Not Wanted: Product Comparison

A specialist is someone who knows a lot about a topic. He specializes and specializes and knows ever more about an ever smaller knowledge area. And in the end, he knows everything about nothing.

I’ve just submitted my abstracts for the UKOUG Technology Conference in December, and I was forced by the website to choose only one product as the topic of my presentation. That is a problem and reflects a worrying trend towards silo mentality in IT. Each developer has his own tool and is either ignorant of other tools or actively hostile towards them.

One of my favorite topics has always been the “How to choose the right Oracle Tool” presentations that I have been giving in various guises for 15 years. I understand why this presentation never makes it onto the agenda at Oracle OpenWorld, where each product management team has a limited number of slots and want presentations that are uniquely about “their” product. But these comparisons are very valuable to all Oracle developers and customers, and I believe user groups should offer them. That’s why it saddens me to see UKOUG follow the silo mentality and move towards single-tool presentations.

3 thoughts on “Not Wanted: Product Comparison

  1. Hi Sten

    Thanks for submitting abstracts to UKOUG Tech13. However I’d just like to clarify our approach as the speaker guidance (http://www.tech13.ukoug.org/guidelines) may not come across entirely clearly and I wouldn’t want people to get the wrong impression.

    This year the flagship UKOUG conference(s) will have a lot of pretty exciting changes, not least the splitting of Tech from Apps, as well as a new venues… this means we’ll have far more tech content than ever before! With this amount of content we want to try to make it easier for delegates to navigate through the agenda, so we are planning to slice it two ways: siloed, if you like, into “product” areas, but also by “themes”.

    For example, if we look at product areas: one covers APEX, one covers ADF and another covers more traditional development like Forms. On the other hand, looking at themes you have one with the working title of “Getting the most out of Oracle products”, one for “mobile”, one for “big/fast data” and so on. An architect or designer who is interested in, say, mobile can then look at the themed agenda and easily see relevant content that’s not tied to one particular product.

    We recognise though that that many people will actually want very focussed, technical presentations. In the past we’ve had “Development” and “Middleware” but then where should a session on Forms 11g new features, or SOA performance tuning, live? I realise that, by definition, your tool choice presentation cuts across lots of Oracle products but I’m sure those doing the judging will understand that.

    Finally, as the speaker guidelines hint at, the products/themes aren’t yet set in stone, plus we may juggle sessions around to get the best mix. Of course we welcome feedback so have noted your comment – please get in touch if you’d like to discuss further.

    I hope this may ease some of your concerns. We’ve got lots of new innovations for UKOUG Tech13 so it’s looking like it could be our best conference yet!

    Simon

  2. I don’t worry about the judging – I agree that the judges will be able to evaluate my abstracts even if they are cross-product.

    Also agree that product/theme matrix is not quite clear.

    However, the main problem is that you did not create a “several products” product for potential presenters to choose. By not having this option, I think you are implying that you don’t find these comparisons valuable.

  3. Yes, I agree – “several products” (or the option to tick multiple product areas instead of just one from the drop-down list) was probably a bit of an omission. The committee will have to think about how to tackle it as we progress along the agenda planning process. Thanks again for the feedback :)

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