I was able to attend the Oracle OpenWorld conference with one of our Business Development Managers, Kristie Sawyer a few weeks ago. It was our first experience at OpenWorld, and my first trip back to San Francisco since I’d traveled there as a teenager. The tech-savvy spirit of San Francisco served as the perfect backdrop to one of the premier tech conferences of the year. OpenWorld and its 60,000+ attendees is extremely large, diverse in technology, and rich in Cloud-related content.

 

Oracle Cloud Summary Overview

Oracle OpenWorld 2015

Make no mistake, Oracle was interested in delivering one singular message to conference attendees this year…Cloud is here, and it is the future. Each keynote centered on the topic of Cloud integration. Larry Ellison boldly proclaimed in Sunday evening’s keynote:

Our two biggest competitors in last two decades have been IBM and SAP, and we no longer pay any attention to either one; it’s quite a shock. SAP is nowhere in cloud, and only Oracle and Microsoft are in every level of the cloud – applications, platform, and infrastructure.

Ellison’s statement aimed at aligning SAP and IBM with older technologies, and placed Oracle competing against new foes Amazon, Salesforce, and Workday who all operate…you guessed it…in the cloud. Ellison’s key point in differentiation is that unlike any of the aforementioned competitors, Oracle is unique and that it offers Cloud services at each level, IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.

Oracle’s new CEO Mark Hurd shed more light into justifying Oracle’s increased emphasis on the Cloud space in his Monday morning Keynote. He cited a report from S&P that over the past 7 years, earnings nationwide have increased by 5% per year, while revenue growth has grown less than 1% over the same period of time. Hurd explained that this tells us that companies are cutting costs…and highlighted IT as one such area where this is possible.

Hurd went on to make the case that a Cloud based system could help a company cut their total cost of ownership, support, and security costs. Mark went on to predict that by 2025, 80% of all production applications will be housed in the Cloud, and that all enterprise data will be stored in the cloud. These are certainly bold predictions that are fairly bullish on the future of Cloud.

Only time will tell how accurate Oracle’s Crystal Ball will be on the Cloud topic. If you’d like to watch each of the OpenWorld Keynotes in their entirety, Oracle has set up an OpenWorld On-Demand page where you can view them at any time.

 

JD Edwards at OpenWorld

JD Edwards at OpenWorld

Although the JD Edwards team at Oracle kept JDE session topics and content purposefully at a high level, OpenWorld provided opportunities for attendees to come up to speed on the overall JD Edwards strategy moving forward.

Lyle Ekdahl delivered some of the more visionary JD Edwards content at the conference during his General Session on Monday morning. Overall, Ekdahl’s goal was to gently persuade customers that we are in the middle of a paradigm shift into a new digitized economic landscape. He sought to move JDE customers in the direction of innovation, and show them areas where Oracle JD Edwards is leading the charge. I felt that his presentation was spot-on for his audience. His keynote sessions are always a highlight for me at conferences.

Mr. Ekdahl identified a challenge of “duality” that organizations face. This duality, Ekdahl describes, is the customer’s balance between needing to sustain their current systems, and introducing new innovation (Agile, New Concepts, Disruptive Technologies, etc). He described the inner challenges that his own team at Oracle faces of constraining sustainability/maintenance costs internally so that budget is freed up for new innovative technology enhancements.

To me, this was brilliant way of insinuating to the audience that this should also be their approach as well. His mention of constraining maintenance costs also subtly plants the seed for a “Cloud” pitch down the road. Ekdahl chose to shift gears and highlight how JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.2 provides this innovation through:

  • Transformational Products like the Internet of Things Orchestrator and Mobility Applications, that enable organizations to become more lean/agile.
  • Deeper Industry Focuses for Project-related, Consumer Goods, and Rental Management Industries
  • Choice/Personalization of the user experience through products like CafeOne and OneView Reporting

 

Conclusions

I couldn’t write a summary of our OpenWorld experience without mentioning the well-known Customer Appreciation Event. Let me tell you, this event was impressive. Oracle pulls out all the stops to give its customers a special “thank you” for their support. Elton John and Beck headlined the event, but equally impressive was the setting of Treasure Island against the backdrop of San Francisco Bay. It was an excellent way to end a fun and beneficial week for Kristie and me.

OpenWorld provided both an excellent opportunity to understand JD Edwards’ role in the Oracle family of products, along with an overall view of where Oracle is moving as a company…and how that will ultimately impact JDE down the road. The conference was also a wonderful chance for us to reconnect with several of our valued customers, and see familiar faces from our JDE family.