Monday, 15 April 2019

My User Group Thoughts

Collaborate has three user groups that come together to create the largest user group events of the year. This was a year of change, not only the venue but also the user groups themselves.

IOUG joined with Quest, which I believe is a great way to safeguard the legacy of IOUG and to grow the reach of Quest. However I spoke to several IOUG people who think of Quest as being the home of TOAD rather than the user group

OAUG changed their name to OATUG to include technology. I heard somewhere during the week 40% of the content is already technology,  it probably is, but the technology they cover is dedicated to that used with E Business Suite, so I’m not sure if I was a technology person I would know whether the content I want is covered by IOUG through Quest, OATUG or ODTUG.

UKOUG New offices 
I believe user groups do need to be refreshed and restate their objectives, and  I was very pleased when at the end of last year UKOUG tweaked their brand by adding the very important independent to the name. I was very proud to have led that part of Project Reach before I left the board and love that they have decorated the new building with the mission statement as well.

UKOUG mission statement

Emerging technology is something that all the user groups have to do with all the time and it’s a guessing game as to how much and when I’ve often talked about the gap between Oracle Marketing and full-scale uptake in the user base. At first it is easy to get presentations from Oracle as they promote the new products and then as early adopters appear they are in great demand for their story but we must quickly provide content for those who have actually moved. 

In my area of SaaS, I think many user groups including UKOUG and those at Collaborate are struggling with this last category. The number of customers who are now using cloud applications is high and yet there is very little content about the things that are important to them, the update cadence and the new functionality delivered that they have yet to switch on. There is plenty of content for those thinking about going to cloud. We also need to ensure we have content for those staying where they are, which Collaborate did well and UKOUG have an event in June.

The same problem is true of PaaS, in ODTUG, middleware lost it stream a few years ago as attendance wasn’t high but hopefully now the new emerging technology stream will address this. I have a session this year on VBCS.

I don't have a quick answer, but perhaps user groups need boards or advisory teams that represent all the communities. There are many of us in the user group communities who are traditional and old school. That may be where the passion is but is it totally representative?

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