The Third week of January is a very important week in the User Group Calendar, it is the IOUC Summit. User Group leaders from around the world come together to learn from each other and from Oracle.
This year's was no exception and this quote is from Oracle post the event:
Your enthusiastic support of the Summit made it the largest Leaders’ Summit ever! Despite weather related airport delays in San Francisco, the leaders persevered and arrived in time for the event to begin. We hosted over 150 leaders who interacted with more than 100 Oracle team members during the Summit. Attendees participated in Regional Leaders’ Meetings, Usability Lab tours, “unconference” sessions and 75 sessions focused on Oracle products and services.
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to travel to San Francisco and spend time with your fellow leaders and with Oracle! We listened to your feedback, engaged with you as leaders and we know that you returned to your members full of knowledge and information about upcoming Oracle campaigns!
I came back to my own user group to tell them what I had learnt and ideas I had brought back, but found that not everyone understands the IOUC and how it and Oracle relate. So I put together a short paper and thought I would share some of it with you:
• All Oracle User Groups are INDEPENDENT of Oracle.
• Consequently there is no single user group model.
• They are broadly scoped by product, geography or industry; or a combination
With their acquisition strategy the number of user groups is ever growing, as of Jan 2012 it is approximately 400 Java User groups, and 450 traditional user groups.
Interaction with Oracle
Oracle cannot interact successfully with this number of user groups, so they have set up an umbrella hierarchy for this to happen. It is run by Global Customer Programs (GCP). An advantage of this structure is the coming together of user group leaders who can then share best practice, and is effectively a user group for user group leaders.
Global Customer Programs (GCP)
GCP is responsible for all customer interaction initiatives, Advisory Boards, CIO groups, Reference Programs, Surveys, User Groups etc.
International Oracle UserGroup Community - IOUC
There is an IOUC summit each January in Oracle HQ and then additionally each regional group, for us EOUC has their own leaders’ summit at least once a year. At the summits especially the Global Summit, Oracle executives share their plans and thoughts for the next year with the leaders. These sessions are invaluable in understanding behind the marketing.
These summits are funded by the individual user groups.
They also have a Usergroup pavilion at Oracle Open World where attendees can find out about Usergroups. Oracle provides free passes for Usergroup leaders.
The IOUC splits the Usergroup community into Java / MySQL User Groups which tend to have a mainly online presence and the more traditional groups which they split into:
This is the level at which Oracle talks about Usergroups, so if you register for Global events such as Open World, sign up for Oracle or Profit Magazine, register for an Oracle University Course, or simply complete your online profile this is the options you will be presented with.
UKOUG is a big Usergroup, bigger than some of those recognised in the hierarchy above and we have argued we should have direct representation; however where would it stop? We are a regional Usergroup and are represented her by the EOUC. AT IOUC Summits any usergroup can attend and influence directly, which UKOUG does.
The IOUC has a number of Committees where Usergroups work together to achieve things with Oracle they can influence better as a global force. Currently there are committees.
• Product Development Committee
The IOUC has appointed 2 spokespeople who represent the IOUC with Oracle Executives; these are currently Stan Jakubik (HEUG) and Carolyn Hayden-Garner (OHUG)
EMEA Oracle UserGroup Community - EOUC
Within EMEA this community is really about encouraging each other and working with Oracle in the region where appropriate. The interaction with Oracle tends to concentrate on campaigns Oracle are running.
There are two spokespersons for EOUC and currently these are:
Heli Helskyaho OUGF (Finland) and Janny Ekelson OBUG (Benelux)
Oracle do not fund travel to OOW or the IOUC summit, so Usergroups within EOUC pay a contribution to the costs for these two spokespersons.
The Oracle ACE Program and Usergroups
The Oracle ACE Program is run by OTN (Oracle Technology Network) and not GCP. It is a program to recognise expertise and contribution within the Oracle Community. It is not limited to Usergroup members however there is an obvious overlap.
The program has two levels, those designated ACE are being recognised. The higher level of ACE Director is not only for extreme contribution but also requires a commitment to keep learning through briefings and attendance at certain events, and continued sharing through presenting. In return ACE Directors can apply for funding for travel and accommodation only for events where they present. This enables Usergroups to have access to some of the best presenters around.
To keep costs in check, there are budgets, a requirement that a speaker requesting funding has at least two presentations and where appropriate request Usergroups run their in-country events in an arranged timeframe so that speakers can take part in several in one OPNTour (e.g. Latin America, EMEA Harmony, Asia).
Oracle are supportive of user groups but this varies by user group. UKOUG works hard with Oracle at all levels to ensure we maximise the value to you are members but whilst upholding that most precious value of remaining independent.