John has spent over 30 years in IT, most of it working on Oracle systems from RDBMS version 6 onwards in roles ranging from Technical Support Specialist to Systems DBA and Oracle Financials Apps DBA on route to becoming European IT Manager for an American blue-chip company. His comprehensive knowledge of Oracle database infrastructures is highly acknowledged and he has received several awards for innovative work done in this field.
He has written innumerable technical manuals and articles in addition to presenting and speaking on IT related subjects. After taking an early retirement package John took 2 years out before returning to the IT field to take part in the government’s ‘National Programme for IT’ project where he now works freelance setting up and delivering training courses for a variety Oracle-based Social Care Applications.
John took time out to answer our “top ten” questions!
How many years of Oracle Apps experience do you have?
About 15 years in total with breaks, starting in 1989. Includes 10 years working with Oracle Financials in Europe as both systems and Apps DBA.
How did you come to work with Oracle Apps?
I worked in a Technical Support role installing and upgrading Honeywell Bull systems across Europe for an American company before being transferred to a specialised project which used Oracle. I just progressed from there.
When did you become an Oracle Contractor?
In 2005. I had been a contractor for 7 years prior to taking up my last permanent post (where I stayed 18 years) and am delighted to be back on the contractor circuit using my Oracle experience.
What is the most enjoyable part of your work?
Meeting interesting people and seeing inside hospitals and similar institutions without having to be a patient or visitor and seeing the ‘real’ world outside IT and corporate business whilst doing something I know and enjoy.
What is the least enjoyable part of your work?
The first week of a new contract when assimilating lots of new information and understanding the organisation whilst trying to make the right impression and remembering everyone’s names and faces. After that everything is usually plain sailing.
What has been the most satisfying project you have worked on and why?
I had lots of self-satisfying projects working with Oracle systems around Europe in my permanent roles but as a contractor I get even more satisfaction from working with people who may have spent the previous day in Court defending a substance-addict or murderer and may be planning to spend the following day making life better for an abused child, yet they are quite willing to devote a day listening to me demonstrating how they must record their experiences in the correct modules of an Oracle database Application.
Which consultant / contractor have you learnt the most from / enjoyed working with the most and why?
Couldn’t possibly name just one having met such a variety of entertaining and interesting contractors over the years in both my permanent and contract jobs.
What do you see happening in Oracle Apps as we move towards “Fusion”?
The Oracle Database engine will probably be the industry standard, largely invisible and self-supporting. Oracle Apps, being finely tuned into this, will become faster, more stable and ultimately the most reliable and user-friendly applications on a global scale.
What are the hot topics in your area of expertise?
Implementation of a range of sophisticated Oracle Applications which are to be used by thousands of government employees in the “National Programme for IT”, many of whom have limited IT skills. A very high level of IT user-friendliness is essential for the project to be successful.
What do you do when you are not working?
Occasionally renovate old houses, travel to France a lot, swim and ski and always seem to have lots of family events going on all over the place. To unwind I write pieces for magazines & newspapers and play guitar and the fiddle.