Simplification

I was working on my contribution for Profit Magazines’s “Top Trends of 2015″ and needed a break. So I thought I’d set up my new iPhone 6.

The trend I see becoming increasingly relevant is simplification, and I was writing about how you need to consciously work on keeping your IT complexity down. Then I told iTunes to download all the Apps I had purchased over the years. The list came to 532 apps!

I had unwittingly proven my own point eloquently. My list of apps contained games I played years ago, social media platforms that never took off, productivity tips that weren’t productive, etc.

I took the opportunity to simplify my iOS app portfolio and now have 63 apps that I actually use at least monthly (+ another 18 from Apple that they won’t let me delete…).

Are you keeping your IT simple? You should.

Dead Code Kills

Your applications contain 20-30% dead code that is never executed. Not just commented-out code that programmers have left in “just in case”, but routines never called, branches never executed and screens never displayed.

The cost of software maintenance depends on the size of the code base, but systems with dead code are more expensive to maintain. This is because every time a developer comes across a dead piece of code, he becomes unsure: “I wonder what this does? Is it executed at all? I better investigate some more.”

Dead code causes simple 1-hour maintenance tasks to ballon into futile multi-day code archeology expeditions. Don’t allow dead code in your systems.

Mastering Oracle ADF Bindings: Advanced Techniques

My Oracle OpenWorld presentation “Mastering Oracle ADF Bindings: Advanced Techniques” is now available for download from the OpenWorld web site. In this presentation, I talk about

  • Reading the Bindings tab
  • Bindings in the ADF lifecycle
  • Working programmatically with bindings
  • Getting the binding from a component
  • Working with dynamic bindings
  • Creating a binding programmatically

If you are interested in creating bindings programmatically, you should read Eugene Fedorenko’s blog post on this. He also makes an example available for download.

Making it Easy to do the Right Thing

I was just in Stockholm visiting a customer, and I noticed a new feature in my Volvo rental car: You could set the cruise control to a speed limit.

Speed_limit(apologies for the blurry picture, it was taken by my Narrative shirt pocket camera)

You drive the car as you would normally do, but when you approach the set speed, the car does not go any faster when you press the accelerator further. Unless you kick it down, in which case the car responds immediately.

This is an example of changing a well-known user experience slightly in order to “nudge” the driver to do the right thing. For more on this, I encourage you to read the book “Nudge” by Richard Taler and Cass Sunstein.

P.S. For my American friends, the number is km/h, not mph ;-)

Dusting Off the Data Warehouse

Businesses all over the world have spent millions and millions building data warehouses and implementing Business Intelligence (BI) without coming anywhere near the promised business benefits.

That is about to change.

And the thing that will change this is interactive, visual analytics on tablets.

Tablets and modern interactive graphics are a match made in heaven. Business users who will reluctantly spend half an hour looking at a BI report will happily spend hours playing around with their business data when presented beautifully. The demos I have seen here at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco show that this future is already here. You can finally unlock the value you have accumulated in your expensive data warehouses.

Preparing for Oracle OpenWorld

The big annual Oracle event is almost here – starting Sunday 28 Sep with the User Group Sunday followed by four days of presentations in around 50 tracks!

If the agenda seems a bit overwhelming, read the OTech Magazine Special OpenWorld Issue to find some of the highlights and can’t-miss sessions.

My sessions are:

  • Mastering Oracle ADF Bindings: Advanced Techniques (UGF3484). Sunday Sep 28 at 10am in Moscone South room 270
  • Starting Your Oracle Application Development Framework Project Right (CON3407). Wednesday Oct 1 at 2pm in Moscone South room 302

See you in San Francisco!

 

If You Build It, They Still Won’t Come

I’m at Oracle Headquarters for pre-OpenWorld briefings this week, and am seeing many great things (that I’m not allowed to blog about yet ;-)

One thing that still puzzles me is that Oracle still don’t get social. They have very nice Social Network features (their product is called Oracle Social Network), but they insist on keeping this inside a walled garden with no integration to the outside world. In this, they are no different from Yammer and other enterprise social/collaboration tools.

They admit that “adoption is a challenge” – you bet! Why would I spend time on an internal social network that contains only 5-10% of my contacts?

The solution is obvious but mysteriously resisted by Oracle: They need need to import posts from Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc and integrate them into the company social network. In that way, I could go to one site to get all my social feeds (minus the obviously Not-Safe-For-Work posts that the company could filter out).

Maybe they’ve never thought to ask their users what they wanted?

Collect only actionable data

We are collecting more and more data, but using less and less.

You only need data for two reasons:

  • To take action based on the data
  • To store for possible future reference

Every time I shop online or interact with a support service, I’m inundated with requests to review and answer surveys. Not much of this is useful. If I rate your support staff 7 out of 10, what action will you take? Do not gather these useless vanity metrics.