Archive for the ‘Professional Development’ Category

BI Publisher Provides Our Organization Extreme Agility

September 25, 2012 Leave a comment

A year and a half ago, our company embarked on a project to run Oracle E-business R12. Part of that process included a manufacturing migration from our legacy systems, and the other part included a migration of financial modules from Oracle 11i.  Included in the 11i financial modules was Accounts Payable, thus our Payment process needed to be migrated to R12.  One of my responsibilities was to create the payment output for the R12 system.  Payments in Oracle R12 are rendered with BI Publisher, an Oracle tool I became very skilled with while working on the AP project.  Although limited, BI Publisher has to be one of the most powerful technologies Oracle provides and has allowed our IT organization to become more agile.

From what I heard, it took the previous business analyst two years to get a check printed in the 11i production system, starting at the beginning of that project.  The R12 Payment processing seemed like a daunting task.  But I was up for the challenge and eager to enhance my skill set.

Within the first day of working on the payment output, I was able to get a check printed out of our test system.  Two weeks later I had a check ready to send to our bank for validation.

Although my manager was impressed, he still had some doubts. I have a feeling he was thinking around the lines of, “this is too good to be true; how can someone get a check ready for approval so fast, when took so long previously?” Whatever his thinking was, the bank validation had the ability to halt my swift progress right in its tracks.

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QR Codes On Your Business Card

May 27, 2011 1 comment

QR Codes have become tremendously popular over the last few months.  Most companies use QR codes as a way to direct users to websites.  Users can scan a code with their mobile phone, and the phone directs the user to the marketer’s webpage.  The process saves the user time by eliminating the need for the user to type the web address into their phone.

QR Codes are two-dimensional machine readable images.  Much like normal barcodes, such as UPC codes, but with a much higher density of information, and significant redundancy/error correction.  Any simple text can be encoded in a QR Code and then read by a machine using a scanner or camera.

When I was doing some research on QR Codes I found they can be used for other purposes such as encoding VCARDs. VCARD files are simple contact or address book files saved as plain text.  Most address book applications can save and open VCARD files with ease.  Many QR scanner applications recognize QR codes with VCARDs as the encoded text.

So, when I was designing my most recent personal business card I though it would be a neat idea to include a QR encoded VCARD on them.

The first step was getting a VCARD.  Unfortunately this was not an easy task. Although there is a standard for VCARDs, most software applications interpret the standard differently, especially as related to the phone number.  It is worth mentioning that if too much information is in the VCARD text, the QR Code will get denser, and thus harder for phones to read.  Through some trial and error, I ended up with this VCARD:


Any decent QR encoding software should be able to encode this.  I used the one available at  Make sure the encoder encodes the text as the QR code, rather than encoding a URL that directs the user to a page displaying the text.

Finally I placed the encoded QR code image on my business card.   Now, when I give my card to someone, they can scan it with their phone, and my contact gets added to their address book.  Not only does this ensure that there are no typos, it’s much easier for the user to enter my contact information by scanning an image rather than typing on a tiny keyboard.

Business Plan for Lakeview Business

October 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Over the past few weeks I have been developing a business plan for a business I would like to open in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago Illinois.  It has been quite the learning experience, but I have a lot more to do before it is completed.  As it stands, I have a rough business plan generated and a preliminary cash flow statement.

To develop the cash flow statement, I used my extraordinary Excel skills and created a tool that is quite robust.  The tool has a multitude of settings including options for new or used equipment, leases, energy, Point-of-sale system, labor, and raw materials, among others.  All which can be edited on a granular level, down to the cost of each raw material.  Utilizing a bill-of-material,  expected sales quantity, and retail price for each item, a revenue stream and cost-of-goods-sold is created to develop a net margin.  Along side fixed costs, initial equity infusion, and loan payments, the tool can generate the first eight quarters of cash flow.  It is quite the tool if you ask me!

Hopefully in the future I will post the plan here to get some feedback.  Until then, enjoy the rest of your day!

Bearer of Bad News

August 29, 2009 Leave a comment

I was recently watching Nova scienceNOW, and the host said something that really got me thinking:

Many people fear new information that might contain bad news beyond their control. But to fear bad news, by hiding from it, forfeits any opportunity to solve the problem.  –Neil deGrasse Tyson

It was like the doors from heaven opened up, and the light was shining on me!  I could not have said it better!  Neil’s comments reminded me of my work at a former employer.

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