Archive for February, 2007

A Question Of Representation?

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007 by Kirsten Campbell

As Contractors, we have all been in a position where your CV / Resume has been sent over to a client by an Agency for a role, when another agency calls about a role at the same client. You explain you have been sent over already by another party. A typical response from the second agency could be:

  • “It is for another role” - Is this likely? If the first agency sent you over for an HR Functional Role and the second agency says its for an OTL role - we all know it is likely to be the same role?
  • “The other agency is not on the PSL” - Is this likely? How do they know?
  • “They only hire through us” - Does any client only rely on one source?
  • “If you go through us we can get you a higher rate” - How?
  • “I will double check with the client that they have your CV / Resume” - Surprise, most times they come back and say the client has not got it!

When I was looking for a contract - I had a simple view on this. If I had given permission to an agency to send my CV / Resume to a named client for a role, I would not allow my details to be sent again under any circumstances. This often puts undue stress on the client as they are put under pressure by both or many agencies, who of course try to put themselves in a position of strength by having a ‘conflicting pitch’.

I have been on the hiring end of this and it certainly elongates the process and makes it ‘messy’. If the client has other ‘clean’ candidates i.e. sent by one agency only, they will often drop the repeated candidates especially if there will be grief! It must also raise a doubt (no matter how unfounded) within the clients mind as to the ethics of the contractor themselves, who unfortunately in most cases are unaware their details have been sent again.

There were of course situations where I had given my permission to send my details to unnamed clients in generic locations to a number of agencies to find out that it had been duplicated. My feelings on this is that who ever sent the CV first, as long as it was not unsolicited, should represent me.

When the owners of this business across all regions, who are all Oracle Apps Contractors, and all started contracting in the mid 90’s defined the process flows and the underlying ethics that underpin our business (based on much experience with agencies) we were clear about this area:

  • We never send a contractors CV / Resume without obtaining permission
  • We never send a contractors CV / Resume if we have not been asked by the client to locate a resource
  • We never send a contractors CV / Resume to a client if it has already been sent
  • We always divulge the client unless we have been specifically asked not to - it is not often that a client wants to remain anonymous anyhow
  • We always have in place an email of representation so as to provide a clear audit trail for all parties in the case of any ambiguity

That is why, when in the unusual event, a contractor or client acts in a way that goes against our own ‘code of ethics’ we find it very disappointing. But if you play the long game you will of course lose a few, but in the end you gain a level of trust with the community at large which is priceless. The actual process of working with clients to understand, often translate their requirement, and then reach in to our Network to identify, locate and represent suitably qualified and available contractors and thereafter the placement, ongoing administration and relationship building is a lot more efficient, effective and enjoyable.

I would be interested in hearing other views etc on this topic.

Cost Based Thinking

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007 by

Do you often hear or say statements similar to the following?

1. Never use ‘NOT IN’ in SQL
2. Always use bind variables in your programs
3. Full table scans are bad
4. Java is slow

Experience tells us that after we see a pattern of behaviour a number of times we can form a rule in our brain as a shortcut. Now for many things, like putting your hand in a fire, this is a good thing, but I think the method doesn’t work too great for something like Oracle.

I like to think of an analogy between modes of thinking and differences between the Cost Based Optimizer and the Rule Based Optimizer. Rule based thinkers tend to make bold, confident statements like the ones listed above having made a rule years ago, maybe when it was true, and have never revisited that rule to see whether it still holds water. Cost based thinkers tend to be more adaptable, taking account of the current context and environment and give more of an indication of their confidence in their knowledge and experience in relative terms rather than absolute terms; there is nothing worse than someone who continually answers questions with ‘It DEFINITELY does it this way’ only to find they are wrong more often than not.

People who are ‘quick’ thinkers, the type that race to answer a question, usually are rule based thinkers. Here, the goal is to search their experience pattern matching for a solution – it can appear impressive, but more often than not the solution is inadequate, useless or obvious. It can be appropriate sometimes, but usually not if a creative solution is required.

I prefer cost-based thinking, where rules like the ones above still carry some weight, but there is a context surrounding the rule that must be considered in each individual case. Here, the thinking that is being paid for by the client is not some previously successful solution being blindly applied to their situation, but being considered in context and if there is no fit, then new solutions are found. If you agree with the above 4 rules, by the way, then you should revisit your thinking behind them because there are good examples where they are totally wrong.

Whenever I hear the words ‘never’, ‘always’, ‘must’ and other absolute terms I always wonder if there is a dodgy rule coming out here…?


Tuesday, February 27th, 2007 by

At a recent Oracle Ireland conference, it was clear that SOA is the future as far as Oracle as a corporation is concerned, both in terms of its Apps offerings (Oracle EBS, JDE, Seibel and Peoplesoft) and its toolset more generally. I have found the following book invaluable in getting my head round the business concepts of SOA (and the concept of Mashups within Apps, within Corporations and more importantly between corporations and their customer/supplier/partners). Its called ‘MASHUP CORPORATIONS - THE END OF BUSINESS AS USUAL’. You can purchase it on Amazon …

Here’s a synopsis …. Book Description Mashup Corporations: The End of Business As Usual tells the tale of Vorpal Inc., a company that pioneers the implementation of service-oriented architecture to transform its business model. CEO Jane Moneymaker believes in marketing manager Hugo Wunderkind’s idea of creating a new market using non-traditional methods based on mashups, but struggles to achieve this vision. The story illustrates what it takes to achieve cultural change, overturning established business and IT structures. By embracing a service-oriented approach Moneymaker makes Vorpal faster, flexible and more responsive, bringing an end to business as usual. Mashup Corporations takes a unique approach to communicating its message.

From the first page, readers will find themselves in a story populated with people who interact in ways that will ring true to others who have struggled to make technology work in an organization large or small. The conflicts that naturally arise between CEOs, CIOs, and line of business managers illustrate the important issues at stake within Vorpal and most other companies. As the leaders of Vorpal find their way out of their predicament, rules about how mashups and service-orientation can be properly applied emerge. These rules, which may be the most enduring contribution of the book, are illustrated and analyzed using real-life examples. “If you thought the first decade of the Internet was disruptive, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

As the authors of Mashup Corporations make clear, the next generation of Web-related services and technologies is unleashing a raft of next-generation business models that will reorganize the planet. The only question is, where will you and your company be after the re-org? If you want to get a leg up on winning a good post, read this book.” Geoffrey Moore, Author of Crossing the Chasm and Dealing with Darwin.

These rules, which may be the most enduring contribution of the book, are illustrated and analyzed using real-life examples. good reading —- Nic

OUG Ireland Conference - visit our stand

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007 by, the Global Oracle Contractors Network, is opening an office in Dublin and we will have an exhibition stand at this years “OUG Ireland” conference taking place at Croke Park on Wednesday March 07th.

This full day event will not only feature a multi-stream agenda but will also host an exhibition where Oracle Partners will be showcasing their products and services. There’s also plenty of networking opportunities and with over 400 delegates expected, you don’t want to miss out. Whether you are new to the industry or an experienced professional the OUG Ireland Conference is the place to maximise your potential and stay at the forefront of Oracle Applications & Technology & Middleware.

REGISTER for your complimentary passes
This site also has full agenda, directions and opening time information.

OUG Ireland Conference & Exhibition
Croke Park
Hogan Stand
Jones’ Road
Dublin3, Ireland

Tel: +353 1 8192300
Fax: +353 1 8192313

Please feel free to contact John Needham (087 2462535) or Nic Connor (087 7931629) from Ireland if you need any further information.

Australia - The Apps shops are consolidating

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007 by Kirsten Campbell

Word on the street down in Australia is that there is a consolidation occuring in the Consulting Space. The tier one players i.e. Oracle Corporation and IBM are being swiftly chased by a consolidation of the tier 2 consulting services. ASG purchased Vindaloo systems in November of 2006 and it is rumoured that Sysao (not to be confused with CompelSysao) has also been consumed by the ASG juggernaut.

ASG is certainly on a buying frenzy and we can’t help but wonder when Red Rock Consulting will become the next scalp on ASG’s plate. This would appear to leave a dearth of tier three boutique Oracle Consultancies in Australia and Asia Pacific in general.

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