Saturday, August 16, 2008

iOracle - what will the dynamics be like at Oracle OpenWorld this year?

I've been going to Oracle OpenWorld for several years. The division of the company that employs me is primarily interested in Oracle's database technology, with a bit of interest in some of the other technology (rather than applications) products that Oracle offers. So when I go to Oracle OpenWorld, I tend to focus on the database stuff, with some forays into other areas.

During the time that I've attended Oracle OpenWorld, the conference has grown, primarily because Oracle has grown, acquiring company X and company Y and company Z. This year I plan to investigate some things that were formerly offered by BEA, for example.

But Oracle did something else this year that could potentially change the whole orientation of the conference.

While there are non-techies like me roaming around Moscone, many of the people who attend Oracle OpenWorld are server-oriented types, thinking about architecting databases or maintaining business applications or what have you.

But this piece of news (from InformationWeek) seems to appeal to a different crowd:

Oracle (NSDQ: ORCL)'s business intelligence software for the Apple iPhone is making slow but steady progress. Oracle, one of only two enterprise software vendors that are offering iPhone applications, said Friday that there have been 23,055 downloads of Oracle Business Indicators since the software became available at Apple's App Store one month ago.

Oracle Business Indicators was developed for 3G iPhone users whose businesses or organizations use Oracle's BI software, called Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE).

Now one can argue that an iPhone is just another platform, and is no different than a web browser on a desktop or laptop. However, the mobility of the iPhone (or my weapon of choice, the first-generation Motorola Q) opens up business applications to more opportunities - and more challenges.

Last year (ironically, while I was attending the 2007 Oracle OpenWorld) I wrote a series of posts on various mobile applications on my Motorola Q. (Here's the first post in the series.) While mobile applications tend to have fewer features than their desktop/laptop counterparts, the very fact that they are mobile alows you to use the applications anywhere (provided you have a signal).

Another factor with mobile applications is that they put capabilities in the hands of more users, and more types of users. When applications move away from the central office, it becomes more likely that the applications will be used by non-experts - people who may not understand the ramifications of Oracle's BI applications, but people who are actually out (literally) on the street, performing business intelligence.

So as these tens of thousands of applications flow out to iPhone users, will the actual users of these applications express an interest in going to Oracle OpenWorld?

And if so, how will Oracle OpenWorld cater to their needs?

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