Oracle OpenWorld is still over 11 weeks away (September 30 – October 4) but those considering going need to decide soon whether to participate this year. Registration costs will increase $300 at the end of this week. More importantly, hotel and flight options become more scarce and expensive as each day passes. OpenWorld has become so large, with at least 45,000 people expected this year, that it stretches the limits of downtown San Francisco to accommodate everyone comfortably. Those that register fashionably late pay a heavy price for doing so.

For the JD Edwards community, OpenWorld is now one of three major annual events. Collaborate tends to be the most complete experience and the one that those who can only afford to go to one usually choose. Next years Collaborate will be held in Denver on April 7-11, 2013.  The next Quest JD Edwards conference called INFOCUS  will be held in Broomfield, Colorado on November 7-9 at the Omni Resort. It sounds very exciting, but as a new event it is hard to predict in advance what it will be like.

The unique appeal of OpenWorld is the breadth of its coverage of the entire and extensive Oracle product line. Those wanting a broader perspective of the company behind JD Edwards and all the other things it offers will find OpenWorld to be the best place to go to get it. The options are so extensive it takes some planning to take advantage of them because the event is spread across a wide area.

Those whose interests include database technology, hardware appliances, mobility, Business Intelligence and even Linux can benefit from going to OpenWorld. If your focus is just in the applications space there is more to see and learn about than just the JD Edwards content. Oracle’s “edge” applications cover functions as diverse as CRM, HCM, transportation management, advanced manufacturing scheduling and much more.

Perhaps the best reason for application-focused professionals to go to OpenWorld is to learn more about Fusion Applications. Oracle has been slow playing the introduction of its next generation ERP suite, but at some point it is bound to turn up the heat and try to get us all excited and buying.

It is too early to tell if this is the year of the big push for Fusion Applications, but no matter what this will be the best chance for a long time to learn about them in some depth. I remain convinced that over time these applications will mature into something that will impact every JD Edwards customer. Whether that time is now or still off in the future is one of the most important things we are likely to learn this year at OpenWorld.

So far many JD Edwards customers have tended to stay aloof and to not strongly identify themselves as part of the broader Oracle community. This attitude will continue to slowly change. As it does more of you will want to better understand the very unique company that is behind the product with which we identify. OpenWorld is the one place where each year Oracle gives us a few tantalizing peaks at what is going on behind the curtain. It is the only scheduled forum where CEO Larry Ellison appears (without a script) to tell his customers what is on his mind.

I hope to see many of you at OpenWorld and many of others at INFOCUS or the next Collaborate. For those that cannot come I hope to again provide you with some insight from a JD Edwards point of view via these postings.