Saturday 21 December 2019

2019 Sangam - My Thoughts on the conference

My third trip to India and the best yet. Thank you Super Sai for inviting me and the ACE program for the sponsorship.

Sai asked me to speak at Sangam, and told me he wanted something different. He wanted me to cover to SaaS announcements from Oracle Open World and after some discussion we agreed on 'What I had learnt from SaaS customers'.

I travelled to Sangam with Alex Nuijten and Roel Hartman, direct from UKOUG Techfest. It was a good journey although we arrived very early in Hyderabad, which was good for the traffic.

The conference centre was amazing, I loved these mixed use venues. Next to us were several weddings over the 3 days and if you have never seen the excitement of an Indian wedding, make that your resolution for 2020.

Traffic is bad in India, I may have said that before, and is one of the reasons the days are so long at the conference. They pack 3 days of content into two 12 hour days.

I started this with a mention of 'Super Sai' - Sai Penumuru,  he is unbelievable. for the past couple of years he has been living in the UK and yet still runs this growing community like clockwork. he doesn't do it on his own, he has an army of volunteers, but you need a great leader, and he fits that bill perfectly.

The event is well supported with speakers from both Oracle and the ACE Program and Sai certainly makes us work for our supper (and boy, is the food good). There were several panel sessions I took part in and even facilitated the same session as at Code One“Embracing Constant Technical Innovation in Our Daily Life”.

My session on OOW was really just a pathfinder session, what I found important and lots of links to videos and based on my blog at the time.

What I learnt from customers was more interactive and I loved it. Just before the event when I was trying to make sense of my thoughts Martin Widlake blogged about how presentations shouldn't be based on a formula, a challenge I felt so organised my presentation as a list of 'C's'. It was great, lots of questions and validation of what a lot of people were thinking.

Jim Grisanzio from Oracle recorded my thoughts on this and the ACE program, quite long but I think worth a watch.

A big objective this year was to encourage the local Oracle community to engage with the ACE community, or rather step up and be part fo it. There are great knowledge sharers in India who just need some encouragement. We had a full room of people who wanted to know more about the program so I hope this will bear fruit.

I also attended their WIT session with Jenny Tsai from Oracle. It was great to hear both men and women encouraging each other.

The All India Oracle User Group is excellent, and they have posted a video of memories. It was such fun. I have every intention of going again.

After the event Sai had arranged some sight seeing and we had the great Rao as our tour guide and photographer. We got to see Golconda Fort, Qutb Shahi Tombs and Charminar in Hyderabad City.

All too soon it was over and the three of us left for our return journey.

All Change at the Top

The last 15 months have been full of change on the board at Oracle.

Thomas Kurian, who I much admire, left to go to Google.

Mark Hurd, after a long illness, sadly passed away in October.

Larry Ellison hinted that a replacement would be an internal appointment but I was hoping for an external hire and was pleased to see the announcement of Vishal Sikka being appointed.

Latest is Safra Catz being confirmed as the sole CEO, (she previously shared this with Mark).

There will be lots of changes, there is no point changing your board for everything to stay the same.

So I look forward to 2020 to see what it brings in the Oracle world, although I'm not a fan of moving Oracle Open World.