Recently, I sat down (virtually) with Kevin McGinley of Accenture to discuss the upcoming ODTUG Kscope 12. I was on the content selection committee, and immediately recognized how lucky ODTUG was to have Kevin coordinating this process. We had tough choices to make around content -- this is always the case, as I've participated in this capacity before in the past. But Kevin always took us in the right direction, and after the process was over, I knew I wanted to have a discussion with him on the blog so our readers could see what awaits them at Kscope 12.
Kevin recently blogged about Kscope 12 on the ODTUG Blog, so perhaps that is a nice introduction to our interview here. I'd like to thank Kevin for taking a little time to do this interview, and I'd also like to thank Accenture for allowing him to appear here.
[Stewart Bryson] This is only your second Kscope, but already you are a winner of the Editor's Choice award for your whitepaper at Kscope 11, and now, are the BI content lead for Kscope 12. What do you think it is about ODTUG and Kscope that you have connected with?
[Kevin McGinley] I was amazed by three things at Kscope 11. First, the ODTUG community is a very warm, welcoming community of people who were very easy to engage with, both on a professional and personal level. Second, I was pleased with the type of content presented at Kscope versus a larger conference like Open World. The sessions feel very real, the presenters are very approachable, and the level of discussion/interaction is much higher. Lastly, I was very impressed with the level of organization at Kscope. The conference flowed very smoothly, there were a lot of interesting activities outside the core sessions, and the entertainment was top-notch.
[Stewart Bryson] For those folks who have never attended Kscope before, how would you describe the event, perhaps drawing comparisons or differences with other conferences?
[Kevin McGinley] As I alluded to above, Kscope is much more communal than a larger conference like Open World. Open World is a mad dash against 40,000+ strangers to get from place to place. You are exhausted by the end of the week, and the practical knowledge you take away can be limited. Kscope is a more manageable pace, the practical knowledge you gain from the sessions is much higher, and there is greater emphasis on interaction and discussion.
[Stewart Bryson] Thinking specifically about the BI Stream, what would you say to Kscope Alumni about the BI Stream this year that might encourage them to give the conference another try?
[Kevin McGinley] I would say two things to this. First, BI keeps growing at Kscope – we have about 50% more sessions than we did last year! This is great because you get to offer more variety in the content and you also get to balance the “intro” audiences against the “technical” audiences – satisfying both. Second, Kscope has a tremendous EPM presence – quite possibly the biggest EPM conference around – and with BI and EPM converging the way they are, this offers attendees a tremendous opportunity to start looking at how to maximize their Oracle investments in these two areas and expand the value they provide to their businesses.
[Stewart Bryson] What can you tell us about the content selection process? Did you have a particular focus or goal in mind when selecting and scheduling the presentations?
[Kevin McGinley] Because OBIEE 11g was introduced before Kscope 11, it had a very strong presence that year due to the sheer magnitude of the release. It was necessary to insure that the ODTUG community was well informed about OBIEE 11g. Now that OBIEE 11g has settled in the marketplace, we can explore/return to other areas like the packaged BI Applications, data integration with ODI and Golden Gate, EPM integration, more BI Publisher, and the recently announced Exalytics. We tried to make sure we still covered relevant areas of OBIEE, but left room to cover more of the Oracle offerings around OBIEE, since it’s rarely used by itself in a vacuum.
[Stewart Bryson] Any particular BI sessions that you are looking forward to?
[Kevin McGinley] I see what you’re trying to do here, Stewart – you’re looking for me to plug your two presentations! In all seriousness, there are a lot of great sessions that I’m excited about. I also love that we have a great balance between customer speakers, boutique consulting companies, large consulting companies, independents, and Oracle ACEs. I think that’s important. To answer your question, though, I’m really excited to hear from customers like JC Penny, Eaton Vance, General Dynamics, and Clark Construction covering topics like OBI/EPM integration, rolling-out mobility to executives, and project testing strategies.
[Stewart Bryson] Being involved with content selection can be very time-consuming. How supportive has Accenture been with your dedication to Kscope?
[Kevin McGinley] Accenture has been great. I think no matter where you work, you’re often pretty busy, so it helps to have an employer who is supportive with the extra time required to make sure Kscope is a great experience for everyone. Accenture really recognizes the value of a smaller, more intimate conference like Kscope – we host a similar conference for our Oracle customers – and encourages its employees to engage in the industry community where possible.
[Stewart Bryson] Personally, I think Kscope provides a great opportunity to step outside my usual focus on BI and see some sessions in other streams. Last year I attended sessions on Exadata, PL/SQL development, and APEX. Has anything outside of the BI stream caught your eye?
[Kevin McGinley] The great thing about BI is that it complements other tracks nicely. You can’t get very far in BI without a data store of some sort, so both the Database track and the Essbase track offer sessions that would be attractive to BI attendees. Both data stores require optimization for BI to perform, and each track has very practical sessions on how to accomplish this. I’m excited about that. Another track I find interesting is the EPM Business Content, a new track this year. Geared more towards a director or senior manager, this track can really help a BI person understand how EPM can fit into their environment and drive additional value.
As you can see, Business Intelligence is in good hands at Kscope 12. Hopefully, we'll see you there!