Life on the ‘Edge’ – the importance of non-core applications to your organisation

Neil Baxter Dec 4, 2014 10:05:44 AM

All organisations revolve around their ‘core’ applications such as Communications (eg: email), Financial, Human Resource Management (HR/HCM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Line of Business Applications.

These are the central systems that have the biggest influence on the organisation’s performance and therefore they get the most focus and attention from development and support.

However, the peripheral or ‘edge’ applications in most organisations are still consistently overlooked in terms of their importance.

This is generally for a number of reasons:

  1. because the ‘edge’ systems are perceived to be too troublesome or time-consuming to spare too much resource on
  2. more often than not, these non-core applications are already being covered by non-secure, uncontrolled tools such as spreadsheets
  3. they have existed in an ‘out-of-date’ legacy application for decades and staff ‘get-by’ with this

Here at Explorer, we believe that with the right application development platform, the first objection can be overcome very easily.

This leads us to think more carefully about how poorly-performing, unstable, disjoined and unsecure systems/tools might be affecting the performance of the organisation.

In fact a recent study, reported by ITV News report has stated that “UK workers say they are losing millions of working hours each week because of poor technology in the office”. *

“Almost half of those questioned said that they would consider moving jobs because the IT was so poor” and one of the three most common issues cited was “out of date software”. *

The researcher that conducted the study claims that at the moment the “’techspectations’ of the modern employee far outweigh what companies can deliver” with their “highly-complex systems, services and software that leave employees stumped, unproductive”. *

Indeed, we could think even further ahead and imagine how more effective ‘edge’ applications could compliment and improve the performance and scope of the core systems.

Oracle Application Express (APEX) is a perfect fit for quickly building, recreating and integrating this type of system.

Oracle APEX is a core ‘paid-for’ feature of any Oracle Database (whichever edition) and supports a Rapid Application Development (RAD) practice and is also built to integrate easily with other applications

It is also very easily picked up by a team of developers, especially if those developers are already well-versed in Oracle Forms and/or PL/SQL.

This is not to say that Oracle APEX is not suitable for core applications (Explorer’s team of developers have developed a number of line-of-business, HR and CRM systems, to name a few) but for ‘edge’ applications that could be built, there are infinite possibilities.

Examples include:

  • Timesheet / time and attendance management
  • Holiday, family & medical leave request processing
  • Expenses (including fuel/tax calculations and foreign currency exchange-rate management)
  • Capital asset management (including write-down/depreciation calculations for tax)
  • Device/resource management
  • Customer satisfaction survey workflow
  • Sales pipeline management
  • Marketing tracking
  • Technical support help-desk ticketing
  • Purchase requisition management
  • Event management
  • Mashup / portal enablement


…and these could all be integrated with core systems, like:

  • Sage
  • SAP
Oracle e-Business Suite


The latest version of APEX introduces more productivity gains with a wealth of new features, and going forward more connectivity options through Oracle REST Data services, tablet interface, a responsive theme and enhancements to the mobile UI. You can also realise incredible commercial benefits using Application Express by coupling it with an agile software development approach.

* ITV News: Average UK worker ‘loses 11 days a year due to poor technology’ – 2/12/2014.



Author: Neil Baxter

Job Title: Oracle Account Manager

Bio: Neil has fulfilled a number of customer-facing roles in the technology industry, from Account Management to Solution Management. He has many years of experience in advising on bespoke solutions, having even been responsible for implementing and configuring timesheet, CRM, and project management software in his time. At DSP-Explorer, Neil is very focussed on presenting the commercial benefits of the solutions that our development team can provide, with particular emphasis on the Oracle Application Express (APEX) platform.