Monday, 20 April 2009

Oracle Acquires Sun

Today Oracle announced the acquisition of Sun, only 2 weeks after IBM cancelled the acquisition talks with Sun. I'm not sure what this will mean, as Oracle has been moving away from Sun for a long time. This might impact the close relationship Oracle has cultivated with both HP and Dell. It looks like Oracle wants to broaden its horizon into hardware as well, which was already indicated last year with the introduction of the HP Oracle Database Machine.

MySQL, only just acquired last year by Sun, becomes the latest addition to Oracle's database portfolio. Will this mean MySQL will no longer be OSS? Personally I don't think so.

Thursday, 9 April 2009


Ever hear of the ODTUG Kaleidoscope? It's the yearly conference that's organized by the Oracle Developers Technical User Group (ODTUG). This year there will be a number of symposiums at the day before ODTUG starts.

One of them is the SOA & BPM Symposium, that's organized by Lonneke Dikmans, Lucas Jellema and myself. It will not be your average symposium. It will be a very interactive meeting of minds. The symposium is about working together, exchanging experiences and trying to determine the best, most practical way, to go about implementing an SOA.

So, if you feel you have anything useful to bring to the table or you want to hear what recognized specialists in the industry do and think, why not join us at the ODTUG SOA/BPM Symposium?

This symposium is organized by a large number of Oracle ACE Directors. Expect a large number of them to be there and participate actively! Come and join us!

Crisis, what crisis?

I'm seeing a lot of companies cutting their IT budgets, in an attempt to reduce costs. I do wonder if that's always the best strategy. Yes, IT budget is usually large, and therefore suspect. However, it is usually a fraction of the total costs of an organization. Just getting rid of external consultants (which is sometimes a good idea, anyway) will save you money in the short run, but what does cutting your IT budget mean for the long term? I think that in the long run, it will cost the organization more.

I read an article in my newspaper (NRC Handelsblad) last Saturday about how companies perform, depending on their investment strategy in times of crisis. Recent research shows that organizations that focus on cutting costs and reducing investments will have a harder time to get out of the crisis. Organizations that keep up investments (though at a lower level, more focused) are able to take advantage of the dwindling crisis (we're not there yet, though) a lot sooner.

As with all business decisions it's imperative to keep the longer term in view. Yes, you will have to look closely at all expenses you have as a company. But, sometimes you can do more with less! Possible ways to cost management can be process optimization, integration and consolidation.

The smart thing to do - again, just my humble opinion - is to keep investments at a certain level, but focus on investing in areas that will give you value for your money. For instance: optimizing your process to deliver more value for your customer (keep your customer happy, even in bad times), decrease the number of unwarranted faults, reduce the human tasks (less people), increase intimacy with your chainpartners, etc. The basic premise for these investments are: the return on investment must be visible within 6-9 months.

If at the same time your focus is on creating a more agile (system and application) infrastructure you are a lot more flexible whenever the marketplace allows new initiatives.

Just cutting the IT budget only means that you will not be able to deliver new functionality as the major part of your budget goes to maintaining the installed base. It will not gain you anything other than (short term) continuity.