September 15, 2010

OpenWorld 2010

I'm getting ready to leave for Oracle OpenWorld (OOW) and I'm mentally preparing myself the same way one would prepare oneself for, say, storming a beach under a steady barrage of heavy machine gun fire: by trying to pretend that my memories of the last time I survived this experience couldn't possibly be as bad as the real thing. No, I'm not a fan of Oracle OpenWorld. It's too many people spread across too many venues with too few hotels and buses to handle them all.

So that probably makes you wonder: why am I going? Because everyone else is, basically. Last year had something like 45,000 attendees and with the addition of the Java users, this year should be more like 50,000 to 55,000. A lot of Hyperion/EPM/BI attendees have stopped going to OOW, so I was hoping my schedule for this year would be lighter. We just finished putting together the interRel Customer Guide for this year (helping our customers with things they might want to see or do), and on the contrary, it actually seems to busier than in prior years. I'm giving four presentations and hosting a Hyperion day on Sunday. Glenn Schwartzberg is giving another 4 sessions, and Eduardo Quiroz (co-founder of interRel, among other things) is giving a session too.

About the only thing cut out from this year is that I'm doing a book signing. We had 2 of the Top 20 best selling books at the OOW bookstore last year, so they asked Tracy McMullen (Best. Co-author. Ever.) and I to do another booksigning. Since Tracy's not going this year due to some family obligations, I just didn't think it'd be the same signing books all by myself. There will still be lots of our books on sale, though.

Like last year, there will be a "Hyperion Pavilion" on the 5th floor of the Intercontinental hotel next to Moscone West. We will have a booth right by the entrance in case you want to come by and say hi to one of the members of the interRel team (Danielle White will be giving away an iPad, so make sure you find her and give her a business card).

In case you want to stalk me (what better way to show you really care?), here's my schedule for the next week:

Thursday and Friday - Oracle ACE Director Briefing
I'm spending the rest of this week at Oracle Headquarters in Redwood Shores, California at an Oracle ACE Director briefing. With all the new products and all the new ACE Directors, long gone are the days when they could fit all of the new information into one day. This two-day session should be an up-front preview of the news going to be released during OOW (except for the really big things that Larry likes to announce himself).

Saturday - Puzzle Hunt
This is a day off for me. I'm joining three of my friends in the area for a puzzle hunt around San Francisco. It's kinda like a scavenger hunt crossed with The Amazing Race except for uber geeks.

UPDATE: My team ended up winning 1st place in the Bang23 Puzzle Hunt.  All the heavy mental lifting was done by my teammates: Stephanie, Chris, Dave, and Jeremiah.  Thank you for making my first puzzle hunt a memorable one!

Sunday - ODTUG Hyperion Symposium
In addition to setting up the interRel booth, I'm hosting the ODTUG Hyperion/EPM Symposium in Moscone West, room 2018 from 12:30-5:00pm. If you get to OOW on Sunday, make sure you stop by. We'll be talking about recent developments in the world of Oracle EPM and BI (including Hyperion 11.1.2 and OBIEE 11g) as well as the future of EPM & BI at Oracle.

I'm giving the first session of the day from 12:30-2:00pm. It's titled "Oracle EPM (and Essbase): What's New in 11.1.2 in 90 Minutes or Less." Al Marciante will be next with what's coming in the near future and then Rich Clayton (EVP of BI and EPM) will be our keynote speaker from 3:30-4:30pm as he talks about Oracle's long-range plan for the convergence of BI and EPM.

While Al and Rich are speaking in the Hyperion Symposium, I'm dashing down the hall to Moscone West, room 2008 to be the co-speaker with one of my favorite interRel clients, CareFirst. We're giving a session from 3:00-4:00pm on "What is Essbase and Why Should I Care?" to some of the new BI/EPM people in IOUG's room. Glenn Schwartzberg will be giving an "Introduction to the New Essbase Studio" also in room 2008 from 4:00-5:00pm. So if you want to know about what's currently available, go to room 2008 from 3:00-5:00pm, apparently, and if you want the future, go to room 2018. I hope that's in no way confusing.

After the sessions, I'm headed to Moscone North to see Larry Ellison's keynote from 5:30-7:30pm. Larry normally keynotes on Monday mornings, so if he's speaking on Sunday, I'm hoping it's because there will be some big announcement that he's worried will leak out if they wait until Monday. That said, he's also giving a keynote on Wednesday afternoon, so I'm not sure what to make of that. Maybe he's stepping down and announcing Mark Hurd as his replacement as CEO? That would make for a good way to end the week right before the huge blowout bash on Treasure Island.

If I'm still up for partying, I'll head over to Howard Street for the opening night party. As Oracle parties go, the opening night one isn't my favorite. Mostly, I don't like the closed-in tent it's held in. It's always too hot and smothering.

Monday - Customer Appreciation Event
Stop by the interRel booth on Monday and get a ticket to the reception we're co-hosting on Monday night with Star Analytics and AppliedOLAP. It'll be from 5:30-8:30pm right next to Moscone West, so even if you can only stay for a little while, stop by just to say hello, have a tasty beverage, and walk out with some appetizers smuggled in your OOW-branded bag.

You will need to be on the list to get in though, so you really have to come by the booth and check in with Danielle. Again, the booth is on the 5th floor of the Intercontinental in the Hyperion Pavilion. Speaking of the booth, I don't have any sessions on Monday, so I'm probably getting roped into booth duty, so if you want to heckle me one-on-one, your best chance to do so would be on Monday at the booth.

Some high-up person in the Oracle EPM establishment (probably Rich Clayton or John O'Rourke) is going to give a presentation on Monday from 3:30-4:30pm in Grand Ballroom AB of the Intercontinental. The title is "Oracle's EPM and BI Strategy and Roadmap" and while I don't suspect anything earth-shattering, it's always nice to get updates in public forums on release dates and so forth. Maybe we'll find out when the migration patch for 11.1.2 will be coming out?

Tuesday - Sessions
I'm spending most of Tuesday going to sessions and wandering the exhibit hall floor. It's a light speaking day. I'm giving a session from 12:30-1:30pm (during lunch?) in Intercontinental's Ballroom C titled "Oracle Hyperion Planning/Oracle Hyperion Strategic Finance Forecasting Solution." It's basically about using Hyperion Planning and Strategic Finance together to make for a stronger solution. I'll probably also join The Schwartz as he presents "Top 10 Oracle Essbase Optimization Tips That Give You 99% Improvement" so I can offer pithy comments. It'll be at the Hotel Nikko in the Bay View room from 2:30-3:30pm.

Other than that, Tuesday is going to be filled with meetings with various customers and partners of ours. One good thing about OOW is that it's an excellent opportunity to meet with high-level personnel in the Oracle establishment all in one place. Now that I'm also representing the Kscope11 conference, I need to meet with non-EPM/BI people at Oracle too, and OpenWorld makes for an excellent place to do that.

Wednesday - Party at Treasure Island
Before the evening's entertainment kicks in, I have a session from 10:00-11:00am in the Intercontinental Sutter room on "Implementing Integrated Operational Planning (IOP) for Detailed Budgeting." IOP is one of my favorite new additions to the Oracle EPM suite (my other current favorite being HPCM: Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management) and when I noticed no one else was speaking on it at OOW, I volunteered. It'll be my first time speaking on the product publicly, so show up if you're interested in IOP or you just want to see if I turn into a full-on train wreck.

After my IOP session, I get to stay in the same room (thank you, Mr. Ellison) to present "Achieving a Common Goal: Creating an Oracle EPM Center of Excellence at Pepsi" from 11:30am-12:30pm. Actually, I'm just the secondary speaker on this one: the heavy lifting will be done by my friend, Steve Cioffi from Pepsico. I'm there to do color commentary as I talk theory outside of Pepsi before Steve talks about how Pepsi is actually building a real-world CoE (Center of Excellence). This is a subject I've spoken on at least 20 times in the last couple of years, so sorry: no train wreckage in this session.

After the morning sessions, I'm probably heading over to the interRel booth for a bit before I help them pack up before dinner. The interRel folks will probably all get together for a quick bite at one of the over-packed San Francisco restaurants (which are far more over-packed than normal during OOW) before heading over to Treasure Island to listen to join Larry's party. If he does indeed end up turning the reigns over to Mark Hurd, it's going to be quite the party indeed. Musical acts performing this year include Black Eyed Peas and Steve Miller Band. I'm going over if for no other reason than to sing the peach tree line in The Joker at the top of my lungs.

Thursday - Time to Leave
There's no booth on Thursday and no sessions for me, so I'm heading to the airport around lunchtime. Eduardo Quiroz and The Schwartz are staying around to give competing sessions from 1:30-2:30pm, though. Eduardo is at the Marriott in Golden Gate C1 talking about "Replacing 'Sunseted' Oracle Software Like OFA with Essbase" while Glenn is in Ballroom C of the Intercontinental teaching what I'm sure will be thousands of people about "Implementing Effective Configuration Management on Oracle EPM’s Platform."

In all seriousness, everyone I've talked to thought the conference was over by lunch on Thursday, but there are sessions scheduled all the way until 4PM. If there are 15 people in either Eduardo's or Glenn's sessions, I owe them each a dollar.

EPM and BI - In General
All total, there are, per Oracle's EPM & BI Guide to OOW, over 100 sessions at OOW on BI and EPM. If you want to download this guide, go to, but I warn you: it's not complete. The first two sessions of the Sunday ODTUG Hyperion event aren't on there, for instance. It does list all the EPM/BI sessions they could find, though, as well as all the hands-on labs, demo stations, and vendors from the EPM/BI world. I'd print their guide out and bring it with you along with the interRel Customer Guide (if you're not one of our competitors).

If you can't make it to OOW this week, don't feel bad. On the contrary: revel in your freedom and take pity on my soul as I get swallowed up in the Normandy Beach Invasion that OpenWorld has become. It can't possibly be as bad as I remember, can it?

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