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OOW06: Monday Morning Keynotes – AMD, New Oracle Product

The keynotes yesterday morning were from AMD’s Hector Ruiz and Oracle’s Chuck Rozwat. Each were peppered with shorts including (the now obligatory?) Matrix take-off. AMD, Ruiz told us, is all about providing you choice, performance, and power savings.


Being an Austinite, I picked up on the frequent mentions of Austin during AMD’s keynote. Oracle’s Austin data center runs of AMD servers. AMD is Austin. Dell is in Austin. Hey! Austin! Lance Armstrong Foundation! Hey!

Which reminds me of an interesting analogy someone told me the other day: Austin is to Silicon Valley as India is Western IT. That is, same skills, just cheaper, and in a different time zone. Insert link to classic New Yorker picture of the US map as “West Coast,” “New York,” and “That crap we fly over.”

Right-Click Work-flow

The overview from Rozwat was a well paces overview of new products and innovations from Oracle. As James said one of the more interesting aspects was the old wine in new bottles items, e.g., using the file system as the primary interface for document collaboration.

Using Office (Word and Excel) was interlaced through Content Database and Records Database examples (the area I’d call “information work-flow”): saving the file to the magic directory synch’ed the changes back to the portal. Except none of those concepts like “portal” or synchronized were used: it was more seamless. Just edit Excel, save it, and then there there’s the new sales numbers on the dashboard.

Of course, in software, the devil is in the “Just.”

The comparison to Duet, of course, didn’t escape me. Oracle’s approach seemed to be much more right-click and links in email than panels in Outlook and “primary” interface changes. Right clicking on a Word document about Company Benefits brought up a custom, Oracle made (?) menu with several new options to control access, set versioning, and retention policy.

While it seemed painfully clunky to me (as Oracle UI’s tend to), as I wrote in my notes: “nice that it’s just file system integration, thus, less likely to brake legacy work-flow.” That is, it could be a good enough approach to adding in new functionality without having to re-train your users too much.

Approaches like the right-click menu demo’ed and Duet are interesting as there’s been much distressing around the learning curve for Office 2007. at TechEd this year, in a customer panel, Fabio Catassi, CTO of Mediterranean Shipping Company, said that training up wasn’t “a big leap.” While that may be true, right clicking with a magic O: drive might be easier still.

I’ve long been a fan of vendors avoiding the urge to re-write and re-UI (as it were), instead adding in new functionality to existing software. As a developer, I realize what a death sentence this can be if your code base is “legacy” instead of “flexible.”

As a side-note, it’s interesting that the phrase right-click seems to appear in most of my Oracle related posts and thinking.


For those that enjoy them, here are my notes/mindmaps of the keynotes:



Disclaimer: Oracle has paid my way to this conference.

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Categories: Companies, Conferences, Enterprise Software.