Dreamforce versus Oracle OpenWorld

Which Event Gets the Nod from Disruptors?

While Oracle OpenWorld and Dreamforce take place a week apart, it doesn’t seem that way if you are in the technology industry in San Francisco. From the Howard Street closure, to the front pages of newspapers and tech blogs, Oracle and Salesforce spend this time trying to dominate the headlines. It is less about mindshare and more mind meld.

As a product manager at Siebel almost a decade ago, I vividly remember Salesforce not-so-quietly launching its ‘death of software’ campaign — often at venues of Siebel’s own customer show. Today, seeing these two mega events back-to-back is interesting from a personal and competitive perspective. For entrepreneurs looking to drive brand awareness on a limited budget, these shows present a dilemma. Which event is a better bet and why? The answer comes down to three primary considerations:

Audience — with a heavy emphasis on developers, cloud architects and engineers, Dreamforce is focused on audiences that both invent new technologies and launch innovations within enterprises. Oracle OpenWorld is focused on enterprises deploying technologies that have already become accepted and proven in the large company environment.

Culture — Dreamforce has largely maintained that same culture that launched the software-as-a-service (SaaS) movement and democratized software via cloud-based infrastructure, making it more accessible to small and medium-sized organizations. True market disruption happens when someone comes in and changes the way a problem is being solved or fundamentally alters the economics of a market. Cloud-based applications did both — introducing a new architecture for solving problems and dramatically changing the economics of entire segments.

Customers — large organizations are typically risk averse when it comes to adopting new technology. Dreamforce has successfully built a following among companies that are more open to changing the way they buy, deploy and experience software. Oracle OpenWorld attracts an enviable pedigree of CIOs and Fortune 500 companies, but it’s not where you’ll find early adopters of SaaS applications.

Dreamforce and OpenWorld both bring operators, influencers and domain experts from around the world to the City of San Francisco. They are important to tech and great for the city. But with the former’s emphasis on emerging technologies and platforms, Dreamforce would be a more comfortable choice to spend marketing dollars and precious time.

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