The world of Oracle is changing rapidly. In order to fulfill it´s vision ´Complete, Open and Integrated´, Oracle has made a radical change, from a classical, functionally limited and proprietary environment towards an open, SOA based environment offering a complete technical stack and rich business functionality. This has effected the way we do our work as Capgemini with the Oracle stack. In order to cross the border between architecture, functionality and technology we’ve added the role of Oracle Solution Architecture, a person able to overview a solution based upon Oracle technology and functionality in a hybrid and fast changing environment. But what about our Software engineers and Functional consultants? Both roles have already made their first leaps into the new Oracle world, but now have to step completely out of their comfort zone.
What happened so far?
Oracle solutions can be devided into two main areas: Applications and Technology. Some ten years ago Oracle decided to become number 1 in all IT area’s and grow bigger than SAP. Oracle created a blueprint of functionality to address that goal. Also Oracle realized that it needed a more complete technology platform to support all that functionality. Since then Oracle has been filling in the blanks in both areas by creating new software (mainly by means of acquisition) in the area of Applications (i.e. Peoplesoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, Hyperion), Middleware (BEA the largest) and recently with Hardware (Sun).
Our Software engineers have made several different leaps
Those coming from the ‘old school’ Forms environment made their steps into the Java world. Even though Oracle JDeveloper helps ‘easify’ Java development with tons of wizards, it’s still a very large step.
On the other hand Java developers feel chained by, again, those tons of wizards. Lately I came across a hard core developer who said happy to be back in Eclipse to do some hard coding.
Our Functional consultants also needed to evolve
The Oracle acquisitions led to more complete solutions, enriched with new functionality. E.g. in the area of financial management, fast-closing is enabled by the financial data hub in combination with E-Business Suite or PeopleSoft financials. The Haley acquisition led to highly improved productivity in combination with Siebel case management to support the implementation of ever changing legislation for public sector organizations. Then there is the difference in approach of implementing On Demand or SaaS applications, at this point in time mainly in the area of CRM, which is quite different from the traditional On Premise implementations.
For all Oracle applications there is Fusion Middleware and Application Integration Architecture as a new given.
Our Oracle Solution Architects need to oversee this whole gamit in order to craft the best possible landscape to support the current business needs as well as craft an agile solution which is as much future ready as possible, and in line with the future developments of the fast moving Oracle stack.
For engineers, consultants and architects the big leap yet is to come.
Fusion apps is on the way, the development towards this unified platform has been prepared for years. On the technology side everything is aimed at Service Orientation, Integration is done in a unified way, Business processes are based upon open standards targeted at visual insight of processes and result, ‘what you see is what you execute’.
On the Functionality side, the border lines between the standard applications are fading away.
Both Technical engineers and Functional consultants need to be aware what is going on the other side.
The future is that we are building hybrid applications combined of standard parts and custom components.
Interesting times are ahead, we’ll keep you posted
Léon Smiers, Oracle Solution Architect, Oracle ACE
Balt Leenman, Capgemini Oracle Alliance Lead The Netherlands