Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Does the Oracle Technology Network encompass too many technologies?

One word breaks the code of silence,
silence tells me all I need to know...

One ring to rule them all,
one ring to find them,
one ring to bring them all,
and in the darkness bind them.

Only Oracle delivers a complete, pre-integrated technology foundation to reduce the cost and complexity of building and deploying enterprise business intelligence.

If you have attended any type of Oracle sales presentation within the last few years, you know that Oracle emphasizes sales of the entire stack. Oracle is not just a database company, but also sells a variety of other products on both sides of the stack, ranging from hardware to vertical application packages.

So when you attend an event like Oracle OpenWorld, you are immediately bombarded with the totality of Oracle's message. Granted, there's no way that you could absorb all of Oracle's message, even if you wanted to, but the complete Oracle message is certainly available for your consumption. (Be sure to see what Floyd Teter says about this topic.)

My employer is a member of the Oracle Technology Network, so I receive OTN e-mails. I got an interesting e-mail this morning from Justin Kestelyn:

Goodbye TechBlast, Hello Oracle's Dev2DBA Newsletter

This is the last issue of TechBlast, as you know it.

In the early days of OTN, when the community was more homogeneous, it made [sense] to create a single monthly bulletin for the entire membership. But now, with different interests reflected by different newsletters, that monolithic approach is now obsolete.

Starting next month, this newsletter becomes Oracle's Dev2DBA newsletter, focusing strictly on the interests of database application developers and DBAs (a diverse group itself.) Java developers should subscribe to Oracle's Dev2Dev Newsletter, architects to Oracle's Arch2Arch Newsletter , and .NET developers to Oracle's .NET Developer Newsletter.

I look forward to your thoughts on this new approach!

Now I'll grant that there is a difference between a sales message and a technology message - a company can conceivably purchase all of Oracle's products, but a single employee cannot necessarily master all of them - but this is an interesting discontinuity.

In fact, there was a topic that was raised at the brainstorming session that occurred at the end of Oracle OpenWorld 2008. Specifically, one of the suggestions was that the keynotes for the various product lines be concurrent. Here are the notes (as of today; after all, it's a wiki) for this portion of the brainstorming session:

there should be concurrent sessions during the keynotes

* sponsors would pay less
* but better from customer perspective

Paul: in an ideal world, how many keynotes should we have..

* 1 at the beginning, 1 at the end
* as long as there are concurrent sessions the number of keynotes is not an issue

Ignoring the third party keynotes for the moment, the implementation of this idea would mean that I might hear Andy Mendelsohn's keynote but miss the keynotes for the other Oracle leaders.

Later on in the brainstorming session, the breadth of Oracle's product offerings was addressed:

Marius: how to deal with 3,000 products?

* maybe have concurrent keynotes
* Paul: also a venue issue
* maybe do rolling keynotes in one room

This issue isn't unique to Oracle; in fact, my current employer (as well my future employer, if the sale of my division goes through) also offers a wide range of products. However, we do not offer a stack of products that works together (although if there is a customer who wants to buy cell phones, police radios, and set-top boxes, let me know; maybe they'll buy a fingerprint identification system also).

So when should Oracle pursue the "one stack to rule them all" messaging, and when should Oracle perform a deep dive into Oracle Secure Backup or JD Edwards Enterprise One or whatever? The answer is probably situational, but Oracle Technology Network's decision to provide information in a vertical HORIZONTAL (THANKS JUSTIN) sense is an interesting one to watch.

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