BACKGROUND IMAGE: iSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES
As companies move quickly into the realm of digital transformation in an effort to profoundly improve performance and expand their application’s reach, developers require new ways to design, build, manage, and communicate as software is developed and deployed. Oracle proved at JavaOne 2017 that the organization is taking the right steps to drive digital transformations as they unveiled and demonstrated an impressive portfolio of developer tools and cloud-related services.
Digital transformation technologies
Which technologies drive digital transformations at Larry Ellison’s company? Within Oracle’s own teams, thousands of developers use Slack. At JavaOne 2017, Buster Benson, Slack’s Head of Platform Product, took the stage to explain why, describing Slack as both a messaging platform and an operating system for work that’s typically used internally. But even slack is starting to be digitally transformed. “We are starting to test the boundaries and also help you expand Slack to other companies with the launch of shared channels and internationalization,” said Benson. Because of the interdependent nature of the service-full ecosystem, enabling greater communication between companies would be a significant and beneficial achievement that would help drive digital transformations.
With its emphasis on collaboration, conversation, and contextual decision making, Benson pointed out that Slack hopes to improve human to human as well as human to software communication. “Larger companies are using hundreds if not thousands of different kinds of software every day. You might be the person who uses the terminal or text editor or a design app or a ticketing system. You might use that really deeply.” Said Benson. “We’re not trying to change that. We are just trying to take the other 997 products, and give it an interface that’s light and usable. Present it in a way that doesn’t require you to follow a link or enter a password, bringing that content into the conversation in human-friendly way.”
With Slack’s ability to pull in content from many different sources and display it directly in the feed, users can interact with more systems than ever through a single interface, reducing context switching and other activities that tend to degrade productivity. For companies that want exponential gains in performance, it starts with making things easier for people on the ground.
New tools drive digital transformations
Further driving digital transformations is deep learning and artificial intelligence programs that can interact with IoT devices, smartphones and various other technologies that can capture data, whether it is binary, textual or even imagery. Oracle honed in on this trend in many of the live demos they ran during keynote speeches at OracleWorld and JavaOne 2017.
In one OracleWorld demonstration, Oracle developers built a service could take a photo of a license plate, send it to a microservice on the back-end, get data back with history from providers such as Carfax, and respond to the user in seconds with information on vehicle mileage, suggested price, and more. In order for this to work, a multitude of disparate services must be integrated together, but open APIs make doing so increasingly easier. “If you look at how the new generation is building applications, they are really thinking about APIs first in terms of how the interactions will be rather than the functionality,” said Amit Zavery, Senior Vice President of Fusion Middleware and PaaS Development at Oracle.
To help drive digital transformations that are API based, new tools like Apiary are emerging to help make service integrations easier. Apiary allows developers to design, document, mockup, and test APIs quickly and easily. It addresses a recurring problem in software development. “In the past, many times I would build an API that nobody wants to use. I didn’t stop to think why they want that API or what they need it for,” said Jakub Nesetril, Oracle VP of Product Development and API Services. “With Apiary, you can document an API up front, get a mock server to prototype your API, and give that API to somebody to try to use it before you go down the route to developing.” Beside getting early feedback, this approach ensures that documentation is already in place and doesn’t have to be reverse engineered at the end.
From AI and deep learning to the API creation tools that help facilitate application integration, there are a number of new and exciting tools emerging that are helping to drive digital transformations. If anything can be learned from OracleWorld and JavaOne 2017, it’s that continuing to build these digital transformation tools is a top priority for big technology firms like Oracle.