Quest West had a decidedly exotic atmosphere this year at the San Diego Marriott hotel since a movie with the working title “Paul” was being filmed there at the same time.  A wild assortment of costumed actors wandered about surrounded by countless supporting personnel.  It was not obvious why some actors were dressed as hobbits, others storm troopers and a few as wookies.  I will have to pay my $10 for a ticket sometime next year to find out what the movie being shot is about. 

The presentations were informative but far less visually dramatic.  As usual, Oracle provided a keynote speaker.  The time was used for a demonstration of the new web based support facility called My Oracle Support that will replace MetaLink 3 later this week on August 28.  Make sure that the people within your organization that use the support site are aware of the change and are ready for it. 

The My Oracle Support user interface is decidedly cool and includes a mind numbing variety of options and settings. The presentation was useful and very professional but I wonder why it was not offered as a breakout session instead of being a general session. I would have preferred to have Oracle use the featured Thursday main tent session to provide more insight into overall direction. 

On the other hand, the roughly 50 people who returned for the Friday sessions heard an excellent presentation by Oracle’s Lyle Ekdahl who ran a town hall session for JD Edwards.  Lyle has a unique gift for presenting technical material in a way that is entertaining, understandable, and informative.  This time of year major announcements are saved up for OpenWorld, so the only real news involved the availability of a new AIA integration of some of the Demantra (aka advanced planning) modules with E1.  Lyle’s overview of plans for the evolution of E1 (and even World) over time and how it fits into a broader Oracle strategy was outstanding.  Future posting will be devoted to this topic. 

As usual, my main goal at the conference was to collect useful morsels of information and gossip to share via this medium.  Here is a summary of what I picked up: 

  • Oracle’s top management structure has recently changed in a way that could benefit the JD Edwards community.  Ed Abbo, who ran Oracle’s application business, has left.  Application development now reports to Thomas Kurian.  JDE executive Lenley Hensarling now reports directly to Kurian.
  • Chuck Roswat has gone walkabout (technically a leave of absence but likely a de facto retirement).  Roswat was a direct report to Ellison and the executive in charge of all product development including applications. Kurian has taken his place making him a peer of co-presidents Safra Catz and Charles Phillips.
  • A future posting will try to sort out the meaning of the organization change but the bottom line is that Hensarling (and therefore JDE) is no longer buried far down the Oracle org chart. 
  • Apparently Oracle Founder and CEO Larry Ellison has become especially excited and energized by the Sun acquisition that looks like it will close formally before OpenWorld.  Time spent by Ellison on hobbies such as trying to win back the America’s Cup has apparently been cut way back.
  • My wild guess that Oracle might spin off the Sun hardware unit appears to have been wrong.  Ellison seems to relish the challenge of creating fully integrated appliance offerings.  I remain skeptical about Oracle’s chances of successfully pulling this off, but I would never bet against Oracle’s ability to meet a technical challenge. 

Much more on all of these topics will be coming after the Labor Day Holiday – stay tuned.