Oh, what to write about Sunday night?
Sunday must be the hardest night to do a keynote, especially at Oracle OpenWorld. People have been flying all day or the day before and have traveled great distances — 19 percent came from EMEA while 70 percent came from North America — so they’re tired and running on a different time zone’s clock. So I get it.
Nevertheless, Oracle continued a tradition of mediocrity with two keynotes the first by Intel President, Renee J. James and the climax by founder and CTO, and newly appointed Executive Chairman, Larry Ellison. Each presentation had its merits but they could have been better. For some reason each speaker felt a need to recapitulate the history of technology since the invention of the wheel, which got a little tedious.
On the plus side, the companies are doing some very cool R&D that is translating into products that help manage both the big data tsunami and help lock down data so that those nasty people in Eastern Europe and the People’s Liberation Army in China, and yes, the NSA, will be thwarted as they try to figure out how I like my latte.
Best ideas from my vantage point — embedding database functions in silicon to make them extra fast and using silicon photonics to make the connections at the chip level even faster. So far these advances seem aimed at bulk commercial data processing but I can see huge upside as these vendors apply all of this to a single problem like molecular modeling or code breaking.
Ellison gave a survey of accomplishments from the last year touting all of the apps his company has built and that list is impressive. However, the proof of the pudding at this conference for me will involve how these points get lined up into end-to-end business process support. I hope that’s where this is going because so far it seems instead like the company has reinvented its legacy products for the cloud rather than re-imagining the business processes. Hope I am wrong.
However, it must be said that both speakers seemed to tire as their talks went on. James got giddy as she made what seemed like a few small unforced errors and Ellison decided on an alternative order for his slides even while his remote clicker went on the fritz yet again, “Backup two slides, please.”
James didn’t seem to know the conference’s title is Oracle OpenWorld and not Oracle World. I know this sounds picky but it leads one to question how much practice the speakers put in and how well rehearsed the whole event is. Maybe I am spoiled by Salesforce’s crispness and manic attention to presentation details. But that’s the way it ought to be when you are addressing your global customer base in your annual address.
We’ll see how it goes today. Over and out.