Starting is hardest part of getting somehwere

This is the beginning of something beautiful, a place to share my interests and thoughts.

This will also be the place you can stay up-to-date of my journey to Oracle Open World 2016! I will be co-presenting a session about the Internet of Things.

So, bookmark this blog and stay in the know…


2016; a year of ups and downs. Hello 2017!

The title says it all, it was a year of highs and very low moments. This month I had to say goodbye to someone very dear. It is a though period, but I see bright things for 2017. Not to forget the good things that happened this year; I bought a house, had a great time at a client, was allowed to present on the Oracle Open World event in September.

So for now I want to wish you all the best for 2017. Let’s see what the future brings!

That was quite a ride #OOW16

Wow, Oracle Open World 2016 was amazing. As this was my first event I was amazed at almost everything. It was a warm welcome back in the city I’ve visited a few times before and I still love. The weeks leading up to the event and the weeks after were quite busy, hence the lack of posts. Let’s catch up!

On Saturday we flew from Amsterdam to San Francisco and beside some stress at the airport it all went well. After refreshing in the hotel we went exploring the city and registering at the event. We received a nice badge with a lot of ribbons… I felt like a boss.

During the days we went to the event centers to attend presentations and on the demo grounds we collected a lot of information. On Monday we had our own presentation and that day started with preparations. I was nervous and that showed during the presentation. Luckily, the feedback was good and people understood the message and were interested in the model we presented. The questions in person were interesting and gave food for thought.

After that all stress was gone and I was able to enjoy everything just a little more. We attended drinks, receptions and parties as well, of course. It was nice to meet so many like-minded professionals and discuss the current state and the future of the Oracle world. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to help built the future with Oracle Cloud.




Preparation is key, they say. I think that saying is true and applicable in almost everything. Improvisation can get you far, but to truly excel you need preparation.


This is me preparing for a promotional video. I’ve got a stutter and video’s or presenting is not my favorite hobby, as you can imagine. But doing something over and over again makes me feel comfortable. It also shows me where the text can be improved to create a better flow. I’m proud to say that in the final video I do not stutter, nor is it cut.

Stuttering has many different forms and it’s origin is still unclear. I’ve been stuttering since I was 4 years old. I got used to it, but now I’m actively working on minimizing it. I’ve been reading the book “Redefining stuttering, what the struggle to speak is really about”  (PDF) by John C. Harrison. It goes deep, very deep into your being and uncovers things about you that you subconsciously knew but never spoke out.

I’m going to improve myself, and it takes practice and preparation.



Agile and ITIL; friend, foe or ally?

Two established frameworks are co-existing side by side for years now. And just as countries, citizens spill over, migrate to or visit other countries. Companies are integrating agile practices in ITIL and visa versa. But is it needed? Do you want to? Do you need to? Questions that can’t be answered that quickly.

At first the nature of the work needs to be identified. Is it incident based or linear and predictable? Or to stay inside the lingo, is the work chaotic and focused on managing unpredictable change? Or is the work predictable and focused on improving service levels? Both have improvement of the subject at hand as a goal, one is iterative and more freestyle, where the other has strict procedures and steps. Both have time boxed agreements (referring to scrum).

Another distinction is the output, where agile is mainly used (thus in real life where Scrum is most popular) for (in)tangible products, ITIL is used for problem, incident and change management. But how can these two then relate, you ask?

Just as with software, no one company uses all software of one provider. Nor does one provider have all the needed software to keep a business running. Furthermore, once a software product has been released it moves to the “administration” phase, where application administrators make sure it keeps running smoothly. This is where ITIL is at its best.

But Agile also contains Kanban, which focusses on the flow of tasks. The work can be predictable and unpredictable of nature, the team can work on tasks (e.g. improvements) and still respond to incidents. Priorities are constantly updated and require good stakeholder and expectation management. Based upon the available resources there is a fixed maximum for work items, the WIP-limit; work-in-progress limit.

With the benefits of Kanban, the flexibility of the Agile mind-set and the procedures of ITIL I believe that a service organisation can benefit from this combination and improve it’s product and SLA for their customers. This post is short and I urge to read more about it. In the coming months when I’ll be working on implementing this I will share my experiences. Feel free to comment and discuss.

The road to Open World

I still can’t believe I’m going to present at Oracle Open World. Going back two years, I was working as a Functional Process Designer in an Oracle project. After that project finished I went to a Microsoft .Net project. It wasn’t until my time at that company was over (as an external) I wanted to do more with Oracle. During my role as designer I was missing a technical background many of my colleagues did have. So I joined Sogeti’s Oracle business line and became a software engineer.

My responsibilities now include design, development and administration of Oracle Middleware products. My first project was a design job. At the same client I did a small development project and now I’m doing an Oracle administrator assignment. In the past year and a half I learned a lot about Oracle and its products. I’ve spoken with many specialists and have seen where Oracle wants to bring its products to. The cloud is the future. At Sogeti I was also involved in the development of IoT offerings. I discovered Oracle’s IoT cloud service from the early access version onwards. Boy, has it changed since then! And now I’m invited to present at Open World!

My nerves are quite relax for now, but as the date comes closer they surely will run faster. Luckily I’m not alone and will co-present it with a great colleague of mine. Together we’ll rock it and enjoy every minute at this amazing (and enormous) event.



Follow my colleague: Pencil Skirt and T-shirt.com/ @MariekeVVliet

Semantic Future

A long time ago, in a world that is ours, the internet was born. It was a place that consisted of pages, data and connections. You had to “dial in” in order to connect. You could create your own pages. But then, the internet changed forever. There were a couple of guys changing the way we searched and indexed the internet. They based their algorithm on relations. How many incoming links were there? That was the measurement of popularity. Just like in high school, the more Valentine cards you got, the more popular you were.

Another shift was that of wiki’s. They were knowledge bases on the internet. You could share your knowledge and find information you were looking for, and more. It was like a digital encyclopedia. Wiki’s are based on relations as well, but then semantic relationships. This is the kind of relationship that is built upon subject knowledge. Data was internalized, turned into useable information and shared. (Internalization is the process of relating and applying data to existing knowledge turning it into information)

An example of this would be a wiki page of an athlete. Related pages would be those of his coach, the Olympics, the sport itself or his/her sponsors. Another example would be that of a certain tax. The responsible minister would be one semantic related topic, the governing or judging party would be another.

The great thing about semantics is that it’s distributed, and with knowledge management tools we can share this knowledge. No one can ever know it all, even though Dr. Watson (IBM) is trying. Since I mention it, Dr. Watson learns a topic by inserting information. Topic experts interact with the system to teach it what they know, and the system then internalizes that ‘data’. It used to be explicit knowledge, where tacit knowledge is hard to communicate. It is “ephemeral and transitory” (Hey, J. 2004 – The Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom Chain) and “cannot be resolved into information or itemized in the manner of characteristic of information” (Oakeshott, M. 1967 – Learning and Teaching […]). Luckily the technology has developed and with AI (Artificial Intelligence), NLP (Natural Language Processing) and Big Data. “An Introduction to NLP: Exploring What Works” (Damian Hill & David Kerr, 2013) is a great book to get you started on NLP.

To conclude this little side step into the world of semantics; we’ve come a long way from the static internet, moving into a world where physical meets digital and where psychology will be applied to spread knowledge. This will result in a smarter, more efficient world. Maybe we then can solve some real world problems.

The Chemistry of Things

During my masters study I wrote my thesis about making the chemical value chain greener with information technology. During my visits at chemical factory sites that a lot of work was done manually. Research and development was using their senses while experimenting, obviously. With smell, vision and hearing they know what is happening. These findings were documented on paper in a journal. Luckily this doesn’t mean those companies are behind the pack, but shows there is still a lot to win.

At building sites and factories security is the number one priority. You can’t get behind the gates without proper authorizations and signing a bunch of waivers. A sign shows the days without any accident. Technology can help in both the lab journal example and on-site safety at the factory. With sensors, data analytics and integration with process management systems both safety and effectiveness can be enhanced. Let me give you an example; smart sensors can detect leakages, temperature changes and contents. With data analysis, thresholds and process management integrated, an automated set of actions can follow. Advice can be given to improve the research process or warning signals can be given to alarm the personnel of danger.

In order to achieve the maximum return on investment, well considered choices must be made up front. Starting with the “why” is always a good idea. Integrating it, step by step, into you existing landscape and involving your partners and suppliers (who can be you partner as well… or actually should be). They might now more about the value chain than you, or point out flaws in your scoped thinking. Furthermore, management must enable the right culture and capabilities to increase the effectiveness.

Oracle has a great cloud offering to enable the integration of sensors, data, on-premise (legacy) applications, cloud applications, third-party applications and process management systems. Now is the time to connect, learn and evolve with the technology to greater heights. IoT might not be entirely new, but the ecosystem and technological capabilities are in place to extract value from it at a fraction of the price it used to cost. Let alone the hassle it took to customize or build your own solutions. I can’t wait to see what IoT will have in store for us when it’s changing business models and strategies.