Saturday, 8 October 2016

Why Am I Not Travelling to Australia? Putting the Record Straight


I am a proud member of the OTN ACE Director Community. I hope I always give them credit for the opportunities they open up to me, to speak at conferences, in some of the most wonderful places I have had the pleasure of travelling to.

But it is also very easy to criticise when things don't go the way you want them to, and like any human community there can be disruptive forces. If you follow me on Twitter you will know I am not backward in coming forward when things go wrong. The social media executives in British Airways and Hilton know me on first name terms.

Earlier this year, I applied to take part in the APAC OTN Tour, then over the summer the shape of my involvement changed, and then in the run up to OOW it started to fall apart, and then just afterwards was cancelled completely.

People knew I was going, my name and extracts had appeared in flyers and on websites for the events. So inevitably people have asked why? Several people had their own theories before asking and as you would expect, they had a huge range of ideas, all equally incorrect, and all in the main looking for someone to blame.


  • The APAC OTN Tour as arranged by Francisco Alvarez covered NZ (2 dates), Australia (2 dates), China (2 dates) and Sangham in India. I submitted for all these dates.
  • I subsequently discovered that the week before this tour started Quest International had a JDE conference in Australia, so I also applied and was accepted for that event.
  • I was also approached by regional leaders of AUSOUG who have a very large applications community, they are holding their Australia events during the time of China and India on the APAC tour that would be more technically focused. I therefore contacted both OTN and Francisco and asked to swap those dates 
  • I then expected, subject to funding to be speaking for Quest, APAC NZ, APAC Australia and then AUSOUG
  • My papers were selected by all the groups including China and India, but I had by then dropped out of those legs of the tour.
  • Unfortunately because of perceived conflicts AUSOUG then asked me to choose between their events and APAC Australia. I did not want to choose, I am only interested in the community but even with intervention from OTN, no compromise was reached and I had to reluctantly drop out of AUSOUG.
  • OTN came under budget constraints, as this tour was suddenly much in excess of the original agreed budget, and they told me that they couldn't support the QUEST leg. Luckily I work for a great company who were able to make up that shortfall
  • Then QUEST who focus purely on the JDE community had a revision of the objectives and priorities for their agenda, and my 'Cloud Journey' content no longer fitted. 
  • I was verbally approved for the remaining APAC tour NZ and Australia but unfortunately the budget constraints did not have anywhere to go and OTN and Francisco had to make very hard decisions, and I was one of the casualties.
This was not any single decision, but rather a conspiracy of bad luck. Yes I am very disappointed but am getting over it. Am I angry? No, OTN support me brilliantly, and I don't envy them or any of the other players in this drama their need to make hard decisions.

I am more disappointed for those I have let down. My favourite quotation is about Commitment. I committed to those events. Initially subject to funding, but even after verbal approval that was eventually rescinded. All for the right reasons but I still feel I have let them down. 

This week there are lots of events in Eastern Europe I would love to have taken part in, but did not apply as it was too much along side this APAC tour, and now I wish I was there. But I will get other opportunities.

I wish everyone on the tour the best and know it will be amazing. 

If you are an end user in this region, one of the events will be great for you, please sign up.

And finally bring me back some TamTams Tim and all will be forgiven.





4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you think you will be missed?
Who really cares whether or not you get yet another freebie

Daniel Strassberg said...

2016 Quest ANZ theme is all "about JDE". A real focused year to bring the community together. Sorry the timing was not better. looking forwarding to seeing you in London in December with Tim Tams.

Chris Klupacs - Quest ANZ President said...

It was with great reluctance that we couldn't fit you into the Quest ANZ InFocus conference Debra. Oracle certainly picked up their game and an influx of customer / end user papers was the reason for not having you deliver papers. It was a difficult decision for us to make.

Anonymous - Not sure what axe you have to grind, but you could put your name to your post.

Shaun Begley said...

Shaun Begley (President AUSOUG Victoria)
Debra, you are a well-respected and regarded professional, your support of our community in Australia is much appreciated and you will surely be missed at the AUSOUG Connect Conference.
Some effort is needed by all to heal relationships in the region and make it strong for the whole community again.