Friday Apr 27, 2012

Collaborate 12: The Week That Was

Today's guest post comes from Jake Kuramoto (@theappslab). Jake is Product Strategy Director on the WebCenter Evangelism Team and spent the week out in Vegas for Collaborate. Thanks for sharing your reflections Jake!

Collaborate 12 (#C12LV) has wrapped, and overall, I really enjoyed the event.

I’ll lead off with a big thanks to all the organizers from OAUG (@oaug1), IOUG (@ioug) and Quest (@questusergroup), with a special mention for the IOUG WebCenter Special Interest Group (SIG) who made sure we found the right sessions and networked with the right folks. This is a definitely a special group, e.g. they rocked togas at the 80s Party on Wednesday night. Legit.

Also, big thanks to our WebCenter Marketing maven, Kellsey Ruppel, who worked so hard to make the conference run smoothly for us.

I got a lot more out of Collaborate 12 than I did Collaborate 08 in Denver, which is entirely my own fault, largely thanks to help of these people, and I’m already planning for a Denver do-over at Collaborate 13.

Day 0

The show got started early for me with the WebCenter Customer Advisory Board (CAB) meeting on Sunday.  This wasn’t technically a Collaborate event, but since many of the CAB members were in Las Vegas for the big show, it made sense to have it before the events really got going.

The CAB is enormously valuable to our PM organization, since these customers provide real use cases and feedback, and I spent the day meeting meeting, greeting and listening to real users of the product.

One of the highlights for all the customers attending the CAB was a chance to touch and feel Oracle Social Network for the first time. The OSN PM team provided an overview of the product, and then collected feedback through the tool. The commentary I heard was overwhelmingly positive, and after spending a week with the product, everyone is excited for release.

Another highlight was Christian (@cfinn) and his flying monkeys. I won’t give away the specifics, but if you find him speaking at an event you’re attending, make an effort to go.

Last but definitely not least, thanks to TekStream for sponsoring the cocktail reception.

I had planned to attend the WebCenter Deep Dive, but unfortunately, the two events conflicted. I did manage to sneak away briefly to catch up with longtime Friend of the ‘Lab, Bex Huff (@bex), whose company Bezzotech sponsored that event.

Day 1

Monday kicked off the event in earnest. I spent most of the day preparing the WebCenter Sites demo booth, but I did manage to sneak away for a meeting with the IOUG Board of Directors and the IOUG WebCenter SIG.

This was a treat for our entire team. As a team of WebCenter evangelists (or advocates, take your pick), we rely on communication and collaboration with organizations like the IOUG. They tell us what their members want, and ideally, we deliver.

So, this type of interaction is invaluable to what we do. Thanks to the Board and SIG for taking time out of their hectic schedules to chat with us.

I ended the day of events with the opening of the Exhibit Hall, and got a chance to watch the WebCenter Sites experts we have from the FatWire acquisition in action showing their product. I’ve spent a lot of time recently working with Sites, the Web Experience Management pillar of the WebCenter Suite of products, and it was great to see the real experts in action.

Although I didn’t get to any sessions on Monday, the day was very productive.

Day 2

Tuesday began for me with Bex’s session, “A Crash Course In WebCenter Sites (FatWire) for Site Studio Customers.” As a longtime Stellent guru, Bex knows a thing or two about Site Studio. His session mapped functions from Site Studio to Sites, and it introduced me to several customers who are interested in learning more about Sites. So, Tuesday began with a win.

I then spent several hours working the Sites demo booth. Booth duty always seems like a chore until I get into it. I enjoy talking to people and listening to what they have to say, and once the traffic starts to flow, the time flies.

We got a nice flow of people to our booth. Most of them had questions about the Content and Portal pillars of WebCenter, but they were impressed when they saw what Sites has to offer.

After a long day of booth duty, I mixed and mingled at the evening reception on the exhibit hall floor, then gave my feet a rest.

This was the day I started to lose my voice though, which always happens to me at conferences, since I talk so much. Note to self, listen more.

Day 3

On Wednesday, I stopped by “Build an iPhone app using WebCenter Portal REST APIs” presented by  Chris Bales (@cbales) and Rodrigo Lima (@rodrigo_lima) before heading back to the demo booth. The session attracted a nice crowd, especially for a morning session. I didn’t get to stay, but I heard good things.

After my final demo booth stint, I caught a couple afternoon sessions, “Surfacing Oracle Social Network into Your Business Applications” given by Andy Kershaw, OSN PM lead and  ”WebCenter User Experience and Interaction – From iPads to Xbox” by Friend of the ‘Lab, John Sim (@jrsim_uix) of Fishbowl Solutions.

Andy’s session was unfortunately timed to overlap with lunch. Had it been a smidge later, I suspect he would have drawn ten times more people, given the content. Andy showed several key features of OSN, including how to connect it to other business applications.

John’s session showcased the exciting possibilities for enhancing enterprise data surfaced through REST APIs with new interface paradigms like touch and natural motion capture, specifically Xbox Kinect. It was great to meet John IRL for the first time after stalking him virtually for a couple years.

By the end of Wednesday, I was sounding like a lifetime smoker.

Day 4

Although Thursday was only yesterday, Vegas seems like a nostalgic memory now. There wasn’t much on the agenda, as the conference wrapped at noon, so Noel (@noelportugal) and I spent some quite time debriefing and comparing notes from the week.

By the end of the conference, I left Vegas feeling like I had put in a good week. I had the pleasure of meeting dozens of new people and reconnecting with people I’ve know for years.

It was a great week, and thanks to everyone for making Collaborate 12 a personal success for me.

Now, to rest my voice.

Thoughts on the conference? Find the comments.
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Oracle WebCenter is the center of engagement for business—powering exceptional experiences for customers, partners, and employees. It connects people, process, and information with the most complete portfolio of portal, Web experience management, content, imaging and collaboration technologies.

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