OOW – Seen Through the Eyes of Our Innovators

We asked some of our team to reflect upon their experience at Oracle OpenWorld London 2020…

Emily Heathorn | Digital Editor

Emily Heathorn
Digital Editor

After many months of precise preparation from the marketing team, the time came to head to the capital with one objective – captivating the attendees of Oracle OpenWorld London. For those who don’t know, Oracle OpenWorld is the technology giant’s flagship customer and partner event, held to update and educate its attendees on Oracle’s overall business and technology movements within the market.

As one of the most significant events on our marketing calendar commenced, there was no uncertainty about the magnitude of technology enthusiasts that would soon be in attendance. Being a marketeer subject to the tax technology industry, it was reassuring to be present at an event so largely focused on our target end-users.

Looking at the event from a marketing perspective, Oracle is a resourceful company to partner with; for each of their global events, we are provided with helpful brand diaries and other marketing materials subject for social media and promotion. This year I decided to design our own graphics but the guidance from Oracle most certainly tops any other event I’ve ever had the task of marketing for.

It was satisfying to see the unison of the exhibition hall- a scatter of light-up stands filled a once vast expansion with bright colors (a result of the artwork preparation from Oracle) providing unity for all organizations. Being an early investor and absolute advocate for the eye-catching and sleek design that the lightbox stand promises, it led us to ditch our outdated pop-up and in 2018 migrate to a more innovative approach in true Innovate Tax style.

With photograph opportunities such as the Oracle swing, it was easy to establish our attendance across our social media channels. I mean, what’s not to love – it’s an indoor swing! Amongst the hustle and bustle of the event, it’s understandable that some would find it overwhelming or distracting, but with the help of the Oracle Events App, I was kept up-to-date with any keynote sessions that I’d thumbnailed to attend.

Speaking of which, I was privileged enough to attend a keynote session featuring Amanda St L Jobbins, CMO for Oracle. It was not only an incredible experience to be able to listen to such an insightful and knowledgeable speaker but inspirational too.

It is without a doubt that Oracle OpenWorld London will continue establishing itself as a well-attended event, growing year-on-year mirroring efforts from its sister event in San Francisco. A fantastic experience – thank you Oracle OpenWorld.

Sam Thomas | Territory Manager

Sam Thomas
Territory Manager

Having been to a fair few Oracle events around the globe during my time at Innovate Tax, I must say that I was mightily impressed by OpenWorld Europe this year.

Speaking from a vendor’s perspective I think the way the event space was organized played a part in the overall success and ‘vibe’ of the event. Typically, exhibitors’ stands are organized into makeshift alleyways which tend to feel like a gauntlet for attendees to battle through as they try to reach the free buffet. However, on arrival that first morning I’ll admit I actually thought the space this year felt sparse and empty. Yet as the venue filled with attendees, it was apparent this space allowed a level of freedom to walk around without being accosted by vendors keen to make leads, which in turn meant attendees were more open to having quality conversations.

Another difference that stood out to me was the uniformity of the stands; not only visually appealing but it helped to level the playing field. As a boutique business offering a niche service around tax technology, we don’t have the same spending power (yet) as some of the bigger vendors, so the fact the important first impression wasn’t made on how much square footage you command and how much free ‘merch’ was available, but instead measured by the quality of the offering was a real positive. A further benefit to this was having the stand built and taken down by the event organizers; far too many times have I struggled to haul our stand across a busy city at rush hour!

Sadly, I’m not able to give feedback on the quality of the sessions, as I was diligently manning the booth! But adding guest speakers such as Dara O’Briain and Tim Peake really helped to create a buzz of excitement amongst the attendees and vendors alike. Looking forward to next year.

Kyron Smith | Sales Associate

Kyron Smith
Sales Associate

With the anticipation and hype from social media adding to the build-up, I was unsure of what to expect from Oracle OpenWorld as a first-timer. I had originally wondered whether it would be an event pinpointed predominately on Oracle’s systems and software, however, upon reflection I would say it focused more on its’ partners and customers. The floorplan was perfect for actively networking and attending the Oracle Partner keynote sessions that featured within the event hall. It gave a sense of privacy from the flurry of passers-by but still allowed vendors to be involved in the heart of the action.

I was fortunate enough to be made a member of the team manning our stand, thereby taking on the role of greeting interested attendees, and sharing my specialized industry knowledge. Amongst all of this, I couldn’t help but notice my legs were beginning to feel the effects of a 5 am start!

Thinking about the sheer scale of Oracle as an organization, I didn’t once doubt the size of the event. That said, part of me didn’t consider the number of people that would be in attendance. It was pretty phenomenal and though full it wasn’t overly crowded, which served a pleasant environment. When I managed to escape the conversation hub that soon became our stand, I explored the event some more submerging myself in the seemingly never-ending presence of Oracle spanning in all directions of the ExCel’s substantial venue.

A stand out element of the event for me was the addition of the keynote sessions, an undoubtedly great way to expand my understanding of the Oracle world (whilst giving my legs a brief rest), with sessions suited for everyone. It will come as no surprise that I ventured to Tim Peake’s captivating and inspiring presentation – an experience I’ll never forget. It was vastly compelling to hear about the commitment to training and mental preparation astronauts must endeavor.

Oracle OpenWorld certainly didn’t let me down, I hope to see you next year!

Lizzie Widdicks | Sales Associate

Lizzie Widdicks
Sales Associate

Reflecting upon this time last year, I was a novice in the world of Oracle, to say the least. After landing a job at Innovate Tax the moment I finished my education, I was swiftly immersed in the vast world of software – I certainly wasn’t naive to the fact I had a lot to learn. Initially unaware that events like Oracle OpenWorld took place, I quickly realized both the importance and enormity of Oracle by the undeniable atmosphere and engagement of the attendees. I was impressed with the level of attendance and the organization was far beyond anything I initially imagined.

Generally, my working weeks are spent calling experienced indirect tax professionals working for multi-national organizations; most with over ten years placed in the industry. Considering my typical target, I soon realized why attending an event like Oracle OpenWorld would be a refreshing insight into the people I reach out to daily.

As the first day unveiled, it became apparent the opportunity I was granted would enable me to put names to faces and reach out to my desired demographic. After conversing with a multitude of specialists over the two days of the event, the feeling of intimidation I once felt soon disappeared.

I must note that one of the things Oracle OpenWorld provided me with was the exciting excuse to network with peers, teaching me the importance of building relationships within this industry. As a team, we wanted to ensure we took advantage of making connections whilst we were in London and thus co-hosted an invite-only after-party along with some of our partners. It was a chance for us to engage with any delegates we’d met at our booth in a slightly more informal environment – the free drinks helped this of course!

I’m confident we will host more social events in the future, contacts made were proven to be worthwhile and the overall enjoyment of the evening seemed evident from all parties.

A great experience throughout, thank you Oracle OpenWorld!

Carl Robinson | Head of Marketing

Carl Robinson
Head of Marketing

Last year (2019) I attended the inaugural OpenWorld event in London as a delegate; we were approached to exhibit but decided that, for the first year at least, it’d be better to do a recce and see how the event fared outside of its US comfort-zone.

And it was pretty good – there was a wide range of session topics and keynotes to attend and, judging by the chaos of the registration desk, very popular indeed. I think all that attended Oracle’s UK premiere agreed that there was certainly a lot to be gained as an attendee.

But how would that translate to attending as an exhibitor sponsor? Given the previous year’s apparent success and strong attendance, this year we bit the bullet and decided to take a stand in the main exhibitor hall.

Despite attending for a very different purpose, those of us that trundled off to OOW2020 could see that the niggles and bumps of the previous year had really been ironed out; no queuing for hours to get a badge, smoother transitions between session timings, etc. The exhibition hall was sectioned out well into ‘zones’ depending on the industry’s specialism. Innovate Tax was situated in the Finance zone, which makes sense as we provide tax technology solutions! This meant that delegates were able to locate businesses and experts with relative ease – in short, it was well considered.

And this was reflected in a large amount of the conversations that we had with people that visited our stand; Oracle had really looked at the demographics behind who had previously attended and the result was that there was something for every professional specialism. This wasn’t just about technical professionals or DBAs, there were a lot of people attending from Finance, HR and Marketing related backgrounds.

It seemed that the melting pot of disciplines could all find common ground with some of the excellent keynote speakers, notably comedian Dara O’Briain and astronaut Tim Peake. Perhaps the other sessions on the agenda suffered from a mote of dilution as a result; whereas last year some of the presentations were a bit more ‘hands-on’, this year there was a series of wide-reaching topics that bore the brunt of a wider net cast, meaning that many topics were samey and lasted for a slightly paltry 20 minutes or so – hardly enough time to deliver any groundbreaking insight.

As an Oracle Partner, one thing that was great for Innovate Tax was the dedicated Partner Lounge, wherein several sessions – senior Oracle Directors shared their roadmap vision for the development of the OPN (Oracle Partner Network). I had the fortune of meeting some incredible individuals and spent no small amount of time picking their brains about ‘what comes next?’. I think it really indicated how much Oracle values its partner businesses, and over the forthcoming twelve months, I expect that Oracle customers will begin to benefit from the stronger links Oracle is forging with its business buddies.

Overall, as both delegate and exhibitor, I’d have to say that the event was a rip-roaring success. You don’t have to be a technical whiz-kid to get something out of attending – catering so well to industry, profession, and product updates, Oracle OpenWorld London is rapidly establishing itself as a must-attend event for anyone in some way connected to the Oracle universe.

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