Oct 5, 2008

My week at Oracle Open World - Part 2

Wednesday September 25

Wednesday was a big day for me. I was going to be part of a presentation for the first time at OOW !
I was a bit nervous since I had nothing prepared. The fact that English is not my native language added to the nervousness. But it was a round table and we were there to just talk about our experience with APEX in a Software as a sevice (SAAS) environment and answer questions from the audience.

So, in the morning, I attended the "Soup-to-Nuts RAD Development Using Oracle SQL Developer and Oracle Application Express" presentation by Mike Hichwa and David Peake.
We had a preview of the data modeler tool that will be integrated in SQL Developer. It looks very promising and at last, we will be able to easyly publish our data model and compare different schemas via SQL Developper. I think that people that are currently using designer only for the modeling part will rapidly switch to this new tool.

here is a snapshot of what it looks like :

There was also a demo of APEX and the Forms conversion tool.

After that we took a look at the Demo ground and Exhibition Hall and went to lunch.

We then decided to go to Larry's Keynote. I think that it is a must see for people attending OOW.
We had to wait in line an hour before. There was a lot of people there ! But it was worth the wait.

Larry officially launched the Exadata storage servers in partneship with HP. Very interesting piece of equipement.

After the Keynote , it was my turn, I was a speaker in the "S300458 - Building commercial Software-As-A-Service (SAAS) applications with Oracle Application Express" presentation.

So we went back to Moscone South. I think that the presentation went pretty well. We were six on the Panel and David Peake hosted the roundtable. Our product was a bit different than the others since our SAAS solution is a CRM but also generates dynamically the public websites of our customers. All this in the same multi tenant APEX application.

The participants of the roundtable were :
  • Jim Brull, Centroid
  • Doug Gault, Hotsos
  • Francis Mignault, Insum Solutions
  • Anton Nielsen, C2Consulting
  • Paulo Vale, Neoface
  • Dennis Vanill, Paetec
I really liked to exchange on the SAAS topic with the other panellists. In a way, we all share the sames issues and they are not only technical issues.

Our solution is an integrated Association Management service. We host the application on our servers and our clients uses it to maintain their membership database. With only a web browser, they have access to an application that stores the information of all their members and suppliers in one single place. They can print members cards, print labels, follow their communications, renew the memberships automatically, generate public and private web pages, list the activities, allow on-line subscription, interface with their accounting system and produce different reports.

We also provide a job offer system where external suppliers can post job offers themselves and the result is automatically sent to all the members on a daily basis.

They can generate mailing lists, members can print and pay their invoices on-line. They can also update their profile on-line. The general public can query the members database with specific criterias.

It is even possible to display ads on their web-sites through a user friendly interface. This is really the beauty of our solution since our software become a source of revenue for the association. Not only it allows associations to give a better service to their members by communicating the information more rapidly, it eases the burdon of having to maintain and support the software and the hardware. It also reduces the manual administration of the association by automating a lot of the business processes.

It is a management system for Assoctions memberships with some content management.

Our customers benefits of an up-to-date software at all time. We constantly add new features and everyone using the software gets those features automatically. It's a living software without having to worry about upgrades, licenses and technical issues.

The application also make extensive use of the globalization functionalities integrated in APEX. That allows us to offer a bilingual (French and English) software.

We host our SAAS in a secure environment with a redundant database on a remote site and by doing so our service is reliable and always available.

All this using Oracle Application Express. Because APEX is scalable (we currently support over 60 000 user accounts) and because the architecture is simple (Oracle database only) this allow us to offer our solution at an affordable price without any worries.

We have a dedicated team that are working exclusively on support and maintenance of our product.

To find out more about our SAAS solution, you can check our website at www.insum.ca

You can check some of our customers sites here on the right of my blog : "Websites using our SAAS product (Association Management Software)"

We are also listed on the Oracle Apex website in the Commercial Applications section.

I really enjoyed this session. I would like to thank the other participants and especially David Peake who made this possible.

If you are thinking about a SAAS hosted solution made with Oracle Aplication EXpress and you don't know where to start, need help or if you have any questions, feel free to send me an e-mail .

You can download the powerpoint presentation here.

Next post will be about My week at OOW Part 3 (final) ...
More to come : Appreciation Event, Seal, UB40, Alcatraz , Web 2.0 with APEX and John Scott presentation : Myths about Oracle application express ...


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