I’m sitting in the lounge at SFO en route home after my first ever Oracle OpenWorld. We had a booth in Moscone West – the Applications Hall. So, as a show veteran, what are my impressions?
Firstly, it’s the size of the whole event. It’s certainly the largest I’ve ever attended. I’m not sure what the final attendance figures are but the figures being bandied around are 60,000 people. I suspect that is all attendees including delegates, booth staff, Oracle staff and conference organisers but, whatever the numbers; it’s an awful lot of people.
It’s only when I ventured from our hall to the main event area (where the keynotes and the ‘Technology hall’ was located across the road, you realize the scale of the whole thing. It’s a major logistical challenge and I thought the whole event was extremely well organized – congratulations to Oracle and the event organizers.
Secondly, the sheer number of Oracle products and breadth they cover is almost beyond comprehension. Trying to get my mind around what the various exhibiting companies were promoting was a mission impossible. So much was so far outside of my experience I had no idea!
The question then is how do you differentiate yourself? How do identify yourself in the noise and bring attention to yourself to the delegates whom may be potentially interested in your offerings – assuming that only a percentage are interested? The key is ‘simple messages’. If anything our booth wording was a case of ‘too much information’. We just needed to get the message ‘Document Collaboration’ across.
However, on the subject of simple messages, many people did suggest that their document collaboration needs were taken care of via SharePoint. So, Microsoft has had a lot of success with its simple message that SharePoint is the ‘document collaboration platform’. So our challenge is to come up with an equally simple message of why you need PleaseReview if you have SharePoint!
Thirdly, whilst we were at the event to promote our new Oracle WebCenter Content integration, there was a high degree of interest in our Documentum, Open Text and SharePoint integrations. Initially this surprised me. However, when you do the rational analysis, the simple fact is that the attendees represent some of the biggest companies in the world and they have large corporate systems, which include the aforementioned Documentum, Open Text and SharePoint systems. So, opportunities outside WebCenter Content were an unexpected and, of course, much welcomed outcome.
As usual for these big events we ran a document collaboration survey from the booth and had over 400 participants. Results will help us in our marketing and be published. We learnt a bit about survey length and what attracts people to complete surveys. Hint: never refer to it as a survey. Ask them if they want to win the prize – who doesn’t - and then once they start they normally complete.
Finally, I’ve learnt that going to the Oracle Appreciation Event party/concert on the Wednesday night is not something I plan to do again. Bussing 50,000+ people to Treasure Island through the rush hour traffic (1 hr 45 mins from standing in line for the bus) is non-trivial. Then, when you are there, there is a long line for food, drink, the rest rooms, etc. OK, so Maroon 5, were good (but I suspect they play to a more animated audience normally) but I’m afraid I decided to forgo the pleasure of The Black Peas and head back. Now if it had been The Black Eyed Peas it may have been a different story.
Last word: Special thanks also need to go to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who skipped his final keynote speech on Tuesday to attend the America's cup (congratulations Larry on a great win I’m sure they couldn’t have done it without you) giving attendees more time to experience the document collaboration benefits of PleaseReview.