One-big-database fine, one-big-suite sucks

I've got a lot of time for Larry Ellison's view of the world - I really, really like his One Big Database thing. What I really don't like about Larry's schtick, though, is his One Big Application Suite line. I'm sorry, but no two businesses are alike.

Well, I’ve beaten off the lurg but now a large and very painful cold sore has taken up residence on my bottom lip and is preventing me from enjoying simple pleasures like hot coffee.

If I make it to Christmas without plagues of boils, locusts and other similar afflictions, I’ll be surprised. I think my body is trying to tell me something. I think it’s trying to say it doesn’t like me very much.

Still, it could be worse. At least I haven’t toasted my nads with my laptop like that poor chap in Sweden did (see Laptop burns boffin's penis).

Brandon, on the other hand, is having a blast. Now that he’s found a reliable source of them, he’s going nuts buying NHL jerseys on the internet (see Sick again but the jersey's arrived). In the past week another one arrived for his mate Will’s birthday present. At this rate DHL is going to have to set up a depot in our foyer.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make the CIO luncheon on November 15 but, by all accounts, Larry Ellison was superb. I’ve got a lot of time for Larry’s view of the world – I really, really like his One Big Database thing. Having something of a background in BI, I’m a big proponent of the power of aggregation, the value of your information being inversely proportional to the number of databases you have and all that good stuff.

What I really don’t like about Larry’s schtick, though, is his One Big Application Suite line. I’m sorry, but no two businesses are alike and even with the depth and breadth of today’s e-business/c-business/whatever-you-happen-to-call-them-at-the-moment business suites, you’re going to be pushing runny stuff uphill with a toothpick to try and meet all of an organisation’s needs with one single vendor’s offerings. Sure, the integrated suite thing is huge – having all your apps sharing the same data adds enormous value – but there’s nothing wrong with point or line-of-business-specific solutions either, just so long as they’re sharing the same data too. And that’s the rub – sharing data between a bunch of applications that haven’t come from the same stable tends to be a bit more of a problem. Usually it means you can’t have just One Big Database either. Larry will just have to get over it. I have.

On the ongoing subject of interesting marketing campaigns, I received a most intriguing article one day last week. On my arrival back at my desk after lunch I found one of those cardboard mailing tube things had arrived by courier; you know, the kind you use to send calendars and the like. Being the time of year at which bazillions of calendars for the next year start to arrive, I naturally assumed it was a calendar.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the tube and found it was an enormous brochure from a CRM vendor. When I say enormous, I mean like “books for the vision impaired” or “top line of the eye chart” enormous. Why?

The day’s other mail was a message in a bottle.

Doesn’t anyone just send letters anymore?

Swanson is IT manager at W Stevenson & Sons in South Auckland. Send letters for publication to Computerworld Letters.

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