Oracle, the Innovation Company

Fresh on the heels of our very successful OpenWorld in San Francisco last week I wanted to highlight this favorable blog post from Joshua Greenbaum at ZDNet.com. 

In it Joshua highlights a few topics that are also of particular interest for Projects customers.  First of all there was a good presentation of the Fusion apps that impressed the author.  To quote him: “Oracle has made good on its promise to deliver Fusion Apps, and has greatly exceeded my expectations in doing so. A very impressive debut.”

Second, he recognized that our strategy for Apps Unlimited is delivering on our promise to continue to enhance the products already being used by our customers.  E-Business Suite (of which Projects is one application) has been enhanced in many ways and we showed and discussed the roadmap for Projects 12.1 at the conference.  Customers can find out more information on Metalink for all of the details on that release.

Joshua also discusses the enhancements to the Oracle Business Intelligence applications.  We presented a paper at OOW this year about the OBIEE solution coming for Project Analytics.  It was very well received and like our customers we are very excited for it’s release.  It will open up a a whole new level of analytics to our customers and give them even greater insight into their projects.

Finally the author touches on the AIA (Application Integration Architecture) strategy of Oracle.  Rolled out last year AIA is Oracle’s toolset to glue all of the acquired products together.  As Joshua writes:

“This product, which orchestrates all the different processes across the vast, and disparate, Oracle Applications stack, is the place where the vision of Oracle becomes reality: There is no way for Oracle to pull off rationalizing its massive acquisition strategy without AIA making all the interprocess communications between, say, Glog, Siebel, Oracle Financials and PeopleSoft HR (and SAP, while we’re at it) seamless, easy, and fast. Absent a highly performant AIA middleware layer, Oracle’s dream of cross application process functionality becomes a user nightmare.”

For Projects, we are no less interested in leveraging AIA than any other part of the company.  We’re excited to be able to tie our applications in with some of the best of breed products that we’ve acquired such as Agile and Hyperion.  We’d very much like to hear from our customers as to which apps you would find most useful to integrate with and provide input on our AIA roadmap.

 

PMXPO – Final Thoughts

I guess I didn’t get back to my thoughts on this cool virtual conference that day but wanted to get it done before I forget!

What did I like:

  • No travel to a conference!
  • Ability to pop in and out of sessions as I liked
  • Easily browse the vendor offerings and chat if you’d like
  • Could continue to work while listening
  • Their briefcase feature made grabbing vendor and presentation information extremely easy – no having to leave to someone’s website to get materials
  • One click entry of contests (where is my Xbox 360 bundle or iPod Touch??)  Since you’re logged in I liked the fact they didn’t make you have to re-enter any information or fill out a contact card
  • Reminders for presentations that come in your email so you don’t miss a session
  • All presentations and materials are available later if you missed a session

What I wasn’t so hot on:

  • You could easily tune out because you’re continuing to work – next thing you know you missed 5-10 minutes of what the speaker said or have no context of the slide you’re looking at
  • The content was pretty much focused on new Project Managers – both myself and a couple of colleagues that attended didn’t find many sessions all that riveting
  • The networking is very difficult to do – you basically know a name and company (sometimes!) of a person and most people didn’t even put a picture on their avatar.  I can’t imagine you’d ever really meet someone new on this format unless you want to pester someone with a message.

Those are my top of the head thoughts.  Overall I thought it looked fantastic – they did a great job making it look clean and professional.  I would definitely attend next year although I hope the topics presented get a little bit more out of the box for more experienced PM’s.  Maybe they can offer more than one session at a time to be able to cover more ground in the day and let people choose what interests them.

PMXPO – It’s better than I expected!

Just a heads up that I’m attending the virtual PMXPO 2008 right now.  It is much cooler than I thought it would be.  It’s just like being at a conference without all the hassles of travel and that annyoing thing called walking between sessions and booths!

Right now I’m listening to the keynote speaker and there are several more sessions coming throughout the day.  I don’t think it’s too late to sign up so just go to http://events.unisfair.com/rt/pmexpo and sign up now.  I’ll have more details on what I liked about it later.

OpenWorld 2008 – Open for Business

In case you missed it, registration for OpenWorld 2008 – the premiere event for anything related to Oracle each year – is now open.  I happened to be at our HQ the last couple of weeks and got to scout out a possible location for our annual Projects party, typically held on the Tuesday night of OOW.

I can’t say where the location is of course, but I wanted to leave you with a little taste of what the view COULD look like if we go with this spot.

 

 

Complete. Open. Integrated. Here.

Hear Oracle President Charles Phillips’ April 14 keynote from COLLABORATE08 as he reviews the path Oracle has taken and previews the road to come in the Applications Unlimited journey, with an update on Oracle’s strategy to enable business transformation with complete, open, and integrated enterprise software. Hear details on today’s available integrations, SOA integration, advances in Enteprise Performance Management, what’s new in Business Intelligence, Enterprise 2.0, and Oracle WebCenter.

Charles Phillips at Collab ’08

 

New Oracle Whitepaper Released on Projects

A newly released whitepaper focuses on the common pitfalls that lead to project failures.  Written by our Director of PPM Product Marketing, Kazim Isfahani, the whitepaper entitled Why Projects Fail: Avoiding the Classic Pitfalls discusses the core reasons for project failure, and goes one step further by proposing recommendations for avoiding the risks and pitfalls.

This is a product agnostic look into whether project failures are considered normal these days given the high rates of failure, but also addresses six common reasons why projects are doomed to fail before they even start.

Mr. Isfahani will be speaking on Project Management Best Practices at Collaborate 08 in Denver this month.  See the time and a synopsis of that session below.

Oracle Projects at OAUG Denver 2008!

Hi all,

OAUG Collaborate is in Denver this year from April 13-17th.  I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that the Oracle Projects team will be there this year with a few presentations.

The first one is called Project Management Best Practices: Achieving Business Results and is on Tuesday April 15th at 1.45 pm.  The synopsis is:

This session will deliver key insight into the industry-leading practices companies have adopted in managing their project-driven organizations. These practices are based on the real-world experiences of thousands of customers of Oracle’s PPM solutions, across industries, managing and governing their project management office (PMO), and driving corporate change initiatives. The speakers will identify challenges and recommend best business practices to address the challenges, while providing guidance in making the critical decisions involved in implementing software solutions. Finally, the audience will learn how to address these challenges with Oracle’s PPM solutions.

The second session we’re presenting is called Managing the Project Portfolio: Delivering Balance, Alignment, and Optimization. This session is on Wednesday April 16th at 11 am. Here is the synopsis for that session:

Getting the most out of available resources and assets while ensuring that the “right” programs and projects are initiated is a critical business requirement across industry. This session will detail how Oracle’s Portfolio Analysis tool can help companies align their portfolios of projects and programs with their organizational objectives by taking advantage of standard criteria, weighted scoring and ranking, and what-if portfolio analyses.

Finally, our third session is titled Program Management with EBS Projects Integration to Microsoft Project Server and Primavera.  This session is also on Wednesday at 4.30 pm.  This is the abstract for that session:

Running a successful project management office requires both strategic management and tactical scheduling. Learn how Oracle and Impress Software are simplifying this challenge by integrating Oracle E-Business Suite Projects with Microsoft Project Server for project scheduling. Regardless of your industry, if you have wondered how to reconcile executives’ demands for analysis and project managers’ need for detail, make time to attend this session.

Hope to see you there!

OpenWorld just a week away!

Some other great sessions for next week that I wanted to highlight…

Oracle Projects Meet the Experts:  Come and talk to our product experts from development and strategy.  Wednesday November 14th @ Moscone West, 2nd floor.  Overlook space 3.  The times are from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm.

DEMOgrounds: We have two different focuses for the demo pods.  One is Transforming PPM into Strategic Advantage where we demo the complete lifecycle from project initiation and portfolio management through project planning, execution,  financial control and reporting.  This is at Demo station B12, in the Moscone South Exhibit Hall.

The other focus is on Driving Business Success.  Here you will learn how Oracle Projecs delivers centralized, information driven, enterprise project and portfolio management functionality designed to tackle business challenges inherent in project-driven organizations.  You will find this at Demo Station B9, in the Moscone South Exhibit Hall.

OpenWorld attendees, do you Bambhudda?

I might get in trouble for doing this, but if you’re a reader of this blog, AND you are going to OpenWorld this year in San Francisco, AND you’re a customer or other user of our Projects application (or at least interested in Projects), AND you want to attend our totally swank event on Tuesday night in the city, then all you have to do is join our OpenWorld Connect group (it’s totally free) and let me know about it! 

How easy is that?

Once you join our group on Connect, just send me a message to projectguru and you’ll be hooked up.

The ‘S’ in SaaS doesn’t stand for ‘sticky’

I attended an interesting conference yesterday called the Software Marketing Perspectives Conference here in Austin.  Although the focus of the conference was on Product Management and new trends or solving some common issues for product managers, the most interesting portion I found was a discussion we had about the growing emergence of SaaS (Software as a Service). 

I’m sure most everyone is familiar now with SaaS since the rise of certain companies like Salesforce.com have given legitimacy to the concept, so I certainly don’t want to expound on the virtues, many thought there may be.  I was definitely more interested in the challenges of creating a product that is SaaS focused and how to sustain and grow said product. 

Certainly one of the big benefits for SaaS is the low cost to get started when using an application.  I don’t know how much Salesforce.com costs, but I am focusing more on smaller applications anyway, such as an application like OpenProj from Projity.  They have an MS Project killer application on their hands that costs only $19.99/month per user.  Awesome!  Hereis a recent review of OpenProj.

Here’s the issue I thought of yesterday when I was discussing this with one of the conference attendees…what is there to stop anyone from switching products as often as they gas up their Prius?  As I mentioned in an earlier posting, there is no shortage of companies out there trying to sign you up as a customer for their next killer project management application.  Certainly given the low cost (or often free for a while) price tag companies can continually shop around trying new products and seeing who truly is the best of breed.

Here’s the bottom line – the challenge for SaaS vendors, especially smaller ones who may come late to a market, is how do you keep your customers coming back after you’ve given them the taste of your product?  What keeps your products sticky?  It’s much easier for big enterprise companies because the investment up front was already substantial and to switch to another large enterprise vendor will cost considerable dollars.  But in this new nimble world of smaller, on demand software what is going to be the catch that keeps the customers coming back when the barriers to switch are getting lowered all the time?