced introduction. Another feature is the ability to maintain customers contact information by leveraging their details with consent of course from these sites. Another feature was the ability to integrate portlets or widgets of CRM functionality into external portal sites such as iGoogle. All of this functionality is possible in your current CRM systems by leveraging the solution sets in Fusion Middleware.

Session 1 Oracle Portal Usability and Accessibility for WEB 2.0 Applications by Allan Jansen - UberConsult

Session 2 Enabling Enterprise Integration for WEB 2.0 Applications by Jerry Gaines - Intelligent Pathways

Session 3 Enabling and Securing WEB 2.0 Applications by Antony Krilis - Agreon

Session 4 Content Management for WEB 2.0 by Phil Hoppe - Astral

Enjoy the presentations and thank you for attending.

Carl Terrantroy

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Oracle Feeling Social???

I've just read an interesting article written by Paul McDougall over at Information Week that ties in very nicely to the Web2.0 conference Oracle hosted in Melbourne and Sydney during April 2008. In his article, Paul discusses our efforts to develop applications that 'look and feel like the Web 2.0 services that are dominating the consumer world..'.

We presented some of the new CRM features that hook into the new world of social-networking sites like LinkedIn et al. allowing our products and solutions to leverage environments where our customer contacts maintain their personal details, job roles etc.

Software vendors like Oracle are looking at new ways that their products can be more easily adopted by a companies workforce and presenting an interface that smells like FaceBook has its obvious benefits. The workforce of tomorrow will have been brought up with access to the internet and with experience in using applications that are both functional and funky at the same time. Tomorrow's world will not have too much room for stuffy and uptight applications that enforce a particular Germanic mode of operation - the troops will surely rebel!

As I frequently tell audiences, I've been around this industry for more than 20 years now and have been involved in software-product implementations around the world. The main reason for a 'failed' implementation is a negative response by users of the system that you are responsible for implementing to supposedly 'help' them in their daily-activities. Providing an environment that users actually want should 'almost' guarantees success?

The main reason that God was able to create the earth within a week is because he didn't have to go through UAT!