Monday, 20 April 2015

Collaborate 2015 - Keynotes

Collaborate had done really well with keynote lineups this year, although I struggled with understanding the competitive sponsor session from IBM. It was very well delivered and some great generic statements but it was direct competition to Oracle’s offerings.

Mark Sunday, who is Oracle CIO, is the ultimate Oracle user, we had him speak at UKOUG in 2011 and he was great then as well.

Mark Sunday talked about how having access to everything Oracle produces, constantly being an early adopter and also being the best promoter of products. Oracle doesn’t just run IT for its internal business, as a cloud provider it is also running IT for thousands of customers. They have 13,000 engineered systems alone. This is where Oracle is transforming itself and enabling digital disruption, but also reminded us that cloud is subscription and customer experience is paramount for renewals

Collaborate had secured Mark Hurd as a keynote speaker and his presence was keenly anticipated by everyone, not least myself as there was to be a users group leaders meeting directly afterwards.

Vegas is simply surrounded by desert, and any strong wind causes dust to be a problem. Tuesday night was really bad and although the airport was less than half a mile away, and normally very easily seen from my hotel window, it was completely hidden. Many flights were cancelled and those that did make it in had uncomfortable journeys. Wednesday the worst was over, but flights were still affected, especially private planes and the Oracle company jet was a casualty. I understand that the flight was delayed taking off until the airport thought it would be able to land, but when it arrived they had it circling for so long they eventually gave up and flew back to California.

Jeb Dasteel, SVP, GCP
The organisers were informed that Mark was delayed but thought he would arrive, so the keynote was not cancelled, and as predicted the room was full. Then the three sets of leaders along with GCP, the part of Oracle responsible for users groups could be seen in a huddle by the stage. It was obvious there was a problem, Lissa English, President of OAUG took to the stage and announced that Mark was delayed but expected in 10 – 15 minutes. No one seemed too worried at this point. The huddle, although I am not sure of the collective term for very nervous user group leaders, perhaps ‘panic’, got more animated and eventually Jeb Dasteel the SVP of GCP got up on stage and explained that whilst Mark was still trying to get there it was going to be too late for him to make the keynote.

Jeb did an excellent job of addressing the crowd, underling Oracle’s commitment to the user group concept and talked about some of the changes going on with Cloud. The keynote was then officially over and most people were disappointed but accepted the situation, there were a few tweets even joking about ‘Larry being the pilot’. It did not make the event any less successful.

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