They will also be looking for ways they can reduce expenses in their IT environments, which need not amount solely to slashing budgets, Dues said. "Sometimes, all we hear is 'how can you cut costs,'" she said. "Maybe we don't need to cut costs, we need to find efficiencies and those are going to save us money."
Oracle has made a long-term commitment to E-Business Suite, J.D. Edwards and other products under its Applications Unlimited program. But some attendees will likely be looking for an affirmation of that pledge and more clarity on how the Applications Unlimited portfolio fits alongside Fusion Applications in the long term.
For one thing, Applications Unlimited has "in a sense, been too successful," noted analyst Frank Scavo , president of consulting firm Strativa, http://fscavo.blogspot.com/2013/02/oracle-fusion-runs-into-oracle-apps.html "By continuing investment in its existing application suites, Oracle gives customers little incentive to move aggressively to Fusion. There is no burning reason for customers to change."
Engineered systems uptake: Oracle has been struggling to grow hardware revenues since the acquisition of Sun Microsystems, but has emphasized its focus on "engineered" systems like the Exadata database machine, which also run plenty of Oracle software, rather than commodity hardware. But the company is nonetheless feeling heat from Wall Street and investors with respect to hardware sales.
Exadata was the first, and is the most successful so far, of Oracle's engineered systems line, and the Collaborate sessions lineup reflects this. It remains to be seen how much evidence customers are adopting newer systems in the line, such as Exalogic and Exalytics, comes up at the show.
Cloudy conversations: Collaborate will undoubtedly feature plenty of talk about Oracle's cloud computing strategy, which ramped up in the past year or so, from co-president Mark Hurd's keynote to the many sessions planned on a wide variety of cloud topics, from applications to private cloud infrastructure.
Hurd's stump speech probably won't contain much in the way of new material, but the attendance levels at cloud-related sessions should give a pulse-check on how customers are responding to Oracle's message.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.