May 4, 2009

Collaborate - Day Two

9:00AM - My 1st Presentation of the Conference
I just finished delivering a presentation on "The New Essbase Studio." This sessions was scheduled for 8AM on the opening day of the conference. Note to whomever at OAUG has the cruel sense of humor: I am not a morning person. I'm more of a "sometime after 11AM I start to wake up, I really get going in the mid-afternoon, and I don't hit my peak until well after dark and if you really want me to, I'd be happy to present at midnight" sort of person.

Much to my shock and pleasantly surprised awe, around 75 people showed up to hear me talk and give me support in my sleep-deprived state. The first person to walk in (who got there around 20 minutes early, amazingly) said that the only thing was going to get her to an 8AM presentation was if I was giving it. While I always love a fan, I think she was just trying to make me feel better. Since it worked, I went on to give what for me was a fairly lively "just past dawn" presentation.

I love Essbase Studio. I think that along with Varying Attributes and Text in an Essbase Cube, Essbase Studio is one of the three killer reasons to go to Essbase 11. Two best reasons to implement Essbase Studio? Unlimited, easy-to-build drillthrough reports and xOLAP (the ability to put Essbase as an empty outline shell right on top of a relational warehouse to enablereal-time data access). I think my passion for the product came through, and I sincerely hope people start upgrading to it soon.

I've got to run across half the convention center now to find the opening kickoff session. I don't plan on much EPM or Hyperion specific content, but if the room is dark enough and I can get a seat way in the back, I might get in a power nap.

9:45AM - General Kickoff Session
I'm sitting in the general kickoff session right now listening to Charles Phillips (one of the Presidents of Oracle) talk about all the great product releases and changes over the last year. Here are all the relevant things he said about Oracle EPM and Hyperion:
  • (This bullet intentionally left blank.)
Charlie just announced the release of Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1. I don't know why, but everyone seemed to be impressed.

10:15AM - Opening Session Continued
A fairly humorous man just went up to the stage to talk about Oracle Beehive. This (along with the HP Oracle Exadata Storage Server) was announced at OpenWorld. Beehive, Oracle's collaboration technology, does look like it's been enhanced since OpenWorld, and this article seems to confirm that:

I'm off now to join some friends of mine with ODTUG for lunch. I'm running a bit early, so I think I'll stop by the exhibit hall first and check out the interRel booth (3849, in case you're here and want to stop by).

12:15PM - Early Lunch at Tommy Bahama's
Lunch was at Tommy Bahama's Cafe. Yes, I know what you're thinking: yes, I ate lunch at a clothing retailer, but their Caribbean food was quite good. Apparently, Tommy Bahama now has something nearing 10 of these cafes attached to their clothing stores around the world. I had quesadillas and they were extremely tasty and original.

My counterparts who stayed to eat the Collaborate food were not treated nearly as nicely. It seems that the prison food from 2008 (horrid sandwiches with a couple other boxed items) has made a return. Blog reader Eric H sent me this via Twitter: "Wow. You were right. I'm packing a lunch tomorrow. :)" I may actually brave the lunch and document in detail what the food looks like.

2:00PM - Exhibit Hall First Impressions
I finally made it to the exhibit hall. It always amazes me at these things how there can be so much setup chaos a mere 3 hours before the hall is supposed to open. The interRel booth looks good, but the banner proclaiming us "EPM Partner of the Year" is still lying on the floor. There's a union guy who's going to put it up as soon as he stops doing his impersonation of a three-toed sloth with two missing toes.

The hall seems smaller to me than Collaborate 2008. I think the number of vendors is down due to the economy.

7:03PM - Opening Night Exhibit Hall Reception
The opening night reception had high points and low points or to be more specific, a high point and a low point. High point: the food. While I was only close enough to observe a dessert table, it was a very well stocked dessert table with enough types of candy and chocolate to make Willy Wonka proud. Yes, I know I just complimented the food at Collaborate. Don't stand near me folks, the conference Gods are vengeful and they be wielding lightning. Note that the lunch food from today would be classified by the Obama administration as torture, but the reception snacks seem downright impressive.

Low point was definitely the attendance. We had remarkably little booth traffic for what should arguably be the busiest time of the week for the exhibit hall. There were maybe 35 clients (or potentials) that we saw the entire night. The other 100+ people who stopped by our booth were partners/vendors. 3-to-1 ratio of partners to customers? That's not marketing money well spent.

11:30PM - Tuesday's Plan
I'm back at the hotel reviewing my "must do" items from tomorrow:
  • 9:45AM - Visual Analysis going beyond grids and two dimensional charts in room W230D. This is my first session at this conference with a client or to be more specific, a partner. Deepak from Tableau will be talking about using Visual Explorer against Essbase and other data sources. I'm really just there to answer questions.
  • 11:00AM - Workarounds for What the Essbase Developers Forgot in room W101B. My second presentation of the day (with all of 15 minutes between even though they're on completely opposite sides of the Orange County Convention Center) is sort of a "Hacking Essbase" presentation. If it's not there in current versions of Essbase, I'm going to be showing how to workaround it. This will either be really well attended or no one will be there because it's totally wrong for the Collaborate audience.
  • 3:15PM - Essbase Aggregate Storage is the way of the Future. My final presentation of the day is on how under 11x, Essbase cubes should be assumed to be ASO until BSO proves to be necessary. I'm supposed to be presenting with Matt Hanselman from American Girl but to some budgetary restrictions, he couldn't make the conference. Guess I'm presenting this one by myself!
  • 5:30PM - Happy Hour Reception in the exhibit hall. Back to the exhibit hall for more fun, frivolity, and maybe even more decent food?!?
  • 7:00PM - Customer Appreciation Dinner. My company is taking several of our clients out to eat at Pat O'Brien's. It's on Universal City Walk so afterwards, we'll have access to all the City Walk clubs. I'll probably end up out until midnight or later.
I may actually get 8 hours of sleep tonight. Maybe that's good karma for saying nice things about one small amount of Collaborate food?

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