Trip Report: 2008 Oracle Open World Day 1

Published on September 21, 2008 by R "Ray" Wang

View from the Moscone North to South Above Ground Crosswalk Looking into Moscone West
(Copyrighted 2008. Photo by R Wang. All rights reserved)

In the world of enterprise software, Oracle’s Open World is one of the grand slam must attend events of the year. Day 1 starts with the Oracle Users Forum, a collection of 420 affiliated user group communities participating in special interest group sessions, and the Oracle Partner Network Forum at the Hilton including the Titan Partner awards. Conversations with partners and customers at these user group sessions reveal an emerging and evolving perception of Oracle and its long term strategy that include conversation themes such as:

  • What’s in the Fusion Apps and when are they coming out? I was stopped a number of times by clients who wanted to know if we had seen the Fusion apps. Sworn to secrecy, I can say I’ve seen it. We saw real live code at the Oracle Apps Analyst day a few weeks back. The user experience is first rate and I can’t comment anymore unless I plan to give up my first born. However, if they deliver, this may be game changing.
  • Should I go with the “Red Stack”? The stack wars represent a consolidated vendor reality. For years, we’ve used the term “Red Stack” (i.e. Oracle), “Blue Stack” (i.e. IBM), “Rainbow Stack” (i.e. Microsoft), and “Open Stack” (i.e. LAMP) to describe how consolidation is impacting database, middleware, and applications. Increasingly, partner and customers see themselves choosing among stacks. Notably, we see a lot of discussion from the services based businesses about how they are facing a decision that may require a bet on either the “Red Stack” or the”Blue Stack”. Others are looking at coexistence with the “Rainbow Stack” in the Oracle environments. I spoke with one Federal agency customer who talked about how legacy system replacement was big and how the were looking to see what Oracle could offer in iGovernment. In general, these discussion occur in the large context of an apps strategy and a solutions strategy. Our standard advice, just don’t get locked in to a vendor and find yourself with no leverage to switch.
  • Custom versus packaged apps, does this even matter? With a lot of the tools in Fusion Middleware and other application stacks improving, many customers expressed a viewpoint that packaged apps were just a starting point. One customer from a large multinational hardware provider pointed out how they are extending a lot of their packaged apps using Fusion Middleware to meet new business models. Another customer in the retail sector talked about how deal management and demand planning was back in vogue as the focus shifted to operations from financial engineering. This customer was looking for the capabilities to configure using JDeveloper over some of their other customization efforts.
  • Can I trust Oracle as a partner? Oracle is prioritizing efforts to partner with apps and solution providers. For years, Oracle apps partners have often talked about how it was hard to talk about white spaces in road maps, gain commitment from senior executives, and seek joint go-to-market strategies. Conversations from the Partner floor seem to signal a shift in attitude and some optimism in collaborative relationships. More importantly, there was much chatter about new marketing development funds and a renewed focus on partner enablement.
  • What’s Oracle doing about “Green”? There’s a surprising amount of interest in Oracle’s Green Room Sessions. Being in San Francisco, it’s not surprising to find a lot of interest in the Green Marketplace. A few people kept asking me if I knew what was going on with environmental stewardship, sustainability, and green activities. Not being the green analyst I’m making a point to drop by to the Novellus Theatre on Thursday to check out a few of these sessions.
  • Have you tried Oracle Mix? Hands down this beats the old clunky Oracle Connect! A lot of “early adopter type” attendees have taken advantage of Oracle’s new social networking framework at Open World. It’s an enterprise version of facebook meets ning! Check it out..( or check me out at . drop me a message or add me to your network. Better yet, send me a linked-in request.

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  • Are you checking out tonight’s keynote? You bet! In the midst of this year’s best reality show (i.e. the US Presidential Election), how can you turn down the all time best political power couple and strategists – James Carville (D) and Mary Matalin (R)? See you there!
  • Next stop: Forrester’s Business and Technology Leadership Forum (JW Marriott, Orlando)
    I’m off to Orlando and then back to San Francisco again for the rest of OOW. But come hear the future as we keynote what life will be like in 2020 across the Business Process and Apps Professional, Information and Knowledge Management Professional, and CIO roles in the Business Applications 2020: A Three Role Perspective event!
    (The personal contents in this blog do not reflect the opinions, ideas, thoughts, points of view, and any other potential attribution of my current, past, or future employers.)
    Copyrighted 2008 by R Wang. All rights reserved

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