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Oracle New Year's resolutions, part 2: GRC tips and customer resolutions revealed

Oracle customers reveal their New Year's resolutions, and one analyst says now is the time for customers to push Oracle on GRC.

In part 1, analysts offered their tips for improving Oracle database security and upgrading to new versions of Oracle applications. In part 2, learn what's in store for Oracle GRC, and read about three real-world Oracle shops and their resolutions for 2009.

Governance, risk and compliance (GRC) is sure to be at the top of the agenda for most companies in 2009, considering the highly publicized sub-prime mortgage meltdown in 2008.

The good news for Oracle customers is that Oracle is "strongly" committed to GRC, according to French Caldwell, an analyst with Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. The bad news, he said, is that "large vendors like Oracle and SAP … unfortunately move relatively slowly in this space, and it hasn't been core to what they do."

Caldwell expects Oracle to make improvements in its GRC tools for IT compliance and to introduce more industry-specific GRC software in the coming year, but he said that it is up to customers to push Oracle to speed up the process in 2009.

"I think with large vendors like Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and others, customers really need to push them on this and get them to put a little more emphasis and effort in the GRC area," Caldwell said. "It's definitely a pain point for their customers."

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Customers should resolve to tell Oracle that what they want to see is, for example, improved integration between its GRC tools and ERP systems, he said.

And if Oracle doesn't respond, should customers make clear that they're not afraid to go with a best-of-breed GRC vendor instead? "Absolutely," Caldwell said.

"[Customers] are going to find that Oracle doesn't have all the GRC solutions," he said, "and they would definitely be failing in their due diligence if they didn't turn to competitors that have GRC solutions as well."

Gallup resolves to improve project management with new software

Having already invested heavily in Oracle, the question in 2009 for the Gallup Organization is not whether to go all-in with Oracle but how to better integrate its Oracle applications and databases.

To do that, the Washington, D.C.-based company plans to implement three modules of Oracle's Project Management suite in 2009, according to Jim Collison, Oracle product manager at Gallup. The three components – one for project management, another for resource allocation, and a third to aid project collaboration – will replace a homegrown project management tool that Gallup has simply outgrown, Collison said.

The project management tools are "a resource for the project managers to be able to set milestones, allocate resources appropriately, and tie certain tasks to the budget," he said. "It's a pretty complex system."

Collison said he plans to roll out the tools in phases, starting in Q1 2009. Gallup will also continue to build out its Oracle CRM system in the year ahead and may upgrade to the latest version of Oracle's Business Intelligence Enterprise Editions platform next year if it is released on schedule in Q3.

Increasing DB capacity at Intermap, considering upgrading to 11g at TheraDoc

At Intermap Technologies, an Englewood, Colo.-based firm that makes digital elevation maps for geospatial analysis, the 2009 New Year's resolution is simple: Increase capacity of its Oracle 11g spatial database by 20 terabytes to accommodate growing data volumes.

Other than that, it's business as usual at Intermap. Thanks to the economy, we have "a smaller budget this year, but luckily we really don't need any more Oracle database software," said Sue Merrigan, senior director of information management systems at Intermap.

But that's not the case at TheraDoc. The Salt Lake City-based firm, which sells patient management software -- including Oracle databases that support it -- to hospitals, must decide whether and when to upgrade to Oracle's 11g database.

Jonathan Olson, TheraDoc's chief technology officer, said he would like to upgrade his customers to Oracle 11g to take advantage of the newest version's data compression capabilities, which will allow them to handle more patient data.

But after a "really bad experience" upgrading from 9i to 10g, Olson plans to wait for the second release of 11g, which he hopes will come out in 2009, before making the upgrade.

TheraDoc also has its eye on Oracle's Configuration Manager to let Olson's team remotely manage customers' Oracle databases. In fact, TheraDoc began implementing the technology this year but plans to ramp up its use significantly in 2009.

What are your Oracle New Year's resolutions? Let us know what you'll be working on in the year ahead and what topics you'd like to see in 2009 on Happy New Year!

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