Monday 30 September 2019

2019 OOW - Being Accenture

Last year at OOW I had been Accenture for less than 3 weeks and roll forward a year and I am part of the furniture, more relaxed about the organisation and OOW and instead of meeting everyone for the first time felt more of the team.

At OOW last year Accenture launched MyConcerto for Oracle, a totally new platform for engaging with customers about their Oracle offerings. I have posted about how much I love this platform and although I am not in a role that would use this everyday I am an internal ambassador and contribute content.

MyConcerto was the hub of the Accenture presence at OOW. Every presentation in the stand theatre area and demo stations was delivered that way and delegates could play the interactive, MyConcerto game, using a touch screen to conduct the MyConcerto them tune and score points with their speed and reaction. Obviously I had to have a go and scored terribly.

Here Samia Tarraf and Stephanie Brackhahn tell you more about it, it really was high energy and a popular place to be.

Of course, my personal itinerary meant I wasn't on the stand much, but I did try and pop along as often as possible to say hi to those people I am working with on global initiatives. I always feel knowing someone makes being part of a virtual team successful. As an exhibitor I did have the privilege of an early/late pass which meant I could go in before the exhibition started each day to make this happen, and I also watched the first keynote from the booth where our own Annette RippertSenior Managing Director - Technology, North America, talked about how we see this market and how customers are benefiting from Cloud. 

OOW is where Oracle recognise their customers and their partners in their annual awards. This press release shows not only awards that Accenture received but more importantly our customers, and I was honoured to be on stage with Illy who won a PaaS with SaaS award for their product using Oracle Digital Assistant with their SaaS implementation. 

Accenture also had a dedicated day for their customers alongside OOW in the Spin Lounge, just a few hundred yards from Moscone. Here customers could chill out, attend small sessions and meet others taking their Oracle journey with Accenture. Then it ended with a fun evening with everyone trying the table tennis (well not me).  

Here I had the opportunity to talk through how Oracle are delivering the Digital Assistant skills within HCM, based on the white paper we published earlier in the year. Other papers released were on Learning and Recruitment Clouds. 

I started my presentation with MyConcerto, told the story of the value and use cases and navigated the platform to a video of me showing a demo, and then switched to delivering it live. Sounds great, and it was finally, however in the 10 minutes before it was my worst demo experience ever as I managed to mistype a URL and lets just say I never want to do that again....

One of the best things about being Accenture is working with fellow ACE Director Julian Dontcheff, he is completely the other end of the technical spectrum to me but our worlds overlap more often than you think. He is part of Accenture Enkitec which also had a presence with a relaxed area in town and thank you to the team who granted me honorary membership for the week!

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Friday 27 September 2019

2019 Oracle Open World - The Messages Important to Me

Gosh, there are so many OOW blogs where do you start, and will I just regurgitate everyone else?

For me my top tip would be to take Oracle's advice and watch the keynotes which are all online:

Then look at Analyst write-ups, these are my go to ones:

Den Howlett Diginomica specifically about Steve Miranda's content

Other Diginomica OOW Blogs - also fun to read and this one from Brian Sommer

Ray Wang and Holger Mueller from ConstellionR, now their blogs on OOW aren't online yet but look at their tweets from the event (#OOW19)

And some articles, this is my favourite CIO Magazine with lots more links to detail.

Over the Partner Forum, ACE Director Briefing and Open World itself I heard most of the announcements and had a little time to digest and ask questions, but have certainly started to rewatch and consider 'what next?', how does this affect me, my colleague and most importantly my customers?

Technically, the top announcement for me was the Always Free Autonomous Database Offering because people like to try things out and although Oracle have free trials for most of their Cloud Technology offerings this goes a long way to match the old 'SE' version of the database but give so much of the innovation of autonomous. The ability to build something with this and use it, will inspire the old and new to Oracle alike. I would also like to call out the APEX team, this is the obvious use of the offering and is a great testament to the product and their community, something I have mentioned before.

At the ACE Director Briefings I met a Java Champion who chose to accept an invitation to join us. I asked him 'why?', and he said he creates lots of little apps using lots of technology but Oracle's latest database options gives him the possibility of bringing them all together using the Oracle Cloud Container Kubernetes Service (OKE). I loved this, new meets old innovation.

The analytics for Fusion are very important for me, I don't think they have a wide enough coverage for everyone yet, but the roadmap looks great and cloud means it is delivered as soon as it is ready.

Applications is my area and so much is going into them, not least the new branding - the 'Redwood' shared by Steve Miranda and Hilell Cooperman 


Steve Miranda and Hilell Cooperman
Actually the branding has blown me away, and missing my one-to-one with Hilell, thanks to my travel woes saddens me. Since he started at Oracle he told me to expect big things but that he couldn't discus until it was ready to share and not just in the apps. Well this was not expected.

Here Hilell shares his thoughts and Steve Miranda's synopsis of OOW.

To me it isn't just about a fresh, exciting look at the Apps, although I can't wait to see it released. 

The brand is also about the company, perhaps removing Oracle itself from the brand. Making it more customer centric. When I went to register I was really shocked, Howard Street was not closed as it has been for every of the 15 previous Open World's I have attended. To be fair the changes to the Moscone Centre itself means it is much easier to move from North to South , but that as well as no boat in the closed area, meant it wasn't the traditional look. The branding itself is more subtle, no BIG RED ORACLE, and completely different colours. No big banners on buildings and much less intrusive flags on poles.

Everyone I spoke to noticed the change, it was not only at the event but in the presentations and will make its way into the offerings. This is something I am excited to see happen and hope that we see this developing over time.

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2019 OOW Code One Session

I also got the opportunity to facilitate a session at Code One on “Embracing Constant Technical Innovation in Our Daily Life”

I had a great panel: Gustavo Gonzalez, Francisco Munoz Alvarez, Sven Bernhardt and Tim Hall.

Not sure why I need to write a blog about it as obviously 'sleep-is-under-rated-when-I-have-a-blog-to-write' Tim, has already published a great synopsis and lots of links. And check out this awesome Oracle Magazine article where Tim shares his secret to being Tim!

However I would like to add everyone thought it needed to be part of our working lives and not an extra to ensure it gets done. I myself, submit papers for things I want to learn about, no excuse then if I get accepted!

Share, nothing makes you check as much as peer sharing, and share in whatever medium suits you, tweets, blogs, Linkedin, articles, books, videos, presentations. We all learn different ways and your content will appeal to different people so don't worry if there are already 50 APEX bloggers out there, share your knowledge (but don't plagiarise them).

Francisco and Gustavo are both great user group leaders and respectively lead the Latin America and Asia Pacific Groundbreakers' Tours. Bringing people together to learn is a fantastic way to keep up with new technology.

Sven (the youngster of the group) lists his top 3 here:

  • Community and growing your own network is important
  • Knowledge sharing is good, sharing experience is better
  • Learning through failing (Of course failing was not an option years ago, because technology was different; but with all modern technologies / platforms, failing is an option) -> Fail fast! Although this needs a mindset change that failures are allowed and ok which can be difficult to establish in mature organisations

Gustavo covered the session on linkedin

Thanks again to Code One for the opportunity, I love these sessions that help you as individuals a great Segway from the more technical sessions. Something to make you think.

What are your tips? Add to the comments, perhaps we can repeat next year and include them.

2019 Oracle Open World Presenting

My OOW session was selected by the user group leaders in EMEA, thank you.

This was my 'Should I Move to Oracle Cloud Applications?' presentation based on the UKOUG Oracle Scene Article I wrote back in 2017 and my most requested presentation ever.

The premise is that having the discussion on whether to stay with on premise application, host that on the cloud or move to the Cloud Applications, is often not a single conversation with Oracle. I wanted a framework that would start a discussion. The flowchart does just that, well normally.........

This year Oracle trialed a new room type, curtains to create room in unused space in Moscone, and headphones for the delegates and speakers. Each room did have AV people dedicated and looked very professional.

The room didn't have as many chairs as its capacity, although there were plenty of headphones, so we did have people standing. I was really impressed with the audience, the majority were end users and I got to speak to each of them before we started as I walked around with the chocolate tub. I wish I had realised at that point you could scan their QR code on their badge and get their name 'well sort of'.

First problem was wearing headphones yourself, I hate listening to me, and that took some getting used to.

I gave the presentation with Tim Warner and we shared a lecture mike as the AV people said lapel mikes were not as effective. The problem with the microphone was that it was TOO effective, and as our 'room' was closest to the corridor and almost directly opposite was an open area with the APEX hands on labs, we could hear their session as well. As a hands-on-lab it wasn't constant talking but if you know David Peake who was delivering it, you would have recognised the dulcet Australian accent, and the opportunity to learn APEX in parallel.

The biggest problem though was it isn't conducive to interaction. The audience are in 'listen' mode and don't ask questions. Or rather they wait till afterwards and line up to ask, I wish it had been as designed and everyone heard the questions. However it gave Tim and I extra time to share more customer examples.

I loved this session, had great feedback with people stopping me all week to say how useful they found it and will use it back in their own organisations.

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2019 OOW Fun

'Work Hard, Play Hard', that is defiantly the the mantra I like to follow at Oracle Open World.

On the Saturday night Roel and I went as guests along with Tim and Alex who have both celebrated 50th birthdays over the summer, a visit to Graham Wood and his partner Katie who treated us to the most amazing dinner at their home in Half Moon Bay.  The journey out was along the coast and was great to see the sea at its best with the surf rolling along with the Californian beaches on the way back I got to experience just how fast an Uber driver can drive, something which is not the thrill I seek.

In the past I would have included my annual triathlon but with the ACE Director briefings moving to Saturday I haven’t done the bridge cycle ride for a few years. However I was up for the bridge Run walk on Sunday morning. I travelled up to the bridge with Maria Colgan and Roel Hartman, but Roel is a real runner and not only did he run the bridge and back but also all the way back to the hotel, as part of his upcoming Chicago Marathon training. Maria and I walked the bridge with Barry McGillin who doesn’t live that far from me back home, but that I only ever see at events.  Three people from the island of Ireland on the bridge having fun. We start earlier than the runners so at least we got to wave at them in both directions. Thanks to Jeff Smith for organising

Monday morning is the traditional Swim in the Bay originally started by Chet Justice and now kept going by Connor McDonald and renamed 'dash & splash'. It was a damp misty morning and despite best ever registrations the turnout was not high but those of us that swam loved it and thank you Aylin Uysal for the lift back the hotel and especially thanks to Hellion's and Jennifer who were waiting with coffee and doughnuts when we left the water.

I registration on Sunday Oracle gave out tickets to the baseball at the newly renamed Oracle Park to see the San Francisco Giants Play the Miami Marlins. Thanks to Andrew Bohnet from innovatetax, he gave me his tickets as well so I was able to enjoy the baseball on my only free afternoon. However I had not anticipated the strength of the sun and despite not removing my jumper and wearing the baseball cap I was also given, I still managed to burn my neck and face. I can’t pretend to have understood the rules of the game but loved the atmosphere. 

I did see that someone had tweeted their steps for the conference I had a look at mine but although they are probably inaccurate for it appears I did almost 15 km on Wednesday, my travel day and 14 ½ of which I know where actually knitting!

I didn't have much time for the Exhibition but I did do the Scavenger Hunt with Alex Nuijten, I think we should have won a special award for the fastest complete. It was a whirlwind run around the show floor and definitely fun!

This year the Oracle appreciation event was at the Chase Centre Home of the San Francisco Warriors basketball team. This is only been open a couple of weeks and it was a great honour to be able to attend and what an amazing building it is. The first act was John Mayer, who as Linda Barker shared, he appeared to have been coached very well on Autonomous Database which gave everyone a smile. I really enjoyed his music but thought of it as almost background music. As an old lady I had intended not to stay for the second act but was persuaded to give it ago by Alex and Roel. Flo Rida took to the stage and was absolutely amazing he had everybody moving gave great energy and for the first time in many many years. I stayed until we were removed from the appreciation event with everybody leaving at the same time we decided to walk back, after all you can never have too many steps.

I always feel guilty about talking about the fun at Open World, I am such I lucky little old lady who gets these opportunities but most of all what I love is catching up with old friends and making new ones. Graham has retired from Oracle and it was lovely to see him and I also got to catch up Mogens and James Morle.

Michelle Malcher now works for Oracle and although was not at open world was that hate you on the Friday, she came into the city before a late flight were we managed to have dinner with a couple of friends.

Dina Blaschczok knows how I love to have flowers in my hotel when away for a few days and these beautiful roses delivered

I have learnt that If you want to catch up with people at this event you have to actually make appointments, and most days I had one or two breakfast meetings following pre-breakfast meetings and a full diary however it is so well worth it both professionally and with people I can truly call friends.

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2019 OOW Travel

I am a creature of habit.

I normally attend Partner Advisory Boards on the Friday before OOW and arrange individual meetings at headquarters for the Thursday, I also like to have a day upfront to ensure I haven’t forgotten anything and that my presentations are ready to go. Therefore I traditionally travel out to San Francisco the Tuesday before the conference starts.

But, It seems, I am also doomed to travel issues, my airline decided to have its first pilots' strike in history and my original flight was cancelled two weeks before travel. I wasn’t too concerned as I thought that I could use my contingency day and simply move my flight to the Wednesday. 

I left my house at 0500 for a 0645 flight to London. Everything seemed to be okay until we were told are that as the plane had been sat on the apron for three days since before the strike, when they started it up two monitors in the cockpit failed. Apparently they can fly with only one working but not with two out. The plan was to wait for the incoming flight from London and borrow one of theirs, however when it arrived it only had one functioning. 

Plan B was to borrow one from another airline in Dublin, they would send the monitor up to Belfast and all would be fine. This put my 1130 connection at risk but there was another flight about 1400. There were no alternative flights to London with any airline as the strike it meant all flights were full.

After a couple of hours, (it takes two hours to drive from Dublin to Belfast), the engineer chased the part only to be told that they were waiting for a specialist courier and it hadn’t yet left. 

Later, once sure it was on its way, the pilot told us that he expected to leave about 1430 if it worked. Just before 1400 we saw the engineer run down to the plane with part but just a few minutes later at exactly 1400 we all got a text to tell us there was still an issue and the next information with bit 4pm. No more than five minutes later the pilot came into the lounge and told us we were good to go everything was working we were ready to board however when we left at 1500 several people had to have their luggage offloaded as although the flight was ready to go they could not be found. So sad, many hours delayed and then to miss the flight.

At London I was offered the next available direct flight which was the next morning. I asked about connecting flights and was offered one to New York but then I would only get to San Francisco 2 hours earlier and with runway issues there causing many delays and cancellations I decided to stay put.

When am I travelling long-distance I try to take some knitting with me, it allows me to feel I’ve achieved something during long journeys and is good for de-stressing delays. However I hadn’t expected to complete this jumper on this journey. Guess I should be thankful for small mercies.

They put me up in a nice hotel at the terminal and my flight the following day went without incident but it did mean I missed my individual meetings at Redwood Shores on the Thursday, one with Hilell Cooperman who was to share with me the excitement around the new Oracle branding, Stefan Schmitz who is responsible for the OTB I use within Fusion and most importantly my annual catch up with Steve Miranda who owns apps development.

I always take chocolate to conferences, and this was no exception, but I also had vouchers for food during the delay and spent that on large bars of chocolate, all of which I had to explain on my arrival in San Francisco.

In contrast my flight home was without incident and the connection to Belfast was actually 25 minutes early but that doesn’t actually cancel out the 9 ½ hours delay on my original flight and out this could be my last European Union flight delay claim (another Brexit casualty).

As ever my faithful taxi driver was waiting for me at the airport I was soon home with another Oracle Open World under my belt.

That should have been the end of it, but I seemed overly tired. Sunday morning I was due to dive and I cancelled which is not like me, and then the next day I woke up with a full head cold, so spent my second day in bed. My excuse for how late these blogs are.

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2019 OOW ACE Program

The ACE briefing is my highlight of Oracle Open World, I still preferred them when they were the week before rather than on the Saturday, but they are still truly valuable and I thank all of those from Oracle who give up their day, prior to the busiest event of their calendar to make sure ACE Directors get a full understanding of things to come during the conference.

This year they invited some guests or friends from other groundbreakers' programs who wanted to attend, this is a lovely idea and I made some great new friends. There was also a special treats me as Liam Nolan, VP Apps Dev, gave an update on SaaS.

The ACE dinner on Sunday evening was great fun, we pose the now traditional photograph at the end of the pier 39 and then had a wonderful evening, Open World is so busy that this is one opportunity to see as possible in my community before the main event begins.

photo thanks to Jim Grisanzio

This year the main Oracle Open World and Code One where colocated in Moscone.  I don’t know how the demographics work but to me is encouraged crossover and meant that I as a traditional Oracle person saw more of Code One that I normally would have.

As part of our ACE Director duties we each do a session in the Code One show floor and mine was to be on the welcome desk helping delegates find specific stands or encouraging others to come in and look. The most successful area I would say was the 'Meet the Experts' sessions, that many people asked about. At the stand we had a small stress car  giveaway which came in blue and red, all the time I wanted to sing 'the red car and the blue car had a race' from a childhood advert I remember fondly. Thankyou Chris Saxon for singing it to me out loud.

As in previous years those that represent the community we given the opportunity to have head shots taken and although I liked the ones I had on the first day I thought my eyes looked a bit closed so I went back to some more.

On Wednesday there was a power hour to celebrate diversity I went on stage with Linda Bronson from our local communities, David Ortiz from the Oracle diversity program office and Mackenzie Dancho from Technovation, an Oracle diversity partner here we were asked questions about how we saw the diversity in our own lives and strives to remove the uncomfortableness of being different and how we can reach out and include everyone. Watch our quick session here.

Thank you to Jennifer and all the Oracle Community Team for all you do for us in the program. 

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2019 Oracle Open World San Francisco

As always, a little late but my epic epistle to Oracle Open World is now here!

This was my 16th consecutive OOW and my 15th presenting. I love the event although it totally exhausts me and I come back with so much more to follow up on.

Again, I have split up the content into smaller bites to make sense of it all.

Attending Open World would not be possible without these groups, thank you to them all:
  • Having papers selected, so thank you to EOUC and Code One 
  • ACE Program support
  • Employer, Accenture support