This was my first UKOUG TEBS, in fact my first conference I’d ever attended! I was quite unsure what to expect, but three days later I can safely say it was invaluable.
The variety of presentations and expertise being shared was impressive, and it was great to hear people sharing and discussing their ideas and opinions around the subjects I work with each day.
Working in isolation is not a good idea, one can develop a blinkered or bunker mentality. Blogging is good for breaking out of this, as is, I’m now convinced, twittering. However, nothing beats meeting up with folk and discussing problems face to face, listening and learning from their experience.
For a long time I’ve struggled with training courses, finding them too simplistic and slow paced (there are occasional exceptions, as always). Now I know for sure - I’d happily forgo every single one for a conference any day!
My highlights of the conference included:
- Graham Wood talking about ASH
- Tim Reeves talking about WADER and WHAM, two in-house OBIEE metadata tools developed by Hitachi. There’s obviously a lot of work gone into them and therefore IP to be protected but it struck me that in other areas of technology the tools would be proudly shared as open-source (in one form or another) rather than in effect sales-demo’d.
- Listening to Dan Norris talk about Exadata, at a Roundtable session chaired by Joel Goodman. I felt a bit of a fraud at the “Roundtable” knowing very little about the subject but it was fascinating to listen to and brilliant to get it from the “horses mouth” instead of through the BS screen of salesmen.
- Doug Burns’ entertaining, slick and informative demo of performance screens in EM. Bravo for ditching the slides and going live!
- An interesting BI best-practice session from Vicky Minnis. Good to see that it’s not unique for organisations to get their BI wrong. Frustrating to know that it’s so widespread and people don’t/won’t learn!
- Will O’Shea and Jason Perkins did a useful talk entitled “Healthy Datawarehouse” with some good detail and discussion in it. I felt sorry for the guys at the end when they got in-effect heckled by someone in the audience who was one of their users. A shame, because a lot of the audience got up and left at this point, so the Q&A was a bit spoilt. Even if the user had a valid point to make, it should have been made 1:1 after the session.
- And last but by no means least - meeting the guys from RittmanMead, and getting name-checked in one of Mark’s presentations! :-)
The conference itself seemed very slickly run, I was impressed. The ICC and UKOUG staff were very helpful too. A few things for next time:
- The WiFi was very intermittent, and poor coverage
- The twitter hashtag for the conference was a great idea, but session tags seemed a step too far that several session chairs openly mocked …
- Twittering for cancelled sessions would have been a useful way of communicating it
- The free pen in the conference bag was rubbish! :-P The Informatica one from their stand was much better
- It would be fantastic if the sessions were available on a Google Calendar or iCal format, to save having to type them all in for storing on a PDA/phone etc.
- Great idea providing water bottle to refill instead of having lots of waste, kudos, but it tasted so plastiky, yuk!
- The venue for the roundtables was too open and subject to noise, both people accidentally wandering through and ICC staff moving tea & coffee setup around.
- Ironic that at a hi-tech conference there are bits of paper floating around for speaker evaluation forms that will presumably have to be entered into computer by hand. Paper’s convenient for some, but please can we have an online version too?