GoldenGateBridge-main_FullEach autumn the customers, partners, vendors, and others that make up the Oracle ecosystem descend on downtown San Francisco.  Oracle’s insatiable appetite for acquisitions has made the OpenWorld conference almost unmanageably large.  Last October over 40,000 people came making it the largest event held within the city.  Roughly 2,000 of them shared an interest in JD Edwards software. 

This year OpenWorld will be held October 11 through 15.  If you are considering going now is the right time to make plans, especially arrangements for hotels and flights.  It is safe to assume that the recession will impact attendance, but even if “only” 30,000 people show up those that do come need to do lots of advanced planning in order to get full value from the event. 

This will be my fifth Oracle OpenWorld (OOW) in a row.  The advice and opinions offered below are based on that experience and input from a number of my Oracle contacts.  It is offered to help you decide if going makes sense and, if so, how to make the experience worthwhile.  Comments from other veterans are encouraged. 

Reasons to consider going:

  • This is Oracle’s one big event and a great place to develop an understanding of the large and complex business that controls the fate of JD Edwards software.
  • 100+ sessions will focus on topics of interest to the JDE community.
  • Over 1,000 of your peers will be there.  Most will come to a JDE focused cocktail party usually held Tuesday evening.
  • Even when crowded, San Francisco is a wonderful place to visit. 

Reasons to stay home:

  • 90% of OOW is not JDE centric.
  • The logistics can be complex and intimidating.
  • Collaborate and regional Quest events are better choices if you are only allowed to go to one outside event per year.
  • The idiots that run your company are too cheap to let you go. 

General comments and observations:

  • Unless you are an Oracle partner, there is little reason to come Sunday.
  • The keynote sessions can be a hassle to get into. Most are available via closed-circuit video in the nearby Marriott hotel.
  • The JDE sessions will mostly be at the InterContinental Hotel.
  • This year Oracle will experiment with 30 minute sessions for some topics.
  • Business Intelligence and what Oracle calls Business Performance Management will be major themes this year.  See other postings for more on this topic.
  • A big focus will be on how to take advantage of Oracle applications that integrate well with JDE applications such as Oracle Transportation Manager.
  • Thankfully, Oracle’s in-the-works acquisition of Sun Microsystems will likely not be done in time to impact OOW.  Little will be said if the deal is not legally complete by then.  Some Sun centric people will come out of curiosity but not in large enough numbers to make things overcrowded. It is unlikely that we will learn much about what Oracle plans to do with Sun.
  • A huge social/networking event will be held Wednesday night.  If you feel like partying like it is 1999 with 20,000+ others it can be fun.  You must have a tolerance for large crowds, loud music, bus rides and a cold wind coming off the bay to enjoy it. 

For those who cannot go, The JD Edwards Advisor will be there to collect intelligence and consolidate it into easily digestible morsels.