Monday, December 29, 2014

2015 - Less, But Better

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
                                                        - attributed to Confucius

It's the end of 2014.  2015 is staring us in the face.  And as we celebrate the ending of a trip around the sun and kick off yet another one, many of us are predicting what the new year will bring.  Sorry, you won't get that here.  My crystal ball never has worked all that well, so I don't see much value in sharing my woefully inaccurate predictions.

What I will share is my lone resolution for 2105 and some of the actions I'll be taking as a result, in the hopes that you'll find some value you can apply in your own endeavors.

The motto:  Less, But Better.  (Yes, I'm a fan of Dieter Rams).  The idea is to simplify, eliminating the obtrusive, while improving the end result.  Some thoughts on applying this idea.
  • Experience Design:  Seems as though everyone is into the Experience Design game these days.  User Experience, Customer Experience, Student Experience ... it's a longer list than I'm able to quote here.  But I also see that many of these efforts miss the point.  Experience Design is not just about things look ... icons, colors, interface layouts. Experience design is about providing simple, elegant solutions to complex problems.  I'll be spending calories voicing this point in 2015, especially in terms of how it applies in the world of Oracle software.
  • Advocating Oracle Cloud Applications:  The big idea behind Oracle Cloud Applications and the SaaS service model is simplification: trade off your in-house maintenance and licensing burdens for a pay-as-you-go service model.  Pretty cool in theory.  But, from my perspective, we'll still dealing with heavily-engineered products.  It's a tough issue for advocates and partners.  Among other things, that means I just can't run Oracle's Cloud Applications on my personal test bench anymore.  Too many moving parts.  Done trying.  At the same time, it seems that Oracle is tightening up the accessibility of Oracle Cloud Applications for players in the Oracle eco-system: their own pre-sales consultants and Oracle eco-system partners.  Tough even getting access through the Oracle Partner Network without jumping through serious hoops (and you know how I love hoop jumping!).  Have to come up with a simple answer for that in 2015.  It may come down to running a demo environment of Oracle Cloud Applications on AWS.  Or possibly running that demo environment on internal Sierra-Cedar servers.  Neither is the simplest approach I can think of, but one or the other may be the simplest approach available.
  • More Use Of Simple Oracle Development Tools:  In the world of enterprise applications, we sometimes limit ourselves with the tools that we use.  We bring out sledgehammers to kill fruit flies.  Forcing those sledgehammers to fit our purpose results in solutions that are less than optimal.  In the spirit of "Less, But Better",  I plan to spend some time researching on ways to use simple tools to extend and enhance enterprise applications - especially Oracle Cloud Applications.  Oracle APEX seems to be one of those tools.  So my plan is to start there.  I also plan to spend more time testing the boundaries of The Oracle Simplified User Interface ("SUI") Rapid Development Kit.
  • Extensions and Integration:  As more customers jump into Oracle Cloud, functional application implementation is becoming more and more of a fungible commodity service.  The lowest price wins the business above all other factors.  With this shift in the market and the impact on per project profit margins, implementation partners are beginning to develop strategies of adding value around the edges of an implementation project: extensions and integrations.  Those partners who can add simple, elegant extensions and integrations to Oracle Cloud Application implementation projects are the partners who will thrive as the market shifts.  This is easier said than done, as many of us in the Oracle eco-system tend to unintentionally sacrifice simplicity by over-engineering our solutions for very specific and unique use cases.  I'll be working to reverse that trend in my own work:  simple integrations and extensions, applicable to a wide set of use cases, that can be applied repeatedly.  I've already mentioned some of the tools I'll use in this effort.  This is really about the design of extensions and integrations:  simple, elegant solutions to complex problems.
So, these are some of the Oracle-specific areas that I'll be working through the "Less, But Better" concept in 2015.  There are more, like reducing the number of personal tech devices I use, but this is the upshot in the realm of Oracle enterprise software.

What about you?  Any inspiring thoughts from reading this?  Or maybe a bit of chortling or laughter?  Whatever.  Share your thoughts in the comments.  And best wishes for a great 2015!

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