Sunday 30 September 2012

The Power of Networking - Wee Oscar

This posting is about a charitable cause but more about how it relates to the networks we are part of, rather than a request for you to donate.

Every day I open at least one email looking for sponsors. I don't mind and it is much easier than when I was younger, the embarrassment of approaching friends and colleagues. I try and give when the requester is a real friend and I like the cause.

So when I opened the first email about wee Oscar it bought me to tears. On its own it is a sad story but Wee Oscar is the little boy of Leona who is an Oracle developer with Fujitsu in Belfast  ( and if you didn't know that is my official location as well)!

Wee Oscar is just 4, and suffers from high risk Neuroblastoma for which the treatment needed costs £250,000 and is not currently available to them in the UK.

So as any parents would they started the seemingly impossible task of raising money for his treatment. At first it seemed it would take forever, but he got a little local TV time and the folks of Norn Ireland took Oscar to their hearts. Then he hit the big time when some Dublin students with their don't tell angela flag became heros overnight and decided to auction their flag and share the proceeds between two charities, Wee Oscar being one of these.

Leona's colleagues in Fujitsu baked cakes, held collections and did what they could. I asked Oracle Ireland if they could help and they had an ice cream drive at the Dublin campus.

Things needed to step up as despite being so adorable Oscar is very unwell. Leona's manager Angela Woods, not known for her daredevil persona joined others abseiling down the Europa ( Europe's most bombed hotel) and another colleague the old mannered Nick Anderson, himself recently a father has agreed to box for Oscar.

Unbelievably they have almost reached their target, but unfortunatly money alone is not the answer he is still a very sick little boy. 

It is sad when people need medical help and terrible when the people who love them have to find the money, but when it is someone you know it is so personal you want to help. What it shows is that people do care and that same network we use to help us understand and share our technical knowledge, is also a network of friends.
I have experienced this network of friends who have reached out to me when I need emotional support and I hope I never need them like Wee Oscar does.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Still a busy girl

Oracle Open World is almost upon us and as ever I have a full dance card. I was looking back at previous years, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and as Richard Scarry says it is a Busy, Busy (Oracle Open) World.

You would think having stepped down as UKOUG President I would have time on my hands, but no I still have as much to do.

Fujitsu are the Global sponsor which means I am presenting one of our four regional showcase sessions. I am talking about Consolidation and Managed Shared Services in a very large organisation. It is a great case study and one I have really enjoyed working on. If you have any interest in the business benefits of what technology can do, come along to this session.

I have another session on Consolidation of Wednesday, in fact the last session of the day which is ideal and I promise it will not be the full 60 minutes. It is a light hearted look at the concept of Consolidation, the story of how I consolidated my handbag with my smart phone, and how the same principles refer to business. I was given this slot as the presentation was voted in the top 10 EMEA user group submissions. I gave it for the first time at last years OOW and it was my highest scoring session, probably because it is just pictures!

I am also slipping in a quick 20 minutes on Cloud. Fujitsu has a very successful cloud offering and this year we have added Oracle to the technology choice. This is our case study of how we got there. IT isn’t always easy if you don’t start with a blank piece of paper…

Three sessions and I haven’t even mentioned the ‘F’ word yet. This is why I love my job. Fusion Applications woke me up to the fact that there is no business solution without technology, but the reverse is true as well. If you work with technology you need to know the business use for it, after all they make the investment. Consolidation and Cloud are other technologies but the same applies. I don’t teach you how to do something, just why you might.

But Fusion Applications are my sweet spot and I am proud to be kicking off the ODTUG Fusion Symposium on Sunday with John King with a setting the scene session on Fusion Technology.
Then on Wednesday I have been asked to join Jeremy Ashley VP of User Experience in his session, if you still haven’t looked at how Oracle approach user experience then you need to attend this.

Sun 11:00 11:45  UGF10371  Usability and Features of Oracle Fusion Applications, Built upon Oracle Fusion Middleware
Mon 10:30 10:50  SBH4843 How Fujitsu Built Its Oracle Cloud for Its Customers
Wed 11:45 12:45  CON10923 Consolidation: Optimize Your Entire Oracle Investment as a Platform for Growth
Wed 15:30 16:30  CON9467 Oracle's Roadmap to a Simple, Modern User Experience 
Wed 17:00 18:00  CON3543  Consolidation for the Cloud

And between these I want to get to as many customers talking about their adoption of Fusion Applications, and talk to some of our customers from around the world who are considering it.

Drop by the Fujitsu booth (1311) and talk to my colleagues, give them feedback on my presentations especially if you like them and tell us what else you would like to hear about. We are proud to be Global sponsors and hope you enjoy the Opening and Appreciation events and will say thank you by attending our keynote (Sunday evening) and executive sessions.

But OOW doesn’t start on Sunday for me it starts the week before at Redwood Shores, where I am training with the Fusion Applications User Experience Advocates group, which is a subset of the ACE Director Program who has their annual briefings on Thursday and Friday.

I also need to fit it various partner, blogger, twitter and ACE events, another Oaktable party, daily Chi Gung and some swim Oraclenerd is arranging during the week and going along to the User Group Pavilion to encourage participation. If you see me running about, stop me, I will always find time to say hallo .

Saturday 1 September 2012

A mum’s pride – stepping down as UKOUG President

In case you missed it I have resigned as UKOUG President.

I have had phenomenal feedback from members and usergroup leaders around the world and their main question is how do I feel?

So if you have ever heard me speak you will know I like analogies and this is one I am really glad to have the opportunity to share with you.

At the time I stepped down the London 2012 Olympics were in full swing and even more touching than the athletes achieving their ambitions was the reactions of their mums. Their tears of pride as National Anthem was played and the memories of all the sacrifices they made forgotten. There was also a series of commercials with the catch phrase ‘proud sponsor of mums’.

I KNOW how they felt. On August 10th my daughter was commissioned as an army officer finally finishing the journey she started at 15 when she came home from a school careers visit and said that was what she wanted. 

But lets wind the clock back 5 years ago to the day she left home for university.As a mum I didn’t want to let her go, I had nurtured her, helped her through good and bad times but she is her own person with a independence I have always admired. I am still here for her and over those 5 years we have grown even closer the relationship changing but the love is the same. And that is how I feel about UKOUG, I have not left, it is still very important to me and I am still an elected Council Member but I stand back and with pride look at how far we have come together and look forward to seeing how much further and how much more UKOUG can achieve.

I didn’t do anything on my own, and the UKOUG press release didn’t thank the other volunteers and the support from the members to achieve what we have, but it did rightly thank Fujitsu who have given me so much support as I carried out my roles within UKOUG.