Sunday, 16 September 2018

1809 POUG

Look at the label!
You would also be forgiven for thinking POUG stood for Polish Oracle User Group but the official name is Pint with Oracle User Group. 

I remember last year lots of speakers saying how much fun this event was, and later in the year Kamil, the brains behind this event and fellow ACE Director, asked me why I had not been part of it and I promised I would try this year. I did submit and luckily I was accepted to give my chatbots session and asked to be on a panel session.

Since this was earlier September and my daughter was still not back at University I asked her to come with me and we decided to make it a long weekend. The event was in Sopot, one of the 3 Cities, made up of GdaƄsk, Soport and Gdynia which make up the TRi-City.

We flew Ryanair, which also makes me nervous but the flight out was fine although I did pay for Fast Track at Stanstead we has made an industry out of creating record beating queues. 

We arrived late at night so stayed in the airport hotel. The next morning, we got a taxi to the venue which was also our hotel, right on the beach! We dumped our bags and walked into the town centre and caught a slow train to Gdansk city centre.

I am a great believer in City Hop on Hop off buses and it didn’t disappoint. I have to admit that whilst I had heard of Lech Walesa and Solidarity trade union and though I knew a little of Gdasnk I had no idea this is where World War 2 started!! I also learnt a lot more about the city and certainly was impressed at how beautiful it is.

Then we wandered around the city and around the estuary before meeting up with other speakers at the welcome dinner. 

The event was over two days, a Friday and Saturday, with a great agenda. Both my sessions were on the Saturday and I had lots of the day job to do on Friday but it started badly with not being able to connect to the internet. I am used to poor connections at conferences but the was a joke. I got really stressed but thanks to moral support from my daughter and IT support from Alex Nuijten and a lot of luck I got enough wifi to at least run through my demos and get on with my work.

I even went out to Starbucks (on the beach) to work for a while as their wifi was better!

I joined the event mid afternoon and then went to dinner with the dutch contingent, we went to a Ukrainian restaurant and the food was amazing. So much so we went again for lunch before leaving Sopot on the Sunday. We then went back to the hotel for the after party. I believe many delegates and speakers went on to a club after the after party finished at 2am and the last people finished about 4am.

However I was a good girl / am old, and went to bed early as my session was first up Saturday. Considering it was post after party my audience was quite good. I always panic at the last minute that my 'why do' something presentations are of little value to these hard core technical audiences, but they aren't. There is no point developing the best applications if they have no value and the end user can't get what they need.

This was my chatbot presentation and I would say it was straight forward but a cloud demo with really poor wifi is a recipe for disaster. I had tried a myfi connection with no success but luckily a delegate let me connect to his phone. We got there..........slowly

The audience were great, there were really good questions which is always my measure of success. Stress over, I relaxed a bit and then it was time for the Panel Session.

The panel session had a large contingent, very broad and we sat on two sofas, whilst drinking our POUG beer (note to self, if a panel session is going to be this good, don't drink the beer without ensuring you have an inconspicuous path out to the restrooms).

The discussion was led by Kamil, who was an excellent panel facilitator. The discussion was  based on a previous argument debate between Kamil and Bryn Llewellyn on whether Oracle should share the database internals or users simply trust that it works.

As well as Bryn the very technical group consisted of:

Joze Senegacnik, Roger McNichol, Michael Hichwa, Neil Chandler, Erik Van Room, Rob Lockhard, Heli Helskyaho and myself.

How can you work like this?
It was such fun. Again I thought it might be over my head but actually I had lots to say. I work with SaaS which is a closed box and it is so frustrating when with a bit more knowledge about what is going on we could help ourselves. I talked about talking to Oracle support where the user knows more than the support analyst. That isn't it a criticism it is a reflection of where we specialise and they have a lot to cover. Anyway I got an amazing reaction from the audience and my daughter sent me a picture to say she was proud of me. Not that she had any idea what we were talking about :)

Bryn was quite assertive in his position was Kamil held court well and ensured everyone had their say. I loved the banter, it was fun.

That evening we ate at the Grand Hotel overlooking the beach nd the pier and the next day after breakfast on the beach with those who stayed on, we spent the day wandering around the beautiful town of Sopot, before flying home to London.

Thank you Kamil and Luiza. I want to come back, it was such fun.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Congratulations Andy - Lucky UKOUG

UKOUG have just announced that Andy Nellis has won the user vote for Oracle Scene.

Congratulations Andy.

I did stand for this and I wanted to do so to continue my volunteering for UKOUG, but I'm not disappointed, Andy will make a great Editor and I hope he will go on to other roles in UKOUG.

Read his linked profile, UKOUG is very lucky. He has been an end user and had many roles within the user and partner community.

Andy l has been on the Apps Conference group for a few years and has a wide experience within the Oracle World and the big winner here is all of UKOUG.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

UKOUG - I've Still Got Something to Give

I've been a volunteer at UKOUG for over 15 years, but my time on the board finished in March. I said at the time I hoped I would still be of use to the user group and I am now standing for Editor of Oracle Scene.

I want Oracle Scene to represent the whole community and have articles within an edition that will drive everyone to read it. I love walking into an Oracle Office and seeing the high quality physical magazine, it really is our opportunity to reach those who have never heard of UKOUG.

But I also love the online version and everywhere around the world users like to read the high quality articles we attract.

So please vote for me, so I can continue to serve you.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Best Way to Celebrate the Old Certus - A grand Finale - Vote for Us

In May Certus was acquired by Accenture and I posted then about how it was a fitting outcome, much deserved.

Technically we move to Accenture on 1st October, so today we are still Certus, and it is business as usual.

It would be fantastic to have a grand finale and celebrate all that Certus has achieved.  A wonderful way to do that could be success in the UKOUG Partner Awards which will be announced at that time.

So I am asking you to vote for us. If you are our customer, or an end user who has been impressed with our projects or UKOUG presentations please vote. We believe in the user group and sharing the challenges and lessons learnt.

We have been nominated in 3 categories

UKOUG HCM Cloud Partner of the Year

The last year we have had several projects on the go. Phase two of DHL, a HCM project, which they shared at OOW and UKOUG; an architectural implementation of ERP for a global Financial Services; an amazing global HCM project with a very complex integration story as well as our joint project with Accenture at the Home Office which is currently in UAT, alongside HM Treasury that went live at the end of last year. We have also just kicked off a couple of other government projects.

All our projects are HCM and ERP but unfortunately we were not shortlisted for the ERP award. However our reputation in HCM is second to none so being successful here would be amazing.

UKOUG Middleware Partner of the Year Award

In true Certus tradition we continue to work with Oracle Product Development on PaaS, how we can extend the Cloud SaaS for our customers. We have continued to work with VBCS which I presented at conferences last year, and are currently working with Oracle on a prototype for managing workforces, which several of our customers are interested in.

Last year after Oracle Open World I was set the challenge by Certus to deliver a chatbot that actually uses HCM Cloud , no smoke, no mirrors and thanks again to help Oracle Product Development we first demonstrated this at the HCM SIG earlier this year, and then at Collaborate. We are continuously improving this and it will be a session at both OOW and UKOUG this year.

We continue with our eProseed partnership to deliver a wider PaaS4saaS landscape for a global construction company.

UKOUG Industry Product Partner of the Year

If we only win one prize this year, this would be the one. Our solution for government is why we are leaders in government and were able to hold a Government Cloud Success Day in February and have many departments come and hear from our customers. was designed to ensure that UK government could adopt Cloud as risk free as possible. Each project we have delivered has been on time and on budget and allows departments to embrace modern technology with confidence.

In the past I have been concerned that voters are put off because I was a UKOUG board member but that was never true, however this year I have finished my board commitment and am a 'free women' although still an active volunteer.

Please vote for us; help us have our grand finale.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Rant - OPN and ADDM!

I should have good statistics for this blog, it should appeal to many different communities, OPN or the Oracle Partner Network will spark the interest of one community I work in and ADDM or Automatic Database Diagnostic Monitor will have my technical friends thinking I have crossed to the other side. 

Actually the acronyms need to be used together: OPNandADDM

Oracle Product Names and Acronyms Drive Debra Mad!

I'm an Oracle ACE Director, a software advocate and this isn't a direct moan just at Oracle, everyone does it but they are a great example.

We all suffer from acronyms over use, and as someone who presents regularly I have to constantly remember not to use too many. A quick google on the overuse brings back many studies of the problems this can cause.

I teach a course that I abbreviate to AYNTKAO - All You Need To Know About Oracle. It is aimed at people having their first Oracle project, not necessarily someone starting an Oracle career, it could be a very experienced change manager or project manager who has not been exposed to them before. I try very hard to avoid the TLA, although many products in Oracle have moved to four or five letters (isn't this a sign to someone, somewhere, there are too many?).

You need to be careful, sometimes names are created to match the acronym

I have joked in the past I would like to meet the person responsible for creating the product names within Oracle, do they pick the names to match the acronym they will be known as? 

It would help if there was a single glossary, it would help. Tell me if I have missed one in my search. I can find them in some product documentation but very few people use one product in isolation.

Three things annoy me:

1. If there is an acronym use the right one!

eg E Business Suite is EBS - not E-Biz or E Bus even wikipedia is confused.

2. Within one organisation don't duplicate

As I said we don't use products in isolation so this confuses people. 

OCI in the database glossary stands for Oracle Call Interface but
OCI also stands for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

3. Be careful if you change a product name to re-use the acronym

I worked for the same company for 25 years. When I left because they had a company range of mobile numbers they re-used my number for someone else. Today almost 5 years later he still gets calls for me. How frustrating must that be?

OCS is Oracle Cloud Services (the organisation that manages the cloud), but until very recently was Oracle Consulting Services, who have been renamed simply Oracle Consulting or OC. People are still using the old acronym and getting others confused.

And what prompted me to write this blog? answer = ABCS

Google TODAY thinks I mean PBCS - but glance down the list and you soon find there is ABCS, the original name for VBCS which I think is changing it's name again (still following?)

I loved the name ABCS it was a great acronym for a product aimed at citizen developers, and I wrote an Oracle Scene article in 2017 and a presentation I was very proud of; it had a great ring to it. 

Extending your Cloud HCM is as simple as ABCs. 

It's name was changed From Application Builder Cloud Service to Visual Builder Cloud Service. ABCS was not to be used................

Until last  week when Oracle launched ABCS Autonomous Blockchain Cloud Service. Don't get me wrong I think blockchain has a big future in my area and I was excited about the launch

Oh and what does Oracle ACE stand for? Not sure this is official but Awesome Community Expert has a great ring to it!

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Thank you to all at UKOUG

My time on the board of UKOUG came to an end in March, and although I am still an active volunteer and have not left the organisation, I wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you.

First for the opportunity to grow both as an individual and in my professional career. I would recommend volunteering to anyone in our community, it will motivate and educate you.

I was very touched to receive a generous voucher from the board to say thank you for my service. 

I spent the money on a bench and some plants, so that I can enjoy the view from my house. 

As I said I haven't left, currently very busy with the Apps18 committee and hope you will agree we have a great agenda and will be joining us in Liverpool.  

I have also just applied for a role on Oracle Scene. You don't get rid of me that easily!

Saturday, 26 May 2018

OUGF 2018 - Kiitos kutsusta

Last Oracle Open World, Pasi Jaakkola the President of the Finnish User Group asked me if I would like to give an Applications keynote at their 2018 conference, their 30th Anniversary. 

I have spoken for this usergroup twice before, their 20th Anniversary Event and as part of an OTN Nordic Tour in 2014.

This year the event was held in Vanajanlinna just over an hour from Helsinki. Not only was it a fantastic location but it was unseasonably hot for Finland and just wonderful. I had a suite overlooking the lake and would love to take a holiday there sometime.

They provided a bus from the airport and we were given a little tour of the countryside including a visit to Pasi's home where we drank champagne as his family played music for us.

I had three presentations:
  1. My keynote - Cloud Applications, back to basics
  2. Extending Cloud Applications with VBCS
  3. Should I move to Cloud Applications, route to the Cloud
The Back to Basics session was the first of the conference, and as is common in Europe it was a predominately technical audience but they did seem interested. I talked about how the technology enabled the application and what components were used. I know Oracle tell you it doesn't matter, you are buying or rather subscribing to a solution, but organisations who have had on premise applications do want to know.

And even if the audience are not Oracle applications users, the principles of design are relevant to any development. As ever to me the measure of success was the number of questions I had, both during and after the presentation.

After lunch I had my other two presentations, one after the other.  The VBCS presentation was the first time I had used release 2 in a session and on the whole it behaved well, except for a small glitch at the very end on the mobile app. I had been more concerned about the wifi which had been patchy, but all worked out well. I really enjoy this presentation as I can make it relevant to the event, so we collected data on those intending to use the sauna. 

Then my final session was the 'route to cloud' that I gave not too long ago as community keynote in Dublin, and based on my Oracle Scene article at the end of last year. This prompted some questions around data centres and organisational strategies especially around cloud @ customer. 

Part of the reason I had such a great day was that the audience were interactive. Also there were some great speakers who asked questions and added answers to the conversation. 

That evening after a wonderful dinner it was time to enjoy the grounds of this amazing location. Finland is so far north it was way past 11pm before it was dark, and such a great time to relax and get to know people.

The Wednesday I had finished my sessions. Pasi works for Accenture, who you will remember have just acquired Certus and their global lead for the database, a fellow ACE Director Julian Dontcheff is also based in Finland. Also speaking were new colleagues from Enkitec and in total about 10 Accenture people in attendance so I was able to learn a bit more about how the company and specifically Oracle work.

This was a great conference, and I loved that I was able to present something new to a traditional audience and yet they all learnt and appreciated. The location was amazing and I'll certainly be back.