I am fortunate to be hanging out in Bend, OR for a few days before heading to Chicago for Kscope16. However, I’m alone out here and on Eastern (versus Pacific) time zone, so I had some time to think this morning before the 6:30AM breakfast call rang. I’ve been seeing (and “Like”ing) people from around the world announcing their journeys to and excitement for Kscope16. So I started thinking this morning…
- Why does Kscope draw so many people from around the world?
- What is different about Kscope than some of the other (great!) conferences?
- What sessions should an attendee be sure to add to the their schedule Sunday through Thursday?
- What should new attendees beware (?) of in the coming week?
Before I tackle these questions, over coffee I realized that I’ve been on all sides of the ODTUG and Kscope coin. I’ve been an attendee, a presenter, a panelist (WIT and tech), in industry, a consultant, a presenter/attendee with a sponsoring company, on the Board of Directors, and now as an employee of Oracle. Which begs the final question:
- Why have I kept coming back to Kscope, and why will I make it a priority in the future?
Let’s tackle the questions individually.
Why does Kscope draw so many people from around the world?
I could say the “right” ODTUG answers. I could give the marketing responses that give glossy postcards some value. But I’m honest and direct (too??). In my opinion, Kscope offers sessions that are a mile deep for a perfect mix of technologies and business users. The main topic areas are:
- ADF and MAF
- Application Express (APEX)
- BI and Data Warehousing
- Big Data and Advanced Analytics
- EPM Applications
- EPM Business Content
- EPM Platform
Being a former EPM person, I can tell you that Kscope offers the BEST options, sessions, and content for EPM professionals. I’ll be attending Kscope this year with a different focus and glasses lens color (BI mainly), so I’ll have a better opinion of the content come end of the week. I will also be attending APEX sessions (well, and giving one!) as APEX is a critical piece of some of BICS processes (hint, hint cloud people!). Of course, with BI goes Big Data and Advanced Analytics, which includes R analysis in BICS and Data Visualization. Since the last time I was more heavily involved in relational databases was back when I was still in the Air Force (been out for over 10 years), I’ll be hitting up some of the Database sessions as a refresher/learner course.
So what’s going on here? I will be attending sessions from all groups (except ADF and MAF because it’s just not in my professional realm as of current). At every other conference I have attended, I’ve not been able to say I am attending sessions from so many different topics!
Kscope draws people from around the world because it is a one-stop shop for knowledge that is deep, but ranges from Beginner to Advanced. There is TRULY something for everybody.
What is different about Kscope than some of the other (great!) conferences?
Not only do you learn technical and functional aspects of your technology, but you are given many opportunities to have access to industry experts in the different technologies. Now on the Oracle side, I have seen the value and respect that Oracle has for ODTUG and Kscope. There’s a reason why Product Managers and Product Directors spare time for webinars throughout the year for ODTUG and make it a point to have 10’s of people on hand for expert one-on-one’s, demos, and presentations – Kscope provides value TO Oracle via customer/user response (think back to Planning Knowledge Modules in ODI a couple years ago…they were on their way out, but thanks to an ODTUG/Kscope campaign, they are alive and thriving) and Oracle wants to provide value back to the customers/developers.
Coming from an introvert, conferences can be scary places. When I think back to my first Kscope in 2011 (first time speaking at a conference, too), I was petrified. So many people and so many options. However, because you start attending sessions with some of the same people, meeting people becomes easy and you leave the week with professional friendships in your flavor of technology. …And you also realize that many of the ACE Directors and ODTUG leaders are very open and receptive to developing personal professional relationships with other developers.
What sessions should an attendee be sure to add to the their schedule Sunday through Thursday?
No, this is not a silly post about what sessions to attend, because, let’s face it, most of those posts are biased and unhelpful (see, honest and blunt…and I’ve done them in the past). Each attendee’s goal for their time at Kscope is individual and they need to focus on the sessions that apply to their situation. My suggestions come from a different place – the direction of Oracle. Clearly, cloud is the future of Oracle products. On-premises products are not going to be shut down tomorrow or next year, so please don’t fret. Rather, the incentive to move to the cloud – either truly via the cloud or using Oracle’s cloud at customer option – will become greater and greater with each coming fiscal year. It will become harder to say no than to jump out of the plane towards the clouds (see what I did there?). With that said, if your organization is planning or is already participating in all or portions of Oracle’s cloud offerings, I would encourage at least a few cloud-based sessions during Kscope. I stated on Twitter that I am filling my schedule with ORDS (Oracle REST Data Services) sessions because that’s a large component of how the different cloud offerings share data securely. If you can attend at least one of the introductory and basic sessions, you will have an idea on how data is shared and how your data would work in this environment.
If you have on-premises products that have a cloud paring, I would encourage you to attend a session or two regarding the cloud version to learn what capabilities are available in the cloud versus on-premises. While true that the cloud, in most scenarios, does not have all the capabilities of the on-premises version, it’s just a matter of time. Some of the missing capabilities may not be used in your organization and you may find that you’re a perfect fit for the cloud…think OpEx vs CapEx, cheaper, monthly upgrades, and 99.5% SLA. Can you get that from your current on-premises offering?
I encourage everyone to attend a session or two on a technology they know little or nothing about. Last year I attended a beginner session on APEX, which is when and where I fell in love with the tool. I develop in it weekly for my own purposes and love, love, LOVE that I can make my own applications in minutes, storing data in the cloud, accessing the application and data via desktop or mobile. Ask me to show you my applications that I have on my phone! I’d love to show you! A couple years ago, I attended a session on Big Data and the different databases that support this data (Hadoop, etc). While I’m not an expert or even good in that realm, I have an idea of what the goals and challenges are for Big Data. This year, my area to “learn” will be ADF/MAF. I can go to Oracle’s website and learn the marketing lingo for these topics, but I’d rather hear from an industry professional. And I can do this at Kscope!
What should new attendees beware (?) of in the coming week?
You WILL be worn out by Wednesday night. Just accept it now and it won’t hurt so bad later.
Besides mental and physical exhaustion, expect good food (and if you have severe food allergies like me, be confident that you will be taken care of!), opportunities to learn about different areas of ODTUG, opportunities to meet people in the EXACT same technology/functional area as you, and options to get involved (more?) in ODTUG through the year, not just at Kscope.
If you ARE a new attendee, here are some things you may want to put on your schedule (not offering specific sessions!):
- Sunday, 6pm-8pm is the Welcome Reception. ODTUG goes above and beyond with food, drinks, and entertainment in the exhibit hall. This is also an opportunity to peruse the sponsors, speak with experts, and generally have a good time kicking off Kscope. Do NOT miss this!
- Monday, 7am-830am is the Newcomer Breakfast. This breakfast is special for first-time Kscope attendees so they don’t get overwhelmed. They will be with other newbies and seasoned veterans who are there to help navigate getting the most out of Kscope.
- Monday, 730am-830 am is the Career Community Breakfast. This is the same time as the Newcomer Breakfast and if you want to mix and mingle between the two, feel free! The Career Community is a new ODTUG community geared towards people in the first 3 years of their Oracle career. Whether you are fresh out of college or have transitioned to Oracle technology recently, this is the community for you. Please note that we will not leave you in this community – the goal is to help you get started with Oracle technology then move into one of the technology-specific communities in Oracle. Note we are looking for leaders for this new community! If you are interested in a brand new leadership opportunity within ODTUG, please come out! This could be a career-changing leadership opportunity for you!
- Monday 8pm-10pm is the Monday Night Community Events. Depending on the technology you belong to (sorry, Career is not included in this event), there is a room full of BI, EPM, DB, APEX, ADF, etc people having a great time. I highly encourage you to attend one or more community night events!
- Tuesday 1215pm-145pm is the Lunch and Learn series. There are many different options to choose from, so choose wisely!
- Wednesday, 7pm-11pm is the Wednesday Night Special Event. NOT TO BE MISSED! This event will be a Roaring 20’s theme held at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. We have the museum completely shut down just for us, so it will be an amazing opportunity to see the museum with 1600 of your closest friends. I (and many others!) will be dressing up in 1920’s gear for the event and you are encouraged to dress up as well! Trust me, it makes for a fun time and lots of pictures will be taken! There will be food, drinks, music, and lots of fun to be had. DO NOT MISS THIS!
- Finally, Thursday, 9am-11am hosts the Deep Dive Sessions for all the different technology topics. Whether you are technical or functional, you will get something out of these sessions. The different topics are doing their own things, so be sure to check out the different options to see which one is perfect for you.
Note: You will likely be exhausted from the Wednesday night event, but don’t use this as an excuse to miss them! They are valuable and often give you an up and close opportunity to meet with Oracle employees (like me!) and ask them real and challenging questions. Do it…it’s good for both Oracle and the customers/developers!
Why have I kept coming back to Kscope, and why will I make it a priority in the future?
As I stated earlier, I’ve been on every possible side of the ODTUG coin…and I keep coming back. Trust me, there are pros and cons to each role I’ve played with ODTUG. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out, sometimes I get all googly-eyed. But doesn’t this happen with every organization you belong to?!
The reality is this – ODTUG puts its members first via webinars, meetups, and Kscope…where they also put non-member attendees at the same front of the line. Quality comes first. And fun comes in a close second…with that fun centered around building relationships and a strong technical/functional community.
I will make Kscope a priority in the future because I believe in the goals and follow through of ODTUG for Kscope. I will also make the remainder of the year a priority by giving webinars (next one is July 19th on the Oracle Red Stack!) and supporting the communities of ODTUG, namely the BI and Career Community. Since day 1, I’ve been a candidate or graduate leader of the Leadership Program and will continue to be supportive and/or involved. Helen Sanders will be leading the 2017 Leadership Program and I’m excited to hand the reigns over to her on Wednesday during the 2016 Leadership Program graduation. It’s fun to see previous candidates now leading. I’m excited to “just” be a graduate! Applications for the 2017 will be opened during Kscope, so I encourage each of my readers to apply!
So, there you have it. My thoughts on 2016’s Kscope. Reach out to me if you will be attending…I’d love to meet you!