September 19, 2008

Hyperion Conferences - Time to Submit Your Abstracts

With the old (and much missed) Hyperion Solutions conference, the time to submit abstracts for possible inclusion in the April conference was usually in September or October.  With Collaborate (OAUG, IOUG, and Quest's conference) not until May and Kaleidoscope (ODTUG's conference) not until June, you'd think that we'd be able to wait until after OpenWorld to have to think about submissions.  Not so, because both conferences have already begun accepting submissions for presentations at their conferences in 2009.

Why should you submit a presentation?  Here are the three most common reasons:
  1. You're helping teach something to the rest of mankind.
  2. You get a free pass to the conference.
  3. "Speaker at national Hyperion conference" looks great on a resume.
In all honesty, most people do it to get the free pass, because having not having to pay the conference admission fees makes it a whole lot easier to convince your boss go to the conference since the pass is often half the cost of the whole trip.

I love Kaleidoscope and my opinion (and John Kopcke's) is that it's the natural successor to the Hyperion Solutions conference.  This year's Hyperion track was outstanding (full disclosure: I was the Hyperion track co-chair so apparently modesty is not my strong suit) and next year should be even better (and yes, I'm helping to head up K'Scope '09 too).  2008 was all about Essbase, but 2009 will expand to include the full former Hyperion toolset (including Hyperion Planning, HFM, Financial Reporting, Web Analysis, Interactive Reporting, and the rest).  I probably wouldn't bother submitting topics on some of the mostly end user products like Strategic Finance or Performance Scorecard, because those are a better fit for Collaborate (more on that in a second).

The audience for Kaleidoscope is primarily developers and administrators of Hyperion applications (like an Essbase admin or a Planning developer).  If you're a casual end user of the product, a department director with little day-to-day hands-on experience with Hyperion, or a VP or CxO type, then Kaleidoscope is not really for you.  It's designed for someone who spends the majority of their time working with Hyperion.  If you feel you have something to deliver to that audience, then here's the submission link:

While I'm thinking about it, it's worth pointing out that Kaleidoscope is much more intimate than the other conferences, because they cap their number of attendees.  This gives Kaleidoscope more of an "intense training" vibe than your traditional "free food & open bar and if I learn something while I'm there, so much the better" feel than your traditional conference.  While they're opening it up to 1,000 Hyperion attendees this year, you'll want to sign up early (registration opens October 1), because like in 2008, I'm sure they'll hit their maximum.

They're looking for presentations around any of the product lines and they prefer more detailed sessions rather than higher-level overview ones.  Kaleidoscope's deadline for presentation submission is October 15.

This is my second favorite conference (after Kaleidoscope) although it's a distant second.  While this conference is supposedly a joint collaboration (hence the name) of the OAUG, IOUG, and Quest user groups, the main group sponsoring the Hyperion track is OAUG, home of the OAUG Hyperion SIG (full disclosure again: I'm Essbase domain co-lead for OAUG Hyperion SIG) .  I've written in the past about some of my major gripes with Collaborate (plan on buying your own food and wear comfortable shoes), but I'm told that it will get better in 2009, so I'm recommending it for certain types of users.

So what type of person would be a good fit at Collaborate?  The audience tends to be more geared towards daily users of Hyperion products but from an end-user perspective.  If you're a finance manager, an IT director, or someone who uses Hyperion products but a lot of other Oracle products as well, then Collaborate may be the right conference for you.  If you have something you'd like to share at Collaborate (or you just like going to Orlando), here's the submission link:

I think Collaborate is targeting around 1,000 Hyperion attendees for 2009 just like Kaleidoscope although since Collaborate doesn't cap attendance for each track, they'd be happy to have as many people as will sign up (starting sometime in November).

Collaborate likes client success stories (versus more hands-on training at Kaleidoscope) so keep that in mind as you craft your submissions.  Collaborate is open to all Hyperion products, but they're a lot more friendly to the applications (like Planning, HFM, or Strategic Finance) than they are to the technology stack.  For instance, a presentation on "How to use the Essbase Java API" is unlikely to get accepted at Collaborate and if it was, would be very sparsely attended.  Collaborate's deadline for presentation submission is October 31.

This is my least favorite of the 3 Hyperion conferences.  No, OpenWorld 2009 hasn't opened up their submissions yet mostly since as of this writing, the 2008 conference hasn't even been held yet.  That said, I'm sure it's just a matter of time until they do, so I guess I should tell you what type of person might want to go to this conference (in case you're budgeting for next year and can only go to one conference or only want to submit your presentations to one conference).

First of all, in the interest of full disclosure yet again, I'm an Oracle ACE Director so I have some level of obligation to attend OpenWorld.  That said, this is my least favorite of the Hyperion-centric conferences.  The reason is mainly that OpenWorld is basically a big marketing event for Oracle.  It's Oracle talking about Oracle.  Now that's not 100% the case.  For instance, I'm delivering 4 presentations next week and I'm neither Oracle nor do I plan on spending my time marketing for Oracle (or interRel).  It's just that 80% of the presentations are by Oracle and many of them are so high-level it's like they were created wholly by Oracle's marketing department(s).

So am I advising OpenWorld to anyone?  Well, yes, actually.  If you want to hear the official world of Oracle, there's no better place than OpenWorld.  I'm actually looking forward next week to hearing John Kopcke speak about Oracle's vision for EPM, Thomas Kurian talk about Oracle's strategy for Fusion, and Al Marciante talk about the future of Essbase.  If like me, you love presentations on "What's New and What's Coming" then by all means, go to OpenWorld.  (Be prepared though for a sanitized version of What's Coming since all of Oracle's competitors also go to OpenWorld for competitive information, the sneaky bastards.)

The other type of person that can benefit from OpenWorld are very senior executives at a company who are looking at Oracle from an overall IT standpoint.  If you're the CIO, VP of IT, or even the CFO at your company looking at spending a bunch of money on Oracle in the coming years, you definitely need to attend OpenWorld to hear what Oracle is going to be doing with your money.  You'll see far more CEOs at OpenWorld than at the other conferences.

I will be attending all three conferences since I'm interested in all three types of information: the official word of Oracle at OpenWorld, case studies of how customers have implemented Hyperion at COLLABORATE, and deep-dive Hyperion training at Kaleidoscope.  Submit your abstract to the one that most suits you, and I'll see you there.

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