The Oracle OpenWorld Blogger Fiasco

When I first saw this headline, I was excited to learn that Oracle had finally decided to embrace the blogosphere and invite at least some of us to OpenWorld. But when I dug below the surface, it turns out Oracle's invitation was shoddy indeed. For example, Oracle continues to pay for analysts and international media to come to their event, but suggests that covering travel costs for bloggers could jeopardize their impartiality. This is such BS, that I can't help but wonder how Oracle gets away with it. Just the other week, in fact, an industry analyst in this sector whispered in my ear that he wished they could have the objectivity that bloggers have in their analysis in covering the recent vendor happenings, but that they were limited in what they could say.

I'm not alone in my opinion. Vinnie Mirchandani, a fellow Enterprise Ireggular, notes over on his blog that "clearly, this is something very new for Oracle. Not sure how else to explain the unnecessary baiting of SAP, the weak argument that not paying travel expenses will keep us "impartial" (when their annual payments to Gartner, other analysts and advertising to various media could easily pay for flying and lodging a thousand bloggers to the event." He's also concerned that even if they'd cover our expenses, whether Oracle would open up and let us talk to executives and customers just like SAP does.

Dennis Howlett, another Enterprise Irregular, is even more poignant with his words over on ZDNet: "It is tragic that [the hard work that went into this process] ... should apparently be undermined by a PR organization that seems intent on painting a picture that puts Oracle in a good light yet at the same time exposes the double standards by which it operates. It is a double tragedy because those of us who have met Larry Ellison and Charles Phillips know that as leaders of a world class company, they provide excellent value ... I conclude with these thoughts: if you are a customer -- can you trust a company that behaves this way? Despite the many fine people who work at Oracle, can you believe its corporate voice? I leave readers to draw their own conclusions."

Stay tuned for my candid analysis of the Oracle, JD Edwards and PeopleSoft SRM components in the coming month. Even though I won't be attending OpenWorld -- and Oracle refuses to engage bloggers in the Spend Management world in a dialogue -- it helps to have friends who use the applications everyday and have access to insight that will help with my analysis. Still, it's too bad that Oracle won't have the opportunity to spin their strengths -- such as their UI -- in their favor in-person given their golden opportunity to take advantage of SAP's botched SRM release schedule.

Jason Busch

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