Wednesday 22 April 2009

Friday 17 April 2009

Its All in the Communication

What ever the project if you look at the top three challenges one of them will be communication.

User groups are no different and it is a constant challenge, how do you keep your existing members informed and attract new ones. You cannot allow yourself to go stale.

Then communication itself is always changing, my daughter has no idea about writing letters, thinks email is old fashioned and can't imagine how our house would function without 'Post It' notes on the fridge!

I started 'Debra's Diary' in Oracle Scene our UKOUG Publication to try and keep our members informed as to what was involved in being a director and what I and the rest of the board got up to, on the first entry I said it was as close to a blog as I would get and yet within a year I had started this blog, and it is good to see that other users groups are doing the same now, because at first I worried about being the only Oracle Blog that was not product focused in its content (note I did not say technical).

I cant quite bring myself to twitter yet, it isn't that big in the UK although Stephen Fry famously twittered when stuck in a lift (I wonder if he had read my blog on the subject and stolen my idea?).

But today I have decided to try a video clip. Miracle had all their presenters last year give their extracts this way and my favourite ones are Cary Millsap and James Morle. Robyn Sands did quite a serious one, but her daughter edited an 'outtakes' version which is hysterical and I wish was available on youtube. Quest have a video clip contest for Collaborate.

The quality one my video is poor and I will have to perfect how I do it but at least I have started. I used a web cam that Oracle gave away at a recent architects club for this my first video blog.On the clip I am talking about our conference series, I mentioned them before but the first one Ireland is just days away. Good luck to everyone involved and I know it will be a great sucess.

You can watch me or simply close your eyes and just listen. Does the concept work? Let me know? What other methods of communication should I try?

Tuesday 14 April 2009

Oracle and User Group Volunteers

Working with Oracle is something users groups strive to do. We are all very independent and not simply vendor puppets but when we work well with Oracle we can use it for the good of our members.

Two weeks ago OAUG held a Connection Point in Dubai in the Dhow Palace Hotel and I went along as a speaker. Oracle Dubai was very supportive and it was a great success. But user groups need more than just Oracle on their side; they need volunteers from their membership. Each user group has professional people to run the events and logistics but it is the volunteers that drive the content, the agendas and ultimately the success, and the fuel for the volunteers is enthusiasm.

In Dubai 7 / 8 people volunteered afterwards to help with a Middle East user group and I hope they can continue what has been started there. These volunteers are in their infancy but Dubai as saw an example of the ‘old timers on the block’. The Product Development Committee I run in the IOUC has quarterly question times with Oracle on Fusion Applications. The latest one with Steve Miranda was at 1am on the first night (or rather 2nd morning of the conference), and 4 of us attended the call, Bashir Khan, Michael Rulf, Nadia Bendjedou and myself (and of course Stanley). What dedication! Not only did we all stay up and make it through the 60 minute call but it was so good we then stayed up talking about it for another 35 minutes.

The morale of the story is that working with Oracle whilst staying independent is a very important part of user groups success but most important is the volunteers.

Thankyou to you past, present and future (?) volunteers