Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Oracle OpenWorld 2007 Part 9

The last major piece of the OpenWorld 2007 experience I haven't written about yet is the expo hall. Frankly, I didn't get to do the expo hall experience at all until Wednesday and then it was to find someone from Hyperion that I needed to work with. I did get a bit of time to walk around and got some general impressions on the comparison between the Hyperion Solutions expo hall experience and the Oracle OpenWorld experience.

The first major difference between the two is scale. OpenWorld has so many exhibitors that they actually have 2 very large halls at the Moscone Center filled to capacity. Oracle obviously has much more than just 'business intelligence' products and they have acquired many large software companies over the years. One our local Oracle Partner Network (OPN) contacts (yes, we actually have one locally here in Huntsville, AL), Oracle had about 300 'pods' where they had displays. A 'pod' is defined, as I understand it, as one third of a freestanding circular display with a desk for computers and demos. Each pod was manned by a person knowledgable about the product in that pod. Hyperion had somewhere between 30 to 50 pods and based on the Hyperion personnel they posted there (many of whon I have known for many years, I would certainly consider them well manned.

I also took a little time to look at some of the other Oracle pods. They have some interesting products. I had not seen the 'E-Business Suite' product, which evolved from Oracle Financials, since I worked on Oracle Financials back in the early 1990's. I can definitely see where some customers I have worked with in the past could greatly benefit from the product, particularly in a hosted model. It will be very exciting as the Hyperion acquisition matures and we start to see things like connectors to data sources such as this that will greatly lessen the effort needed to create analytical cubes for those users.

There were several traditional Hyperion partners that had displays including Palladium, Ranzal and TLC Technologies. I only got to ask one of these how they felt about the 'booth traffic' at OpenWorld vs Solutions. That partner told me they thought the traffic wasn't as high as at the Solutions conferences but that the quality of the leads they were getting was much higher; they also told me they had already decided to signup for a booth next year.

We decided not to get a booth this year as we felt with all of the Oracle / Peoplesoft / Siebel and other vendors at the show, we would spend an awfully large amount of time explaining what Hyperion Essbase is instead of talking about how we add value to Essbase. This trip really turned into an exploratory trip to determine if we want to get a booth next year. One positive factor is that the cost of the booths are definitely more affordable than at Hyperion Solutions. At Solutions, a 10' x 10' booth was $15,000 this year; at OpenWorld the same booth was $5,500. Right now, we are leaning towards getting a booth next year.

There were some other things that you never saw at Solutions. For example, there were cars on the show floor. One display had a BMW model that uses embedded Oracle Lite on-board; I didn't find out why but I do remember thinking it would be a perfect car for a geek like me.. If I got stuck in traffic, I could play with the on-board database. Another thing out among the booths was a video game area filled with (free?) arcade games. Twenty-five years ago I may have wandered in there but I am so over video games that the last 5 laptops I have owned have never had a game played on it (unless, of course, you consider writing Essbase Java API code a game; I certainly do and I certainly like the fact that when you win, you win cash!

In general, I thought the OpenWorld experience as both fun and a great learning experience. I hope to see you there next year.

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