February 7, 2008

Oracle OpenWorld vs. Collaborate vs. Kaleidoscope

In response to my blog entry on February 6th, Robert posed an interesting question:

If you could only go to one conference (and pretend that you don't get an iPod at any of them :) ), which would you go to? ODTUG, COLLABORATE, or OpenWorld?

First of all, the iPod comment is in response to a post I made during OpenWorld. For being such a decent guy, Oracle decided to reward me with the coolest device ever created (well, as of today), an iPod Touch. Okay, it was a blatant bribe which I shamelessly accepted. I didn't let it cloud my coverage of OpenWorld, though. Most people agree that I was pretty negative on OpenWorld with the exception of my iTouch). [Editor's Note: the iPod Touch is the coolest device ever created, so take that wheel, cotton gin, and telephone.] My problem is that I keep comparing it to the late, great Hyperion Solutions conference. While Hyperion Solutions wasn't as great as the old Arbor Dimension conferences, it was far better than most software conferences.

I seriously doubt Collaborate or Kaleidoscope will be giving me another iTouch, so let's go with Robert's hypothetical and pretend that OpenWorld doesn't give out bribes either. Now which one would I attend if I could only go to one?

Collaborate. Without reservation. If I'm going to a conference, it's primarily to learn. As such, content is key.

I actually got asked a very similar question on Network 54's Essbase discussion board just yesterday (apparently, it's a popular question these days). To parrot what I said there, OpenWorld was very, very marketing-oriented. 80% of the fewer than 100 presentations in the Hyperion track were delivered by Oracle (in some cases, with clients/partners as co-speakers). COLLABORATE is supposed to have 100-150 presentations with 100+ of those delivered by clients and partners.

In the interest of full-disclosure, my company, interRel, is paying to be a 4-star partner of COLLABORATE. Why? Because we're hoping that COLLABORATE becomes the successor to to the Solutions conference.
Solutions was a great opportunity to learn (partying was always secondary) and I refuse to believe it's dead with nothing to take it's mantle. We're investing a great deal of money with the assumption that something has to take the place of Hyperion Solutions conference, and it certainly isn't OpenWorld.

Is OpenWorld completely bad? Absolutely not. In addition to the great bribes, it's a much larger conference than COLLABORATE or ODTUG's Kaleidoscope, so if your thing is networking, by all means, go to OpenWorld. OpenWorld is the best place to get the official Oracle party line on upcoming releases and what not. OpenWorld is also the place to hear better keynotes (well, at least by More Famous People like Larry Ellison, himself). OpenWorld has better parties too. OpenWorld is also in San Francisco which is just a generally cooler town. In short, OpenWorld was very well organized, but since it's being put on by Oracle, it's about them getting out their message to their existing and prospective client base.

So why aren't I recommending Kaleidoscope (since I haven't been to that either)? Size, mostly. Their entire conference will have around 100 presentations, so their Hyperion track will most likely be fewer than 10 presentations. I've been to regional Hyperion User Group meetings that have more than that (well, the one interRel hosted in August of 2007 had 9, but close enough). While Kaleidoscope may one day grow their Hyperion track, it's going to be a long time until they equal the 100-150 presentations that COLLABORATE is supposed to have on Hyperion alone.

If you're only going to one Hyperion-oriented conference this year, register for COLLABORATE. If you've got money in the budget for two conferences, also go to OpenWorld. If you're a developer that finds both COLLABORATE and OpenWorld to be too much high-level fluff, then go to Kaleidoscope.

February 6, 2008

Oracle Conferences - ODTUG

In the good ole days of Hyperion, there was a single annual conference (at least in the USA) each year: Hyperion Solutions. There were also some regional user groups. Now that Oracle has taken over, I can't seem to keep track of all the conferences. There's OpenWorld in the fall (September 21-25 in 2008) which is put on by Oracle and is basically Oracle marketing Oracle. COLLABORATE is held in April (this year is April 13-17 in Denver) and it's put on by the various large Oracle User Group umbrella organizations (IOUG, OAUG, and Quest). At the moment, COLLABORATE seems to be the closest to taking on the banner of the late, great Hyperion Solutions conferences. I just found out this morning about another Oracle conference that's adding Hyperion content: Oracle Development Tools User Group's Kaleidoscope. Their upcoming conference is in June in New Orleans.

I was going to write a really long, extremely poetic blog entry about how to find out more information about ODTUG, but my good friend, Tim Tow, already blogged about it on Monday. Rather than have me repeat the links in his entry, I'll just direct you to Tim's blog. Tim's name is probably familiar to many of you: like me, he's been around the Hyperion world since the dinosaur days of Essbase. He's the founder of AppliedOLAP and he's probably the most active helper on all the Essbase forums around the web. I recommend that everyone bookmark his blog, because he does a great job of sharing technical information.

If you're interested in submitting a paper to the ODTUG Kaleidoscope conference, the deadline has been extended to February 18.