Monday, November 19, 2007

Some Final Thoughts On OOW 07

Now that I've had a weekend to ponder OOW, I have some final thoughts that may be worth sharing...

First, from a personal and networking perspective, OOW 07 was a great conference. The ACE dinner, meeting the very innovative Oracle AppsLab team, the AppsLab meetup (where one of the highlghts of the conference was the chance to meet and talk face-to-face with a few of the "Enterprise Irregulars"), the Innovation Excellence awards, the OAUG Appreciation event (great to see so many well-deserving Oracle folks recognized, including Nadia Bendejdou, Steven Chan, and Chris Warticki), catching up with old friends....the list goes on and on. My only regret is missing the Blogger Meetup Tuesday evening (I was fighting a bug and finally had to take some time to rest). I also had a great "date": Oracle's Linda Fishman-Hoyle from the Fusion Upgrade Program Office. If you ever get an opportunity to work with Linda, don't hesitate...your life will be richer for the experience.

Second, although I did not get everything I wanted about Fusion Apps at OOW 07, I did learn some pretty important things:
  • Oracle is on-track to delivery the first stand-along Fusion Apps in the first half of 2008. The first apps released will be salesforce automation tools based on existing Siebel products: Sales Prospector, Sales References and Sales Tools.
  • The first integrated suite will also be delivered in 2008. However, the scope of what will be delivered is still unclear to me. I do know that the first release will not offer a complete functional replacement for EBS 11.5.10 or R12. In fact, if I heard Steve Miranda correctly during the OAUG Fusion Council panel session, manufacturing is definitely out-of-scope for the first release. At any rate, I suspect that Fusion Apps will be released in a series of increments (sales force automation, maybe an integrated Financials Suite, then HR, and so on).
  • The upgrade from any Oracle Apps products to Fusion Apps will be an "A to B" upgrade. That essentially means that you'll create a new instance for Fusion Apps, configure that instance, then copy the data from your old production instance to your new Fusion Apps instance. The data will be kept as current as possible through "data streaming". The upgrade information is probably the best solid info I got about Fusion Apps from OOW 07 - I now understand that migrating will be an upgrade rather than a reimplemenation, and that there is significant thought going into making the upgrade as smooth as possible (given the significant technology changes, the upgrade will be more complex than what many of us - especially EBS folks - have seen in the past, but I feel much better about it now than I did two weeks ago).
  • The opening UI looks to be heavily involved with gadets built with Google tools (which makes sense considering that Fusion Apps will support OpenSocial APIs). The subsequent UIs appeared to rely more on the WebCenter Framework, and are heavy with ratings, tag clouds, AJAX, and collaboration features. Embedded analytics also seemed to be everywhere.
  • Customers are very concerned at a planning level with whether they should prepare for Fusion Apps and how to prepare for Fusion Apps. There's still a pretty high level of angst over planning the details of moving to this new technology without causing a long-term interruption in enterprise operations (that's the only explanation I can come up with for drawing a crowd of 137 to my Thursday afternoon session - I expected a virtual ghost town).
Third, outside of Fusion Applications, there were lots of interesting announcements and information: Oracle VMWare (which is actually an Oracle Linux-like play to support an open source product), the upcoming release of 11g AS, and many others.

Fourth, some "out of the box" thinking made OOW 07 a very unique experience: I got quite a bit from both the NoSlide Zone and the Unconference, and was even inspired by the Experience Innovation exhibits.

Fifth, but certainly not 5th in terms of importance, the release of Oracle Mix is a huge event. Providing a social networking environment where Oracle customer and employees can "mix it up" is a significant step in promoting innovation in the Oracle community. I personally think OOW 07 will be remembered most of the initial release of Oracle Mix.

However, even in light of items 1 through 5, the best part of OOW 07 (for me) came from the readers of this blog. So many of you took the time to tell me how much you appreciated what we're doing here. It's that kind of feedback that keeps me writing this stuff. Thanks to all of you - it really means a lot to me.

Overall, I have to rate this conference as the best software conference I've ever attended (notwithstanding my frustration of the lack of Fusion Apps info). And -gulp- we're only 10 months away from OOW 08.


Jake said...

Thanks for putting Mix so high on your list. We're hoping guys like you will help drive its adoption both externally for participation and internally into product.

Ontario Emperor said...

I'm STILL trying to absorb everything that I picked up at Oracle OpenWorld - I've compared the experience to a firehose.

My primary interest was in the 11g release of the database, and Oracle had more than enough information about this - in fact, I never even made it to the Unconference because of all the sessions within the conference itself.

The networking opportunities, both with people within Oracle and with others, are superb.

Eventually I'll step back and try to analyze the whole thing, but I'm still immersed in the trees (I want to think through Tom Kyte's 11-point presentation a bit more), so I can't quite step out and view the forest yet.

fteter said...

Jake - Mix is an amazing piece of work, especially in light of how it came about. The "unveiling" was really a major OOW highlight - in fact, I think it will be THE thing that OOW 07 is remembered for in years to come. Keep up the great work.

Ontario - I couldn't agree more. OOW is usually like drinking from a firehose, and this year was no different.