Collaborate is off and running and we are here in force to provide observations and comments.  This posting will be initial reactions and thoughts.  Later ones will benefit from more time for reflection and analysis.  The best news so far is that attendance is surprisingly strong at about 80% of last year when it was in a venue more attractive to many (Vegas), earlier in the year, and it occurred “a long time ago, in an economy that seems far, far away”.  Most of the lost attendance is due to customers sending fewer people, not a reduction in the number of organizations participating.  The bottom line is that the JDE customer set sees the value in staying up to date. 

With that in mind, lets see what we have learned so far, especially from Oracle President Charles Phillips annual state of the union keynote: 

  • A bone has been thrown to virtually every product community in the form of a new or about to arrive product release.
  • No big new products or concepts were announced.  The previous four Collaborate conferences each had some big new thing to talk about.
  • Fusion Applications were noticeable in their lack of attention – not mentioned at all by Phillips.  This was supposed to be the year they arrived on the scene.  More research will be done, but it appears as Fusion Applications is rapidly turning into a research science project.  Those of you fretting about being forced to drop JDE applications in favor of them could more productively exercise your need to worry about something on catching and dying from the swine flu.
  • As we predicted, Phillips said little about the Sun acquisition other than to wax poetic about how wonderful it would be.  He mentioned how Oracle was on a path to elegantly integrate everything from the disk to the desktop.  Sounds good at the sound bite level, but we remain skeptical about the hardware part of the equation.
  • The JDE organization has been juggled around a little with John Schiff now responsible for business development for both E1 and World.  He will still keep and eye on the slowly fading World customer base.  Don’t fret – additional releases and other loving care will still come your way.
  • Denise Grills will now manage marketing for the full JDE product line and not just World.  This de facto beefing up of the marketing function for JDE is a good sign.  Larry Ellison hates to spend money on marketing as a general principal so don’t expect to see lots of JDE specific advertising.  Do expect more JDE visibility and communication than has been evident since the takeover. 

Stay tuned, more news and commentary coming.