Sunday 21 November 2010

Fusion Apps at UKOUG

Obviously I love UKOUG it is the best user group in the world, but actually it is the one I dread most, ONLY because it is my own and there is so much to do. That includes blogging, I talked about some of the off piste stuff in my last blog and there is more to come; times are hard and we want this to be a real party atmosphere, but one where you go home having learnt a lot.

Last year we had a great Fusion Apps stream and we repeated the demos from the Tuesday the next day. We did have to turn a lot of people away and that is not OK, so this year please register your interest on the online agenda so we can secure a large hall.

So what have we got? Two full days of Fusion Applications content, or rather almost 2 days finishing up with an interactive session on What Next. I have written a short page showing all the sessions, but what we are trying to do is show you the product, how it can be used, how people have already embraced the available modules, understanding the technology from a business perspective, what Oracle are going to and then Go through all the options including staying in your product family and how to move forward with that.

Remember if you are not an E Business Suite customer but attended the UKOUG conference series event for your product, you can attend the Tuesday for free. Just register here.

Sunday 14 November 2010

The Twickenham Experience

Twickenham stadium, home of British Rugby. Their strap line is The Twickenham Experience and this post is about two very different Twickenham Experiences.

I love Rugby, and last Saturday Oracle took me there to watch England v New Zealand.

I was very excited and loved the day. It was sad that England didn't win, but it was a good game. As always when watching the All Blacks the best bit was the Haka.

The day was really well organised corporate entertainment and my table had the privelidge of being photographed  with  Ben Kay, this was fantastic, because in 2003 when England won the World Cup Sysao brought a few players to the UKOUG conference in Birmingham, They were sponsors of the 5 Nations and had arranged it way before England won. So one day they were parading in London in an open top bus with millions and the next at our event. Here I am with Ben (and Toby Price) way back then.

Thank you Oracle (Andy Lawson and Sarah) for a great day out.

Then just 4 days later I was back, for the JD Edwards Conference Series Event. I had the pleasure of taking the Oracle Executives to dinner to thank them for their support of the UK JDE community. Unfortunately my great friend John Schiff (VP JDE World) did not make the dinner as he was stuck in Stockholm because of snow! But two cancelled flights and a re-organised trip later he arrived just 40 minutes before his session. 

David Rowntree our JDE Director and David Alridge from Oracle kicked off the event. Lyle Ekdahl (SVP JDE) talked about the road map, and Mark Keever came over specially to announce a Business Accelerator especially for JDE. Gary Grieshaber talked about everything new and even about how JDE will work with Fusion Apps.

Rene Voogt our Oracle Liaison loved the event and made a special thanks to Lavinia from the UKOUG office for all her work.

This is a community that has thrived since their acquisition, and Ronan mentioned this in the press call. We had great press coverage and then we received thanks from Mark Hurd who stated he is 'a big proponent of Oracle User Groups', the first time I have heard him say this since he joined Oracle. Life is good.

Rugby is about working together as a team, as is UKOUG.

The Twickenham Experience lived up to its promise.

Sunday 31 October 2010

A Rollercoaster Ride

The six weeks since OOW have been manic for me. OOW is always too busy for me to keep up with my blog, and the intention is normally to try and do at least some on the flight home. This year that just didn’t happen.

Then immediately I returned my mother died, she had been ill but it was not expected. Then I also had planned surgery. In between, because there is no rest for the wicked, I had the Danish User Group Conference, our own Financials SIG, An EMEA Usergroup Presidents’ Meeting, the SOA Symposium in Berlin and our Partner of the Year Awards. The op took more out of me than expected so I have been really bad at catching up.

Finally this weekend I was in Denmark again for the Miracle10th Birthday celebrations. I love this place, where else can you go to a restaurant that has a reserved table by first name only and the soft drinks come wrapped in paper so people don’t know you are off alcohol? 

I thought I would use the time between festivities to catch up, I wrote the OOW blogs first and was quite taken aback by the number of retweets and comments on twitter and emails I received. Being quoted in an article was not expected but I stand by what I said. I didn’t like the keynotes but I still love Fusion Apps and their content at OOW. When I first started blogging, the advice from my employer was “ don’t be afraid to be controversial”, well now I have been.

Anyway, after the storm of the party it has been very quiet and I have had a chance to catch up with the rest of what I wanted to say so I hope you have the time to read through them.

Off-Piste At UKOUG

The main event in my calendar each year is the UKOUG TEBSconference (this year 29 November). That doesn’t mean any others are less important, it is just this is the first event I ever went to and so it has a special place in my heart, as a director it takes so much time and as a contributor even more. It is also our flagship event and so many of my friends from around the world openly count this as their favourite and I look forward to it so much.

You can read about the content in our agenda, and I urge you look and to sign up and attend and to create your own agenda; but a conference is far more than just the sessions, and that is why although virtual sessions have their place they will never replace the actual conference experience. We also welcome MySQL to the event for the first time.

Our video taken after last years’ TEBS, shows what people think of this event and we are always looking for more quotes and comments. So to start building on the excitement I thought I would talk a little bit about the off-piste events at this year’s UKOUG_TEBS.

The line up of keynotes is exceptional and most will have roundtables or other opportunities to talk to them in person. David Callaghan will tell us the ‘State of the Nation in the UK & Ireland’ and what would TEBS be without our very own ‘AskTom’. Graham Wood will talk to us about Technology advancements and in the Apps arena we have Cliff Godwin back again after his runaway success last year and a full Fusion Applications program led by Clive Swan (more details on this in my next post).

You can talk to all our presenters in the Meet The Speaker opportunities in the exhibition hall.

Again we are really pleased to have back the Oracle User Experience team with us who give us the opportunity to be part of development decisions. If you are interested in taking part contact them direct.

The exhibition is full of third parties to have something to offer in the Oracle Economy. Don’t just skirt through on your way to coffee, take time to see what they have to offer. It may not be of use to you now but you never know. In these days of ever increasing economic pressures the obvious answer is not always the most cost effective, there are some great niche solutions out there. Pay a special visit to our sponsors without whom we would struggle to have such an event. If you area third party and want to be involved contact Alkesh Chavda for more information.

OTN are coming to town, I think to make sure the ACE Program behave, but actually they are going to sponsor the evening entertainment and the Inspiring Presenter Awards. These awards are to recognise our best speakers and to encourage new people to give it a go, the ACE’s of the future perhaps.

If you are an Apps user, come along to the Willow Table session where the top speakers from the event will be available to answer your questions. Yes the took the idea from the ever popular OakTable who are back by popular demand  and you can ask them any technical question in their challenge and know that you will get the only the best minds in the industry helping you. 

Mogens Nørgaard is also bringing a little extra to UKOUG this year, after a successful trail by he and Tanel Poder this summer the OakTableTopTableTennisTournament or OTTTTT has been born. Simple competition, sign up to play against your peers and heroes using a Technical Reference Manual as a bat. The only stipulation is that if you have written a TRM you must use your own. Watch here Mogens and Tanel to see how it is done, and the Japanese noises are purely optional.

Another OakTable member and great volunteer at UKOUG is Doug Burns who has taken up the challenge of Movember in aid of Prostrate Cancer Awareness. He will grow a moustache during November and it will be removed at conference. How this will happen we do not yet know all the details although Lisa Dobson currently has plans to do it on the main stage on day one with a Sweeney Todd knife. 

So you can see if you are not attending you are missing out, on the best education and fun you can have in the Oracle Community. Come join us and our friends from all over the world in just 4 weeks - 29 November 2010. Remember if you are a paid up usergroup member from outside the UK, you will still recieve our membership discounts.

If you follow Twitter the tag is #UKOUG_TEBS, set up a search now and follow the buzz, otherwise join Facebook group  and in LinkedIn.

EMEA User Groups in Brussels

The EMEA Oracle Usergroup Community or EOUC meets twice a year. It consists of all the presidents of user groups in that region. I am not officially a member as I am not the UKOUG President, but I do have a role as leader of the Product Development Committee.

We have been to Brussels before, it is centrally located and has good air conncetions, but normally we are in a hotel rght by the airport, this is very convenient but this time we were in the city centre and it gave me a chance to catch the Open Top bus and do a quick tour of the city I have visited before and seen nothing off.

I wanted to be there to talk about how usergroups were included and thanked in the Fusion Apps launch, and how Applications Marketing want to work with usergroups as they do their rollout sometime next year. I think this is so important, long after the marketing machine leaves town, customers will be asking their user group leaders questions.

The latest meeting took place in Brussels on the 12 & 13 October, but this meeting was very different as we were joined by some of the Java Community Leaders. I am not sure what they thought about us ahead of the meeting but we certainly learnt from each other and by the end we realised that apart from our ‘dress’ we were closer than we thought. I should explain they thought we were more formerly arranged than they are which shows in their less formal attire. They had much to teach us, especially around their use of technology for digital content, which they were readily happy to share with us.
It really doesn’t matter how individual groups are arranged or what their leaders wear, the beauty of all user communities that are truly independent is that their steer is from their members not from any vendor or umbrella organisation.

This brings me back to Oracle the Vendor. They created the regional communities and the top level IOUC when the number of user groups meant they could no longer deal with all separately. I think that was a very important move and it has on the whole been very successful. There was perhaps too much bureaucracy to start with, having boards in each community but they have now gone. However the regional groups outside the US have a very important role to play. Yes all user group leaders are included and invited to the main IOUC Presidents Summit in January but it is not practical for everyone in the regions to attend. San Francisco is not a cheap option for a small usergroup struggling to keep afloat in these economic times or where the cost of living means their entire budget would go on one trip. For the past few years there have been elected ‘spokespersons’ in EMEA who have represented and feedback to their colleagues in EOUC. Their expenses were funded by Oracle but are no longer, I think is a big shame and I don’t really understand why although as I said at the start I am not a member and am not privy to all conversations. However the Presidents want a spokesperson and at this EOUC meeting agreed that they would fund the costs between themselves, such was their commitment. The term spokesperson has been replaced by Ambassador which I think is more fitting and I am delighted that Heli Helskyaho (Finland) and Janni Ekelson (Benelux) have agreed to represent till the next EOUC meeting.
I think I have said it before but UKOUG and the DOAG (Germany) are the biggest two user groups in EMEA and whilst we support all our EOUC colleagues we would not be the right people to represent the smaller groups. This must come from within them.

Thank you Jackie and Marcia for arranging the meeting and for my invitation; Mary Lou for flying over to keep us in check and to Lenz Grimmer, Oracle MySQL Community Relations Specialist EMEA for the great photos.

UKOUG Partner of The Year Awards 2010

Me with Karen Carlton the event PM

One of the best new ideas we have had in UKOUG over the past few years is the Partner Forum and best of that is the Partner of The Year Awards. These awards are voted for by customers unlike the Oracle Awards. Partners still like to win Oracle Awards but these are the ones that really count.

All the partners who take part really want to win and competition is hot. There is no better accolade than one from your customers.
I don’t like to mix my postings with UKOUG and Fujitsu but this is one where I can. This year at OOW Fujitsu were the Marquee Sponsor and we had a keynote were we talked about our relationship with Oracle, and when we talked about awards UKOUG PYA was pride of place. In August I presented at Insync in Melbourne and one of the exhibits there had UKOUG in their marketing. Look around our exhibition at the TEBS conference in November and see how many display their awards.

As I am from a partner organisation I am not allowed to have anything to do with the awards at UKOUG which is fair, you must be totally impartial in something like this, but I do have my job on the evening; I get to host the after dinner speaker.

This year we were in the Jumeirah, Carlton Tower hotel in London. It was a lovely setting and we had a lovely meal. The after dinner speaker was Guy Browning described as the David Attenborough of Business, as normal I rang him a few weeks ahead of the event and told him all about UKOUG and what we are about, and then it is over to him. That means I spend the evening worrying about what he might say. I didn’t need to worry he was excellent, hysterical, up to date and really engaging with the audience. Everyone loved him.

Then the awards are presented and this year my fellow director Lisa Dobson did the honours of announcing the winners. Another night to be proud of, both for UKOUG and for Fujitsu who did well, 3 awards including Gold for Public Sector. 
Congratulations to all the award winners who along with the photos.

Saturday 30 October 2010

The Value of Specialization

In my last post  I talked about Fujitsu's achievement in obtaining SOA and other specializations, but I have heard murmurings from other partners about what just is the value?

I think Oracle have to do more to advertise the benefits to customers, we need to see customers asking for specialization for it to really work, but Oracle have made great promises about only recommending those partners who are specialized.

For us there was another benefit. Oracle was sponsoring the 3rd Annual SOA Symposium in Berlin and invited us as their first specialized partner to take part.

There is a great blog about the symposium on the SOA community blog site.

This is real commitment from Oracle and we have other marketing opportunities being worked on with Jürgen. This does generate leads so my message to other Oracle Partners is, you need to do this, it is worthwhile.

Fujitsu - First SOA Specialized Partner Globally

Just before Oracle Open World I found out that Fujitsu had achieved the first SOA Specialization globally.
I think most partners know what the requirements are for Specialization and that in itself is challenging but the bureaucracy around the actual submission is an exercise in tenacity. I won’t go into that now; I have had my dig at Oracle this month, but enough to say the process could be improved.

As a platinum partner we needed 5 specializations and we decided to go for SOA first. The reasoning behind this is that our Oracle Practice is known for being applications centric. We have always had an excellent technical capability but no one ever talked about that, it was just part and parcel of an implementation. However today we have just as many bids that are technology lead as there is applications lead, so it seemed a good plan to work on the areas we were not known for.

We appointed a capability lead to be responsible for putting the team through the training and testing and Rosemary (Kell) was excellent, she ensured that everyone was on track and that it wasn’t just getting put into the ‘to do list’. In Fujitsu everyone in the Oracle Practice has an objective to achieve the competency tests in their area, so achieving the 2 pre sales, 2 sales and 1 support was no problem at all. We actually had 22 with the support capability proficiency.  The implementation specialist exams are much harder, more like OCP in the database area.

We had help from the Oracle SOA Community; Jürgen Kress who runs this in EMEA is really motivational. At the time we started SOA was a beta exam which means you do not get the results immediately but again we put forward more than we needed. Manjit Chopra, Sukhraj Sahota, Emely Patra, Ian Scorrer and Sunny Sidhu all took the exam and eventually got the results they wanted they had passed. Congratulations.

Here is Jurgen expalining why specialization is important.

After the tests came the submissions where you need to include deals and experience, this was my bit, and persuading Oracle we really deserved the specialization. Finally we got the news we had been awarded the specialization, and a few days later that we were first globally. I am very proud. However there is no rest for the wicked and we plodded on to make the 5 specializations needed for Platinum and now we are working on the new Diamond status and I think SOA will be one of our 5 ‘super specializations’. This is a global Fujitsu initiative and I work closely with my colleague in Germany Jessika Weiss.

It was nice to be able to have a press release about this and a comment from Judson Althoff  head of Oracle Alliances.

UKOUG Spreading the News

My first post OOW presentation may have been for DOUG but I didn't forget my own users. There was a webcast for the partner community 10 days after OOW where I, other partners who had attended and Oracle gave their thoughts. This is the 3rd time we have done this after major overseas conferences and it does seem to be appreciated.

I then presented at the Financials SIG on October 7th. Their agenda that day was around the upgrade question. What should people do, stay, upgrade, re-implement or wait for Fusion? I presented a quick update on the Fusion Launch and then talked about the options. Actually we did the same exactly 12 months before and I think this is a very important point. The choice now available to users, plus not knowing what Fusion was bringing but more importantly economic pressures means that a lot of people have simply not upgraded yet.

Some people are exploiting this and suggesting people don’t need to upgrade, or even more could opt out of oracle support. I strongly disagree with both of these. Yes in some cases it does make sense to stay still and as long as the organisation knows why then that is OK.

 I often talk of my own employer who has stayed still on 11.5.9. Our business is to 'Design, Build and Run, IT Systems' which requires both project and service contracts. In 11.5.9 the functionality required from these modules was not integrated and we had to make a major customisation. In 11.5.10 there were big architecture changes in these areas which would have required a complete rewrite but there was no better functionality. We hoped changes in R12 would give us what we needed but again not yet. When we do upgrade, and I hope this is the upgrade year, we will do the integration external using SOA which was not available at 11.5.9.

Anyway back to the SIG. After my presentation there was an open question time. I love these, I love being able to have a proper reasoned discussion and this is where an in-person, face-to-face session wins hands down over a webcast or any kind of online event. People need to feel connected to have that level of discussion, and I hope they went away with at least some of their questions answered.

I think the audience did realise that waiting for Fusion was not the right option unless they have a real reason to be an early adopter, and if you think you do, get in touch with your account manager or even me.

But I have a question, most people have still not moved to R12, this event was specifically based at those thinking about it and it was excellent, well done Colin and the Team, but what about those who have upgraded. Is UKOUG relevant to them? Or are we just offering them the opportunity to present their upgrade story? As ever let me know.

Danish Oracle User Group - Great Timing

I have a special affection for the Danish Oracle User Group and I was very honoured to be invited back by Helene to their event in October post OOW. This is a mixed group were the traditional technology users have been joined by the BAUG which is very business focused. Their agenda gave something for everyone.

This event was very well structured and the timing was perfect just 2 weeks after Oracle Open World; it started by a ‘What did you miss at OOW’ time slot with 4 ACE Directors giving their take on OOW. Part of our ACE Director duties is to try and provide content at User Groups that there may not be enough locals to do so, either independently or Oracle themselves. Denmark has 2 ACE Directors which for its population is excellent. Mogens Nørgaard covered the Database, Sten Vesterli Fusion MiddleWare, Mark Rittman also from UK was invited to cover BI/EPM and I covered applications.  I really liked this approach, and it was very well received by the delegates.

We knew it was going to be a big success before it even started as Oracle had to hire in extra chairs!

I also want to take time to tell you other things about the event; it was advertised as being 9 till 9, yes 12 hours for an Oracle conference. It started with coffee and then the OOW sessions, more traditional sessions interrupted only by more coffee (and cake) and then a great buffet lunch. There was a 'Ask the ACES' session and then in the afternoon coffee break there was also Miracle Beer on offer. Then the last session was a kind of forced networking session. Everyone was allocated a group where people had indicated like interests. My group was great and we had a good conversation, I think poor Mark faired less well as the group didn’t speak English in their discussion and he felt left out. It was however another tactic the group used to make the day very successful. This last session finished about 6pm and then there was a sit down 3 course dinner with wine provided by Oracle. Now that is how it should be done.

I gave a presentation on Fusion Apps and it was so great to have all the launch material from development. This was my first post OOW proper presentation.
Thank you Denmark and I hope to be invited back soon, and hope to see many of them at UKOUG in November.

Friday 29 October 2010

Fusion Applications Are Here…..almost

Not quite General Availability, just a few months away, but finally Fusion Applications are amongst us. If we disregard the keynotes as I have, the Fusion Apps content at OOW was actually excellent.
There were 42 (great number) presentations during OOW on Fusion Applications and plenty of pods in the demo grounds, so if you came looking for information there was a lot to see.

Steve kicked off on the Monday with a general Applications session where he had all the applications’ General Managers on the stage together. This is a big change, Fusion Apps and Apps Unlimited being talked about together. There was a lot about how the existing systems co-exist, for example E Business Suite and GLog and then Steve went on to show how Fusion Apps could also co-exist.

I thought this was a powerful and well explained option for the deployment of Fusion Applications. Most people think it will either be an upgrade or a reimplementation. Steve clearly articulated that this option of adopting the modules that add value to your organization without all the need to move to a complete Fusion stack, or where there is not the availability of all the modules you need for a full move and yet you don’t have to wait.

So there is a choice, Stay with Applications Unlimited, your current footprint (but do think about upgrading to a supported version), Run some of Fusion Apps along side your current footprint, or move to a full Fusion Applications implementation.

This is the rub, long gone are the days you simply upgraded. The support strategy and the range of options, means that you do what is right for your organization. Easily said but how does that help people with their applications strategy? This is where partners are going to show their true value, by understanding both the customer’s needs, opportunities and constraints and the Oracle product set and being  that ‘trusted partner’ who can give the right advice. Ray Wang from Altimeter talked about this being one of the big partner differentiators in his analyst preview on the Sunday.  This is why Fujitsu let me do what I do, how can I help advise if I don’t really understand?

Monday evening I was invited to dinner with Steve’s team and the Fusion early adopter customers, it was really interesting to see what strategies they are adopting and why. What was common amongst all of them was the real excitement and anticipation.

Tuesday Steve had his first full Fusion session, and I was so honoured to be asked to introduce him. At the dinner I threatened to present him with a present in my intro. In the end I did it before we started. I presented him with the baseball cap I was given at the Halfway to Fusion Event on 18.01.2006. The date is actually embroidered on the cap. I don’t actually mind it has taken so long; the apps have been worth waiting for.
Steve invited me to kick off the session to explain how users have been included in the development of Fusion Apps since day one. I got to gush about this, and he publically thanked us not only when I handed over but throughout the session. I want to take the opportunity to make a point here. Being a user group member means you are included.

Steve did a brilliant job of explaining how Fusion Applications have been put together, the design principles, the patterns and the user experience.  I didn’t get a chance to see all the drill down sessions but I did see the User Experience session from Jeremy Ashley. At the moment you can only replay these and all the other sessions  if you have the Open World on Demand.

Immediately after Steve’s first presentation the Fusion Applications page was updated on and there is a lot of information. Let’s see if we can encourage Oracle to add these main sessions. 

There is plenty of time to see the demos, throughout this year, I don’t think we are all queuing up to get started, although over 100 customers made enquiries at OOW. However if you are and are serious talk to your account manager, it is possible to be assessed for suitability by the early adoption team.

My advice is to understand the design principles which are well described on the website and see more demos of the applications themselves. 

Since OOW I have been asked to give my thoughts to a number of groups and my first presentation was to the Danish Oracle User Group, a favourite of mine followed by an ‘What DO We Do Next’ open question session with my own UKOUG Financials Special Interest Group. I am currently working with Steve’s development team and the ACE program to provide demo training for those interested in the ACE Director program, similar to FMW4Apps kits we had previously had. Being trained and enabled by Oracle enables us to give our own presentations but with system VMs, it allows us to get to audiences that may not get Oracle product managers or an independent view.

 People have lots of questions and we still have regular question times with Steve, a commitment Oracle made right back when they first announced Fusion Applications. If you have any questions not covered by the page then submit it here .

But the best place to find out more soon - come to UKOUG  (29 Nov - 1 Dec) we have 2 days of Fusion Applications, the product, the design, the technology the choice and the experts.

Thursday 28 October 2010

Were Fusion Apps Even in the Oracle Open World Keynote?

This is a blog of two parts. The first part is about the long expected launch of Fusion Applications and then next the content at OOW for Fusion Apps.
Let me say it and be done with it, I was really hacked off by Larry’s keynotes, which you can hear for yourself here. A large percentage of Oracle’s sales come from Applications and we have not been a headline for years at OOW. Last year was Exadata II and the year before The Database Machine. So this year with the launch of Fusion Apps I was really excited. I knew there would be the Sun Hardware and I even expected the Cloud after all it is the current buzz word. As I am typing this now I am following tweets on the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference keynote and it is also all about the cloud. Larry even had two keynotes and I patiently listened through the first on Sunday night but it overran and I had to go off with the ACE Program for an evening event on a boat in the bay. I was gutted I was going to miss the big announcement, but it was soon obvious Larry just introduced a taster demo and said their day would come Wednesday. He did however say one thing I liked, when he explained the time taken in development was down to adding features to the technology.

I sat through the Infosys Keynote Wednesday so I could have my seat centre stage 3 rows back, and I have to say it was better than last year and actually started really well.

Larry - Front Row Right watches his own video
Then Larry came on stage to the America’s Cup video footage which I enjoyed. Larry has worked hard for this achievement and deserves the opportunity to talk about it.

As he started his main speech he said how over 50% would be dedicated to Fusion Apps, great start; but first he would recap on the others. It was as if Sunday had only been a dress rehearsal, he said exactly the same things.  Then he started his rant about SalesForce and I love these corporate spats, the banter is often quite amusing, but did it have to go on so long? A short diversion from the story but after the keynote I attended the Bloggers Meetup which was in the same venue as the SalesForce party and they had to sit /stand through another presentation!

At the scheduled finish time, Larry was still ranting away at SalesForce and people were beginning to leave the hall in droves. If I wasn’t waiting for the Fusion launch I would have too. Even I was dreading > 50% again! As Larry handed over to the Fusion Demo Team with the scantiest of introductions, he and Mark Hurd left! I tweeted and won ‘Tweet of the Day’ for ‘Audience leaves in Hurds’, but I wasn’t joking - it was a mass exodus.

I would have hated to been giving the demo, but Steve Miranda and his team ploughed on. I suspect they should have been followed by a big blaze from Larry, but he had long gone.

I won’t tell you how I described it to friends, I don’t mind being outspoken but there is a public limit I won’t cross. Let’s just say I was gutted, even angrier and intensely frustrated.

But my main emotion was disappointment for the development team, six years in the making and no moment of glory.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

My Content At Oracle Open World

Being a speaker at Oracle Open World is an honour. I have spoken many times over the past few years but each one is important. I wrote about my sessions before the event, but what did I think afterwards?

My first outing was as a guest speaker at an analyst event. Organised by Ray Wang of Altimeter, unfortunately that well known San Francisco fog delayed flights and some people arrived late but it was a great event. The panel I joined consisted of my great friend Floyd Teter VP of OAUG, Frank Scavo, President - Strativa, Enterprise System Spectator and Thomas Wailgum, Journalist - CIO Magazine, End User Advocate. 

We were looking at the customer expectations from OOW and I could have answered questions all day, it was great interaction with the audience. Floyd and I couldn’t stay for the second panel as we both had our first sessions to deliver so we had to run (we walk fast) through the city to Moscone.

My first presentation was entitled ‘Fusion MiddleWare for Business – Stay Away if you are Technical’, this is something I am passionate about, not the staying away, I love techie really; but the importance of business understanding what the technology can do for them.
One tip for attending OOW is to plan your schedule; an advantage of doing that is that it secures you a seat in a hall. Many sessions are oversubscribed and it great for the speaker but annoying if you decide. So I was delighted to find that this session was full, but I do thank my friends in the Usability Labs for their help on this.
I did a straw poll at the beginning and there were a few techies but only about 10 – 15 %. I got lots of positive feedback and was so pleased I did it. I also learnt a lesson; I have talked before about how I use the analogy of USB charging to explain SOA, after the session someone asked me where they could by the USB charging kit, she had never seen one. I always say I take my sessions to the lowest level and work up; perhaps I have not gone low enough.

My second session was ’42 Real Life Examples of Fusion Middleware’ which really made me laugh. I try not to be a Geek but my friends are winning and I got very excited about this. Those who were part of it know how close to the day it was getting the 42 examples into the white paper but I got there and thanks to all those who helped me.  
Again the audience was mixed but this time more 50/50. It was great to start a presentation with a video clip from ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy’ and to hear the audience laugh. No one seemed to have an issue with the presentation only containing the 3 examples; Life, The Universe and Everything so I was very pleased. I will be presenting this again at UKOUG and have submitted it for a few others.

Finally I talked about ‘What to Look For in A Systems Integrator’, this was a partner session I presented for Fujitsu. I wanted to talk about the process and although use my examples I did not want this to be a marketing pitch. I had my colleague Andy Seferta with me on stage and I think we hit the right balance. Interestingly about a third of the audience were partners and several were Oracle Consulting.  Again we got good feedback and a number of individuals come up with questions afterwards.

So that was my presenting at OOW for another year. I was very grateful that mine were all over by the end of Monday, allowing me to enjoy and participate in the rest of the event without all my worries about presenting getting in the way.

All my presentations and the white paper are available on my Fujitsu Site and you can hear them if you attended OOW and have access to the On Demand site.

Monday 25 October 2010

FINALLY My Thoughts on Oracle Open World

Finally I am sitting down to give my thoughts on Oracle Open World, apologies for how long it has taken.

As a User Group Leader who has her own events, my top point was as ever the actual OOW machine was phenomenal, everything just works. I don’t mean there are not things that should be done differently, but they deliver the product exactly as they design it. 43,000 people moving around San Francisco is no mean feat.

As a delegate looking for education I had a lot to chose from, however I didn’t like Develop and the rest of the event being divided in location, and the same with JavaOne. 

As a speaker this division was even harder, I know a couple of people who had sessions in all three and hated it. Over the past few years I have had sessions in the UnConference and this year they were with Develop, as all my audience are in Moscone no-one is going to go to Parc 55 to attend one session so in the end I cancelled.

As an employee I am very proud to work for Fujitsu and lots of people made the point to me about us being top sponsor. It is also a great opportunity to sit down with colleagues from around the world. I loved the Appreciation Event, even more so as with Fujitsu as Marquee Sponsor I had a VIP ticket. I loved all the acts but boy did Black Eyed Peas have a fantastic stage show. I have to admit I sent a photo to my daughter back home at University at about 7am her time, just to show what her mom was up to.

As a customer the most valuable thing for me is the demo area was great with lots of product managers answering real, personal questions. The exhibition is enormous and now split over two halls which again are not ideal but I have no answer to that. 

As an individual the best thing about OOW is seeing friends and meeting new ones; User Group Leaders, ACE Program members, Oracle Employees and those very special ‘Oakies’ and their Oracle Closed World.
What about the content? My next post is about my sessions and then what I thought about Fusion Applications.