Monday 7 May 2012

Collaborate 2012 - Las Vegas

As UKOUG President I was representing us at the recent Collaborate. Although not an official meeting place of IOUC like Oracle Open World (OOW) and the Presidents’ Summits, there are always meetings arranged and the committees have public meetings to show users what they are up to.

Sunday like at OOW is traditionally SIG day, with the main conference kicking off on the Monday; the IOUC Product Development Committee (PDC) had their open meeting in the afternoon, and although I am no longer chairman I am still very passionate about what they do. There was a reasonable audience and a lot of interest in what we are doing; it is all about educating users who want to know more than just what the products do; and sharing their needs back with development.

I also had a meeting with the Higher Education User Group (HEUG) , this organisation is a global industry group with a good membership in Europe and they want to have an EMEA event in the UK in September. They concentrate on how Higher Education uses the Campus Solutions, and work very closely with the development team at Oracle. One of the benefits of the IOUC is that usergroups work together and avoid conflicts and misunderstanding; by engaging with UKOUG now, the HEUG can ensure they don’t clash with any of our events and that we can jointly promote. We don’t have education specific content, but do have the technical content that their member organisations can benefit from; equally some of our members from Higher Education have colleagues who have interest in Campus Solutions. I am looking forward to meeting Jane Broad their UKOUG Director at the EOUC Presidents’ Summit in a few weeks.

I met with Steven Chan, the Tom Kyte of Oracle Applications. Every user who looks after EBS follows Steven’s blog, and every year when in the US I ask him to come to the UK for our event; however Steven has a big team and doesn’t have the ability to travel as much. We have Nadia Bendjedou who covers EBS technology and is a very popular presenter but to bring Steven to UKOUG with Nadia would be fantastic. I am really pleased to announce that Steven will be with us in December. We talked about how we might make best use of his time and at the meeting we were joined by Elke Phelps who now works for Steven; you may remember Elke she won best overseas applications speaker at our Inspiring Presenter Awards UKOUG2010. 

I also met with David Peake Product Manager for APEX, this is a growing community in UKOUG and he is always keen to help us bring the right content to our events.

The IOUC also had people who had been part of Fusion Nation at OOW2011 take part in video’s for the Oracle Fusion People they are hosting. I do lots of videos and find them quite enjoyable but I did have Floyd Teter from OAUG dancing around in the background, I kept my composure but other delegates and convention staff all stopped to watch his antics. When the video is ready I’ll let you know.

I had a session to publicise the ‘Your Path to UnderstandingFusion Applications’ website we created in the PDC, again I had Richard Bingham from Oracle Support to showcase his book, one of the learning points on the tool. We had really good feedback and more ideas to consider.

Profit Magazine had a relaunch and user group leaders were invited to the party. You had the opportunity to have a front page mock up, a bit of fun. It was another opportunity to influence Oracle and make the US teams aware that there are usergroups outside the US.

ODTUG don’t take part in Collaborate, they have their conference KScope in June. A lot of speakers who have in the past taken part in KScope can’t this year because of a change in ACE Director funding. I was due to take part and UKOUG was prepared to support as a show of support. I hope it won’t affect UKOUG too much but we care about the other groups. Unfortunately because of work commitments I cannot now attend KScope but our Vice President Lisa Dobson will attend on our behalf. ODTUG took those who support them and were at Collaborate to dinner and I was able to talk to their President Mike Riley about the measures they were taking to minimise the impact on their event, which has now recovered from the wobbles and on track again to be a very successful event.

There were no new announcements at Collaborate which disappoints me a little, Charles Phillips always attended and had announcements to make, both lifetime support and apps unlimited for Collab announcements. As far as I know Mark Hurd has yet to attend a user group event. 

There were two sessions at Collaborate I really enjoyed and would like to consider for UKOUG. The first I was involved in, Quest asked me to be on a Fusion Applications panel session, but this was different, it was actually a Reflection session, what had people learnt, and what questions did they still have? It was very interesting and included organisations looking and one who had actually started their implementation. There was agreement that there was actually a lot of misinformation which is something I am thinking seriously about and will blog on soon.

The second session that I want to talk about was the very last session from IOUG; they had a debate facilitated by Todd Sheetz on ‘the rise of the examachines!’ It was excellent, they had 3 people on each side that had prepared arguments and then had a fantastic debate on the pros and cons. It was educational, entertaining and a great way to wrap up the event. The audience was really engaged and the turnout for the very last session of Collaborate was brilliant.

As ever there were lots of conversations with user group leaders, vendors and Oracle. I am so proud to represent UKOUG, we are the best user group in the world, and I want us to stay that way.

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