Last week Quest held its annual Northeast conference at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut with over 300 people attending.  John Schiff represented Oracle’s JDE management team at the event.  His presentation differed very little from the one given by his boss Lyke Ekdahl at Collaborate a few months ago.  It represented more of a chance for those that had not yet heard this year’s story directly from Oracle to catch up than an opportunity to learn anything new. 

Oracle’s JDE strategy has settled into a comfortable groove that we can all understand.  New application and tool releases continue to come out every 1-2 years with features that appeal to increasingly narrower segments of the installed base.  This is not surprising because there is little need or clamor for dramatic new features given the maturity of the product.  These new releases will continue for a decade or more into the future. 

The more dramatic opportunities for improvement come from outside the JDE applications themselves in the form of what Oracle calls “edge” applications.  Demantra and Transportation Manager are good examples of the kinds of applications that can be added.  Much of Oracle’s development funding goes to not only obtain and enhance a growing set of these applications but into integrating them in increasingly elegant ways to existing products like JDE.  It was disappointing that there were almost no sessions at the event dedicated to edge applications. 

Oracle also hopes to enhance the value of its traditional applications through its growing portfolio of Business Intelligence offerings.  Last week Oracle BI 11g was officially introduced in a separate event.  There was a lot to it but from our selfish point of view most of the improvements will have limited appeal to the JDE community.  Future postings will cover this announcement in detail and explain why our particular needs are not yet a priority for Oracle. It is also disappointing that Oracle makes so little effort to promote its BI product line at Quest events.  The one BI presentation offered by Oracle drew only six people (myself included) and made no mention of the big announcement made the day before.  

Oracle may not have promoted BI, but everyone else did with nearly 20 different presentations covering different facets of this topic.  Oracle missed this chance to explain its new BI offerings to our community but will be able to make up for it at the upcoming OpenWorld conference in September. 

My own presentation on Understanding Oracle seemed well received.  It summarized all I have learned about the unique and hard to comprehend company that we are all so heavily dependent upon.  I plan to update the presentation after OpenWorld where a great deal of invaluable information should be available, especially regarding Fusion Applications.