Monday 29 June 2009

Ed Abbo Leaving

Twitter has been busy with the news that Ed Abbo is leaving Oracle.

I wish Ed all the best, but ask Oracle to be careful with how they fill his shoes.

I understand that Applications Unlimited that Ed was responsible for may go to Thomas Kurian who is also responsible for Fusion Applications. Thomas is a great person but I want him to concentrate on Fusion, technology and apps. Will a shared leader not give more concern amongst customer base?

I know Oracle is committed to Apps Unlimited and I now Fusion Apps are well on their way but can one person give both those messages at the same time with equal conviction?

I hope so.

Monday 22 June 2009

Multi Tasking from the Great Ronan Miles

The purpose behind this blog is to give a little insight into what I and other directors of UKOUG get upto, and today I want to give a small example of how 'multi tasking is a key requisite'.

The keynote Presentation at ODTUG today was John Kopcke, SVP, Business Intelligence and Performance Management Global Business Unit, talked about how Management Excellence was the way for organisations to make a difference now. Most organisations have already got the operational excellence that was their business case for ERP systems.

Like Steve Miranda yesterday, John was able to relate to a mainly technical audience although it is fair to point out that the Hyperion Audience in ODTUG contains a lot of non IT , but IT enabled professionals.

Important for UKOUG, is that this afternoon John is on a plane to London to speak at our UKOUG Hyperion & BI conferene event later in the week. Both Ronan and I have been able to speak with John to ensure that he knows what our audience will be like. The press in UK have already arranged with Ronan for feedback from the conference and although Ronan will not be there he was today taking great notes during John's keynote so that he is fully briefed before speaking from here to the press on Wednesday. It is great watching Ronan take notes, do you know he is a 'touch typist' (and for all you gen X & Y people that means he uses 10 fingers and types really fast).

At break times, Ronan and I have been meeting up and planning for future events, making note of best practices we are witnessing here, liasing with other user groups, agreeing content from product managers for their content at UKOUG and also keeping up with our day jobs. On Sunday before the keynote, Ronan and I handed out tickets at the main door. We know UKOUG relies on its vlunteers and are happy to simply be volunteers for ODTUG.

SO despite the beautiful weather here in Monterey, do not worry we are working hard for you

Fusion Applications As a Keynote

Great presentation from Steve Miranda on Fusion Apps. He talked about the technology behind it. Good timing as it is based on 11g Fusion MiddleWare which is launched next week.

The demos he gave were a subset of what has previously been shown at both Open World and Collaborate, but the difference here is, this was a keynote. Also he spent more time because of the audience on what was behind it, pointing out for instance that in the single GL Role home page you could access data from both OLTP and Essbase. He talked a lot about the possibilities WebCentre opens up for organisations using Fusion Apps. For me the smartest part is the seamless use of analytics information where you need it when.

Many of these features shown are not in simply coded into Fusion Apps, what you have are 'place holders' or 'hooks' where Fusion Apps can consume any commercial or developed services, such as 'twitter feed' against an individual in HR, 'google maps' against any address. It will be interesting to see once people start adopting the Apps how and what these are used for.

What was great was the interest from the audience in seeing it for what I guess for most was the first time.Last Friday as the ACE Directors briefing, in a room full of very clever people, with great access to Oracle in their field of speciality, the question was asked, 'Do Fusion Apps really exist?', I was able to say yes and that Steve would talk about them Sunday. Ever since Steve spoke, I have talked to several fellow ACEs who specialised in some part of the technology and they were very impressed, but even more so they now have a way to relate the technology to Oracle Apps development.

So please Oracle, more of the same.

Sunday 21 June 2009

ODTUG Community Service Day

Last year ODTUG started the idea of a Community Day immediately prior to their conference, and we spent an excellent day painting a school in New Orleans. One of the most valuable thing you get from attending the conference is meeting up with people, talking about what they do, how they do it and exchanging ideas. What better way to network than by giving something back at the same time?

This year in Monterey we went 'weeding' with the Big Sur Land Trust removing ice plants that whilst they look quite pretty are actually depriving the indigenous plants and in turn wildlife of their natural habitat. The hardest part of the work, at the time, was walking up and down the dunes to arrive at the site, although this morning my calves and back think it was a lot harder than it seemed!

I am very proud of what we achieved we did seem to make a big difference and left feeling it was very worthwhile. Then it was all aboard the 'short' buses and off to lunch, which we were told would be a picnic, and it was, but as we walked into the clearing there were tables and chairs and tablecloths and a beautiful spread in the middle of nowhere, thanks again ODTUG!

Because the ACE Directors had arrived Friday night most took part in the community day and it was another opportunity to talk to old, new and future friends. Have I mentioned before How I Love My Job?

Oracle HQ

Having arrived at Redwood on Thursday evening, I went straight to bed, 20 hours after I left home. It was quite an uneventful trip except 2 quick airport stories. First when landing at Newark my plane was held for a long time in the air and then diverted to a different terminal. As we taxied around the airport there were lots of camera crews, everyone thought it must have been a plane crash, but actually it was a Continental Flight from Brussels were the pilot died. The at San Francisco, we were coming into land on a beautiful early evening and along side us, really close was another plane, quite frightening for me but no one else seemed worried, I have never seen this before despite having been to SFO many times, turns out they have parallel runways.

Anyway I digress, the visit to Redwood was for the ACE Director day, and the best way to tell you what happened is to say log onto and search for #ACED. We saw a lot of Fusion Middleware 11g but of course we were under non disclosure agreements until after the launch on July 1st.

It was a full on day, starting at 8.15 am and finishing just before 6pm, I really enjoyed the day, as my field is Apps and Fusion Apps I thought very little would be of value to me but actually I learnt a lot and did get to see where things fit in. I especially liked the sessions where the speaker came armed with slides but actually only used them to answer questions. Much more interactive and way beyond just a polished marketing script.

Then it was all on a coach for the 90 minute drive to Monterey for ODTUG, and again this was a great opportunity to speak to more of my fellow ACE Directors. On arrival at Monterey ODTUG had a welcome VIP reception for us and the registration was all done bar the credit card swipe. Excellent and thanks ODTUG.

Thursday 18 June 2009

Very Busy 10 days

I am waiting for a taxi to take me to the airport. I am flying to San Francisco today, for an ACE Director Meeting Tomorrow in Redwood Shores. I think we will get a sneak preview of Fusion Middleware 11g which is being launched on July 1st so very exciting.

The along with my fellow ACEs it is all on the bus to Monterey for the ODTUG Kaleidoscope Conference. I can't wait to catch up with all my friends although Mike Riley , ODTUG President, is not too keen to share an elevator in the hotel.

During this conference I will be a delegate I am not presenting but I am ambassador for a few sessions that will help me with the day job.

I will also catch up with Ronan the UKOUG President, he is now on twitter @UKOUG_Chair and I have to say well worth following, not bad for a man who has just had a significant birthday.

One down side is that we are missing two very important events in our conference series, Scotland on the 23rd and then Hyperion & BI 24th and 25th, but I do arrive back in London 12 hours before the Siebel event on the 30th which is good as I am hosting it. If you haven't signed up to any of the events it is not too late.

Sunday 14 June 2009

Passionate - an overused term

I love social networking, I am not very good at it but I like to give it a try.

I love blogs, and who would have thought my 'elevator blog' would be so popular, only to be completely forgotten when the 'Stanley Blog' got going.

I love the way I can see what friends are up to on facebook, respond when someone makes a comment, sharing a private joke in front of my wider friends' list.

I will love Twitter but have only just started and am trying to keep that more user group centric although I have successfully managed to set up Facebook to take twitter feeds.

I love youtube, and I love my little casio digital camera which means I can record silly bits of my life and share it with friends.

So you may think, and I possibly agree I have over used the 'love' word, but I have a friend Cary Millsap who today on his twitter linked to this excellent David Mitchell video on being Passionate.

I am sorry but I am passionate about user groups and what we can do for our members, I don't mind laughing about it, the video is excellent but please however overused the term 'passionate' is, believe that I am.

As for the video comment about how passionate, 'passionate people' are in the rest of their lives, I can't possibly comment on me.

Sunday 7 June 2009

SIG Volunteers Day 2009

One of my first entries in this blog was last year's UKOUG Volunteers Day and here I am now with an update from this years.

I cnnot say it enough, without the volunteers there would be no UKOUG.

This annual event is an opportunity for all the SIG leaders to come together, give feedback, understand the strategy, share best practice, listen to and more importantly be listened to by the directors. Then at the end of a very long day we all get the opportunity to relax and enjoy a good meal and a few drinks in the bar.

Back to that being listened to by DIrectors, I am a lightweight and went to bed at midnight, several directors took their role more seriously and stayed around till 2am but Ronan, our chairman like the captain of a ship stayed till the end and left at 5am knowing the board meeting was just a few hours away. At least we know there will be no complaints on lack of opportunity to speak to Ronan.

If you just want to listen to Ronan then did you know he twitters? He uses the name UKOUG_Chair. I have thought about it and decided it wasn't for me, but now I think I don't want to be upstaged by Ronan so may reconsider.

The next day was a board meeting and there was a lot brought up from the volunteer day. I think everyone who attended thought the day was of value and am only sorry that a number of people could not attend because their day jobs prevented it.

THANKYOU AGAIN for being a UKOUG Volunteer

Quick Update

Blogging is great, it is much more up to date than Debra's Diary but you have to be disciplined enough to update it as soon as something happens, if not, like now you end up with some time and have several things to say.

It is two weeks since the PeopleSoft conference and I haven't said how it went.

The conference was at the Sofitel in terminal 5 of Heathrow and was held over 2 days on 19/20 May.

Ari Aaltonen one of our new directors opened the conference and then there was the keynote presentation, which with a new release of PeopleSoft was well timed. After the keynote I had to rush off to the day job, but came back for the evening entertainment. I am not really interested in casino type games but I do like to watch others and generally hear feedback from delegates.

UKOUG like all organizations need to keep costs down and myself and the staff excelled at this event. We stayed in a well known brand of hotel that had advertised advance booking of under £20 and it seemed great. HOWEVER this particular site did not live up to their promise, the main entrance was blocked by concrete blocks apparently to keep the unwelcome out, another entrance was boarded up but eventually if you drove through an industrial estate you could find it. I don't want to fill this whole blog with my woes, but I do want you to know what the staff are prepared to do (once only, not again) to save money on your behalf.

On day to I gave a presentation about how Fusion MiddleWare relates to PeopleSoft and I got good feedback. This makes me really pleased as I am not in the PeopleSoft area but do passionately believe the usergroup is for all communities and strive to follow our mission "To serve the Oracle community”

Saturday 6 June 2009

A little longer time

Due to a high demand, call for papers has been extended for UKOUG Conference Series Technology and E-Business Suite 2009, taking place from 30th November - 2nd December at the ICC in Birmingham.

We will now be able to accept abstracts through till 9am on Monday 15th June.

Register as a speaker and submit abstracts here:

Online judging will open on the 12th June, therefore we will not be able to extend this deadline any further.