Sunday 19 July 2009

Four into One Does Not Go

It doesn't seem like a year since I posted about last year's paper selection day, but it is.

On average we have 4 papers submitted for each session available. Someone said to me this week they thought we didn't have enough submissions because we always extend the deadline. This is a myth the reason we extend it is people always leave it till the last minute, something happens and they miss the deadline, the office gets a lot of last minute phone calls.

Papers are judged by volunteers and I thought I did well to judge just less than 200, but Ronan beat me with over 400 on the last weekend. It is quite a difficult job as there are only 200 words allowed and you must make sure you don't fall into the teachers' mantra of 'could do better' for all of them.

Other things that drive me mad is where one individual has entered 20 plus papers and you know it will be other people presenting, it puts judges off, but one idea we will look at is to have another field in the entry for submitter so that this will be handled better.

Once we have the judging complete the office rank them, each year they tell us what the mark is if we simply take the top papers. The maximum score is 6 but people tend not to give a 6, and this year the magic number was 4.25, so many, many papers score well and yet fall short of this mark.

Also many papers above this figure also do not make the final cut, sometimes because there are too many high scoring for a particular stream, sometimes because there is a similar paper and sometimes because the stream leads want a specific theme to their stream.

Then there is the final check that people have not be given two sessions at the same time, some first timers are given a chance.

It is a hard working day but also fun with a real buzz as people barter for slots, rooms and papers. I don't want to repeat the post from last year but I did go into a bit more detail.

So as soon as the office have drawn up the final agenda people will hear if they have been selected. Please if you have not been lucky, do not give up, contact your SIG chairs and offer to speak there.

Update on The Conference Series

I finished the last posting by saying that Siebel was the 5th of 7 in our conference series, so what about the others?

The first event was Ireland and I was really sorry to have missed this, I live in Belfast and think of it as my local event, but before the date was set I had arranged to speak in Australia for the first joint Applications conference Insync09. Ronan Miles hosted this event and a new SIG was launced, Ireland BI

Second came the PeopleSoft conference and I actually presented, thanks to the ACE Program FMW kit.

Ronan and I both missed the Scottish and Hyperion and BI events as we were at ODTUG in the US, but we were with you all in spirit. I knew we would miss Scotland but the date for Hyperion and BI event as they had to change the date because of venue availability. We both hated missing these but in very busy calendar's were we have a day job and overseas committments it will always be difficult.

Then as in my last post came the Siebel event, JD Edwards is in November which I hope to attend and the the Tech & EBS event is in the traditional timeframe and location, ICC Birmingham 31 Nov - 2 Dec.

The reason for splitting up the conference was down to lack of space at the ICC, which meant we had already expanded to 5 days and then the fact that this caused some communities to feel lost and us being unable to meet not only their needs but to not give their Senior Oracle Executives the keynotes they deserved.

It has been and continues to be a lot of hard work not only for directors but more so for the office but we think it is working. What we want next year is for the numbers to grow, they are all much better than for each community last year at conference but there are still other users out there not taking advantage of our offering.

If you are interested in the final two events make sure you come along and look out for more information on the website.

UKOUG Conference Series Siebel Event

I arrived back from the US on the hottest day of the year, arrived at my hotel, shown to my room, in the attic with no air conditioning, but never mind I was so tired I would have slept anywhere.

A few hours later and it was time to meet up the the team also staying at the hotel before our Siebel Conference evnt the next day. I stopped moaning about the room as actually I had a fan which appeared to be rather a luxury :)

It was good to see Steve Austen, Joint Siebel Committee Chair kick off the event (picture).

The event itself was great, Anthony Lye SVP for Siebel was over from the US and as always gave a fantastic talk on where Siebel is and where it is going. Siebel is I believe at the front of adopting new technology (apart from Fusion Applications of course, but they are not here yet), and there is always more to see.

The committee had worked hard to put together the agenda which included a comentary on CRM today from a well known journalist in this field Stuart Laughlan, food for thought.

BAck to the fans, the only disapointment for me was that Ascot did not have air conditioning and how I wish I had stolen the hotel fan. We did have a little issue when someone tried to use a pnumatic drill outside but Julius from UKOUG came to the rescue, those assertiveness training courses paid off again and we continued with relative peace and quiet.

Siebel was the 5th of our 7 events for this year's conference series.

Wot No Blog

Last posting was 29th June and yet July has been such a busy month, which I can use as my excuse.

Lots has happened, not least the fact that my last posting was about Ed Abbo leaving and how I was worried what it might mean to Apps Unlimited, and since then Chuck Rozwat has taken a year out to take a Masters.

If you live in the UK you will understand why I find that excuse quite funny as it is what Margaret did to get off The Apprentice.

Good for Chuck but his email reads as if he is leaving, and leaving everything in the hands of Thomas Kurian. Very capable hands, Thomas has done a lot for Oracle and I personally am grateful for how as an Apps Customer I no longer have to wait years for new technology to be certified with Apps. Lets hope Thomas has a little re-org and delegates some of his responsibilities because even the best of us can't take on work from two others and give everything the time it needs. Thomas will be a good leader in Development as long as he has the right team behind him.