Following a packed Monday at TechFest I was looking forward to another busy schedule as I arrived on Tuesday morning. My day began with ‘Overcoming Blank Canvas Syndrome with OAC’  hosted by Joel Acha (Elffar Analytics) and Gianni Ceresa (Datalysis). I was drawn to this talk due to being acutely aware of how many of us struggle with the question ‘but where do you start?’ when approaching tasks. This talk demonstrated the benefits of automating the generation of insights using Machine Learning and Natural Language, and I particularly liked Joel comparing Blank Canvas Syndrome in the IT sector to Writer’s Block for an Author – it was certainly a comparison I understood!

My next talk was Oracle Data Integration Cloud: Today and Tomorrow hosted by Oracle’s Jerome Francoisse. I think it’s fair to say everyone was in agreement with his key message that ‘Old Style Data Plumbing isn’t good enough anymore’, and it was also extremely interesting to learn about the evolution of ODI through to the latest on-prem and cloud-based offerings.

From here I went to the Analytics & Data Science Community Keynote: The Oracle Analytics Strategy & Roadmap, hosted by Oracle’s Mike Durran and sponsored by Vertice Cloud. I continue to take a keen interest in Oracle Analytics Server in particular and know many of my readers are also following this new technology closely. It’s not surprising that OAS is commanding such attention, given it’s promise to bring OA Capabilities to an On-Prem solution (including data visualisation), annual updates, and comparable capabilities to OBIEE. I’m certainly excited to see what experiences my connections have with it in 2019.  

Speaking of OAS, this was also important in the next talk I went to ‘Cloud Transformation – The Analytics Journey with Trinity College Dublin’ hosted by Christine McMahon and David Heraty of Vertice Cloud. I was particularly interested to hear about Trinity College being an OAS early adopter, and in addition to their move to OCI the organisation will provide a fascinating insight into the future of Oracle usership.

My last formal talk of the day was Digital API Strategy in Insurance delivered by Mark Simpson of Griffiths Waite. Mark spoke of the importance of connectivity and integration, and the need to balance ‘The How’ with ‘The Why’ when conceptualising and implementing a successful API platform. Mark also reminded us of an important mantra which is often easily overlooked in consultancy, ‘Start with the Customer’.

Tuesday concluded with an excellent performance form our guest speaker, comedian Marc Hogan, who told us the story of how he prepared and then performed his first one-man show at the Edinburgh Fringe in less than nine months. Mark’s speech was inspirational for anyone who has attempted a seemingly-impossible project and then run into further adversity along the way. As such, I think it’s fair to say he had ‘something for everyone’!

Now back in London, I’m grateful as ever to everyone at UKOUG for putting on such a great event, and to all the speakers who dedicated their time to helping to #PassTheKnowledge and enriching all of us who attended their talks. My next event is OpenWorld Europe in February, but do feel free to contact me in the interim if there’s anything I can help you with by providing an insight. I’m keen to ensure I #PassTheKnowledge myself.