What a great forum for education, reconnecting with business associates, networking, and social networking at COLLABORATE13 in Denver, CO. The attendance by members of Quest International Users Group (Quest), Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG), Oracle, and the Oracle partner community was exceptional and always educational. Now with a month to reflect on it, here are some of high points that stayed with me from the conference. 
Aron Ralton’s opening keynote was very powerful. Aron, the avid outdoorsman, author and subject of the movie and book127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, is best known for cutting off his own arm after surviving five nights trapped by a boulder while hiking alone in a Utah canyon. Ralston said “I left something behind but I didn't lose anything. I only gained from my experience.” His story is an amazing example of how we can all learn from even the most challenging situations. 
Lyle Ekdahl gave his annual COLLABORATE keynote, complete with all the updates for JD Edwards that have already begun to see the light of day. Fueled by record software sales, Oracle continues to invest in the JD Edwards product line releasing templates for EnterpriseOne One View Reporting tools and additional Mobile applications. He introduced Health & Safety Management for reporting of workplace incidents and announced the now available Oracle In Memory Applications, though they will require Exadata and Exalogic servers. General availability of the newest JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Tools update 9.1.3 was announced and JD Edwards World customers learned of the general availability of World A9.3.1, updates that focus on usability, security, compliance and business process optimization. Lyle also announced an extended support waiver for EnterpriseOne and World customers. For those on the latest releases there will be no fee uplift, so JD Edwards customers will have cost-certainty over 8 years from general availability. More about Oracle’s Top 6 product enhancements can be found on the JD Edwards' Attitude@Altitude Blog.
At the COLLABORATE Welcome Reception in the Exhibitor Showcase, Velocity  provided JD Edwards customers with an introduction to our virtual private cloud computing model and our Cloud Services. It was a great event for Velocity as we continue to expand our capabilities in Managed Application Services and Managed Disaster Recovery for Oracle solutions.  
Oracle President Mark Hurd was interviewed by Ray Wang of Constellation Research, Mr. Hurd addressed questions about Oracle’s software strategies, recent Oracle acquisitions and Oracle support. During this session he predicted that IT is simplifying. He expects continued disruption over the next 5 years while organizations become more IT savvy. Innovation, predictable outcomes, and value add are expected outcomes from the shift to cloud computing.
Following Mr. Hurd was Oracle Aviator and Aviation Hall of Fame inductee Sean D. Tucker.  He spoke of his early days as a young pilot and the panic he would suffer at the controls of his aircraft. He also talked about being prepared when the unexpected happens. Tucker shared a video when he was flying with a student and the propeller broke off of the plane. The student's fear was obvious, but Tucker remained calm, reassured the student, and found a place to land safely. “If I had been alone, I would have jumped out,” Tucker told the audience, but saving his student's life meant finding an alternate solution. “We can never achieve perfection, but if you strive for perfection, you can achieve excellence.” Lessons we live by.
Velocity was a proud sponsor of the CIO Forum at COLLABORATE. The first executive keynote was led by Forrester Analyst Liz Herbert. Her message to the CIOs was titled From Influence to Leadership: Transforming How Technology Drives Business Strategy. Ms. Herbert shared four dynamics that are reshaping IT, including an Innovation Revolution, As a Service becoming the norm, changing user demographics and decision makers from the Millennial generation, and rise of Social and Mobile. The closing roundtable including Liz Herbert of Forrester, Lyle Ekdahl from Oracle JD Edwards, John Webb from Oracle PeopleSoft, and Oracle customer Chris Warden of Washington Corporations was a valuable discussion on CIO strategies.
One of the highlights of any event is the parties – and Velocity hosted a great one, a customer appreciation event at Chloe’s in downtown Denver.  According to many who attended, it was the best event of the week.  
COLLABORATE13 offered many thought provoking speakers and launches and a great event overall as JD Edwards continues to expand. We are looking forward to seeing how Oracle can top this next year.