Tuesday, September 20, 2005

 

Don't Hate Mondays

Today started with a Booth Training session at 8 AM. (I had promised to help man the MWRUG booth during my down time at the conference.) Then there was the keynote speaker at 8:30am. It was Charles Phillips, Executive Vice President of Oracle, who made a couple big announcements. The first was about lifetime product support. Of course this does not mean lifetime product updates or fixes, just that Oracle will continue providing user support. This could be a big deal for some users. For my company however, our product expiration timetables remain unchanged. He then spent quite a while describing, for the first time, the concept behind the new Oracle Fusion product. Basically the product is made up of many individual components. They promised to take the best of each product line and build something really great. At the same time, this component design would offer the user flexibility to allow mixing & matching with user’s existing products – including DB2 - or products from other vendors. This all sounded very good for us; I was sold. You can hear his entire 52 minute presentation, along with many others, online.


After about an hour of this useful information, he introduced Paul Otellini - the President of Intel, who basically did a one hour commercial for his company. There were some interesting bits about how the technology sector had recovered from the dot-net bubble burst a few years back, primarily due to the further growth in internet use. From there I rushed to the exhibit hall to meet up with some fellow MWRUGers and we headed to the park - with 14,000 others - to have box lunches. Today the weather was lovely, so lunch in the park was nice. We even got a table, which was extremely lucky; most were just sitting on Oracle blankets on the grass.

Following lunch there were three education sessions. One was on the new Sarbanes-Oxley regulations - which seemed to support our existing processes or planned implementations. It recommended using role based security, implementing automated workflow within transactions, developing a corporate Code of Conduct, and creating documented policies & procedures. All things we already do or are planning to do. Another session was on Benchmarking Human Resources, which dealt with developing an ROI for HR activities. For example, the average organization sees $1 in revenue for every 28¢ spent on compensation & benefits. (Almost always a companies number one expense.) A third session was on Oracle HCM – An Applications Road Map, which I quickly walked out on since my company will never be using the product they were describing. This taught me to avoid any sessions with Oracle in the title and stick to those strictly naming PeopleSoft. This gave me a little time to decompress in the hotel room before dinner and another reception.

The evening started with a meeting for the Public sector at the nearby California Academy of Sciences. It was billed as featuring a giant coral reef aquarium, but in comparison to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, it was more like a store front pet shop. Most unusual was that the hors d’oeuvres they were serving were all Sushi and Salmon, so I felt a little barbaric eating fish in front of the tanks. Plus whenever I saw an empty tank, I wondered what happened to the fish. I decided to move on to the next event. My plan was to first hit the Emerging Solutions vendor reception at the XYZ Lounge in the W Hotel, since the vendor had provided the MWRUG with a lot of convention support, then head to the IBM party at Ruby Skye to meet up with some co-workers. But as the night progressed, I never did leave the Hotel W.

The XYZ Lounge is very chic. The bottled water costs $6 apiece. (Luckily it was an open bar.) It is also very dark in there. The only lights in the place came from the glowing Lucite bar top and two huge egg shaped orbs at either end. Eventually a number of my co-workers ended up at the W too, so there was no sense in leaving. The moral: Don't hate Mondays if the hangover doesn't come until Tuesday. More to come...

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