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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How to Stay Fresh

After 30 years in the business someone asked me... "How do you stay fresh?".

I had to stop and think about it for a minute and then the answer came to me.

A day or two ago someone pointed me to the samples directory that is included with OBIEE's Paint demo - the basic software that you get from Oracle - to review the entry for a basic time dimension. I opened it up and reviewed it end-to-end. Why? Because I found it to be very interesting and I realized that it is the passion that I have for the details that keeps me going. Maybe you feel the same way? It's that "can't get enough of this" and "I love what I do" that keeps me current.

Working at software companies requires a certain "How are we going to do that?" attitude so it forces you to constantly reach out and learn the tools-of-the-trade that are required to build software - C, C++, Java (Assembler in the old days).... Well for the most part anyway these tools are used to build the software itself.

Applications are built using software so the same passion is required to 'stay fresh' whether you are building software itself or building applications. When building OBIEE Apps you must simply learn to use the tools that Oracle provides and combine that with your business skills.

So now Oracle introduces what I consider to be a third level. First is the software itself. Next are the applications you build using the software. And now third, we have pre-built OBIEE applications that require customization of the application - not the software. This takes the "How to stay fresh" question to a new higher level.

When you look at customizing pre-built applications you must dive into the meta-layer and determine what the application developers where thinking when they built it to spec. Where did the spec come from? How was it established? Does it make sense for my client? Does it need to be customized?

And then there is the GAP (GAAP for financials) Analysis for the loads.... Where does it come from? How does it get there? What adapters so I need? How do I use them? What is the Universal Adapter?

So you have a whole new level of 'customization' consulting that really did not exist up until the combination of the tools that Oracle combined - Informatica, DAC and OBIEE Answers and such.

Staying current or staying fresh in this environment requires a whole new level of passion and experience. You must get into the heads of the application designers and the software developers - both - to stay fresh in this arena.

So let's just say that Oracle has raised the bar on the basic passion and competencies required to "Stay Fresh" in this arena.

If someone walks in and tells you they have "Three Years experience with Oracle's Project Management Analytic App" or "You don't need to use the Informatica piece.." or "The DAC is worthless.." - please kindly ask them to step aside and keep asking questions until you find someone who has the passion to "Stay Fresh !"


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