I am just back from Oracle Open World 2008. My primary reason for attending was to deliver my presentation on smaller higher education institutions achieving ROI with Oracle apps. I drew a fairly small crowd (5 p.m. on Tuesday, competing with dinner, keynotes, sunshine, and fatigue), but those who attended brought their A game. We had a lively conversation about ways to measure, achieve, and demonstrate ROI. As Floyd Teter noted, nobody was really talking about the economy at this conference; we did a bit in my session because the thrust of it was figuring out ways to minimize investment and maximize return.
One of my other jobs at OOW was to represent the higher education user group (HEUG). I did a bit of booth duty (see where our booth was here) and met some cool people from all over the globe. I also very proudly attended the HEUG meeting on Sunday. HEUG is an amazing organization.
The top three sessions I attended were
1. Higher Education Solutions Road Map. Curtiss Barnes and Richard Schad, Oracle
This session was worth the (long) trip west. We got a braod-brushed outline of where we are headed in the higher education industry. There were no shocking revelations (which is good news, of course) and the roadmap appears to me to be complete, open, and integrated (to borrow a phrase).
2. PeopleSoft Financial Management Solutions: Best Practices for Your Enterprise. Amira Morcos, Oracle
In my day job, I am managing an upgrade to Oracle PeopleSoft Financials 9.0. This session was helpful to me as I was able to make sure that I walk the line while rolling this out. Amira riffed on Commitment Control and told the other industries in the room that they could learn a lot from us in higher education (yay!).
3. Web 2.0 Technologies In the Enterprise: Lessons Learned. Paul Pedrazzi and Jake Kuramoto, Oracle
This was a thoughtful and thought-provoking session covering one of the core issues facing enterprise technology folks: information sharing. Paul and Jake have done a great job showing and telling us how 2.0 can be responsibly and effectively implemented inside the enterprise.
On Tuesday night I slipped out of the OOW bubble — this was tough to do as it was a pretty huge bubble — down to see a friend who works at Adaptive Path. She was hosting Dan Roam, who gave a killer talk about napkin sketches.
It was a great week. I was glad to have met a number of new people and so happy to hang out with some others I know well.