If you’re going to OpenWorld, I have some advice for you. Actually, I have several pieces of advice. As someone who has crawled through the innards of this massive event for the last four years, I know a thing or two about how the beast operates. So here are my tips for getting the most from your OpenWorld experience.

Tip #1: Stay close to the hotel where most of the JD Edwards sessions take place. Every year, the JD Edwards team books out one of the hotels near the Moscone Convention Center for its sessions. Last year, the gang from Denver used the San Francisco Hilton, which is a painfully long walk from “the Moscone”, as we Bay Area residents call it. This year, it’s at the Intercontinental Hotel, a brand new destination just one block away on Howard Street. (Could this be a sign that JD Edwards is a rising star in Oracle’s sky?) If you want to trade ideas with fellow JD Edwards customers and the Denver team, plan events that keep you in or around the Intercontinental. Once you leave the area, you will find it harder to meet conference goers with common interests.

Tip #2: Plan what sessions you will attend in advance. It is even more important for you to take this tip to heart this year than in the past. Why? Because this year, Oracle is making the conference as paperless as possible as part of its “Green” initiative. This means you may not receive one of those monstrous catalogues of all the sessions when you pick up your badge. You may have to plug a memory stick into your laptop (if you’re lugging one) or queue up for an Oracle-provided workstation to select your sessions.

To avoid any hassles, select your sessions in advance by going to the OpenWorld 2008 web site this week. From there, you can proceed to the Content Catalog to view descriptions of all the sessions. Then, sign up for the sessions you want to attend via the Schedule Builder.

Tip #3: Save space in your schedule for some hot sessions. Every year at OpenWorld, the JD Edwards team holds its most important sessions “back to back” on a single day. This year, the big day will be Monday. It all starts at 1:00PM in the Grand Ballroom of the Intercontinental, when Lenley Hensarling and John Schiff will deliver their traditional update on EnterpriseOne and World. Individual sessions on the roadmaps for both product lines will follow.

Tip #4: Use the session schedule to figure out what big announcements Oracle is going to make. Oracle always saves some big announcements for OpenWorld, and this year will be no exception. If you want to know what is likely to be announced in advance, just browse the session titles and abstracts. Here are some examples I have culled from the JD Edwards sessions.

  • JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Investment Strategy Overview and the 9.0 Release (Monday at 2:30PM)
  • Taking Oracle User Productivity Kit to the Next Level for the JD Edwards World Product Line (Tuesday at 9:00AM)
  • Demantra Demand Management and JD Edwards World: Benefits of a “World”-Class Forecasting Tool (Tuesday at 1:00PM)
  • JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.0 Financial Management Overview (Wednesday at 9:00AM)

If you look at these sessions and their abstracts, you will see that they discuss products that have not yet been announced. So…what conclusion would you draw from the fact that these sessions are on the schedule?

Tip #5: Start networking now. This OpenWorld, Oracle has given us more tools to share great ideas and hot tips about the conference than ever before. There is an OpenWorld section on Oracle Mix, an OpenWorld Wiki, and an OpenWorld Blog. You can get a lot of great ideas and helpful tips from these sites, not to mention some interesting people.

Tip #6: Bring (or buy) your own water container. Remember what I was saying about Oracle’s Green initiative? As part of that effort, the company will provide no plastic water bottles on site. Full conference goers will receive refillable water bottles that they can fill at water stations, but others will have to bring or buy their own bottles.

Tip #7: Attend our sessions! This year, GSI (our partner on this web site) will speak at two sessions that will interest anyone who wants to maximize the value of their EnterpriseOne implementation. Here they are:

  • Session S299210 – Getting the Most Out of Your Technology Stack for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne (Monday at 5:30PM, Intercontinental Hotel Grand Ballroom B/C)
  • Session S299216 – Running JD Edwards EnterpriseOne for a 24/7 Business (Wednesday at 1:00PM, Intercontinental Hotel Grand Ballroom A)

So…do you have any tips on how to survive and thrive at OpenWorld? If so, feel free to leave them in the reply box below. See you in San Francisco!