Sunday 19 October 2008

UKOUG Partner of the Year Awards

As the song goes 'What a Night', we have just had our first UKOUG Partner Awards dinner and I like other directors who attended are so proud.

'To Serve the Oracle Community is the mission statement of UKOUG, and we believe that partners are part of that community. Earlier this year we started a Partner Forum as a response to feedback we had received and a discussion we had at last years conference. The partners wanted two things, an ongoing dialogue with Oracle as a community of partners and how they could get more value from their user group membership.

The UKOUG has a unique membership model where with low membership rates we deliver everything to our membership normally at no additional cost (platinum level), and we do this through a combination of membership fees and sponsorship. We rely on the sponsorship from our partners so it is important to listen to what they need to make events successful for them as well as for the attendees who traditionally hate marketing either from partners or Oracle.. One of their first suggestions was a Partner Award scheme that is voted for by the members, and we are proud not only to have delivered this but in a really short timescale.

The Ceremony Dinner took place on 16th October at Claridge’s, London and you can see the winners on our website. The after dinner speaker was David Blunkett MP who was very witty and yet thought provoking. He was amazed to be at an event where what should have been a room full of competitors was actually a room full of people who through UKOUG do 'Serve the Oracle Community' and that is quite a message for our Government

Many of our members voted for these awards and we expect next year's to be bigger, better and just as much fun.

Friday 17 October 2008

HrOUG Conference

Another great user group conference, I only stayed till Thursday morning as we had a UKOUG event that evening (see next blog) but I attended enough to realise that if you are looking for best practice at how to enjoy yourself, you need look no further than to HrOUG! Set in the beautiful Rovinj, the setting as well as the event were superb.

Sessions ran from 10am (if you party all night any earlier is impossible) until about 8pm each day when everybody had dinner together, then the entertainment began for at least as long again!

When I left Thursday the leader of HrOUG Davor (on the right) had been for a healthy swim, except it was simply to wake him up as he had only been in bed for 3 hours! The hospitality was fantastic, and all the delegates were enjoying themselves. I only attended a few sessions as my Croatian is non existant.

I spoke on Fusion and usergroups and again I thought the numbers were on the low side but those who attended learnt a lot and asked even more questions. There was an interesting discussion on the impact Fusion Applications will have on bespoke system devleopment in the future. I quoted our own Ronan Miles who a few years back 'If Fusion Applications are a sucess, and Oracle will ensure they are, then it will change the way everyone writes applications.

I was interested to discoverer that the issues I have had obtaining resources for Hyperion install (not configuration and devleopment) are the same in Croatia.

Thank you to Vlado and Davor for their excellent hospitality.

Tuesday 14 October 2008

I love my job....

I have said before that Fujitsu are very supportive of my role in UKOUG, and I have enough holiday to supplement that time when reqired. I have worked for Fujitsu for so long I get 33 days annual leave (for those of you in the US, the minimum in UK is about 20 but most get about 25 plus public holidays).

So this month as well as the OUG Scotland conference, I am today attending the HrOUG or Croatian User Group Conference and next week I am speaking at Miracle Oracle Open World in their new Business Track which is the first major outing for the newly formed BAUG.

I love to share what I know with users and I always end up learning something myself, however as I speak absolutley no Croatian my knowledge at this event will be limited to how beautiful the place is. Although I did see a commercial being shot for a kitchen and bathroom company Kholer yesterday, something about a beautiful women marrying a really short guy because his bathroom is so beautiful!

Sunday 12 October 2008

Are we bored of Fusion Applications?

As you know I have been involved in Fusion Applications since the first announcement of Project Fusion, and now I have seen some of the first release I am even more excited. But is everyone else or is everyone bored or worse not convinced there is anything to get excited about?

At Oracle Open World a few weeks ago I was very disapointed with the lack of presence Fusion Applications had in the agenda. Only 3 Oracle Sessions had the words 'Fusion Applications' in the title. The first was the joint presentation I did with Nadia Bendjedou based on her excellent paper 'the evolutionary path to fusion', then Fusion Applications Part I and Part II given on the Wednesday.

Nadia and I had a good attendance but Steve Miranda's presentations were I thought poorly attended, did people not realise they were on? It is a big pity because he actually demonstrated a fair bit of the content and for most people it was the first they had seen.

But am I basing my observation just on OOW? No, at OUG Scotland last week, I gave 2 presentations, one on automated delivery of Discoverer Reports and one on an update to Fusion. I know the Fusion was the last slot of the day, and Scotrail were on strike so some people left early but the numbers I felt were low. Those who did attend gave excellent feedback.

So my message to Oracle, get your message right, it may not be ready today for people to use but Fusion is coming and I like it. I want to go to R12 EBS first to take the additionally functionality available now, but I have Fusion Applications in my longer term sights!

OUG Scotland

When I first joined the board of UKOUG there was a need to address content for members who are not within commuting distance of the home counties. Thier SIGs tend to be more generalist and so may not address all their needs, however we did find that the perpensity for these members to attend the annual conference is actually greater than normal.

What we came up with were annual 1 day regional conferences, the first being the Irish Conference in Dublin in March 2003 which was an instant sucess and later that year we introduced the Scottish Conference.

These events are more complicated to put together than a simple SIG, the attendance is much larger adn there are normally 4 streams and this week in the Raddison Glasgow was no exception.
This picture shows the staff that travelled up along with Ronan our Chairman at the airport on our way home.

It was another sucessful day and thanks to all those who spoke and to the committee that put toether the agenda. Steve Gold from Oracle Scotland gave a quick address at the start confirming his support to OUG in Scotland, and based on the day we will be around for a long time.

Sunday 5 October 2008

Having Thought about Fusion

Being a blogger is sometimes a tightrope to walk. Oracle like blogging and encourage it, thank you for the blogger credentials at OOW, the big orange badge was almost' Access all Areas' and a desk with power during keynotes was fantastic, but at the same time I have signed a non disclosure agreement on Fusion, so what can I say and what can't I say?

I had a sneak preview of Fusion Apps in the middle of August and gave feedback in one of the several promotional videos Oracle made about fusion Applications and showed throughout OOW. Then on the Sunday before OOW the Inner Circle met and we saw a lot more and had great insight from Steve Miranda and Thomas Kurian but it was still all under non disclosure.

HOWEVER on the Wednesday there were a couple of sessions given as fusion Applications Part I and part II, were Steve Miranda gave an overview of the concepts and then a number of modules were demonstrated. So there it is we have seen it and can talk about it.

I love them, but it got me thinking, as a business person the user interface is all I have ever wanted. Lets take Financials, from one portal page I can view balances, stored in a 'cube' so I can 'slice and dice' the information however I want, set up accounts I want to monitor, or even monitor situations. I also get to see journals with full drill to sub ledgers, if I want to add a journal I can simply click get my Fusion Desktop Integrator there without logging on elsewhere and enter, and as i do and before I commit the journal I can see on the right of my screen what it will do to the balance. That is just a few of the things I can do from one screen.

Now today I have a lot of that functionality but in different applications, OBIEE, Hyperion, ADI, EBS etc, etc and each of these has people in my organisation supporting them. When Fusion arrives will I expect my EBS support to look after everything? will I realise there is so much more technology behind it? Will I recognise what skills are needed and will I be preparing for them? Lots of questions which we in the Product Development Committee of the IOUC are looking to help you with. We are looking at some education templates, Fusion from a business perspective and Fusion from a technical prospective.

And the beat goes on.............

Just one last blog about the Elevator, if you google 'OOW Elevator' there are enormous numbers of hits about our escapade, I cant believe so many people were interested.

If you google 'Debra Lilley Elevator' there is a hit on Dan Lockton that is nothing to do with me but has some link to a Debra Lilley at Loughborough university (who once emailed me) all about why Elevators fail, and I wonder why would someone research all that?

And my boss Andy from Fujitsu was at OOW and he chose to send a link to all 200+ colleagues back in the UK only to find out they already knew. But the funniest thing that happened to me was we went to the Oracle Japan reception and were introduced to the head of Japan sales ans he spoke little English, whilst we were being introduced he nodded politely, showed recognition and laughed out 'video', Andy laughed so loud thinking it was the youtube video but actually I am hoping he meant the Oracle Fusion Applications Video I had taken part in prior to OOW.