With six weeks until Collaborate kicks off in Las Vegas, now seems like a good time to speculate on what might happen there – hopefully doing so might help some of you that are on the fence decide to go.  Here goes. 

It is hard to picture any major or radical changes in JDE direction coming this year.  The JDE roadmap has been solid for years now and there is no reason to change it.  Doing so would require Oracle to increase spending on JDE specific enhancements and I do not see that happening nor do I see any compelling reason to do so.  The only real glaring weakness in the product is its reporting capability, a flaw that all other ERP suites share.  The answer to that weakness is Business Intelligence. 

Even though there will be a limited amount of JDE specific news the conference is still likely to be quite valuable and informative.  Things that rock our world over time will come, just not as enhancements that only we will see.  Oracle is not done buying, integrating and enhancing what it calls edge applications such as Siebel, Demantra, and Transportation Manager.  Expect progress to be visible at Collaborate. 

Oracle will clearly use Collaborate to better explain why it bought Sun and what will happen next.  My guess is that the impact on our community will come more from Java as it elevates Oracle’s game in software development than from Sun’s hardware and the Solaris OS.  I expect to eventually see Sun servers that claim to have been optimized for JDE but cannot imagine that any will be ready this soon. 

This Collaborate will be the first time Lyle Ekdahl appears as the leader of our clan.  Sadly that will mean a toning down of the zaniness that his past Collaborate appearances featured (remember the parrot that wouldn’t do tricks last year?).  A more dignified Ekdahl will likely remain as articulate and informative as he has always been in the past.  He won’t have much earth shaking news, but should be able to make the continuing case for JDE in a clear and compelling way. 

Last year there was one minor reference in passing to Fusion Applications in all of the main tent sessions.  Expect more this year even though I do not see it being a main topic of discussion until OpenWorld later this year.  A mild attempt to prepare us for the upcoming introduction of what Oracle will promote as the ERP suite of the future seems highly likely. 

The next big announcement on the Oracle calendar is BI 11g.  I foresee some indirect references to it as something on the horizon but do not believe that Collaborate will be viewed as the best place to announce something not aimed directly at our community. 

The big question marks for me are: 

  • When will Oracle start heavily promoting its red stack (aka Fusion Middleware) and its own Database to the JDE and PeopleSoft user bases?
  • Will IBM be bashed the way it was at OpenWorld?
  • Will Oracle executives resist the temptation to bash SAP and gloat over its current troubles? 

I can’t wait and hope to see lots of you that follow this blog there as well.