Thursday, 10 December 2009

How Proud am I

At UKOUG TEBS (technology and E Business Suite) conference we had a fantastic agenda for Applications with a keynote from Cliff Godwin talking about EBS and the first public Fusion Application demos outside the US. Not only did Cliff give an excellent keynote but he then met with two groups of SIG leaders to answer their questions and then joined them in a two hour open question time. From start to finish of the day he talked with users, answered questions and gave insight into the future of EBS. I received an email from him a few days later where he said “Congratulations on organizing a successful conference. I was pleased with the meetings I had and the opportunity for the extensive Q&A interaction with customers.”

On the Tuesday the Fusion Apps session was over subscribed and some people had to be turned away, a great success for us but I wish everyone could have seen it. On the Wednesday we had a special Fusion Applications stream that started with a two hour session that included the first demos, and as I introduced them, I talked about how we UKOUG got to where we are today and I realised just how hard we had worked at getting there.

In 2005 when Oracle first announced Project Fusion, and remember at that time they said we would all be on Fusion by 2013, UKOUG knew that it would become very important to our members.

So I proposed to our board that we should create a Fusion Forum to look at what our members wanted. This was agreed and James and I worked on a project plan one lunch time in Texas (during Collaborate 05).

The strategy was to create 5 groups of 8 members each containing a cross section of all application users, public and private sector and partners. The split was created after a survey of the members and the groups covered Financials, Supply Chain / Manufacturing, CFM, HR / Payroll and Applications Technology. Each Group had at least 1 user from each of EBS, PeopleSoft, JDE (remember this is before the Siebel acquisition), no more than 2 partners and at least one public sector member.

These groups had a set life of one year, launched at our conference that year with a thank you dinner the following year; in between they canvassed members and wrote white papers on what they found. The response from Oracle was mixed, the HCM white paper never seemed to find the right person in Oracle but the Financials Group were asked to comment further. They found that no existing product line had the right process for encumbrance accounting, and Oracle asked what the right process should be. It is interesting that the first release of Fusion Applications does not include any public sector functionality so we will have to wait until release 2 to see how they actually deal with the functionality.

In the International Oracle Community we UKOUG were held up as best practice, "We appreciate the effort that the UKOUG Fusion Focus groups have invested in the white papers that have been submitted to Oracle. It's obvious that the participating customers devoted considerable time to write these papers. This type of detailed input is extremely valuable and timely, as we finalize requirements and begin designing Oracle Fusion.”

By this time the IOUC had created a committee to hold the Fusion Channel and UKOUG Strategy was that I should stand as chair to ensure our input. I was voted in, and 2 years later when it was up for grabs again, I stood unopposed and intend to stay until at least Fusion Applications are on General Availability. The Product Development Committee or PDC looks after more than Fusion Applications but it was our main interest until the announcement of Applications Unlimited.

As a result of the work I did and continue to do with the PDC I was nominated to be one of the first Oracle ACEs for Applications, and then named User Group Evangelist of the Year 2008, as well as gaining ACE Director status. Each quarter we have a Q&Q session with Oracle Development and the questions can be found in the library.

During this time Fusion Applications have been under wraps and I have been under non disclosure but despite that I have tried to keep people as informed as possible, presenting at SIGs, our own conferences and thanks to the ACE program at other events further afield.

And back to conference, this was planned well before Oracle Open World but with no advertising as we were not 100% sure that Larry Ellison would talk about Fusion Applications, but he did and the non disclosure was lifted and we fire ahead with the planned stream.

Clive Swan SVP Product Development responsible for HCM in Fusion along with Jeremy Ashley VP responsible for User Experience assisted by Aylin Uysal gave us a valuable insight into the Applications, and several demos.

I was then able to give feedback on the Customer Validation sessions I had attended; again supported by the ACE program, and then we had a great Q&A session. This event was another first for UKOUG, this session had its own tea & coffee delivered to ensure we wasted no time.

After lunch Nadia Bendjedou from EBS Applications Technology gave her fantastic ’10 Steps to Fusion’ presentation which now has much more Fusion Applications positioning in it. It is really worth hearing or downloading this paper as the magic behind Fusion Applications is a combination of the technology and User Experience and most of that is available to you today, and in the latest releases of Applications Unlimited you can see a lot of the technology has already been introduced.

Nadia has also worked with the PDC to create a little Oracle Applications Planning Tool which you can download to help you have the conversation in your organisation as to how you are or could adopt some of this technology.

Then there was a choice, a deeper dive into the User Experience with Ashley or the Technology with Duncan Mills.

Quite interesting that whilst Ashley and Duncan came over from Redwood, they are both British, as is Clive. Nadia works in the Oracle Paris Office and although Algerian by birth has a British passport and studied at Aston University in Birmingham. So don’t think Fusion Applications is just the next product out of Redwood, they couldn’t have done it without us Brits.

So you can see that the UKOUG board has a strategy around Fusion and has worked hard to make sure you are the most educated User Group in the world with the best access.

We are not ready for a Fusion Applications SIG but we do have a Fusion Community on ukoug.org.

A colleague's Thoughts on Fusion

I love the UKOUG conference in Birmingham and I have lots to write, unfortunately I have to catch up on the day job first. I hope to get a chance this weekend but in the meantime here are some thoughts on Fusion from a colleague Amrito Chaube who attended the Fusion Apps demo at UKOUG.

The main reason why I wanted to attend the OUG this time was to have a preview of the Fusion Application, though the OUG, also gives you a feel of the competition and also a chance to Network.

Anyway, this is my impression and I hope the others who have seen the demonstration will be able to provide their inputs.

I think the focus of the presentation was on user experience, and the result was WOW. The interface is web2.0 based, smooth and sexy. I saw some technology bits which I thought I recognised.

The home page had a worklist with various items. This was a cross between the UWQ and outlook. The good thing was that it had my work items, i.e. things that I have to action, and a separate section for things that I need to be aware of, i.e. my leave approval request etc.

There was a secure search, from the Stellent Secure enterprise search, which is sensitive to the position in the organisation hierarchy of the individual. This will not show the bosses salary but will show the subordinates.

There was a visual org chart with a communication interface to help you chat, call (VOIP), IM (aka messenger), which I think is a part of Oracle Beehive.

The screens seemed to have a Siebel like characteristics with view applets and list applets, and show more and show less buttons on each screen. The user can save queries or used globally saved queries like in Siebel.

We saw the HR product first and the most impressive component seemed to be a People tool, which had a social network capability, and this may be true of the entire application. This seemed to come from the People tool in Peoplesoft and had a lot of flexibility, in terms of drilling down to people, looking at their connections, and then starting a HR case/transaction, like promotion. It was very impressive from a presentation perspective, and maybe used to create virtual teams.

We also saw a viewlet form the financial application, which was also quite impressive and was excellent from usability perspective.

My impression was that the usability perspective has rubbed off on Oracle from Siebel or other Product groups that Oracle has acquired! As I have never seen a focus on it earlier. That is very good and provides any application with an edge. The other encouraging signs were the integration points. The Fusion App can integrate with older version of EBS, Peoplesoft or Siebel. 'Seamlessly'? That remains to be seen, however that probably means a lot of work for the SIs.

There was also a lot of focus on embedded BI, to help decision making. This is another sexy feature and I think this is an area where SIs can provide immense valued ads, as the intelligence will have to be based on data stores based on legacy applications in the immediate future.

Finally, as a value Proposition, Oracle believes that the implementation of this would be cheaper, as there would be a lot of configuration that can be done by Business Users. I would like to believe that this meant more Business Analyst type activities and less configuration. The techstack seemed to be Java, however there seems to be a high dependence on AIA and middleware. Though the speaker thought that customisations could be done using cheap Java resources, I disagree, and think that this is a space where first movers will have a lot of advantage in terms of technical skills.

Finally, there was yet no mention of functionality included in comparison to the existing ERPs. This needs to be evaluated as there are more product announcements. This used to be the traditional selling point and was noticeable by its absence, but maybe that's just me! It is an eye catching product and hopefully will help us get out of this current lull. What I am unsure of is how this would impact customer's investment decisions in the near future.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

UKOUG 2009 - getting ready

I am writing this from Jury's hotel in Birmingham. This is the favourite hotel for the overseas speakers and this year I thought I would stay here. Last year I found myself having to walk the last few yards back to my hotel on my own, and this hotel is closest to the favourite speakers pub.

It is Saturday night and I have a bit of a routine. The Sunday before conference id very busy for the board, we have a board meeting, a volunteers meeting, and this year we also have a meeting to review the paper selection process. This all kicks off at 1pm and living in N Ireland the first flight on a Sunday would not get me here in time so I have to arrive Saturday. I don't actually mind that because it gives me time to settle in and to make the hotel my home for the week. There is a supermarket directly opposite and i bu a 2 litre bottle of water and a bunch of flowers. Then I cut the top of the bottle and use it as a vase.

I also iron everything and get fully unpacked, and although not for this blog, I have to make sure Stanley is settled. Then my favourite tradition, down to the German Frankfurt Market which comes to Birmingham every Christmas. Has the mandatory bratwurst, curry sauce and washed down with gluhwein.

SO I am happy. Ready for UKOUG which this year I am very excited about as we are bringing the first public demos of Fusion to the UK.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

JDE Conference Event UKOUG

Just a few weeks until our UKOUG Conference JDE Event. I am really looking forward to this. As ever we have great support from Oracle with both John Schiff and Lyle Ekdahl over from the US who are coming over because they care about their customers.

There will also be an analyst from gartner giving us something to think about.

Lyle will host a roundtable with the title 'What's the Fusion Story' come along to this very interactive session and then we have a special offer for you. Any one who has attended as a delegate one of the other UKOUG 2009 conference event days including JDE can attend free the Wednesday morning (2nd December) of the Technical & EBS conference event where there will be a 2 hour demo of Fusion Applications.

And if all that is not enough (only joking) I will be presenting at the JDE conference about how you can use Fusion Technology today with JDE.

So if you haven't booked yet, what are you waiting for?

Welcome - Fusion Applications

If you work for an organisation that wants to be first with fusion Apps, get in touch I want to be part of that.

I have publicly said I thought Oracle were wrong to stop talking about Fusion Apps but they have now and more importantly removed the NDA 'gag' so let's not worry about the past and start talking.

First, just to make it clear we are allowed to talk about Fusion Applications but they have not yet been released so every presentation from Oracle is still going to include the 'Safe Harbor' statement. (T shirts available). Oracle will release the Applications once all the validation is complete and they are happy it is ready for the market.

I hope that now people understand that Fusion Applications are a completely new User Experience built entirely with Fusion Middleware. That means that you can take whichever part of Fusion Apps works for you and integrate it to your existing applications or take it all or simply build your own Fusion portfolio.

I keep on saying it, but it is all about choice. If you haven't seen a demo yet then try and do so. UKOUG has 2 hours of demos on the Tuesday of their conference repeated on the Wednesday.

So start listening to your user group or to those people who know, like Floyd Teter (despite his horrible comments about me in his blog). As the Unconference I asked Floyd and basheer khan and Beth Correa to talk about their thoughts on the Fusion Validation we have all been privileged to be part of, and we all agree we expected mind blowing technology but it is simply the user experience that will make Fusion Apps the success that they will be. .

Open World Wrap Up

My friends on facebook will know I have struggled to get back into the swing of things post Open World. The 26 hour turn around between arriving home and being back on the road was OK, I like being busy but the last week has been harder but expect a complete fest of posts today, I am on a roll!


My headliner for Oracle Open World was obviously Fusion Applications but this year there was actually an awful lot going on.

I think I will quickly cover the other important things and then come back to Fusion Apps in the next post.

Oracle kept the Complete Open and Integrated strap line which is I think quite a testament (although Integrated was the first thing to go Friday when the events people started to strip the Moscone).

The first keynote was Rather like a goodbye speech from
Scott McNeally – reminiscing. This Oracle-Sun keynote very credible and strong support from the audience. I personally hope the acquisition is approved quickly so that both organisations can move on so that the users can see what it means for them. I think it will be a good thing, there is plenty of competition out there and as long as Oracle don't make the mistake of shipping everything on SUN only, customers will continue to have choice and integration. I thought the Java and Solaris components were more important than the tin but then Exadata is now all about the tin so Larry never fails to surprise.

On the left in this photo is my great friend Dan Norris, who has given up his ACE Director status to join Oracle in the Exadata team and he is one excited person who is loving his job. His enthusiasm about what Exadata can do is so obvious. I have no doubt he and the team he is in will be busy with the big $10 million dollar challenge that Larry threw down to IBM users.

Charles and Safra had a joint keynote and Safra made a joke about Open World being called 'Open' as part of the Complete, Open and Integrated message. Luckily they then kept to technology and had a number of demos of where their applications are being integrated to give industry solutions. They talked about how they didn't realise how difficult it was to integrate separate systems until they rationalised Oracle's internal IT a few years ago.

Thomas Kurian talked about the innovation that has come from the development and about the breadth of that innovation. The headliners were FMW 11g and the latest release of the database. He stated every second of every day someone downloads an Oracle Product.

In Larry's main Keynote He talked more about SUN and Exadata, he talked about Next Generation Support.My Oracle Support in the Cloud unified with Oracle Enterprise Manager on premise. Patching proactively based on your configuration. When it arrives, if users adopt it,, this will make a real difference. Then he talked about Fusion Applications. I was very worried I really thought it might get dropped. The first presentation in the slot seemed to go on for longer than I expected, then Larry started his presentation and then introduced Arnold Swarzenegger to the stage who was excellent but when Larry took back the microphone we eventually finished 45 minutes late.

Arnie was fantastic, he played the 'dumb foreigner' made jokes about himself but actually had a very important message, that technology is key to success in so many areas. It was a motivational speech and very funny.


This year Oracle had all the keynotes on a Live Stream which was great especially the day I couldn't leave my hotel room because of the rain. But don't be fooled in thinking it is an alternative to being at Open World. Yes it is great to hear the leaders on the main stage giving you their spin on the message of the day, but the real value is in the smaller sessions and the demo grounds talking to the people in development and anyone you want to meet in the Oracle World is there.

In fact another great friend Mogens comes to open World every year and often does not even enter Moscone. He takes over a local hostelry and meets up with all those he needs to over a beer. This year he held 'Closed World' were each day a speaker from OOW had a more in depth technical opportunity to interact with the greatest Oracle minds around.

But if you weren't able to get to OOW Oracle did interview each keynote speaker and record short videos which are well worth viewing.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Proud Fathers

I can finally talk about Fusion. I have received the following email from Oracle

Hi Debra - the NDA for blogging about Fusion Apps is lifted. Here are some screen shots -

So it would be wrong not to share them with you

I had intended not to blog until I have thought about what to say more thoroughly but the announcements today was what I have been waiting for a long time. I am as I have said before privileged to be a part of the process so there was nothing today I had not seen but I had not been able to share that with you.

What I enjoyed most was the beaming smiles on the faces of Steve Miranda and Chris Leone, proud fathers finally getting to share their offspring with the world. I have been big critics of the insistence of waiting for the right time and I am not sure if they waited longer than necessary but now it is out we can talk about what it means to software users.









Today in a presentation I asked if people remembered \Navigate from the old EBS 10.7 days, I looked back at it nostalgically but we really were laughing about how archaic it seemed, well in years to come we will say that about silo'd applications. The integration story from Oracle culminating in Fusion Apps, is not the software of the future it is here today.


So if you have questions come along tomorrow morning and hear from 3 Fusion Apps Geeks who have had their NDA lifted about 'how we can't wait till Fusion Apps are here' or should I say we can't wait until they are General Availability. Find us in the Unconference (the best OOW sessions) next to the OTN lounge at 10am. I will be joined by 2 very special friends Floyd Teter of ORCLville and Basheer Khan

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Longest Wait

Twitter is phenomenal at Oracle Open World. But for the blog readers, I am interested in the Exadata, the Linux etc, but this wait for the Fusion Apps Info is terminal. Please put me out of my misery.

It's coming!

Fusion Applications on the agenda with Larry, NOW I AM EXCITED, its been a long wait

Fusion Apps or not

The SF Chronicle today says Larry will announce Fusion Apps.

The fun then starts, I don't want to be the first person to blog because although this is my area of expertise I want to reflect and talk to people in the know first.

But am I excited, you bet. I have touched the apps, I have run the processes and I love it. The user experience is the best and will blow away anything you have ever thought about ERP.

But if they are announced then the real work starts, helping users to understand what this means, their options and no small issue of the licensing model. So let's wait, see if and what Larry says, think about it and I'll get back to you.

Am I excited yes, and I also hear Arnie will be on stage. So that's all from me today, let someone else claim first with the news, I just want to be there

Monday, 12 October 2009

OOW09 First Keynote

There are many tweets and blogs about insiders tips for Oracle Open World but one I would give you is get an access all areas badge.

Anyway now I have gott my almost front row seat I have a great view of Scott from Sun, I have never heard him speak live before and he is really funny and very clever. He started with a funny top 10 of useless innovations and the 10 important innovations from Sun. He said he felt like a proud Papa and he should be.

NFS Technology
SPARC
Open Source SOftware
Solaris
Java
E10K
Flash
Project blackbox, datacentre in a shipping container
SunRay
Chip Multi Threading

Most proud of Kicked Butt, Had fun, didnt cheat, loved our customers and changed computing for ever

Sunday, 11 October 2009

ACE Director Briefing pre OOW09




As an ACE Director I arrived for OOW Thursday evening as we had a briefing in HQ on Friday. I love these days, we are ACEs because we specialise in our own particular area and are recognised for the work we do in that area, but it is so easy to become silo'd in that and not appreciate the rest of the Oracle portfolio and in these 'Complete, Open and Integrated' days you simply can't afford not to know a little bit about everything.

The highlight of the day for me was Thomas Kurian making an appearance. When he is behind a programme you feel the programme is going somewhere. Too often in Oracle I have seen great initiatives start and then get stamped out or run down when they get big enough to be on the radar of top executives. Not only is Thomas 100% behind the programme but he answered my question around ACEs in the applications space. I don't think all the Apps Executives are as aware of the programme and the value of engaging as those in the Technical area, and Thomas said he is working on that. THANKYOU Remember Thomas heads both technology and applications development so he is the right person to do this.

After the event we were given a few drinks and then taken into San Francisco to our hotel prior to the start of OOW09. Bring it on.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Partner of The Year Awards

Last year UKOUG instigated Partner Awards where our members vote for partners in 20 categories. It was a great success so I was really looking forward to this years’ awards ceremony. It was held in the Landmark Hotel and everyone had a great time.

My job is to look after the guest speaker and this year we had Carol Thatcher daughter of the Iron Lady and one time Queen of the Jungle, which is how she asked me to introduce her. She gave a very funny rendition of incidents in not only her life but all of her family. If you see me ask me about Margaret Thatcher wearing THE Terminator’s Shades at a very important funeral! When I talked to Carol about the awards I wanted her to understand how important it is that whilst Oracle give awards directly they are decided on their criteria whereas the UKOUG awards are totally independent of Oracle and voted on by customers. Carol understood immediately and said it was like comparing Political Voting in government (like mummy had) with the popular vote like Carol had to win ‘I’m a Celebrity. Very astute.

Back to the awards, the partners were very passionate about their achievements and a great evening was had by all. It was important for partners to have an evening to celebrate success in this hard economic times and for UKOUG it made money which always helps to keep membership costs down.

Oracle Open World 2009

Another hectic lead up to Open World, I have had 3 days of 18 hour days to try and clear the decks for the conference. Just like last year I have a really full on week.

As Fujitsu I am presenting #S307747 Shared-Service Oracle E-Business Suite 12, Oracle Business Intelligence Applications, and SOA on Tues 4-5 Moscone West 3020, and this is repeated in an Executive Forum on Wednesday.

I then have two Product Development Committees presentations, one a open session #312188 midday at User Group Sunday were I encourage everyone to come along and tell us what you think we should be doing on the behalf of all users next year with Oracle Development. Then I will be demonstrating our Applications Upgrade Planning Tool #307745 Wednesay 13.45 Moscone West 2002.

As an ACE Director I have been invited by Ahmeed Taylor to his OAUG Customization & Extension SIG at 3pm in Moscone West 3002 to give a FMW4APPS demo, come along and see how easy it is to take your existing EBS processes and run them as SOA processes.

I'm also giving an Unconference Session with fellow ACE Directors Basheer Khan and Floyd Teter on ‘Why We can’t wait for Fusion Applications’ on Thursday at 10.30.

I have a number of forums to attend around my actual Day Job, BI and then the Fusion Inner Circle on Thursday, so once I have attended them and the keynotes I may have time to do some work on the Fujitsu booth #1501 or EOUC booth in the User Group Pavilion and of course spend time in the OTN area with my fellow ACEs.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Should I upgrade to R12 or should I wait for Fusion?


In the summer at the Volunteers Meeting Dave Bouskill who is deputy chair of the Financials SIG asked me to give an update on what we know (and can talk about) on Fusion Applications. It is an honour. I love sharing information and helping other people to understand. Dave was unable to attend but I was well looked after by Colin Terry the SIG Chairman.

At the SIG I was humbled by the audience of about 100 who voted for my session and that of Mark Rittman talking about BI Roadmap to be run separately, they had been scheduled to be run at the same time in parallel streams.

So I gave my presentation and I believe it went well but one question I had been asked beforehand I did not have an opportunity to address.

Should I upgrade to R12 or should I wait for Fusion?


If Fusion Applications were available today, if you don't use Public Sector functionality, if you like being an early adopter, if you are ready for perhaps a hardware refresh, a large project with a step learning curve then please sign up for Fusion Apps and ring me, I'd love to be your Implementer.

If you like Fusion Applications and although we will have them demonstrated at the Technical and E Business Suite Conference Series Event in December you still won't have seen everything. And if you want to wait for it then that is fine but it could be several years after it is released before YOU are ready to move to it.

If you are on 11.5.10, happy with extended support and would not benefit from any of the functionality available in R12, then yes you can wait.

Did I answer the question? Probably not. Oracle's Application strategy means you have choice. Choice is great but you need to know the options to make the right choice. Ask your Systems Integrator or Oracle Account Manager to help you, invest in the time and perhaps outside help to determine what is right for your organisation.

What would I do? I would look seriously at R12 and the technology available in Fusion Middleware and see what value they would give me today and then deciding you will wait is still a valid answer and as long as you can articulate why you have done it may be the right thing for your organisation. Doing nothing is criminal it is simply sticking your head in the sand.

UKOUG will strive to keep you updated and there are many sessions at our conference to assist you, so make sure you attend.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Oracle Fusion Applications and the NDA

A few weeks ago my very great friend Floyd Teter blogged about his participation in the Fusion Apps Validation program and what he found. At the time I questioned his definition of NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) but he was happy he had not overstepped the mark, and to be far there has been a lot of positive comment to his posting.

I attended wave two of the validation and there was a lot of discussion around the NDA and blogging and different members of Oracle gave different interpretations. However I have been asked specifically by the track leader of the module I attended not to share anything about that in my blog, so for now I am not. I, and all others included are very fortunate to be part of this and as Oracle ACE Director for applications especially Fusion Apps I want to continue to be part of that trusted group.

The one thing I will say though is I had seen several demos of Fusion Apps before I took part in the validation and was really impressed by the User Experience. I would like to add to that and say that the user experience is not confined to the end user, it is equally true for the maintenance user.

I look forward to the day I can post more detail.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

My Product Development Committee (PDC) within the International Oracle Usergroups Community (IOUC) is where users groups work together for the benefit of all users.

Since Fusion Applications were first announced we have worked to ensure users are as educated as possible and have their say into the process. Oracle has been great here and I must thank them for their commitment to us throughout the process, but more about that in my next post.

For the past few years Dr Nadia Bendjedou who works for Oracle in the EBS technology area, has been presenting her dynamic white paper The Evolutionary Path to Fusion to many users groups around the world. In fact the PDC are often seen in the front row of her presentations as dedicated groupies.

About 18 months ago we thought it would be a good idea to do a follow up on the paper, it is great to feel motivated by the presentation but when you get back to the office it is more difficult to explain to your colleagues or boss, why this is useful and how it my relate to your organisation. So we worked on a simple tool that might help.

I say simple but actually a lot of people in the PDC and especially Nadia put a lot of hours into how we should do this. We are based all oer the globe and the calls were very early morning for those in Australia and New Zealand and late at night for those of us in Europe, poor Nadia lives in Paris which meant we were finishing at 11pm for her.

But we finished the tool named 'Oracle Applications Planning Tool' and I showed it for the first time at Open World 2008 at the end of one of Nadia's presentations. This was the start of a great double act which we have taken around the world, and people see value in it.

Only problem was we had to get so many people in Oracle to check we weren't given mixed messages or confusing people before we could make the tool available and this has been a long struggle. I work for a big organisation and I know that makes for lot of hurdles when you want to do something out of the ordinary but I still found it very frustrating. The PDC itself is fueled by enthusiasm and passion and that was coming very close to being extinguished as we waited and waited to get this tool out to you.

BUT WE HAVE and it is now live.

Give it a try and then let us know on Oracle Mix what you think.

Thanks to Nadia, Cliff Godwin who has helped make this happen and to all the PDC who worked on getting this together. And thanks to Bambi Staveley in Oracle who put together the web page and made my many edits.

one small step for man; one giant leap for Debra


Once I said I would never blog, then I said I would never Twitter but next Tuesday I am going to deliver a live webcast for Quest.......

The Oracle ACE Program has a Fusion Middle Kit to enable people to demo FMW with Applications. And thanks to the patience this team has had I have been able to show from a business point of view how easy it is to use SOA with E Business Suite.

My area of interest is Fusion Applications and I have built up a presentation looking at Nadia Bendjedou's excellent white paper (more about this in the next blog), talking about the technology Fusion Applications are being built in and how it is available to use today with all Applications. I have given this presentation around the world and the feedback has been really good. In Australia my analogy for SOA was actually recorded and can be found on youtube

For Collaborate this year Quest asked me to give the presentations for a JDE and then a PeopleSoft audience. The FMW team helped me with the actual demo which is pre canned and despite being very nervous I actually enjoyed the sessions, the feedback on the day was excellent.

So when Quest contacted me and said they were giving on line sessions and were looking at those which scored highest at Collaborate I felt really honoured (and yes that is how we spell honoured in the UK).

Actual session attendee feedback from COLLABORATE 09:

"Explained and simplified a difficult concept!"

"Honest, perfect - just what I wanted."

"Perfect level of detail."

"Great presentation - makes me want to go and see what is out there."



So I said yes, and yesterday I had my rehearsal, thanks Jesse from Quest I couldn't do this without you.

So if you want to hear about Fusion Apps, The technology and How easy it is for you to use it Today, or if you just want to listen to my English accent, sign up.

And I don't often talk about Fujitsu in my blog, but another high scoring presentation at Collaborate that will also be featured in this web cast series is a US colleague of mine Allen Jacot.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Four into One Does Not Go

It doesn't seem like a year since I posted about last year's paper selection day, but it is.

On average we have 4 papers submitted for each session available. Someone said to me this week they thought we didn't have enough submissions because we always extend the deadline. This is a myth the reason we extend it is people always leave it till the last minute, something happens and they miss the deadline, the office gets a lot of last minute phone calls.

Papers are judged by volunteers and I thought I did well to judge just less than 200, but Ronan beat me with over 400 on the last weekend. It is quite a difficult job as there are only 200 words allowed and you must make sure you don't fall into the teachers' mantra of 'could do better' for all of them.

Other things that drive me mad is where one individual has entered 20 plus papers and you know it will be other people presenting, it puts judges off, but one idea we will look at is to have another field in the entry for submitter so that this will be handled better.

Once we have the judging complete the office rank them, each year they tell us what the mark is if we simply take the top papers. The maximum score is 6 but people tend not to give a 6, and this year the magic number was 4.25, so many, many papers score well and yet fall short of this mark.

Also many papers above this figure also do not make the final cut, sometimes because there are too many high scoring for a particular stream, sometimes because there is a similar paper and sometimes because the stream leads want a specific theme to their stream.

Then there is the final check that people have not be given two sessions at the same time, some first timers are given a chance.

It is a hard working day but also fun with a real buzz as people barter for slots, rooms and papers. I don't want to repeat the post from last year but I did go into a bit more detail.

So as soon as the office have drawn up the final agenda people will hear if they have been selected. Please if you have not been lucky, do not give up, contact your SIG chairs and offer to speak there.

Update on The Conference Series





I finished the last posting by saying that Siebel was the 5th of 7 in our conference series, so what about the others?

The first event was Ireland and I was really sorry to have missed this, I live in Belfast and think of it as my local event, but before the date was set I had arranged to speak in Australia for the first joint Applications conference Insync09. Ronan Miles hosted this event and a new SIG was launced, Ireland BI

Second came the PeopleSoft conference and I actually presented, thanks to the ACE Program FMW kit.


Ronan and I both missed the Scottish and Hyperion and BI events as we were at ODTUG in the US, but we were with you all in spirit. I knew we would miss Scotland but the date for Hyperion and BI event as they had to change the date because of venue availability. We both hated missing these but in very busy calendar's were we have a day job and overseas committments it will always be difficult.

Then as in my last post came the Siebel event, JD Edwards is in November which I hope to attend and the the Tech & EBS event is in the traditional timeframe and location, ICC Birmingham 31 Nov - 2 Dec.

The reason for splitting up the conference was down to lack of space at the ICC, which meant we had already expanded to 5 days and then the fact that this caused some communities to feel lost and us being unable to meet not only their needs but to not give their Senior Oracle Executives the keynotes they deserved.

It has been and continues to be a lot of hard work not only for directors but more so for the office but we think it is working. What we want next year is for the numbers to grow, they are all much better than for each community last year at conference but there are still other users out there not taking advantage of our offering.

If you are interested in the final two events make sure you come along and look out for more information on the website.

UKOUG Conference Series Siebel Event

I arrived back from the US on the hottest day of the year, arrived at my hotel, shown to my room, in the attic with no air conditioning, but never mind I was so tired I would have slept anywhere.

A few hours later and it was time to meet up the the team also staying at the hotel before our Siebel Conference evnt the next day. I stopped moaning about the room as actually I had a fan which appeared to be rather a luxury :)

It was good to see Steve Austen, Joint Siebel Committee Chair kick off the event (picture).

The event itself was great, Anthony Lye SVP for Siebel was over from the US and as always gave a fantastic talk on where Siebel is and where it is going. Siebel is I believe at the front of adopting new technology (apart from Fusion Applications of course, but they are not here yet), and there is always more to see.

The committee had worked hard to put together the agenda which included a comentary on CRM today from a well known journalist in this field Stuart Laughlan, food for thought.

BAck to the fans, the only disapointment for me was that Ascot did not have air conditioning and how I wish I had stolen the hotel fan. We did have a little issue when someone tried to use a pnumatic drill outside but Julius from UKOUG came to the rescue, those assertiveness training courses paid off again and we continued with relative peace and quiet.

Siebel was the 5th of our 7 events for this year's conference series.

Wot No Blog

Last posting was 29th June and yet July has been such a busy month, which I can use as my excuse.

Lots has happened, not least the fact that my last posting was about Ed Abbo leaving and how I was worried what it might mean to Apps Unlimited, and since then Chuck Rozwat has taken a year out to take a Masters.

If you live in the UK you will understand why I find that excuse quite funny as it is what Margaret did to get off The Apprentice.

Good for Chuck but his email reads as if he is leaving, and leaving everything in the hands of Thomas Kurian. Very capable hands, Thomas has done a lot for Oracle and I personally am grateful for how as an Apps Customer I no longer have to wait years for new technology to be certified with Apps. Lets hope Thomas has a little re-org and delegates some of his responsibilities because even the best of us can't take on work from two others and give everything the time it needs. Thomas will be a good leader in Development as long as he has the right team behind him.
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Monday, 29 June 2009

Ed Abbo Leaving

Twitter has been busy with the news that Ed Abbo is leaving Oracle.

I wish Ed all the best, but ask Oracle to be careful with how they fill his shoes.

I understand that Applications Unlimited that Ed was responsible for may go to Thomas Kurian who is also responsible for Fusion Applications. Thomas is a great person but I want him to concentrate on Fusion, technology and apps. Will a shared leader not give more concern amongst customer base?

I know Oracle is committed to Apps Unlimited and I now Fusion Apps are well on their way but can one person give both those messages at the same time with equal conviction?

I hope so.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Multi Tasking from the Great Ronan Miles

The purpose behind this blog is to give a little insight into what I and other directors of UKOUG get upto, and today I want to give a small example of how 'multi tasking is a key requisite'.

The keynote Presentation at ODTUG today was John Kopcke, SVP, Business Intelligence and Performance Management Global Business Unit, talked about how Management Excellence was the way for organisations to make a difference now. Most organisations have already got the operational excellence that was their business case for ERP systems.

Like Steve Miranda yesterday, John was able to relate to a mainly technical audience although it is fair to point out that the Hyperion Audience in ODTUG contains a lot of non IT , but IT enabled professionals.

Important for UKOUG, is that this afternoon John is on a plane to London to speak at our UKOUG Hyperion & BI conferene event later in the week. Both Ronan and I have been able to speak with John to ensure that he knows what our audience will be like. The press in UK have already arranged with Ronan for feedback from the conference and although Ronan will not be there he was today taking great notes during John's keynote so that he is fully briefed before speaking from here to the press on Wednesday. It is great watching Ronan take notes, do you know he is a 'touch typist' (and for all you gen X & Y people that means he uses 10 fingers and types really fast).

At break times, Ronan and I have been meeting up and planning for future events, making note of best practices we are witnessing here, liasing with other user groups, agreeing content from product managers for their content at UKOUG and also keeping up with our day jobs. On Sunday before the keynote, Ronan and I handed out tickets at the main door. We know UKOUG relies on its vlunteers and are happy to simply be volunteers for ODTUG.

SO despite the beautiful weather here in Monterey, do not worry we are working hard for you

Fusion Applications As a Keynote

Great presentation from Steve Miranda on Fusion Apps. He talked about the technology behind it. Good timing as it is based on 11g Fusion MiddleWare which is launched next week.

The demos he gave were a subset of what has previously been shown at both Open World and Collaborate, but the difference here is, this was a keynote. Also he spent more time because of the audience on what was behind it, pointing out for instance that in the single GL Role home page you could access data from both OLTP and Essbase. He talked a lot about the possibilities WebCentre opens up for organisations using Fusion Apps. For me the smartest part is the seamless use of analytics information where you need it when.

Many of these features shown are not in simply coded into Fusion Apps, what you have are 'place holders' or 'hooks' where Fusion Apps can consume any commercial or developed services, such as 'twitter feed' against an individual in HR, 'google maps' against any address. It will be interesting to see once people start adopting the Apps how and what these are used for.

What was great was the interest from the audience in seeing it for what I guess for most was the first time.Last Friday as the ACE Directors briefing, in a room full of very clever people, with great access to Oracle in their field of speciality, the question was asked, 'Do Fusion Apps really exist?', I was able to say yes and that Steve would talk about them Sunday. Ever since Steve spoke, I have talked to several fellow ACEs who specialised in some part of the technology and they were very impressed, but even more so they now have a way to relate the technology to Oracle Apps development.

So please Oracle, more of the same.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

ODTUG Community Service Day

Last year ODTUG started the idea of a Community Day immediately prior to their conference, and we spent an excellent day painting a school in New Orleans. One of the most valuable thing you get from attending the conference is meeting up with people, talking about what they do, how they do it and exchanging ideas. What better way to network than by giving something back at the same time?

This year in Monterey we went 'weeding' with the Big Sur Land Trust removing ice plants that whilst they look quite pretty are actually depriving the indigenous plants and in turn wildlife of their natural habitat. The hardest part of the work, at the time, was walking up and down the dunes to arrive at the site, although this morning my calves and back think it was a lot harder than it seemed!

I am very proud of what we achieved we did seem to make a big difference and left feeling it was very worthwhile. Then it was all aboard the 'short' buses and off to lunch, which we were told would be a picnic, and it was, but as we walked into the clearing there were tables and chairs and tablecloths and a beautiful spread in the middle of nowhere, thanks again ODTUG!



Because the ACE Directors had arrived Friday night most took part in the community day and it was another opportunity to talk to old, new and future friends. Have I mentioned before How I Love My Job?

Oracle HQ


Having arrived at Redwood on Thursday evening, I went straight to bed, 20 hours after I left home. It was quite an uneventful trip except 2 quick airport stories. First when landing at Newark my plane was held for a long time in the air and then diverted to a different terminal. As we taxied around the airport there were lots of camera crews, everyone thought it must have been a plane crash, but actually it was a Continental Flight from Brussels were the pilot died. The at San Francisco, we were coming into land on a beautiful early evening and along side us, really close was another plane, quite frightening for me but no one else seemed worried, I have never seen this before despite having been to SFO many times, turns out they have parallel runways.

Anyway I digress, the visit to Redwood was for the ACE Director day, and the best way to tell you what happened is to say log onto www.twitter.com and search for #ACED. We saw a lot of Fusion Middleware 11g but of course we were under non disclosure agreements until after the launch on July 1st.

It was a full on day, starting at 8.15 am and finishing just before 6pm, I really enjoyed the day, as my field is Apps and Fusion Apps I thought very little would be of value to me but actually I learnt a lot and did get to see where things fit in. I especially liked the sessions where the speaker came armed with slides but actually only used them to answer questions. Much more interactive and way beyond just a polished marketing script.

Then it was all on a coach for the 90 minute drive to Monterey for ODTUG, and again this was a great opportunity to speak to more of my fellow ACE Directors. On arrival at Monterey ODTUG had a welcome VIP reception for us and the registration was all done bar the credit card swipe. Excellent and thanks ODTUG.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Very Busy 10 days

I am waiting for a taxi to take me to the airport. I am flying to San Francisco today, for an ACE Director Meeting Tomorrow in Redwood Shores. I think we will get a sneak preview of Fusion Middleware 11g which is being launched on July 1st so very exciting.

The along with my fellow ACEs it is all on the bus to Monterey for the ODTUG Kaleidoscope Conference. I can't wait to catch up with all my friends although Mike Riley , ODTUG President, is not too keen to share an elevator in the hotel.

During this conference I will be a delegate I am not presenting but I am ambassador for a few sessions that will help me with the day job.

I will also catch up with Ronan the UKOUG President, he is now on twitter @UKOUG_Chair and I have to say well worth following, not bad for a man who has just had a significant birthday.

One down side is that we are missing two very important events in our conference series, Scotland on the 23rd and then Hyperion & BI 24th and 25th, but I do arrive back in London 12 hours before the Siebel event on the 30th which is good as I am hosting it. If you haven't signed up to any of the events it is not too late.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Passionate - an overused term

I love social networking, I am not very good at it but I like to give it a try.

I love blogs, and who would have thought my 'elevator blog' would be so popular, only to be completely forgotten when the 'Stanley Blog' got going.

I love the way I can see what friends are up to on facebook, respond when someone makes a comment, sharing a private joke in front of my wider friends' list.

I will love Twitter but have only just started and am trying to keep that more user group centric although I have successfully managed to set up Facebook to take twitter feeds.

I love youtube, and I love my little casio digital camera which means I can record silly bits of my life and share it with friends.

So you may think, and I possibly agree I have over used the 'love' word, but I have a friend Cary Millsap who today on his twitter linked to this excellent David Mitchell video on being Passionate.

I am sorry but I am passionate about user groups and what we can do for our members, I don't mind laughing about it, the video is excellent but please however overused the term 'passionate' is, believe that I am.

As for the video comment about how passionate, 'passionate people' are in the rest of their lives, I can't possibly comment on me.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

SIG Volunteers Day 2009

One of my first entries in this blog was last year's UKOUG Volunteers Day and here I am now with an update from this years.

I cnnot say it enough, without the volunteers there would be no UKOUG.

This annual event is an opportunity for all the SIG leaders to come together, give feedback, understand the strategy, share best practice, listen to and more importantly be listened to by the directors. Then at the end of a very long day we all get the opportunity to relax and enjoy a good meal and a few drinks in the bar.

Back to that being listened to by DIrectors, I am a lightweight and went to bed at midnight, several directors took their role more seriously and stayed around till 2am but Ronan, our chairman like the captain of a ship stayed till the end and left at 5am knowing the board meeting was just a few hours away. At least we know there will be no complaints on lack of opportunity to speak to Ronan.

If you just want to listen to Ronan then did you know he twitters? He uses the name UKOUG_Chair. I have thought about it and decided it wasn't for me, but now I think I don't want to be upstaged by Ronan so may reconsider.

The next day was a board meeting and there was a lot brought up from the volunteer day. I think everyone who attended thought the day was of value and am only sorry that a number of people could not attend because their day jobs prevented it.

THANKYOU AGAIN for being a UKOUG Volunteer

Quick Update

Blogging is great, it is much more up to date than Debra's Diary but you have to be disciplined enough to update it as soon as something happens, if not, like now you end up with some time and have several things to say.

It is two weeks since the PeopleSoft conference and I haven't said how it went.

The conference was at the Sofitel in terminal 5 of Heathrow and was held over 2 days on 19/20 May.


Ari Aaltonen one of our new directors opened the conference and then there was the keynote presentation, which with a new release of PeopleSoft was well timed. After the keynote I had to rush off to the day job, but came back for the evening entertainment. I am not really interested in casino type games but I do like to watch others and generally hear feedback from delegates.

UKOUG like all organizations need to keep costs down and myself and the staff excelled at this event. We stayed in a well known brand of hotel that had advertised advance booking of under £20 and it seemed great. HOWEVER this particular site did not live up to their promise, the main entrance was blocked by concrete blocks apparently to keep the unwelcome out, another entrance was boarded up but eventually if you drove through an industrial estate you could find it. I don't want to fill this whole blog with my woes, but I do want you to know what the staff are prepared to do (once only, not again) to save money on your behalf.

On day to I gave a presentation about how Fusion MiddleWare relates to PeopleSoft and I got good feedback. This makes me really pleased as I am not in the PeopleSoft area but do passionately believe the usergroup is for all communities and strive to follow our mission "To serve the Oracle community”

Saturday, 6 June 2009

A little longer time


Due to a high demand, call for papers has been extended for UKOUG Conference Series Technology and E-Business Suite 2009, taking place from 30th November - 2nd December at the ICC in Birmingham.

We will now be able to accept abstracts through till 9am on Monday 15th June.

Register as a speaker and submit abstracts here:

Online judging will open on the 12th June, therefore we will not be able to extend this deadline any further.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Can't make Oracle Open World - How about Croatia?

The HrOUG conference is on at the same time as Oracle Open World which saddens me as I had such a great time at this conference last year and the setting is just magical.




So if you want to speak at a great conference and can't get to Open World,s eriously consider Croatia, and make sure you combine it with time to visit this beautiful country. Rovinj, Croatia - October 13th-17th 2009

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Quick - don't miss your chance to be part of something big






UKOUG is the best conference in the world and what makes it so good is the content, the speakers. This year is even better we have 7 events covering the Oracle Community and we are currently looking for papers for the last two, the JD Edwards Event and the Technology & E Business Suite.


And if you want to attend these must attend events then we are 2 down 5 to go. Click on the picture above, read all about it and select the event for you.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

UKOUG Conference Series - what do attendees think

This video is an excellent way to see what people really think of conference, and well done to the office for the idea.



It is now just two weeks to the PeopleSoft conference and I am looking forward to this very much. We have a signed copy of PeopleSoft Developer’s Guide for PeopleSoft & PeopleCode (including XML Publisher) to give away to attendees at this event

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Fusion at Collaborate

At Open World Oracle gave 2 hours of Fusion Application demos and yesterday there were another two at Collaborate 09. They were not simply a repeat there was more to see.

More than enough to satisfy those who think there is nothing there, and for that I am very grateful. I gave 3 presentations at Collaborate and in all 3 members of the audience said Fusion wasn't really a product.

I don't want Fusion released until everything is in place, tested and those required trained, so no rush but IT IS REAL. I have said before I am privileged to be involved in the Fusion Inner Circle where I learn more about Fusion Applications and this too met in Orlando. Oracle are really working hard to keep your user group leaders involved and up to date, but we are all under Non Disclosure Agreements so cannot yet share the information, but when the time is right you can be assured that your user group will be well briefed.

My presentations were around the technology used to write Fusion Applications, the Fusion Middleware and what you can do today with existing applications. In each presentation I had many people who had not understood this and again I cannot thank the ACE Program enough for enabling me to be able to give that message.

Collaborate last day today and I'm sad it has been a great conference but I am ready to go home, share what I learnt with my colleagues and get ready for the UKOUG PeopleSoft event later this month.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Finished - Pressure Over

Yesterday I gave my JDE Presentation and two things happened that made my day. One person from the audience told me it was the best presentation he had attended and it should have been a keynote, and Nadia Bendejdou attended and was very complimentary.

I want to publically say thank you to both Nadia and Nishit Rao from the Fusion Middleware Team for all his help on this.

The Oracle ACE Program is about recognising 'Software Evangelists' and empowering them with the knowledge whilst leaving them independant of Oracle. Thanks again for including me in that program.

Nadia and I also demonstrated the Oracle Applications Planning Tool we have developed in the IOUC and took part in a panel session.

So my official duties are over and I can get on with enjoying the conference. There is some Fusion Application demos which I am also looking forward to.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Its Official - I will talk about Anything

Today I gave my first PeopleSoft specific presentation at Collaborate 09. For a while I have been giving a Fusion and Apps Unlimited presentation with a SOA demo, thanks to the ACE FMW Program and back in January Sue Shaw of QUEST asked if I would give this to JDE and PeopleSoft audiences. I said yes, and today my favourite quote rang in my ears.

"Commitment is doing the thing you said you would do, long after the mood in which you said it has gone".

It would be easy here to explain I am neither a PeopleSoft or a JDE user but that is not QUITE true. My daughter is currently on an internship in Australia with the Outward Bound School and she has limited Internet access. One day she asked me to log onto her university for her results and the screen said 'Welcome to PeopleSoft'.

The presentation went well and my demo was actually a 'canned' demo from the FMW team which is better, I couldn't screw it up and it is now available for QUEST members to download.

Tomorrow is JDE and then at the end of the month I have the UKOUG PeopleSoft Conference to repeat it at.

Keynote at Collaborate - Oracle talks about Support, Acquisitions and New Releases


The keynote for Collaborate was this morning with Charles Phillips and he had a lot of good things to say to an audience who wanted to hear them.

Support Changes:

Waived first year of Extended Support:
EBS 11.i.10 till Nov 2011
JDE E1 8.11 till Dec 2010
Siebel 7.8 till May 2011
10gR2 Database till Jul 2011

Extended Support, waiving additional support fee.
PeopleSoft 8.9 Jul 09 - Jun 11

Continued S1 support for EBS 11.5.9 till Jun 2010

Oracle Press Release.

New Releases

He also announced the launch of BI Applications 7.9.6 and EBS 12.1 and also talked about PeopleSoft 9.1 expected around Collaborate time.

Sun

Obviously people wanted him to talk about Sun and he didn't disappoint within what he can say, he explained it was the 57th Acquisition and is simply an extension of their existing strategy.

He talked about the excitement of having the operating system and the hardware and how it meant they would be able to deliver value at all levels.' Apps to disk'. Investing in the future of Java is also key.



Charles talked about how Collaborate gave Oracle the opportunity to give mid year announcements to customers rather than via the press.

Another tradition Charles has is to take these opportunities to speak to user group leaders and this too was a very sucessful meeting.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Collaborate 09

Today is the big day, Collaborate starts.

I am speaking in teh QUEST stream about Fusion Technology for both JDE and PeopleSoft, what do I know about these applications I hear you ask and you are right, I know nothing, but I have friends who do and they will be on hand to answer questions.

The Oracle ACE Fusion Middleware program has helped me to demo the technology to EBS audiences and my sessions have been very well received by the business community. QUEST asked me to do the same for their applications and with the help of Nishit Rao of Oracle I have some canned demos of SOA to bring the message right back to their applications.

I ma also demoing the Future Applications Planning Tool on Wednesday with Nadia Bendjedou, this is a tool the user groups under the IOUC have been developing to help you articulate and understand how Oracle Technology and Best Practices can help your Organisation.

I will of course also drop in on the Fujitsu stand and help out with my American Cousins.

Collaborate 09 and Swine Flu

I wrote this on my final leg to Orlando for Collaborate 09. Many people have already arrived, it is amazing how much I learn through facebook. Then I met Borkur Steingrimsson from Rittman Mead at Orlando airport, we did the natural thing and had a great big hug, I forgot that according to NBC we should only have elbow tapped.

I am not laughing about the outbreak of Swine Flu or rather H1N1 virus, it is very serious and it is right that we have plans to deal with it, but I think there should only be one source of information and that is what the World Health Organisation was set up to do. As of today they say dont stop travel. On CNN yesterday the story was about how people are just fed up of the story.

Our own Ronan Miles was unwell last week, not swine flu (probably just man flu) but he decided to cancel his trip out to Collaborate. Not only did he feel awful physically but he felt bad about cancelling although it was great to see the number of other user group leaders around the world sending their best regards and he will be missed. He did the right thing, would you want to sit next to someone with a cold on a plane? I had a cough after 12 hours on a flight to Tokyo before the swine flu outbreak and the next day someone I had never met gave me a packet of face masks in the street. So at least I have some if needed on my flight home.

I hope it does not have a big impact on Collaborate, the financial situation is already affecting all conferences as some companies look to cut back on 'junkets', perhaps conferences should be moved to less exotic places in the future. I am not saying Birmingham UK is not exotic but we never get people complaining it is a junket.

So back to the conference, if you see me, hug me, I am not ill and not scared of you.

Insync Australia

I was honoured to be invited to speak at Insync the Australian Applications Users Conference. I was looked after by Daniel Strassberg of QUEST who then extended the hospitality to me staying with his family afterwards.

It was a great conference and those attending got a lot of value out of it. I hope those organisations who think conference attendance should cease or be scaled down because of the ‘Credit Crunch’ understand what the consequences are.

I gave 3 presentations, ‘Extending your E Business Suite with Hyperion’, ‘Future Applications Planning’ and a joint presentation with Richard Ward of Oracle Australia on SOA. During this presentation I again used the ACE FMW tool kit and gave a live demo. It was a little slow but that’s OK, however I was even more nervous than normal as Alex Gorbahov was in the audience. With someone of his intelligect in the room I felt I was at a professional review and I believe he even twittered he was there, so no pressure!



Richard has already blogged about the presentation and he also refers to the youtube video recorded by Oracle who wanted to hear about the ACE Program and my SOA analogy. I truly believe that when I have a concept down to a very simple level that I can understand that should be the starting point of my own presentations. So I have been explaining SOA and the way we now look at integrations as they way we charge all our gadgets with USB - Reusable, Simple and redeployable. Do you agree?

Friday, 1 May 2009

What I would give to see Larry's Shopping List


Why are we caught out by each of the Oracle Acquisitions? We know they are running at aproximatley 1 a month and have done for almost 5 years, there is no sign of it slowing down and actually there should be great deals in a recession so if you have the cash why not?

The week before Oracle announced the acquisition of Sun, I was in Tokyo. I was actually on my way to Insync in Sydney but more of that in the next post. I work for Fujitsu and it was a real honour to have the opportunity to visit our head office and I also got to visit Oracle Japan.

Larry Ellison was in the Oracle office the day I visited which is not too much of a surprise as Open World Japan was the following week however he changed his plans and flew home early and he didnt stay for the conference. I was surprised and yet I should have guessed he had some shopping to do, it all made sense when the Sun acquisition was announced the following week.

It is too early for Oracle to talk about the details but there are many people who can see some of the benefits and impacts, including our own Ronan Miles from UKOUG who gave this interview in Computer Weekly

UKOUG Conference Series - Update

Hard to believe after all the planning but the first of our conference series is over.

The Irish Conference took place last week and with 170+ was a great success.
We used a new venue which was very good and worked well and they gave us lots of support. Feedback from delegates was very positive and we had 3 spontaneous volunteers to assist with SIGs, etc.

SO what is next? Well it is the PeopleSoft conference and if you are a PeopleSoft user I urge you to attend. Feedback from past years is you want your own event and UKOUG have not only listened but acted.
I know that we are all under careful scrutiny of costs currently but if you have UKOUG membership there is no additional cost and the value of the conference is easy to justify. You will learn from your peers about what you can do with your systems today, network with people like yourself and understand more about Oracle's plans.

So I urge you to think hard about the event, look at the agenda and plan your visit. And if you are not a PeopleSoft user look at the other events in our conference series and see what we have in your area.

UKOUG Conference Series 2009 – One Conference, many events

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Friday, 17 April 2009

Its All in the Communication

What ever the project if you look at the top three challenges one of them will be communication.

User groups are no different and it is a constant challenge, how do you keep your existing members informed and attract new ones. You cannot allow yourself to go stale.

Then communication itself is always changing, my daughter has no idea about writing letters, thinks email is old fashioned and can't imagine how our house would function without 'Post It' notes on the fridge!

I started 'Debra's Diary' in Oracle Scene our UKOUG Publication to try and keep our members informed as to what was involved in being a director and what I and the rest of the board got up to, on the first entry I said it was as close to a blog as I would get and yet within a year I had started this blog, and it is good to see that other users groups are doing the same now, because at first I worried about being the only Oracle Blog that was not product focused in its content (note I did not say technical).

I cant quite bring myself to twitter yet, it isn't that big in the UK although Stephen Fry famously twittered when stuck in a lift (I wonder if he had read my blog on the subject and stolen my idea?).

But today I have decided to try a video clip. Miracle had all their presenters last year give their extracts this way and my favourite ones are Cary Millsap and James Morle. Robyn Sands did quite a serious one, but her daughter edited an 'outtakes' version which is hysterical and I wish was available on youtube. Quest have a video clip contest for Collaborate.

The quality one my video is poor and I will have to perfect how I do it but at least I have started. I used a web cam that Oracle gave away at a recent architects club for this my first video blog.On the clip I am talking about our conference series, I mentioned them before but the first one Ireland is just days away. Good luck to everyone involved and I know it will be a great sucess.

You can watch me or simply close your eyes and just listen. Does the concept work? Let me know? What other methods of communication should I try?

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Oracle and User Group Volunteers

Working with Oracle is something users groups strive to do. We are all very independent and not simply vendor puppets but when we work well with Oracle we can use it for the good of our members.

Two weeks ago OAUG held a Connection Point in Dubai in the Dhow Palace Hotel and I went along as a speaker. Oracle Dubai was very supportive and it was a great success. But user groups need more than just Oracle on their side; they need volunteers from their membership. Each user group has professional people to run the events and logistics but it is the volunteers that drive the content, the agendas and ultimately the success, and the fuel for the volunteers is enthusiasm.

In Dubai 7 / 8 people volunteered afterwards to help with a Middle East user group and I hope they can continue what has been started there. These volunteers are in their infancy but Dubai as saw an example of the ‘old timers on the block’. The Product Development Committee I run in the IOUC has quarterly question times with Oracle on Fusion Applications. The latest one with Steve Miranda was at 1am on the first night (or rather 2nd morning of the conference), and 4 of us attended the call, Bashir Khan, Michael Rulf, Nadia Bendjedou and myself (and of course Stanley). What dedication! Not only did we all stay up and make it through the 60 minute call but it was so good we then stayed up talking about it for another 35 minutes.

The morale of the story is that working with Oracle whilst staying independent is a very important part of user groups success but most important is the volunteers.

Thankyou to you past, present and future (?) volunteers

Sunday, 29 March 2009

OK I'm semi techincal!

I started this blog by saying I wasn't very technical. In the office they laugh at me and say I am pretty technical and when I presented at RMOUG I even had a slide to say I wasn't but now I am.

What motivates me to speak. Not sure really, I do get nervous but only in the few minutes before a session when I panic no one will turn up. Once at Collaborate a few years ago I was on my way to my session and was telling a friend this, someone who I didn't know tapped me on the shoulder and said they were coming to my session because I have a 'lovely English accent', I wish it was the content but I am not fussy and will take what I can get.

What does motivate me is people understanding how something Oracle does relates to them, originally this would have been around E Business Suite or Discoverer, and then my main area of expertise Fusion Applications, and nothing pleases me more than when someone tells me my presentation made sense of something they didn't understand before.

SO back to the technical title, it started on my birthday which I spent with many friends after RMOUG up in the Rocky Mountains, my friends mainly other Oracle speakers are very technical and many are the top names who always draw a crowd. They told me I had to stop the 'I'm not technical' and I started trying the 'I'm not very technical'.



Then two things happened to turn it around completely, first I gave my first ACE FMW demo of SOA and EBS in Sweden for the Nordic Oracle Applications User Group. The feedback from delegates was really positive, then I gave the same demo to the technical team at Fujitsu and I can tell you that was the most nervous I have been for any demo.

Then last weekend i read the online scoring from RMOUG. My score was really high and that pleased me but several people said the worst thing was my constant apologising for not being technical when I obviously am. So I guess I am technical enough to understand what is going on and then can explain it to others.

I must go now I have to write 'I am Technical!' 1000 times before I give my next FMW demo in Dubai this week.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Catching up with Friends


Last year I promised Doron from ilOUG the user group in Israel that I would speak at his Apps Day, when he had to change the date it clash with a previous committment so I had to miss it, but this year I kept my promise and attended.

I gave a joint presentation with User Group favourite Nadia Bendjedou author of The Evolutionary Path: Things You Can Do Today to Prepare for Oracle Fusion Applications and I talked about the Future Applications Planning Tool we are releasing with the IOUC and how Fujitsu measured up.

Dorian arranged a private tour of Jerusalem for us after the event and Nadia and I had a great time

Busy Time for New and Old UKOUG Directors

I am so busy this year I haven't had time to post anything so am hoping to put that right now.

Our new conference series means a lot more planning and budgeting and we had a session for that at the end of January. The in February we had our Annual staff and directors day, the idea originally was that this followed strategy setting but it now comes before the strategy setting day so that UKOUG staff get a say and more importantly give their ideas, and finally the Strategy Day itself. Three very full meetings with lots of reading and calls between time.

But that is not all we have already called for papers, judged them and set the agenda for the Irish Conference and paper judging for the Hyperion and BI conference closed today. The conference series will be a continuous program of planning and execution. Make sure you contribute and share your experiences with the rest of your community.