Oracle marketing had done such a good job. The invites went out. The RSVP page was beautifully designed and easy to register. The emailed confirmation and joining instructions were equally good. So imagine our surprise when we get to the Rotunda on 4th floor of the Neiman Marcus, walk out of the lifts are there are 2 elderly ladies struggling to confirm guests in a printed multi-page list in an extremely small font. Had the lift somehow transported us back 10 years?!!
Up until this point I had felt special. A VIP. The previous emails had felt personal. And suddenly I am forced to stand in line like cattle. My discomfort is matched by the embarrassment of the 2 ladies on the reception desk who were unable to find my name quickly and the line was growing ever longer. Not the VIP welcome I was expecting.
Oracle is at the leading edge of technology. Therefore you expect them to be using every opportunity to show their leadership. One of its partners, Zuant, has an iPad powered registration and lead retrieval app. They could have used that and it would have been more impressive and more efficient. Plus with an integration with Eloqua the follow up and no-shows could be dealt with more effectively. I doubt the random ticks on the printed lists would be reflected back into the invite and RSVP email list. At the same time badges could have been printed to facilitate networking.
Alternatively they could have eliminated any registration at the door. A quick question at the entrance to the lift at ground floor could have weeded out those freeloaders not with Oracle. Everyone else, whether registered or not, was welcome anyway. So, this approach would eliminate the 2 people at the desk and the unnecessary and embarrassing registration line. and it would feel more welcoming.
Billed as a networking event for all EMEA partners it promised a great deal. But networking when nobody has a name badge is remarkably difficult. For some reason you need to ave able to read a name, company and country before you strike up a conversation. Rotunda, as the name suggests is round. In fact it is a circular walkway on the 3rd floor over looking over void down to the ground floor and a spectacular stained glass ceiling. So the choice of location for the event, whilst very elegant, did not lend itself to networking.
So, not a very auspicious start to an exciting week at Oracle Open World. It can only get better as we fast forward to 2013.