Oracle often uses Collaborate to introduce important new concepts. Applications Unlimited and Application Integration Architecture were both unveiled by Oracle President Charles Phillips at Collaborate.  The timing of Collaborate, right near the end of Oracle’s fiscal year, makes it a good venue to try out new ideas (but not specific new products).  I read the news that Phillips is coming back as a clear signal that Oracle has something important to say.  The fact that Tom Kurian will be a co-presenter reinforces the notion that the news will be big. 

Kurian’s title of Executive VP of Development does not seem on the surface as impressive as Phillips title of President.  In reality the two of them and EVP / CFO Safra Katz are nearly equal peers as the three most influential direct reports to CEO Larry Ellison. In my opinion Kurian is the most likely among them to eventually replace Ellison.  Kurian shares Ellison’s deep understanding of how software works and his ability to formulate complex technological strategies. Nothing happens to the Oracle product line that Kurian does not endorse. 

The title of the keynote is Transforming Customer Value – Delivering Highest Customer Service.  The official description is: 

“With the completion of the acquisition of Sun, Oracle is now focused on creating even more value for customers by engineering innovation throughout the lifecycle of product investment – from the way products are bought, run and managed to the way they are supported.  Oracle continues to deliver fundamental advances for customers by combining new capabilities in hardware, database and middleware with innovative and easy to adopt business applications. ” 

I interpret this as saying “come hear Oracle’s top sales and development executives explain for the first time exactly why Sun was acquired and how it has led to a new vision of Oracle’s place in the IT marketplace.”  Presenting this story at Collaborate is a way of test driving a new set of marketing messages in front of a friendly audience that gets limited media coverage – sort of like putting on a musical in New Haven before bringing it to Broadway. 

Anyone who was on the fence about attending Collaborate might want to factor in the value of hearing first hand how Oracle has decided to reinvent itself.  Senior IT executives that need to understand how Oracle’s actions might impact them in the future have an especially strong reason to attend. 

I am considering organizing a gathering at Collaborate sometime after the keynote to exchange ideas on exactly what it means to us.  Anyone interesting in participating in such a gathering should let me know so that we can make sure you are invited.