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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reflections on a Different OpenWorld

Now that I've had a few days to get back into the groove (and catch-up on emails), I find myself looking back on OpenWorld from a fifty-thousand-foot perspective. If you've ever been there, you know that OpenWorld is a lot like a wedding - it goes so fast, there's a lot of chaos, and it's over before you know it. If you're an Oracle partner, that analogy is even more true given how much planning goes into being an exhibitor, speaker, and more (hats-off to our Marketing group for another great year).

So as I look back on my OpenWorld experience, I can honestly say that this year felt very different from past years. True, we had a typhoon in the middle of the week, and you could tell that attendance was a little down, but it was more than that: Oracle people were talking the same language.

That may sound like a funny comment to make, but the reality is that Oracle has been on an acquisition spree for quite a while, especially around EPM, BI and Data Warehousing. At past OpenWorlds, you could tell that, despite having successfully integrated the acquired companies into their P&L, they hadn't ingrained everyone with both the big picture and all the little pictures. Oracle Employees still spoke in their native tongue, so to speak.

But attending sessions in the EPM/BI track and talking to PMs, it's clear that Oracle has turned the corner in this regard. People are giving the same answers and a tap-dance doesn't accompany them. This is a good thing, because it means that the software is following suit.

Despite the repetitive revenue recognition slide (everyone chant: "sometime in the next 12 months"), Oracle was very forthcoming about what's coming and how it's all going to fit together - at a very detailed level. Not everything is known nor shared at this point, but for the first time we got to see live examples of things like XML Publisher (BI Publisher) and OBIEE converging further, Interactive Reporting(IR)/SQR and XML Publisher converging, IR and OBIEE converging, Essbase and OBIEE converging, how to use and position ODI and Golden Gate, the convergence of OWB and ODI, why OBIEE and ODI are part of Middleware, and much much more. None of this was major news - we've heard the roadmap presentation before - but you could actually see it coming together and, more importantly, everyone you talked to or heard from was saying the same things, giving the same answers, talking the same language.

I can recall hearing at OpenWorld last year that Oracle had over 9,000+ products in their software pool and what a mess that must be to bring synergy to small subsets of them. EPM/BI has felt that way for the last 2-3 years, but 2009 marks a change. Looking into the future, we can finally start to see the beacon growing on the horizon. The vision is getting closer and closer to becoming reality. 2010 should be a fun year!


@sophia_tseng said...

Thanks for this comment, Kevin. I'm a long time Oracle employee and to be quite frank, was happy to notice this as well. Perhaps the prospect of Oracle branching into a completely new products and markets have made us on the "software" side realize we're all part of the same team. :)

Kevin McGinley said...

Thanks for the comment, Sophia. It's good to hear that it's being noticed all around. I really look forward to the amazing software that this synergy should produce.