Friday, September 26, 2008

Notes From TFSOTW - Final Thoughts

Some final random thoughts on Oracle OpenWorld 2008...
  • The absolutely coolest thing about OOW was the number of great compliments I received about ORCLville. I never ceased to be amazed by the number of people that read this blog on a regular basis and the positive response I get from those readers. Thanks to all of you who said the wonderful things you said during OOW08. That's what keeps me writing this stuff.
  • My iPhone was absolutely irreplaceable this week: keeping in touch, managing my schedule, and providing directions around the city, all in one piece of hardware. The iPhone has exceeded all the hopes I had for it when I bought it.
  • I did not act on my "halo effect" infection and buy a MacBook Pro at OOW, but only because I've decided to wait for the highly-anticipated new model release (rumored to be around Oct. 14).
  • The most important news for Oracle customers from OOW08 was the announcement of My Oracle Support. It's the one tool each and every Oracle customer will use on a consistent basis, and it now offers the opportunity to really implement proactive support (addressing issues before they happen).
  • The innovation through acquisition strategy seems to be working. It's just a gut feel on my part, but OOW08 left me with an impression that Oracle is about make some more acquisitions. Just a feeling or a hunch, nothing more. Time will tell if I'm right on this one.
  • My participation in OAUG has provided a great professional and personal network, all full of very sharp minds. I'm glad they let me hang out with them, because I always learn so much when I do.
  • Partnering with Amazon and leveraging the Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2) service is an interesting way for Oracle to enter the cloud computing space. It'll be even more interesting to see if and how Oracle becomes a significant player in providing cloud computing services. Ditto for Oracle's first foray into selling hardware: the partnership with HP to sell the HP Oracle Exdata Storage Server and the HP Oracle Database Machine is a creative way for Oracle to enter the hardware should be interesting to see how this development plays out, especially of Oracle opts to expand its role in this space at some time in the future.
  • The attendee demographics and behavior were a little different this year from years past. More sales people and managers, fewer people with technical or functional "chops"; might be a sign of the economic times. Also, more people with single-day registrations, exhibit hall only passes, and "GuestPlus" passes (exhibit hall, keynotes, and one session)...not nearly so many folks with registration for the full week. The crowd also thinned out a bit after Monday (which was very crowded)...attendance seemed thinner than years past on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (the last day's attendance is usually pretty thin, but this year it seemed pretty thin from Tuesday and on).
  • My big, bright-orange, glow-in-the-dark, blogger badge holder was really cool. The free passes to the front of the lines and the reserved seating were also really nice. Thanks to Justin at the Oracle Technology Network for setting up special credentials for Oracle ACEs who blog.
  • Kudos to Dan Norris, who came up with the custom badge-holder ribbons that drew great comments all week. I'll happily contribute to a repeat at the next conference.
  • Lots of EBS users are planning to upgrade from 11i to R12 sometime in 2009. Some of the swell in momentum has to do with the useability engineering in R12 (one example: try doing an AP three-way match in 11i and then repeating the process in quickly see the difference).
  • Actually got to say hello to Tim Dexter face-to-face, if only for a moment or so. Maybe we'll actually get to hang out for a bit sometime soon...
  • My biggest disappointment was my inability to get in a session with the Oracle Useability team. I was really interested in getting with them for a comparison of my experience with the team at Collaborate 08. I have to do a much better job of managing my schedule, because not getting with this crew at OOW08 was my loss.
  • I wrote earlier about seeing some "nervous water" regarding the EBS R12.1 release. I still see that nervous water, but I'm more convinced than ever that it's a poor wager to bet on a release anytime in 2008. That being said, the 12.1 previews this week have me believing that 12.1 is a substantially enhanced product in comparison to the 12.0x versions.
  • As always, I was honored to be a judge for the Oracle Excellence Awards this year. However, next year I hope to be a winner rather than a judge.
  • The guys at OracleAppsLab are having a substantial influence on the development of Oracle products. Read the stuff on their blog for a bit and then check out those admittedly poor pictures of Fusion Apps I posted earlier this week. There are AppsLab fingerprints all over Fusion Apps.
  • I come away from OOW08 convinced that all EBS users, 11i and R12 alike, should plan on upgrading to the 11g database as soon as possible. I'll write more on this in a later post.
  • Nobody...and I mean nobody...talked about the big elephant in the room. That big elephant is the current economic downturn (exacerbated by the recent tailspin in the financial markets), which leads to consideration of how to leverage the software already owned to keep your enterprise moving forward in tough times.
  • Presentations heavy on PowerPoint put me to sleep. The more engaging presentations involved some creativity or some "live drive" stuff.
  • Really dug the OTN-sponsored Unconference this year. It's the one place you can hang with people who really know their stuff without feeling any sales pressure whatsoever. I suspect I'll be focusing a good deal of my energy on the Unconference, both as an attendee and a presenter, during OOW09.
  • When I hang out with Oracle ACEs, I really have to stretch my brain to keep up and contribute to the conversation. Most of what I learn and discover, especially on technical subjects, at OOW comes up when I'm hanging with the ACEs. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this group.
So now OOW08 is over. It's with more than a little sadness that I say goodbye to dear friends, sharp minds, and the energy of the conference to return to, in the words of Jimmy Buffett, the routine of "jobs and chores and questions, and plates I need to twirl". Already looking forward to OOW09...


Gaby said...

Didn't make it to OOW this year and it seemed like the buzz around fusion from last year wasn't there as I am hearing from you and others. Is there now a realization that many will have to go to 12 before fusion is ready for a full suite?
Always great to read your blog!!

psRoy said...

Thanks for the great OOW post. I was not able to attend this year but you made me feel like I was there in spirit if not in person. I have been attending PeopleSoft/Oracle conferences since 1991 and have enjoyed each and every one of them. Keep up the good work!

psRoy said...

In the systems world 2010 is a long time from now indeed. I just read that Fusion Applications will definitely be delayed until 2010 and possibly beyond. Many times in my long PeopleSoft career I have learned new technologies. However, I wonder now if it is really worth it to learn the technical platform upon which Oracle Fusion applications will be based. Oracle will be introducing many new technologies in PeopleTools 8.5 that will require a steep learning curve on the part of the existing customer base. My efforts in the near term will be to learn PeopleTools 8.5 and the 9.1 application suite. I am concerned though that the PeopleSoft realm will stop attracting younger workers. Pretty soon no one under the age of 35 will be engaged in PeopleSoft development and, in the not to distant future, more experienced workers will increasingly be lost to retirement.