My view: OOW11, San Francisco October 2011
Brian Grossweiler from Excel4Apps talks about the most interesting product I saw at Oracle Open World. I do not know how much you know about Oracle 11i or R12, which compete with other dinosaurs like SAP 4.7, ERP 2004/ECC 5.0 or ERP 2005/ECC 6.0. I know nothing about them and probably the poor people working in the Finance Departments of the mega-companies using these software don't know either.
So somebody had to do a simple tool, like GL Wand, which takes out the information one really needs from the jungle of this user-unfriendly large applications and create a simple table where people can actually use, interpret and understand. See a demo here. While you listen to the demo, you will notice a charming South-African accent, which is where this company originated, before declaring itself Australian and recently opened an office in US.
Don't be fooled by the small booth these guys have at OOW11. Without GL Wand, you can not manage what you have. Excel was commissioned by Steve to Bill Gates - when he was still struggling - because Apple OS could not run Lotus 123.
I walk to the large Oracle Fusion collective boot at the end of the exhibition hall. No Oracle employee is allowed to give an interview as they need multiple approvals to do so, from people who are seldom there. I did not understand why all those disparate products are called Fusion. My own interpretation is maybe because they will be available real time as part of the newly announced Oracle Cloud.
I read the The Story Behind Oracle Fusion Applications’ Extraordinary User Experience and I learned. User Experience is something Oracle got from the acquisition of PeopleSoft and decided to keep. You can research Oracle web site ups and down, but you never know what user experience is in Oracle's meaning.
Here is my take: I sit in front of a special terminal. It has lights and camera. "The terminal is made by a company in Switzerland", said the kind Oracle engineer. It measures my eye movement. Like a visit to the optometrist, I am asked to look left, right, up and down. Then, I am shown some web interfaces.
After many trials, I realize I look mostly in the upper left side and very seldom to lower left of the screen. I see maps with my attention area and then maps with attention areas of everyone else who was tested. They look similar my maps. It seems the entire world looks at the upper left side and not the lower right side. So - I thought to myself, - one should place all it matters in the higher left corner of the screen
Maybe not a coincidence, but the web site I was looking at was a Human Resources application. I saw each sales person graphed on many dimensions, beside revenues. Assume we do a better HR design, I can take decision of who is promoted or demoted simply by looking to the computer?
For Oracle, this a very new and praiseworthy initiative, but how much revenues the tool will produce? One of the hardest points to make it in companies like SAP and Oracle is to say that you generate indirectly the revenues. I expect a push for a new business model for usability.
With a tent between South and North pavilions, Moscone looked like a Circus. I can see the faint demonstration in support for Benioff banned keynote, which delighted the media. You could buy Lenovo Laptops at a special Oracle World discount And have your photo taken on the cover of National Geographic Magazine.
I left early to enjoy the real San Francisco in Starbucks on California Ave. just next Joyent's head office.