The OFM Partner forum in Malaga has just finished and it left some very good memories! This forum was even better than the one in Utrecht last year. A lot of the credits go to Juergen Kress and Hans Blaas who organized this event. They really did a very good job!
The venue of this event was in the NH Hotel at Malaga. A nice hotel with lots of room for all the people. My wife and I checked in on Monday and visited the city together with my colleagues from InfoMENTUM. Malaga is really a nice city with vibrant colours and people.
On Tuesday the event started at noon with registration and a lunch. This was the first opportunity to network and network is what I did. It's nice to see familiar faces from previous events. Some of them I met at the partner forum in Utrecht last year so it was a nice opportunity to catch up on the past year.
After a while Hans and Juergen started with the introduction in the big auditorium. Again, they told everyone how important specialization is. I cannot agree more with them. We are specialized in both WebCenter Portal and WebCenter Content and we see that customers are impressed by this so it is not only a sales talk but it is something that really matters.
The next two sessions before the coffee break were sales presentations. They were about the market position of WebCenter, SOA and BPM and the strategy of Oracle. They also told us that according to some research, the amount spend by the business on portals, BPM and SOA will increase a lot over the upcoming years which means that there will be many opportunities for us partners.
After the coffee break it was time for some references cases. I always find these presentations the most interesting ones because we can see how partners solved issues and how they implemented specific requirements.
The first reference case was one presented by Geoffroy De Lamalle from eProsseed. He told us how they approach a project where a full integration of WebCenter, BPM and SOA was required. These are always very big projects where both business and development need to communicate a lot. It was nice to see the list of roles that are required for such projects and the time frame in which they could implement these projects.
In the past I heard a lot about eProsseed and Geoffroy. I never met him before and it was a nice experience. He is a nice guy and we had a nice chat later on.
The next reference case was our own case! Presented by David Rametta from Inmarsat. He was the only customer at the forum. Hans invited him because of his title: Digital Marketing Manager. The reason for this is that we should target our demo's and sales talks not only to CEO's or CIO's but people who are responsible about digital media. A few years ago, these types of functions did not exist so we need to follow these trends as well.
David talked about the current static website and the involvement of the IT in order to publish a new article on the internet. Because they have a very big portfolio, it is not always easy for customers to find exactly what they need. Therefore a good search functionality and taxonomy was required. This is exactly what InfoMENTUM could deliver.
During the next break I met John Sim. Finally! I know that guy for 3 years but we never seem to bump into each other on events. Now finally we did and he is a nice guy. We had a nice chat about WebCenter UI and ADF mobile and so on.
After the break we had another sales presentation. This time about WebCenter 12c and the new features. During this session I got a few mails from a customer that required my urgent attention so I decided to skip the last session of the day and went to my room to have a conference call with the customer.
During that call my room telephone rang. I answered and it was Hans asking me where I was. Last week I was awarded the Ace title and he announced this on stage after the last session. I did not know that he would do this so when Hans called my name nobody came to the stage... I was on my room. Juergen made a joke about this saying that at least his aces are present. Too bad that I was not there. It would be great to be there but duty called... When we met in the bar later on, Hans presented me the shirt and other gadgets that he would have given me on stage.
Tuesday evening was social event time. Once again, Hans and Juergen did a great job finding a good venue. First we went to a famous bar in Malaga were we could taste some typical Spanish tapas. There was also some live Spanish music and dance.
After the tapas we went to a different restaurant for a nice dinner. During dinner I met some new people and had some great chats.
Just when we were thinking on leaving the restaurant and going to the hotel, I saw John with some guys from VASS and Oracle so we decided to join them. We had a few more drinks, had some laughs and discussed some stuff about WebCenter and ADF.
It was a great evening and the network part of the event was a success!
On day two we could choose our session. The first session of the day was one of my colleague Srdjan Bakovic. He presented 3 different use cases about WebCenter. The idea of the presentation was that there is no wrong way of using WebCenter. Those 3 projects used WebCenter completely different. One was using WebCenter Content in combination with WebCenter Portal, the other one used SSXA and the 3t one used WebCenter Portal. They all had their own reasons why these technologies where chosen.
I skipped the next session because I still needed to prepare some things for the masterclass later on the week. From what I heard the WebCenter session was about selling WebCenter. How to sell WebCenter for small and big companies, how the licence model of Oracle works and so on. Because I have more technical background and I am not really involved in the licensing, it was not to bad I missed this session.
The last break out session for the day was about new features of WebCenter Portal and WebCenter Content. It was nice to see what the vision of Oracle is for 12c. I am pleased with the future of WebCenter. I can't wait to see a preview of WebCenter 12c!
All who attended Oracle Open World in October will remember the keynote from Larry about Fusion Middleware and Oracle Social Network. As a treat we got a nice follow up about these products. Andy Weaver gave a very nice demo about Oracle Social Network. It looked awesome and I really hope they release a beta version or some sort. Can't wait to see it integrated in WebCenter.
While we were waiting in the bar to leave for the speakers dinner, I had a nice chat with Simon Haslam about the future of the ADF and WebCenter EMG. We have some great ideas so keep an eye out for the EMG's for some announcements.
On Thursday and Friday I presented together with Andrejus Baranovskis and Alex from VASS the WebCenter and ADF masterclass. On Thursday Andrejus took most of the work. He gave an overview of ADF. He build an application starting with Business Component and ended with taskflows. The people could follow and do it themselves so they know what was happening.
Rob De Gouw from Quobell presented a case from an issue they had with the implementation of a portal. It was about making a website multilingual. They didn't know how to change the content dynamic so they created a very complex content presenter template with complex logic that checks for the language and loops content of a folder and selected the correct content.
The idea of these cases is to ask for people for other ways of doing it. I had an idea in mind about creating a dynamic CMIS query for the content presenter that included the language so I build a demo application and presented it later on in the masterclass. They were pleased with the idea and we had a nice discussion about the flexibility about CMIS and the content presenter.
I also presented some use cased about templating and page styles together with a presentation that explains how templates and page styles work in WebCenter. Some people were confused about the difference between page style and template. Now they are experts in it.
On the second day of the masterclass, the guys from VASS presented their case for a twitter like application inside WebCenter. They used the REST API for the discussions but had lots of issues with integrating them into WebCenter so they switched to an HTML application instead of an ADF application. Their question was if anybody would do it with ADF instead of HTML and why. We agreed that everybody would try with ADF first and if it didn't work, change to plain HTML.
I also gave a presentation about Portlets and standards. After the lunch we had a discussion about taskflows versus portlets. I was hoping it would be more interactive but everybody agreed with me that we would go for taskflows unless we really need portlets like for scalability, preferences, make functionality available for other portals and so on.
I also build a few portlets and showed the people how inter portlet communication worked. This concluded the masterclass and I could present everybody a copy of my WebCenter cookbook provided by Oracle!
Juergen Kress came to thank everybody and had some final words on how everybody should find information about WebCenter and approach Oracle if they are stuck on a project.
Now that my summary is finished, I notice it isn't a summary but an essay... This is because of the wonderful time I had at the event and the great job both Hans and Juergen did in organizing the event and providing so good content. No matter where the next forum is, you can definitely count me in!