Key Takeaways from Oracle OpenWorld 2017

With Oracle OpenWorld 2017 (#OOW17) now in the rearview, I spoke with Tony Field, 7-time OOW veteran and head of Function1's Web Experience Management team, to get a better understanding of the top trends and significant developments that came out of this year's event. 
What were your key takeaways from OOW17?
It was important to hear a clearly articulated, well-developed position and clarified messaging from Oracle with regards to WebCenter Sites (WCS) this year. There's now a well-defined roadmap for WCS in the context of Oracle's cloud offerings, that aligns with customer needs and industry trends. In terms of broader overall themes from both OOW and JavaOne (the annual conference organized by Oracle to discuss Java technologies), a few trends stand out: new channels for chatbots (including Amazon Alexa and Google Home), practical tools to support and leverage big data, enterprise-wide container-based app development, and serverless computing / super-lightweight deployments. It's been very interesting to see how well Java EE can participate in the lightweight deployment model when done deliberately. 
What was your favorite session of OOW17?
I hesitate to choose one, but it's exciting to see the mainstreaming of lightweight apps, container orchestration, and serverless deployment models. Sessions covering these topics, from hands-on labs to technology previews to case studies, were interesting and so popular that it was hard to get a seat at these sessions since they filled up so quickly. This approach contrasts the massive WEM deployments of a decade ago. Oracle's own WEM products don't yet fit into this model, but several others do.
Here at Function1, we've been conducting intensive research around current WCS deployments and the tradeoffs with regards to bringing Sites into the lighter-weight arena. These critical projects won't be accepted by customers for mission-critical applications until there's full support from leading vendors.
The main takeaway for leading software vendors in the WEM space is the need to adapt and evolve, as the appetite for huge app deployments is shrinking rapidly, and new vendors are moving in quickly. 
For those of us who missed your session, "Manage Content and Experience with Oracle WebCenter Sites and Oracle Cloud," can you give us a brief recap?  
My co-presenter Sripathy Rao, Product Manager at Oracle, and I provided attendees with a high-level overview of both Oracle Content & Experience Cloud (CEC) and Oracle WebCenter Sites (WCS). The session was particularly helpful for people just starting out with CEC or WCS because we were able to offer unique perspectives and valuable advice on which use cases work best for each platform and the overall decision process.*
Is there a new product or feature that emerged from OOW17 that has you most excited to implement/use at current and future WebCenter Sites customers?
Oracle announced that it will be greatly facilitating deployment of WCS in Oracle Java Cloud Service (JCS) and, in particular, doing a lot of work to advance rapid scaling. This is a notably exciting development for businesses currently using or considering Sites for the future because they will be able to scale on demand via a new pricing model that is credit-oriented. This lower barrier to entry will make it easier for businesses to enter the WCS space and scale at their own pace.
What are you looking forward to most over the next year?
Two things: first, experiencing and participating in the expansion of Content as a Service (CaaS) from both a feature standpoint and across the customer experience ecosystem, and secondly, exploring the advancement of artificial intelligence in the customer experience space - starting with chatbots for an overall increased level of customer connection and experience and rapidly expanding from there. CaaS will be really fun to use; to be able to deliver content through a huge number of channels via dedicated products, while easily managing it with WCS has been a vision for a long time and it's now a reality. 
*In case you missed Tony's OOW session and would like to download the slides for a more in-depth look, you can download the ppt presentation here.
Until next year...

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