Posts Tagged ‘enterprise’

The QA Mindset

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quality button

Michael Lopp, writing over at his fantastic blog Rands in Repose:

My first job in technology was a QA internship. The summer between my freshman and sophomore years, I tested the first release of Paradox for Windows at Borland.

As an intern, I started by following someone else’s QA test plan – dutifully checking each test off the list. After a few weeks, I knew my particular area inside and out. A new build would show up, which I’d install via 3.5-inch floppies, and in ten minutes of usage, I’d have a sense – is this a good or bad build?

In QA, there is a distinct moment. It comes once you’re deeply familiar with your product or product area; it comes when you’re lost in your testing, and it comes in an instant. You find a problem, and because of your strong context about your product, you definitely know: Something is seriously wrong here.

Anyone in the IT/software industry will relate to this. Before MIPRO, I worked in product management and strong QA employees were absolutely invaluable to releasing on time and with full functionality. Sadly, QA is often cut when crunch time rolls around, and in my experience, that’s a gigantic mistake.

My concern is that the absence of QA is the absence of a champion for aspects of software development that everyone agrees are important, but often no one is willing to own. Unit tests, automation, test plans, bug tracking, and quality metrics. The results of which give QA a unique perspective. Traditionally, they are known as the folks who break things, who find bugs, but QA’s role is far more important. It’s not that QA can discover what is wrong, they intimately understand what is right and they unfailingly strive to push the product in that direction.

I believe these are humans you want in the building.

Exactly. A good QA engineer is worth every penny.

PeopleSoft Enterprise Strategic Sourcing: An Introduction

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What is PeopleSoft Strategic Sourcing? What’s it for?  In the simplest of terms, it is the process of improving value in your supply chain by determining the best suppliers to award goods or services contracts.  It is not about getting the lowest possible cost or beating up suppliers, but rather taking into account all of the important elements of supply chain to determine the best sourcing for your organization.  Price certainly is an element but there are other elements to consider such as quality, on time delivery, warranty, etc. We’ll get into that stuff down the road.

PeopleSoft Strategic Sourcing allows organizations to create the supply chain criteria most important to them and leverage the product to procure from the best possible sources resulting in overall improved value.  The key value of the product as described by Oracle:

Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise Strategic Sourcing enables your organization to streamline its RFx processes, conduct real-time auctions, and strategically award contracts or purchase orders. The RFx process consists of formulating requirements, selecting and inviting bidders, receiving bids, scoring and analyzing the results,negotiating terms, and awarding the contract.”

Over the next several weeks, we will dive deeper into the capabilities and functionality of PeopleSoft Strategic Sourcing.  We will cover topics such as:

  • Event notifications
  • Creating events
  • Managing events
  • Registering and maintaining bidders
  • Placing and managing bids
  • Analyzing bids and awarding events

We will highlight the features and add the occasional supporting video blog to see the setup of the application as we touch on particular topics. We will be focusing the majority of our time on buying events as depicted from PeopleBooks below:

Like our popular 10-post series on PeopleSoft Real Estate Management, I aim to make this blog series on Strategic Sourcing the most comprehensive information source short of PeopleBooks. I hope you’ll come by every week to check out my latest installment.

How to Get a Free Trial Version of Oracle BI Publisher

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I believe a big part of the value of our blogs is sharing information in a community that sometimes doesn’t always have a great venue for the sharing.  Sometimes we demo or share our opinions, but we try to always share real information.

In fact, there is so much information out there about PeopleSoft and business intelligence, that unless you live it and breathe it and use it to solve daily problems, it is impossible to know all of the content that’s available.  To that end, I want to share where you can get a free demo version of Oracle BI Publisher for trial purposes. You can download the content and it comes pre-delivered with data models, reports, dashboard and a fully functional version of BI publisher.  You can even upload your own data content to practice creating reports and dashboard with your own data which has value and means something specifically to you.

The download is quite simple — go here (you’ll need your Oracle user name and password).  Read and accept the license agreement (read and accept with your company’s permission of course),  and select the appropriate version to download.  From there, once downloaded, simply follow the instructions.  Everything is pre-configured and ready for use.  You do not have to figure out web servers, etc. in order to make this fully functional.  There are of course install guides and quick start guides and tutorials for your reference.

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Once installed you will have icons on your desktop, like this:

Simply double-click Start BI Publisher, let the window open and the processes start up and once they are started, double-click the Sign Into BI Publisher icon and it will launch your web browser for sign-on.  Simply launch Stop BI Publisher when you are finished.  Once within the application, you will be able to run existing reports/dashboards, modify existing reports/dashboards and create new.  Soon you will understand the capabilities of Oracle BI Publisher. This is a great way to get a feel for the application without jumping in with both feet. I recommend it highly.


(click to enlarge)

More links:
MIPRO Consulting main website.
MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About this blog.

Joshua Greenbaum on Oracle Fusion: Greatly Exceeded Expectations

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For anyone still wondering if Oracle has let Fusion go into a black hole and innovation has stalled in the mothership, Joshua Greenbaum emphatically says no:

Perhaps the most impressive, due only in part to the huge hype riding behind it, is Fusion Applications. Oracle gave industry analysts a two-hour mind-melting core dump earlier in September on Fusion Apps and is planning on showcasing some of the new functionality during Open World on Day Three. And here’s what I can say without blowing the terms of an NDA agreement I signed two weeks ago: Oracle has made good on its promise to deliver Fusion Apps, and has greatly exceeded my expectations in doing so. A very impressive debut.

Greenbaum’s post is filled with great detail, so check it out if you’re wondering about the application and innovation details Oracle brain-dumped at this year’s OpenWorld.

From a more macro level, just yesterday our PeopleSoft Practice Lead and one of our Senior Client Execs gave a report from the field regarding their observations at OpenWorld, and the takeaway is this: there’s lots of good things happening with Oracle.  Lots of good energy.  While Fusion has taken its sweet time and shapeshifted, sometimes strangely, over the past 24 months or so, it’s come out looking better than anyone was expecting.  People notice that, and what we have here is grassroots buzz from a company that is making products that take a message to the marketplace.

The next year will be a very exciting time in the Oracle/PeopleSoft spaces.  Watch.

Debunking SaaS Debunking

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Businessweek recently published a surprisingly negative article about SaaS, saying that its hype can be largely undeserved for a number of reasons.  Now, I like BS-calling as much as the next guy (maybe a bit more, actually), but I found Gene Marks’s reasoning to be too generalized and all-encompassing.

Marks says:

Myth 1: SaaS is cheaper. No, it’s not. In fact, it can be a lot more expensive. Most service providers charge each user by the month. If you’ve got 10 people using a product, and they’re costing you 50 bucks a person each a month, that’s $6,000 a year. Most in-house systems have one-time licensing fees and optional support agreements. Spreading out the payments is nothing new, either; tons of software leasing companies will finance your purchase and spread out monthly payments over time. When you look at SaaS over the long term, it’s usually not a cheaper option.

Considering that on-premise enterprise software for a large firm can easily run into the millions just for new license acquisition, this argument pales quickly.  And support (maintenance) agreements for such systems are not “optional” — they’re mandatory.  Seeing how I’ve seen annual maintenance bills upwards of $400K/year, we’re not talking spare change, either.

And really — let’s not get into the costs associated with new hardware investments or modifications to existing infrastructure.  Let’s not get into new servers, new application security policies, network provisioning, desktop client modifications, and permissions.  Let’s not get into end-user performance issues and the time and expense needed to troubleshoot and remedy them.  And let’s also not get into aggregate IT staff allocations on a man-hour basis, because the numbers get crazy quickly.  Suffice to say that all of these get figured into the equation when trying to calculate the TCO of on-premise enterprise software.

SaaS may not be cheap, but it certainly might be cheaper.  And there is value in having fewer on-premise headaches with trashed servers, corrupt databases, and angry end users that the internal helpdesk must deal with.  It becomes an intangible quality-of-life discussion for the enterprise.