donderdag 3 oktober 2013

Unconventional Overview of OOW13

Hello everyone,

Due to the huge amount of readers of my last year’s blogs on OOW, I restrict myself this year to the overall conclusion I made on OOW13.
The idea’s and opinions expressed in this blog are my own.  So if you want copy or use them, please send a donation to charity ☺.

@https://www.facebook.com/OracleOpenWorld
As aspected this year's Oracle Open World focused on Cloud, Big Data, Social, Customer Experience, M2M(IoT) and Mobile.
No surprises here, until you look further.  Until you start looking further then the sessions being given, further then buzzwords, even further then keynote speeches.

First major change, it is not about mobile, it is about mobile-first.  No longer the desktop browser is king in the land of the developer, according to Oracle, but the mobile devices are.  They control the development of frameworks, architectures and solutions.   They define how application will be made in the future and how they will look like.
We came from a couple of years of developing desktop web browser applications and making the mobile brothers alike for them, to making mobile applications and given their big brother applications the look&feel they need.
While this seems a small shift, it will totally change your view on application development.
Does this mean you need to throw all your current projects away and start over again, no.
Remember that it is Oracle's vision that is presented at Open World, giving you a year or two to react upon.

Another change is in the Cloud proposal, but this change we all expected: more, bigger and more social. The solutions presented covering the cloud offering of Oracle, were numerous.  I was impressed in the total package of Oracle, extra features on the existing offerings, new offerings in the IAAS, PAAS and SAAS area. While I'm not an Oracle applications guy, the list of offerings in the SAAS area overwhelmed me. Off course, their SAAS-cloud offering doesn't cover all the functionalities delivered by their mature sisters like PeopleSoft, Siebel, EBusiness Suite or JD Edwards.  Nor is that the purpose.  How many times did you hear that the cloud would change the way you do business?
When there wouldn't be any difference between those solutions, where would the change in doing business be?
But this isn't change this is evolution. The change lies in opening of their cloud offering.
How do you open a cloud offering you might ask?  It is not only Oracle's cloud that gives you your favorite products at your fingertips, also Microsoft's Azure-cloud solution will enable you to run your business in the cloud on Oracle software.
Who said that Oracle isn't a cloud company?
Small remark on the side: MS was putting a lot of focus on the fact that you could run the Oracle database, WebLogic Server and Java in their cloud.  While the first two make sense, the last one is a bit strange. Since it's slogan is "Develop once, run anywhere".

Finally, big data or should I say smart data. While last year big data was al about capturing, this year it is all about integrating and delivering solutions for the business.  The examples given during such a conference are breath taking.
Coming from a very small country myself, I was wondering what could mean big/smart data for the Belgium market. And in essence it is not about the absolute size of data that need to be handled, but the relative portion of that data that resides above the normal expected working parameters of your business. Since Oracle always looks at the big players in all market segments, the hardware solutions they put forward are equally big. So it is far more opportune to not look at the hardware side of things, but the architecture side of it.  Perhaps your business doesn't need the power of treating billions of rows of data a day, but it might well be that it is interested in the same insights.
Insights into your business, insights into your way of working, insights into your customers, insights into the business of your customers and perhaps the most business interruptive power of them all: social media.
Big/smart data is not about data; it is about thinking differently about building solutions based on data. Now it all comes together, network, hardware, software, maturity and social allowing for a new final frontier of analytics.

@https://www.facebook.com/OracleOpenWorld
Let’s not forget the new kid on the block, M2M.  It is hardly new; it was already presented the year before, but then only on JavaOne. While you need to go to J1 for the dirty technical details about it, you can now join OOW for the business side of things.  What M2M appeals to me is that it, like big data, let’s you rethink solutions for the business.  Now it is a lot easier to not only build a solution based on software, but also include a hardware portion.  We are not confined anymore to expense and unique in the market devices, probably vendor locked-in also, but we get now this breath taken possibilities of cheap and commodity hardware that we can shape to our needs.  The fact that this topic got his own keynote means that Oracle thinks that their customers are ready to embrace this technology, which probably result in a boost of projects being started.

@https://www.facebook.com/OracleOpenWorld
If you think I covered all the major topics by now, cloud/mobile/big data/m2m/social, you are in for a surprise.
At last year's conference, we had a couple of talks about the way Oracle tries to deliver applications that are end-user friendly.  They even had planned a short trip to HQ, to convince us about the effort they put into it.
Who could ever thought, that this topic would be the biggest one of them all the year after? I'm not counting the number of sessions nor the seats in the rooms of those sessions; instead I'm looking at impact of it on all previously discussed topics.
"Customer Experience", it seems so easy and logical. It is the reason why there are so many conventions around the world. It is the reason why companies invest in development, marketing and sales.  Frankly, it is probably the outcome of customer experience that drives companies or better-put "people".
Once you start talking about customer experience, you are dealing with a totally different set of KPI’s.  It is no longer about bits and bytes, no longer about how fast and well we can treat information, it is not about how much money we put into IT, what the hell it is not about IT.
It is about ... you, the customer, partner, employee and family and how we can make our business more suited for you.
Finally, once a department starts thinking about the service it can deliver, instead of the great wonderful technical things they can do, that's the day that it becomes the corner stone of a company.


Here are a few examples to illustrate the power of it.

@http://kentgraziano.com/
  • I already tweeted about it, so I'll start with the event itself. Not only was the event bigger in size, it was also bigger in the overall experience for the visitor. For me it is not so much about the big, too cold air-conditioned session rooms (they were there last year also ☺), it is about the fact that the company Oracle is more then just a supplier of hard- and software, it delivers now also entertainment, passion and vision outside of the IT-landscape.

    Walking around on the Oracle plaza, which was on Howard Street (between North and South Moscone), gave you a sense of the power of Oracle in the Bay area. This year there was no closed tent hiding Howard Street. This year it was an open, inviting and socially appealing place to linger. Coming out of a keynote, hearing fantastic music, feeling the sun warming your body and only seeing smiling people, pushes you into the only possible conclusion: Life @/with Oracle is great.  On top of that, add the suspense of the America's Cup, and you know there is more to live then IT even @Oracle.

    Short remark on the side concerning Larry Ellison ditching his cloud keynote in favor of the boat race, so what?  Larry has the fortune to have now 2 boats (metaphorically speaking). One is a very big one, with still a lot of potential but more importantly 5 great captains. This boat is not ready, nor willing, to lose. It has a great history of good and bad moments, but always came out strong. The other one is fairly new, has only 1 captain and a smaller crew. It has equally great potential, but still need guidance, hence their victory in the America's Cup.Larry didn't stand up 60.000 people, there would never be 60.000 people looking at the keynote. So many of them were also looking at the boat race or having lunch with customers or partners. Isn't it great to see that the team behind Larry is capable of standing by their captain?
  • Another example is the testimony of Lego. What a great inside into their company's marketing vision. How else can you do a campaign for 100$? Admitting that Lego already had a good brand name, so it can more easily make use of crowd sourcing, but nevertheless a good example how small and simple things can bring great results (trying to avoid saying big here).
    It is all about finding the social needs of your customers and using that to open new worlds for them and yourself.

  • Now for the last example, a more of a personal note. First a warning: all characters appearing in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

    So I was wondering around finding my way to Moscone North for the keynote of JavaOne. Assuming a lot of people would take the direct route through the Moscone North entry, I took my changes via Moscone South. As a few of you know, there is a direct passage from South to North. Still standing in South and looking on to the passage of North, I see a sea of people waiting to go to the keynote. So a bit uneasy I put myself back in line ready for a long period of queuing.  Still not sure I'm really in the right lane, I ask a person next to me whether this is really the queue for the keynote.
    Naturally she could answer, "Off course, what else would all those people be queuing for?" and probably thinking "Again a foreigner, probably from a small country like Belgium where they've never seen such an interest in a keynote".
    Strangely enough she didn't, instead she said, "Yes, it is". A bit surprised by the calmness of her answer and given my capability of not stopping speaking, I asked a couple of more questions. Strangely enough, she didn't figure out that I was a foreigner right away and so she kept on answering my curiosity. Suddenly the roles got inverted. She was now starting to ask questions and I was more then willing to reply. After 10 minutes going back and forth like this, something changed.  We stopped with asking and started telling stories about things that happened or would be happening in the near future. We watched the keynote together and gave our very personal opinion on every topic. More often then not, we were thinking in the same direction. After the keynote, we exchanged numbers and fought our way through JavaOne for her and Open World for me.

    Now what has this to do with customer experience? Well read the story again and replace "me" with yourself, "she" with your partner, customer and the "keynote" with social media. Now tell me, is this not how you make the first contact with new customers/partners?


The final thoughts I want you to take with you are that all the fancy buzzwords like cloud, mobile, big data should be enablers for your business and not a goal in itself. When looking beyond IT and seeing the bigger picture, will allow you to do bigger and longer projects that stand the test of time and will be better appreciated and used by the business.

Hoped you enjoyed the reading.

F

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