Oracle has over 400 Users Groups, many as a result of the many acquisitions they seem so keen on. Talking to that number is just not possible on a global level, so they have a number of communities that group them together. There is APOUC for Asia Pacific and EOUC here in EMEA, both of which are consolidated globally in the International Community IOUC.
The EOUC is still evolving but includes meetings where Presidents come together to learn from Oracle and each other. So in May Ronan (Miles the Chairman of UKOUG) and I travelled to Munich for an EOUC Presidents Meeting. We have been to Munich before, in fact the meetings seem to alternate between Brussels and Munich, they are easy to travel to but if I am taking holiday to attend I would like a little more variety.
The meeting was held in the airport hotel and thanks to legendary German efficiency we did not need to go outside from touch down to take off. However recognising that UKOUG is the best user group on the planet the hotel had arranged very nice upgrades for both Ronan and I in the hotel (why did I need 2 bathrooms?).
The first day was all updates from Oracle Executives. As well as strategy we also learnt a little about reorganisation within Oracle. This is always useful as user groups need relationships within Oracle to function well. The second day was more about sharing best practice amongst user groups. There used to be an EOUC board but it simply required more effort from already overworked volunteers so now there is a much leaner approach, with 2 spokes people who will change every two years representing EOUC with the IOUC. Currently the spokespeople are the presidents of OUGF (Finland) and OBUG (Benelux).
There will be an EOUC stand in the user group booth at Oracle Open World in September with a number of presidents again giving their own time to man it whilst attending the conference.
UKOUG is a mature and very successful user group and are committed to helping other emerging and smaller groups. One way we do this is to encourage our speaker community to present at their conferences; another way is that we recognise any user group membership for our annual conference.