Rotation in the Finance Department

Hi to all of you again! This time round this is a blog entry by one of our current Graduate Trainee, Charles. Charles graduated from National University of Singapore (NUS) with a business degree specialising in Banking & Finance. This entry recalls his experience in the Finance department as part of his first rotation in the Graduate Development Program.

After the honeymoon period of the foundational training, all of us were posted to our first rotation. I was placed in the Finance department.

Oracle’s finance department is not the typical finance/banking environment we find in banks. The finance department is in charge of planning and compensation. One area of my job includes tracking the headcount of sales rep weekly. Sales representatives are an integral part of Oracle as they bring in Oracle’s revenue and thus we track their headcount closely.

Another challenging task I was assigned was the CFO package. After every quarter, the CFO will have to present on the key financial results for the quarter. I had to compiled and assemble the entire APAC region crucial financial results. With the amount of Lines of Businesses and the recent acquisition of Sun Microsystem, it certainly was not an easy task! However, with the help of my colleague and under the guidance of my manager, we were able to complete the CFO package in the tight deadline of 1 week.

Initially I was apprehensive about entering the Finance department. As a business student, I wanted to acquire technical and product knowledge of the vast array of solutions Oracle has. Yet being in the Finance department has been extremely beneficial. I have a bird’s eye view of the organization. By looking at the numbers, I am better able to understand the organization as a whole.

Through my first rotation in the Oracle Graduate Program I had opportunities to come into contact with people of different skill-set and acquired varied learning from the wide-ranging chances given.

Internship Experience at Oracle USA

Hi! The following is a blog entry from Ser Jin about his internship in Oracle USA. Ser Jin is an IDA  (Information Development Authority of Singapoore) scholar and is currently pursing his studies  in University of Pennsylvania. Enjoy!:)  

So 2 summers ago, I was working in the Oracle On Demand group, part of the Service Engineering department, which was comprised of very senior software developers who had at least 10 years of experience and fresh new graduates.

It was lovely to interact with both groups because the work culture was so friendly.  I was able to have a lengthy talk with  2 senior staff members who had at least 15 years of experience developing software in order to learn more about my work. I believe it reflects the open door policy that Oracle has in that any employee can talk to any senior member of staff without any prior requests. In fact, there were several occasions where my direct supervisor was kind enough to listen to my update on work progress in between meetings.

There was plenty of interaction with the young graduates there too. Since there were at least 7 interns during the summer, the fresh graduate colleagues took it upon themselves to organize a weekly fun gathering for the interns as well as the batch of new graduate intakes.

Surprisingly, it was not only the senior staff but also the senior management that were enthusiastic about having us. There were several times when the group’s head would walk into the office which the interns shared and talk to us. Aside from casual chit chat, he also offered valuable insight into how the company worked and his actual experiences working with Larry Ellison, Oracle’s CEO.

My work involved evaluating and developing a prototype for an alternative work plan for a project team. This task would enable the group to review several upgrading alternatives to the current infrastructure in place. Although it was not mission-critical, I was heavily involved in the team’s weekly meetings where I had the opportunity of listening to the various tasks being done by other members of the team and I also had to update the team on my progress.

Work hours were flexible but that did not meant that people were unproductive. One of the senior executive managers I had a chance to have a casual chat with did share her work day which involved coming to work at 11am but having to sit in an international meeting across time zones at 11pm at night. Project teams do not have to be localized and many, at least in my department, were made up of different members from different countries. The workplace is in fact designed to support just such a situation with each office having additional workplace for “visiting guests” employees from other countries to work in. This was a nice peek into the global environment that is Oracle.

Experience in Sales Team

Trying to sell Oracle licenses when you have a similar product which you can download for free from Oracle website is not as easy as I think. Yes, it is undoubted that Oracle has the best product in software and hardware but that would not be selling point when it comes to a product where you can get a similar one with free.

Recently I attended Malaysia Government Open Source Conference where Oracle has a booth during the two days of conference and exhibition. It was an open source exhibition which means most of the products promoted there are free of charge. The three core products that Oracle wants to bring awareness to government or public sector are Oracle Open Office, MySQL and NetBeans. My colleague and I are in charge of Oracle Open Office. At first, we planned to introduce Oracle Open Office to the government by using the strategy of cost saving when compares to Competitor M’s office. However, it didn’t really work well even though our total cost of owning is 75% cheaper than Competitor M’s office and compatible with them. After awhile, we understand that most of the attendees of the conference are using which is downloadable from website for free. We know that we must have another strategy to convince the customer that why they want to purchase the Oracle Open Office license while they can get free So we start to understand normally what problem that user faced. We showed it to customer by presenting the Oracle Open Office already solved the problem that they are facing currently. Let the customer experience the enhanced version of OpenOffice on hand by demonstration. Customer always only believe what they see more than what they heard. Convince the customer by the demonstration is the best way to prove that Oracle Open Office with support is better than

Selling skills always come along with sales experience which might also means more years you spent in sales field, more experience you gained. But I must highlight that this is not a necessity and that is the reason I use “might also” in the previous statement. I always believe that there will have young successful salesman in the IT industry but provided you have the product knowledge. Understand the product, Understand your customer, everything will work well together.

Red Journey1: Systems LoB

I would say joining the Oracle FY11 ASEAN Graduate Development Program is unexpected. Initially, I was in dilemma to choose my career path either my studied course on electronics engineering or the offered position as in IT graduate program. Due to the attractive offers as well as the big name of ORACLE, I have decided to give myself a try. That’s realistic! Well… it would be a lie if no one prefers to have a well paid job with good benefits offered. I do not wish to confine myself inside the laboratory facing the electronics circuit board and computer programming codes whole day, but fond of having a challenging and interesting job integrated with technical knowledge, people skill and management competence. Consulting line would be my desired job. Surprisingly, it’s grateful to know that my next and permanent assigned line of business will be in consulting line as well!

Presently, I am based in Systems sales/pre-sales team for the first LoB rotation which is 4-months-duration. Systems LoB was just newly established on this early year of 2010 after Sun Microsystems was acquired by Oracle Corporation. Thus, new corporate tagline is initiated: Hardware and Software, Engineered to Work Together reflects Oracle’s unique ability to /offer customers a full technology stack, from applications to disk, engineered to work together. Products under Systems deliver unique value for customers through the integration of server (SPARC Enterprise, T-Series, M-Series, Sun Blade), storage & tape, networking, and solaris software to deliver some of the most scalable, reliable, and secure products available today. So far, I have more involvement in pre-sales team which is helping on the partner enablement program to offer guidance and assistance to Oracle systems partners on the subject of certain products. I’m pleased and contended for this great technical learning exposure like the Solaris Container Server Virtualization (A concept that allows servers and the network to be flexibly partitioned into independent execution environments within the same server and physical network) and also the way to position different series of server systems regarding their achitecture and functionality on discrete practice. Besides, my attachment in sales team is on functioning side that help the systems LoB to understand and develop a market demand generation program as well as to support on operational matter and propose a sustainable framework for operational excellence.

Hope this tells you a little bit more about Systems. I am anticipating this coming December for the next challenge – Consulting LoB and will share about it next time.

Tech for Dummies Part 1: Exadata: quarter rack ! half rack ! full rack !

It’s been some time since I posted. Since I finally had the time to post, I thought I would write something about a very important product in the Tech arsenal. Perhaps not many people outside of Oracle would have heard of Exadata. This is not meant to be an exhaustive essay about the technical specifications of Exadata. Hence, I will introduce the topic in the most high level and simplistic way possible so that even non-technical and dummies (don’t worry dear reader u’re not) can appreciate it.


By now, you should have known that the new tagline of Oracle is now software and hardware engineered to work together. What is the advantage in doing that? It’s to deliver extreme performance that was perviously not possible with either hardware or software alone. Larry Ellision has this vision that together software and hardware can create a synergy that creates products that are out of this world. And Exadata is indeed about extreme performance. Even deployment has been cut from months now to days. The culmination of its final hardware configuration has been the results of 3 years of research. What is the best ratio of ram to cpu? How many database servers should go with 1 storage server? You don’t have to worry about that with Exadata. No new skill sets are required as well because the underlying database is still Oracle Database 11gR2. If it was Teradata, you would perhaps have to send your IT personnel for training to operate that box.

We have 2 ranges in Exadata, namely the X2-2 range and X2-8 range. I will just write more about the X2-2 range in this post and leave the rest to another post. We have 3 models in X2-2, the quarter, half and full rack. They differ in the number of database servers, storage servers and cpu cores. The storage cells and database servers are connected by a high speed Infiniband network which runs at 40Gb/s.

Other technologies that increases its performance is Smart scan processing, hybrid columnar compression (average of 10X space savings) which helps to reduce TCO, storage indexes, partitioning pruning, smart flash cache which utilizes not only LRU but also keeps track of data access patterns and I/O setting which helps achieve pre-defined SLA. I will describe these technologies in more detail in my next post.

Hope this tells you a little bit more about Exadata🙂

Apps 101: The Big Groups – Difference in JDE World and JDE E1

Hello there. So, what is important to note?

There are two impt groups of applications within the Oracle world:  JDEdwards and Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS). These two big groups have an ERP system with other applications like supply chain, project management and others creating a full suite of applications that integrate with each other seamlessly (That’s the selling pt). The differences between the two are usually based on customer preferences but I like to think that JDE is used more in property and manufacturing but I could be wrong😉

Does JDEdwards have different lines of products?: Yup. JDE World run only on IBM AS 400 hardware while JDE E1 can run on hardware supported by Java. It is important to know, however, that there have been more new releases on JDE E1 than on JDE World. This parallels the higher cost of maintaining an IBM hardware in compared to a Java based hardware.

There are also particular advantages with JDEdwards in compared to other competitors. Say, if your customer has to manage plantations, the JDE (E1) has an app called Grower management. So, though other vendors like SAP may be able to get another company to customize or create a plantation management product for you, JDE does not need that sort of customizations, thus, reducing customization and integration problems.

Hope this tells you a little about JDE🙂

Apps 101: the overview

Today, I will recap on some of our popular applications and how to look at such product. I will also talk a little about the core of many application stacks: The ERP system.
Most people know Oracle has been on quite a shopping spree, buying up some of the market’s best practices solutions. From JD Edwards (which came with Peoplesoft) to Primavera (A project management app) or Transport Management (Formally known as G Log) to Agile (product lifecycle management), there are many key products to make sense of but let’s look at it from a customers point of view.
The customer looks at applications based on roles the application could play. In finance, that would be management of accounts and financial consolidation (for companies with subsidiaries). For sales, it is about managing your customers and tracking your sales person’s progress through a sales cycle. For HR, it’s about payroll, talent management and training.
So, by breaking down the customer needs based on the roles that they practice, it would be easier to understand what they need and what they are trying to achieve with a specific application.
The core of most applications stacks that companies have is the Enterprise Resource Planning pack. This is basically made up of account modules but there are popular side modules like Purchasing and Procurement. I would like to think that most of the time, this could be a little difficult to change especially if  finance has already been using it and is used to it. As long as it is not too old (like the green screen from JDE World’s older editions), there is a high chance that finance would not be interested in changing.
I have had very little luck in cold-calling for ERP systems as usually companies already have that. I’m not saying that they aren’t any opportunities, just tougher to find sometimes and a lot of based on luck!
All these info do not reflect the views of Oracle, just my own view.
We’ll talk more in depth tomorrow about the policies covering the Oracle applications.
Good night!