Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kscope12 Wrap-up - Better Late Than Never!

I can’t believe it has been a month-and-a-half since Kscope12 in San Antonio wrapped up, and I haven’t had a chance to blog about it.  I finally have a chance to put together a quick review of my favorite, and not-so-favorite, things about the conference.

I arrived on Thursday as we had an ODTUG Board of Directors meeting all day Friday.  The hotel was a bit quiet while awaiting the arrival of Kscope attendees.   The pools and water park were, however, in full operation, which was not the case when I visited in January.

Conference activities kicked off on Saturday morning with the annual ODTUG Community Service project.  There were a bunch of ODTUG volunteers that took the bus across San Antonio to provide our labor at the Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio.  At the club, we tackled a number of projects including painting, assembling a basketball court, landscaping, and painting..   OK, I said painting twice.  I know.  There was *a lot* of painting!  My wife, two sons, and one son’s girlfriend participated in the projects.  Everyone was touched by the individually prepared tiles presented to us by the kids at the club.  Here is my family that participated in the community service day with our tiles.  My tile is now displayed on the ‘trophy case’ in my office.

One of my favorite events of the week is the Sunday EPM Symposium, which features presentations by Oracle product development about their future direction.   It also features heavy interaction between Oracle and users.  Unfortunately, I had a number of duties as an ODTUG Board member that took me away from the symposium.  I did, however, get to see the keynote by Balaji Yelamanchili,   who heads up EPM development.  If you are planning to attend Kscope13, plan ahead to arrive on Saturday so you can attend the Sunday Symposium.

On Monday, I did a session with Rob Zwiebach from Oracle on how Essbase is being integrated into the Fusion Financials and Fusion Accounting Hub products.  This is a very interesting product in that Essbase is integrated so deeply that posting to the general ledger fails if the corresponding Essbase update fails.  I know a lot of companies who would love to have their general ledger automatically synced into Essbase and this product does that.  Here is a screenshot that shows Essbase aggregations along with general ledger detail:

The Kscope12 keynote address was Monday evening and was given by fellow Oracle ACE Director, Cary Millsap, on the topic “Learning About Life Through Business and Software”.  I really didn’t know what to expect from it and, although I had met Cary a couple of times, I really didn’t know him that well.  I have to say, it was great.  Not only was it great, but it was probably the best keynote I have ever heard and it was one of the highlights of the week for me.  The keynote was recorded and I have included it here.  I have requested that Cary’s slides be integrated with the current YouTube video.  (Note: I thought the keynote was so good, I had my entire family watch it.)

Monday night was also the night of the Hyperion Midnight Madness event.  This year, the Midnight Madness event featured a Hyperion-themed Hollywood Squares game; I was one of the squares (pretty fitting, right?).  Unfortunately, I wish there had been more time for networking.

My favorite part of Tuesday was, of course, the customer session on Dodeca.  We were lucky to have 4 customers talk about their Dodeca applications.  Wells Fargo led it off and talked about how their nearly 8,000 Dodeca users use the management reporting, asset acquisition, and plan transfer applications.  Kroger, which is heading to around 17,500 Dodeca/Essbase users by the end of this year, talked about the multitude of applications including their tactical operational reporting and analysis, store reporting, merchandise planning, and labor planning apps.  Nestle has about 750 users (so far) live on a product planning application and Forestar, who developed the land around the conference hotel, is now live with about 35 users for a forecasting application.  Before the conference, I asked each of these customers which features and benefits of Dodeca they were leveraging.  Much to my surprise, each customer has very different sets of features that they leverage and different reasons for using Dodeca; I am glad they were able to share those reasons with the audience.

Wednesday is the day of the big ODTUG special event and this year’s event was quite special, a rodeo at the Knibbe Ranch.  The Board of Directors rode into the rodeo on horses; it was the first time I had been on a horse in about 40 years.  I did, however, buy a new Stetson so I could at least look the part.

Here is fellow Board Member and recent Oracle ACE Director, Cameron Lackpour, also on horseback.

The conference ended midday Thursday and, after a quick Board of Directors lunch, I finally got to head out to the pool with my family and float around the lazy river.  San Antonio was a great place to visit and to have a conference.  Next year, Kscope13 returns to New Orleans, and you can bet it will be both a great learning experience and a lot of fun; I hope to see you all there.