Marco Musings 2007

Another round of random ramblings on the Marco Island Conference. This time around, it's the October 8-10, 2007 coverage.

Copyright by Steve Schneider



Well, here we are again with the 2007 edition of random ramblings from the Fall 2007 Marco Island CWG conference. It is such a hardship having to deal with the Florida sunsets without a good microbrew. Yuengling isn't bad, but it's a long way from Spotted Cow or Fat Tire.

Marco Island Sunset



So, this year we did a Sunday night meet and greet, courtesy of Cincom. Got a chance to catch up with some folks without having to miss the conference content, and got free drinks to boot! Cincom did a very good job of keeping a "low profile" as a vendor, but still getting their name out there. Of course, anyone that plys me with 2 free drinks can't be all bad!!! In my opinion, this turned out to be a very nice addition to the conference. Hopefully, we can see other sponsors do similar things.

This brings up a subject that I have heard from multiple people on. Namely, the "sales pitch" from the vendors. Get over it folks!! Without the sponsors, the conference would not be anywhere near as cheap as it is. Part of getting sponsorship dollars is listening to the vendors providing the sponsoring. Try going to an ASUG conference and tell me this wasn't better. It is, by a long shot!! In fact, if you actually listen to the presentations given as "sales pitches", you get some very valuable information about how things are done in the configuration space.

Another thing our sponsors did that I really liked was renting the penthouse. No, not for a wild party (although I heard they did give away free beer), but to give people that desired it a chance to see their products firsthand. Although I did not go up there (imagine that, me passing up free beer?), I think that giving them the opportunity to have a separate affair is a wonderful idea. Funny, I didn't hear anyone complain about this except that "there wasn't enough beer" Hmm, and why did you go???

So, from my perspective, I believe that our sponsors did a great all around job of being heard, yet not being "high pressure salespeople". Thank you for being willing to provide sponsorship!!


Day 1

Walked in the doors early to try and steal some power for the laptop. Big room this year, with power all over the place.Recharging stations at the back of the room. Big improvement over years past. Now, if only we can do something about the chairs. Talk about a bad back!!

In his presidential address, Robert finally admitted to this being "his island". Like we didn't already know that.Come on Robert, we all know the real reason why the conferences are held at Marco.

Robert Fishing

Michael gave a very good overview of where the configuration space has been for the past few years, then we tried something different. A phone dial in from Jutta Weber in Germany. Although Jutta did a very good job, this method did not work for me. Based on what I saw looking around the audience, not for a lot of other people either. That's really too bad as the Business Rules Engine topic has a lot of potential for future use. I certainly hope that SAP brings more information on this topic to Berlin in May.

During Harald's presentation on the Enterprise SOA, it became kind of clear that Mobile Sales is heading the same route as VC. Namely, not much of anywhere. For me, this got validated on Day 2 in the discussion on the AJAX Methodology. Certain comments about selling in the desert drove the point home that, while not dead, mobile sales is not, shall we say, a "license winning feature" for SAP. Good or bad?? I'm not quite sure yet, but there it is.

The Lennox presentation was interesting as well. Hmmmm, they took Mobile Sales out of scope. Looks like a smart move on the part of Lennox!!

My turn to get up and be a talking head. Although I'm not real surprised, there is not too much interest in the crowd over the decided lack of a standard SAP reporting solution for Configuration data. I was surprised that none of the "Beer or no Beer" winners took me up on free beer!! It wasn't like I was hard to find or anything.

Then came the interesting part. The CWG sandbox. A lot of very hard work has gone into making this a reality. It will allow the CWG customers a chance to see and feel the latest technology without having to actually buy a license. Now, that's not the intent, and therein lies part of the problem with the sandbox. Others are things like, who gets in, what keeps people out, who is able to do what, advertising, etc, etc, etc. Many different things that the Board will have to wrestle with. I'm sure they could use some help, so, if you really want to see the latest and greatest, get off your butts and volunteer to help!! You do remember that the CWG is a volunteer organization, right??

So, the call went out for Extreme Frisbee. Too hot on the beach for my blood. I waited for the evening "non topic" topic dinners. Hey, Nacho Mama's is back, bigger and better than ever before. And the nachos are STILL huge!!

Frisbee at the Beach


Day 2

Well, what to go to?? A good thing my company had multiple people attend. There is no way that 1 person can keep up. 3 tracks make it difficult to divide and conquer with less than 3 people. What's even worse, when there are time slots where there is nothing that pertains to your company, it's a "less of the evils" kind of thing. I don't have a solution, and I will admit, I like the way the tracks are set up, so, for now, it must be time to suck it up and get over it.

I don't know how anyone else felt, but when I read over the proposed methods to reduce the delta list, I saw that the majority of them (4 to 3) were pushing the AP Engine methods back into R\3. Don't get me started on mixed messages.

What this does drive home is the need for use cases and requirements for the Next Generation Configuration Engine. This team is being led by Dave Loomans and should be getting into high gear by the time you read this. So, if you want to be a part of defining the future, make sure Dave has your email address!!

Not much interest in the dinners tonight, so the wife and I went to the Irish pub across the street. No, didn't do the sushi. Still no microbrews and boy, is the beer there overpriced!!


Day 3

Back together again, in the big room just set up a little differently. I really liked this set up better. We had 2 big screens on either side of the presenter platform, which didn't leave one side of the room feeling left out. Good job to our organizers and the Hilton staff for realizing this and changing on such short notice!

I still don't get it. Although there were more people here than on day 3 in previous years, attendance started dwindling around 10 am. Why did you pay the money if you aren't going to see everything there is?? By the time we got to the questions and answers session, many of the people that had asked questions were gone. Made it difficult to get clarification and give them an answer.

Conference is over, but still time to socialize and drink some beer by the pool (for those of us smart enough to take some vacation time). Drank'em right out of Yuengling, then our trusty barmaid ended up finding 4 last glasses which somehow did not appear on the bill!! Even better!!

The Board does a better and better job every time I go to one of these things. Kudo's and a raised glass of Three Philosophers to all our hard working Board members!!

Till next time.