One lasting memory that this author has had from attending previous Open World conferences is the sheer size and breadth of this event.  This year is no exception as I joined upwards of 50,000 fellow attendees in a human stream moving among various venues and events.  This is an event that logisticians can thrive upon, given the sheer volume for distributed registrations among four different possible locations, requirements for crowd control, coordinated meal servings, bus transportation and the like.  I’m told by fellow bloggers that the Dreamforce event is even bigger, but candidly, there comes a point where scale becomes overwhelming.

Because of delays in our united flight to the west coast, we missed most of the opening keynote delivered by Larry Ellison.  We were informed by many that attended that it was one of his better deliveries.  We plan to catch-up with the video. Our first day highlights included attending an opening keynote anchored by Mark Hurd, President of Oracle, who re-iterated the four pillars of Oracle’s current thrusts in the market. A notable addition this year is the emphasis of an Industry focused solutions lens. Hurd again re-iterated the current simultaneous C-level agenda of delivering both innovation and cost control, and a couple of videos really seemed to resonate with the highly focused IT audience physically sitting in the audience.

As we noted in our previous coverage, Oracle’s goal is to provide businesses a complete bundled stack of information technology that bundles hardware, software and database needs.  That messaging again resounded, with announcements related to deeper offerings in both private and public cloud solution offerings.

Other highlights of our day included attendance at two different sessions that highlighted the current supply chain technology transformation underway at Cisco systems.  After many years of high growth that included the assimilation of 155 acquisitions, Cisco is now standardizing on the Oracle applications and technology platform.  Infosys Ltd. has partnered with Cisco’s supply chain technology transformation team in an 8-10 quarter implementation rollout. The primary goal is to leverage out-of-the box Oracle functionality, which will prepare the Cisco supply chain for capabilities to support a broader and more flexible supply chain capabilities that will sustain both outsourced and owned production and supply capabilities supporting multiple channels of demand.  What struck us was yet another reminder that large enterprises can often trip on the need to highly customize their existing ERP backbone and defeat the purpose of a common and seamless information backbone.  Cisco is now addressing the realities of having to move once again to a common IT platform.

We also attended a number of sessions updating customers on Oracle’s Supply Chain Management suite of applications.  We will delve a bit deeper into the implications of these messages in a later commentary. One highlight of mention was a statement from Rick Jewell, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain Applications in a panel discussion among various other Oracle senior executives.  Jewell boldly declared that this year has been the most financially successful year in the history of Oracle Supply Chain, and that growth has come primarily from the SAP installed customer base.  We actually tweeted his direct quote: “SAP is not able to match what Oracle can offer in the SCM space.”  You just have to love the competitive juices of the software industry.

That’s it for now.  Stay tuned for continuing commentary.

Bob Ferrari

Disclosure: Infosys Ltd. Is one of other paid sponsors of the Supply Chain Matters blog.