Thursday 30 October 2014

Thank You - Certus Wins Gold - Twice

Eight weeks ago I joined Certus, my choice because I love what they do, totally committed to Cloud Applications. Strategy, Education, Implementation and Extensions. 

UKOUG President David Warburton-Broadhurst, Richard Atkins, Fiona Martin 

I blogged then I wanted people to vote for Certus for the UKOUG Partner Awards but actually I am sure they would have won regardless, they are the best, that's why I joined them.

Maria Mistretta, Richard Atkins, Me

So thank you to everyone who voted, we won Gold in both categories, Education and Fusion Applications.

As a UKOUG Director it was a fantastic event but as a winning partner even better.

OTN Nordic Tour

Probably last to blog about this :(

Last week I took part in the OTN Nordic Tour with Heli Helskyaho, Jonathan Lewis, Simon Haslam and Joze Senegacnik.

The OTN tours are arranged by local user groups and sponsored by the Oracle Technology Network by funding ACE Directors to travel to the event. The user groups involved here were Orcan (Sweden), OUGN (Norway), DOUG (Denmark) and OUGF (Finland).

Differently in this tour the organisers select the speakers each year and try to have different people, so a real honour to be included.

We started with Sweden and I met with Simon at Heathrow, great to have someone to travel with at each leg, makes it much easier, and thanks to both Heli and Jonathan who warned us it was an hour in a taxi.

We arrived at the Japanese Spa, and Heli and I started with a fish feeding frenzy and has a pedicure. I have had these before but Heli was a first timer. The spa served wine but we couldn't find food anywhere and couldn't get into the restaurant till 9pm. I was starving, but eventually we found a fruit room with herbal tea. Both Heli and Simon have mentioned the kimonos we were given to wear and when searching for a Swedish User Group Logo I saw this is not new and even found a photo of Tim Hall wearing a kimono, wish he had warned me.

The actual conference was small but very interesting and I love being able to interact with all the audience, and presenting in a kimono to an audience of kimonos was fun.

At lunchtime it was fish, which I don't eat. I asked for an alternative and was offered tofu, not my idea of fun but they explained it was 'No Meat Monday' - so whilst I loved the spa and the kimonos we got to take home I am not a fan of the food.

I'd like to say quick taxi to airport but it was long, but still we managed to get a 6 seater so all travelled together and then flew to Oslo.

OUGN Oracle ACE Director Tour 2014

The Norwegian User Group board met us at the hotel and we had a wonderful dinner, Simon tells us it was his first taste of Reindeer I have had it before and love it.

The conference was brilliant with big audiences and again I had the chance to talk to the audience and learn how they are using Oracle. I had two presentations, one on Apps Advantage, the value of Fusion Middleware with Apps, a presentation I did jointly with Oracle at OOW and then an EBS update based on what was said at OOW. This second presentation was more of a challenge as I never attended any EBS at OOW and had to revise and read up to create my slides. I also gave both presentations from my iPad, no PC.

Just as the delegates finished up and started their 'Mingling' session we were back in a taxi and off to Denmark.

I love Denmark and have spoken here many times they have an applications community in its own right. Many of the audience were from partner organisations and are looking at what Fusion means to them so we had more of a conversation and again I loved it. Craig Kall talked in the afternoon on Fusion and we tagged a lot. really makes the product come alive when you mix demo with experience. 

Our flight to Helsinki the last leg of the tour was not till 8pm and we could have stayed and had a beer or two at the conference but Mogens Nørgaard generously arranged for us to have a quick steak dinner in a local restaurant, a small relaxing event with friends. Much appreciated.

Also received the most beautiful speaker gift in Denmark, just georgeous.

We arrived in Finland at 11pm and although the hotel was walking distance and within the airport it was still a fair old hike. I was lucky enough to get an upgrade and my room included its own sauna, but at 11:30pm and no instructions I gave it a miss.

The conference was in a beautiful building on the side of a salmon river. fantastic and although it was freeing and a light dusting of snow it was an awesome setting.

The apps audience was even smaller but I did attract those who didn't want some of the tech sessions as there was only two streams, and whilst that was a challenge again we had a great time and adapted the conversation to suit them. This is me at my best telling my story how the audience wants it. 

It was a great tour, I really enjoyed it and felt I added value. Thank you for including me.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Living The Nightmare

Last week was excellent, The OTN Nordic Tour (still need to blog), rushing back for UKOUG Partner Awards where Certus won gold for Training & Fusion, a weekend with friends at the Dive Show and finally a quick visit to see my sister, her family and my daughter.

Monday I was travelling from Gloucester to Guildford and the trains were manic, first trains off peak on the Monday of half term, what was I thinking? When the train arrived at Guildford I grabbed my two suitcases (I had been away 9 days and shopped a lot at the dive show), and got off the train. 


  • I tried to get the person on the platform to stop the train but they can't, Health & Safety.
  • I went to customer assistance and they gave me a leaflet, and simply watched me cry
  • I rang the number on the leaflet to be told it was no longer in use
  • Tried new number listened to various recorded messages and options and finally got through to lost luggage at First Great Western to be told the train was going to Gatwick so it was Southern Railways
  • Tried to tweet Southern whilst persuading customer assistance to help me
  • Got another telephone number from a slightly more helpful person
  • Listened to many many more recorded messages and finally managed to speak to Southern Trains and recorded it as lost there
  • Southern also responded to tweet and said should log with First Great Western as it depends on who finds it, guard on train, First Great Western, Cleaner at Gatwick, Southern.
  • Log it as lost with First Great Western.
  • Googled Gatwick airport station number on my phone, rang but they don't have a lost luggage department
  • Southern train tweets also suggested another service that tries to link up different systems, registered on that.
Apparently the process is, if it is found, whichever train company is involved sends it to their main lost centre, First Great Western - Bristol, Southern - Victoria, but this process can take unto 7 days!

The contents of my rucksack:

  • My laptop (last backup 7 weeks ago)
  • My iPad min
  • My Kindle
  • Various adapters / leads etc
  • A few danish krone (from Nordic trip)
  • A box of business cards
  • House & car keys
  • Notebook
  • Large plastic wallet containing receipts to be expensed for all October!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Holiday brochure for dive trips

All electrical items insured, biggest loss is the receipts. 

Work have been fantastic, and friends on Facebook brilliant, it seems this is everyone's nightmare. Work offered me a laptop but I declined as use mine for work and private and just wanted to get something quick.

When I left my last job last November I bought a cheap laptop not knowing what my long term plans were so on the way back to Belfast that night I bought myself a Mac. Should be simple I thought.

No the Nightmare continues:

It wouldn't connect to the Internet. Several hours wasted Monday evening.
Tuesday more time wasted and thank goodness I still had my iPhone, so I was getting emails, still had my calendar (well some of it), and Internet access.

Oh and by the way, I do have iCloud and find my iPad tells me it is offline :(

Eventually I went to a coffee shop to see if it was my house (and after long call with ISP). Still didn't work so it was my Mac.

I know I am stressed, my coffee in the coffee shop was too strong and I just burst into tears. 

Have to say Apple Care were brilliant, but details in online (on my phone) they gave me case number, I rang and they helped me through issue, which by the way was a known issue with iOS 10.9.4, and quick update via some back door and it works perfectly on 10.9.5

Next issue start to build Mac. As Certus uses traditional software I needed office and the guy at the airport did a good job selling me a bundle of apple care, office and cloud storage. Pity I was too upset to check what he sold me!!

When I activated the Office account, it didn't include outlook!!!!!!!! Back on the phone to Microsoft who tell me if you make a mistake through their store they will honour and help you out and give refund. But if you buy through 3rd party no such luck.

DIXONS do not answer phone at Heathrow despite receipt saying happy to help just ring.........

Ended up with Office 365, and mainly back on line. Just lost a day so far and still so much to recover.

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Are Cloud Applications Ready?

When new trends hit the IT world it takes a while for them to become a reality and even longer to become mainstream. I remember when Business Intelligence became a popular term, the first few years were ‘what is Business Intelligence?’ and 'why do you need Business Intelligence? rather than how to? The when SOA was first talked about, each presentation would start off with and ‘what is SOA?’. More recently the question had been what is Big Data and I still remember the ‘what to meant by 'cloud' presentations?’ of the not too distant past.

When you attend an event like Oracle Open World it’s all about their strategy and future direction and whilst the future might start today there will always be a lag before most organisations have the desire or opportunity to take up these technologies.
In 2012 it was all about Cloud coming to Oracle, if you look at commentaries and analysts after 2013 many said that their announcements about cloud were mainly still in the future, and in 2014 there were announcements about additional new cloud components and some of those are still a way off; but Cloud Applications are here and Cloud Applications are selling and are being used by a significant community.

Yes there are challenges, there are challenges with any new technology but most of these challenges are for Oracle themselves, the cloud vendor. For customers who have Cloud Applications there are new challenges they may not have expected, not being able to run SQL against the database or touch anything below the application level, having to wait for a set patching window; all of these are things they need to get used to.

As customers experience these new challenges and talk to each other a new community of users, or rather customers of Oracle Cloud Services is emerging.

But is Oracle Cloud ready for these Applications? Absolutely, these challenges are not something to make you stay away, those who have adopted cloud have benefited from fast implementation cycles, and quick return on their investment on a scale I have never seen before and every day Oracle is adding more integrations, more features and more benefits to those customers who have taken the step. It is also opening up the Oracle Applications market to more organisations, smaller mid-market who would never have considered Oracle before.
I want to add a note that UKOUG during this year’s apps conference have a stream dedicated to these customer Cloud Applications stories and are setting up a focus group looking at the customer experience to be chaired by Julie Stringfellow of Reading Borough Council (Cloud ERP) and then UKOUG will feedback their comments to Oracle Cloud Services. UKOUG hope that this will be an ongoing channel where they can educate advise and learn on behalf of our members.

Sunday 19 October 2014

The Applications Previously Known as Fusion

When Oracle first mentioned Fusion I thought it was just going to be a project name, called something different on release. Oracle announced that they were going to take the best of the functionality from each of the applications they owned, their own original E business suite, PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards, and Siebel and the 'fusion', built using modern technology and open standards, the next generation suite of applications.
The name stuck, the marketing started but a term appeared was coined - 'Fusion, Confusion', which  really annoyed me because the Fusion applications story I thought was quite straightforward.

What did confuse people at this stage was the technology I was always being asked if it was going to have Oracle forms and reports I thought they were quite clear that this would be a new technology stack on their award-winning database. In my role leading the Product Development Committee I presented to the Apps marketing team at Oracle in 2006 about how users worldwide understood the Fusion project. On e of the points we made was more than half of those surveyed were:
Unaware of middleware’s importance to applications

Not long after that (and we don't take all the credit) Oracle introduced Fusion into the Middleware stack name, calling it Oracle Fusion Middleware. I guess this made it clear there was a link between Fusion Applications and the Middleware but I’m not sure it clarified it very well.
When Fusion Applications were released late 2010 and people started looking at what was needed they were all too well aware of the technology stack. It is a very complicated with lots of components and requiring an enormous amount of hardware, it was almost a step too far for most organisations. The availability of Fusion in the Cloud has changed this, and most are happy that when deployed in the cloud they don’t have to concern themselves with the middleware.
Cloud deployment is definitely the way forward and last year Oracle decided that all applications that could be deployed in the cloud be given the name of Cloud Applications. Those applications I would have called traditional are now known as On-Premise Applications. Cloud applications includes not only Fusion but also some cloud acquisitions such as Taleo. Over a year ago I sat through a partner webcast that went through this, Start by deployment option, Product Family, Product Name, and was truly confused. This year Oracle marketing wanted us to stop using Fusion in our UKOUG marketing and when we held our Apps Transformation event most of the post event feedback from people who didn't attend was 'I didn't realise this was about Fusion'. At Collaborate the organisers stuck to Fusion as a theme for this reason.
So for a while the term has been interchangeable but not now at Oracle Open World I didn’t hear one Oracle person say Fusion in relation to applications. * a comment to this blog show some sessions did have Fusion in the title, which I guess agrees with my point until people understand the name change we have to keep saying Fusion so they know what we mean.

Interestingly if you google Fusion Applications today (19 Oct 2014, as this will change) you can find pages on Fusion Applications but if you navigate you find Cloud Applications   

Technically I believe it is still Fusion on the price list but that will change too. So whilst I will try to use the right name I am sure we will all know what I mean if I forget and say Fusion!

Sunday 12 October 2014

My OOW14 Overview

FINALLY - I have completed my Oracle Open World round up for 2014!
Just before I left for San Francisco I blogged about my objectives for Oracle Open World, and just how busy I expected to be.

* Oracle ACE Program funds my trip to HQ & OOW


My OOW14 - Headlines

I think we can agree the main message was Cloud, but there were lots of other messages:

A good general overview is from Tim Hall blog

Hardware - engineered systems are selling and being improved all the time. R&D is working on improving performance in all components.

ZDNet blog has good coverage here

Database - last year there was a lot about 12c and many people have already adopted this. There was a lot more about In-memory and something I was really pleased to learn was that the functionality is already being used in traditional apps, something that in the past simply took too long.

Big Data - defiantly not a buzz word, something we see everywhere and Oracle recognizing that they are not the solution to everything, but adding to the solution pot by introducing Big Data SQL so that Oracle skills can be used across all kinds of data even the raw data processed by Hadoop. Here my recommendation is Mark Rittman blog

Middleware - mainly around new releases and availability of PaaS, and the Mobile Application Framework - I really recommend Lucas Jellema blog.

Traditional Apps - more functionality still being released, they apps are NOT dead. Lots of new mobile apps
CIO Today has good coverage in their blog

Cloud Applications -

At the ACE briefings I attended Thomas Kurian quoted these stats and later in this Oracle Cloud press release

20,000 companies use Oracle Cloud Applications  and 23bn transactions & more than the number of credit card transactions each day globally - amazing.

But I have to agree with Floyd Teter WHY did Oracle split their Cloud Application sessions over three separate buildings? It didn't work, and I'm still exhausted.

Return to my OOW overview


My OOW14 - ACE Director Briefings

Seat belts were fastened for 2 days of information overload and even more importantly the opportunity to ask questions of the people who make Oracle products what they are.

I find ACE directors in two camps on how they think about these days, some and I guess the split is about 50/50, moan about how little there is in their area. I am in the other camp who think the event is about expanding the knowledge of the areas we don't specialise in. If I came just to learn about Cloud Applications I would be very disappointed.

As an ACE director you have access to the Product Managers in your area, probably have the opportunity to be part of beta testing and either a Customer or Partner Advisory Board. There probably isn't anything you don't know going to be shared at this event you don't already know, unless it is an announcement to be given in a keynote and then you will get it here.
Photo courtesy of Yury
My camp, and I am very clear about this; comes to these briefings to learn about the whole Oracle stack, not perhaps in great detail but enough to understand direction, offering and the bigger picture. We are treated like the intelligent people we are and not given the marketing speak, and if something doesn't make sense to me I can clarify with a fellow director who is in that area afterwards. Likewise when someone wants to know about Cloud Applications they will ask someone like Floyd or myself.

If I had to chose between these briefings (and the UX day) or OOW itself, this would be my choice; luckily my employer sees the value in both.

The 2 day event is under NDA, or Non Disclosure and as ever
Duncan Mills was there to ensure no one stepped over the line. As an ACE Director you are expected to be active in social media, and thus it is difficult to tweet knowledge under NDA and so we end up getting quite silly with what we do say. Within the room it is very funny but for those out in the wild following us they must think we are all nuts.

As well as the usual topics covered I was particularly interested in the Mobile Applications Framework as I first heard about this at Kscope and really pleased to learn many mobile apps were being launched not only for Cloud Applications but also for traditional apps, 14 for EBS alone.

Jeremy Ashley and Jake Kuramato repeated some of what they covered the day before at the UX event around ' Shinny Things' and knowing how the demo worked I furiously tweeted so I came up on the demo of wearables, ever the gamer
Floyd Teter joined in but  I have to say I won, finally on this occasion.

Another highlight for me was
Bob Evans Chief Communications Officer who talked about the PR behind Larry and Oracle. At one point he stated he knew me from Twitter and I was both honoured and horrified; later in the week he apologised for embarrassing me, apparently I went very red, but I don't mind, he has promised to work with the ACE program on a program similar to analyst education for those who are interested. I also talked to him about why this year the ACE program was excluded from the Press / Blogger program for OOW and he will look into that too.

But by far the most important part of the event is the Thomas Kurian session. Thomas is the biggest supporter of this program, he comes along gives us a very fast but very comprehensive run down of the announcements to be made at OOW and then opens up to Q&A. Remember that NDA we are all under, he leaves nothing out and trusts us completely. A big responsibility but that is the benefit of being at Director Level of the program and why it is reviewed individually each year.

Thank you to Roland Smart who leads OTN, Victoria Lira who runs the ACE program assisted by Jennifer who has replaced Lillian who recently left to work with

Back to
My OOW14 Recap

My OOW14 - Oracle Applications User Experience Day

The now traditional OAUX training day was the Wednesday before OOW, and this year was opened up to a few select partners in addition to the user advocates of which I am one.

It was a great day with a full room at the conference centre in Redwood Shores and a lot of the UX team there to share their expertise. The day kicked off with Jeremy Ashley their VP talking about their work and setting the scene for the workshop.

They went through all the UX messages which I know are the major differentiator with Cloud (previously known as Fusion) Applications. There were breakout groups for the different families HCM, ERP, CX and Extending.

Extending is really important to me as in my new role I will be responsible for the move by Certus into PaaS. Amazing here is their Rapid Development Kit and we will certainly be using this with their help.

There was some talk about the UX of Fusion being made available to traditional apps but at this stage no program name was given, later in the week we got to know this was Alta. Press Release

In the afternoon Jake Kuramoto and Jeremy did a session on Shinny Things - wearables and other new technologies they are looking at, and my favourite quote from Jake "google glass is so last year" - this looks like fun and it is, but there is also a very serious side to this as Oracle needs to understand where this technology can be used in the enterprise. One area I am very interested in is the use of voice especially in mobile and the Oracle agreement with Nuance (Dragon software) makes this very real.

Jake's team have also created a wearable for OOW which I got to try out at their showcase event. You pre registered your interest priorities in the five areas they were showcasing and the wearable lit up the colour of the stand to visit first. Then once you waved the wristband in front of a device on the stand the colour changed to match your next priority. It was a bit of fun for this event but imagine being able to select online where in a shopping mall or even just a department store you want to visit and a wearable tell you where to go. GPS for shopping - brilliant.

The pitch back participants plus Ultan and Misha from UX team.

At the end of the day they had a pitch back competition, and I was part of it along with Gustavo Gonzalez Figueroa , Lonneke Dikmans, Floyd Teter and Sten Vesterli. We all got a prize but the overall winner for the undisclosed objective of BS bingo was the big man himself, Floyd. Always a gentleman the picture shows his humility in victory. But seriously Floyd along with the rest of us really believe in the UX work at Oracle and the value it has to the development if their applications.

The day then ended with a small reception but it wasn't the end of UX for OOW, it got a mention on several keynotes especially Larry's first one, but let them tell you their story.

I also got to help out in one of the UX sessions during OOW.

Thanks again to everyone in UX especially Misha for a great day.

Return to my OOW overview

My OOW14 - User Groups at OOW

First I have to say well done Oracle, the User Group Pavilion at Oracle Open World has found the right home, please keep it there next year.

User groups are all about community and having them next to OTN, Oracle's own community, they were easy to find, prominent and proved excellent for conversations about user groups around the world.

EOUC had held a competition to get a new logo as it really needed updating and it was great to see it on our stand:

I have for many years attended the IOUC meetings on behalf of UKOUG but this year they moved to just before OOW, and it clashed with my ACE Director commitments; so no IOUC for me and anyway UKOUG were well represented by James Haslam and Fiona Martin our Member Advocate Chair.

As I didn't attend perhaps I have no place commenting but actually I personally was disappointed with the agenda. The reason for moving it to OOW was to ensure as many groups as possible could attend, and when it was in January some groups had to choice just one visit to San Francisco. I understand that, many years ago when the IOUC was relaunched it was after OOW for the same reason but people were simply too tired, and this time they did plan it for the Thursday and Friday before.

However to me the big values of the IOUC were as I mentioned in a post several years ago:
1. Networking with other groups
Whenever you hold a usergroup meeting you will achieve this, and OOW itself with the Pavilion is a natural place for leaders to meet between sessions.

2. Sharing best practice
I understand there was plenty of sharing and I am sorry I missed the Java user group Devoxx and their session on Devoxx4kids
The Devoxx for Kids Initiative is amazing and they had a full house at their event in San Francisco and even got a mention in Larry's Java keynote

Fiona on our behalf talked about our Application Innovation Initiative where we are having SIGS and events focusing on new technologies and applications for existing applications users.

 3. Oracle Product Managers giving briefings
These didn't happen, simply because the meeting was not at Oracle HQ and most product managers were busy in their run up to OOW. What I really liked about having these in January was that you had had time to understand the messages from OOW and start conversations about them with your members.
4. Oracle Marketing sharing their plans for following year
The plans for the rest of this year were shared but January coincided with Oracle having just completed plans for the next financial year.

5. Cross user group initiatives
These had all but died off a few years back which is a real pity, the Support Group did a lot to ensure groups had a way too talk to Oracle on general matters and the work the Product Development Community did in the development of Fusion Apps is one of my personal highlights in my Oracle life.

So I would rather they moved back to January, but things die if you don't keep trying to improve them, so Oracle were right to try.

Back to My OOW14 Recap

My OOW14 - EOUC 12 Short talks on 12c

In my OOW14 Objectives post I talked about the planned 12 Short Talks on 12c
session I was hosting for the EOUC. As I said usergroups have their own dedicated content on the Sunday of OOW, and the EOUC had a stream with presenters as voted by the various EMEA user groups.

The idea of the session was 12 presentations all about the 12c database and was proposed by Ralf Koelling from the DOAG and I volunteered to host. I knew it would be a big job, 12 of the best speakers all with their own way of preparing for events, so I wasn't optimistic I would be able to control them all.

Douwe Pieter van den Bos included an article on this session in his OOW OTech Magazine edition (page 23) and OTN's Bob Rhubart created this blog and podcast which I really recommend as you can Hear Jonathan Lewis discussing table dancing.

I sent out a PowerPoint template including an intro slide that showed a picture of Jonathan Lewis, gave them a slide number limit, and a deadline for sending to me so I could get it spliced into a single deck.

Twelve professional presenters with an unbelievable track record, but follow
Three (in addition to Jonathan) sent them back still with Jonathan's picture, another three used their own template including one with a different resolution, others completely ignored the number guideline and Alex Nuijten decided to be white on black slides and some didn't turn up until after we arrived in San Francisco.

The original line up was      

      1. Upgrading to 12c: What Will It Break? Jonathan Lewis, Oracle ACE Director, OakTable
      2. The Optimizer in 12c. Christian Antognini, SOUG, Oracle ACE Director, OakTable
      3. Data Pump Enhancements in 12c. Osama Mustafa, MEOUG, Oracle ACE
      4. Pattern Matching in 12c. Gurcan Orhan, TROUG, Oracle ACE Director
      5. PL/SQL Security Enhancements in 12c. Alex Nuijten, OGH, Oracle ACE Director
      6. Data Redaction in 12c. Oded Raz, ilOUG, Oracle ACE Director
      7. A Case for the Multitenant Architecture, Even with a Single PDB. Tim Hall, UKOUG, Oracle ACE Director, OakTable
      8. How Does Oracle SQL Developer Manage Multitenancy? Ami Aharonovich, ilOUG, Oracle ACE
     9. Multitenancy: Impact on SaaS.   Kashif Manzoor, MEOUG, Oracle ACE
    10. Oracle Multitenant in Standard Edition: (How) Does This Work?    Julian Dontcheff, OUGF, Oracle ACE Director
    11. What Features Will 12c Offer Traditional Oracle Apps?  Bjoern Rost, DOAG, Oracle ACE Director
    12. In-Memory—Enables Us To?  Dimitry Volkov, RUOUG, Oracle ACE

Unfortunately Kashif Manzoor was taken ill the day before flying out to OOW and had to withdraw, I did try and find a replacement but with no luck, so I had to do it, more on that later.

Dimitry Vilkov had to pull out a few weeks before OOW but promised us slides and a video. However when the video turned up it was over 9 minutes long and the whole idea was 5 minutes each! So I have included his slides and video in the download but bought in my secret back up speaker to do the In Memory on the day! Yes I got SQLMaria Maria Colgan to come speak, after all she comes from Ireland originally so defiantly an EMEA speaker.

I jiggled the agenda slightly so Maria could go earlier than planned as she had a keynote to get ready for, and then I moved the Impact on SaaS until just before Bjoern as actually the benefits are very similar technically. But you know me, not very technical so I talked about the business benefits and how actually Oracle's Apps strategy is behind a lot of the R&D in all the technology including the database.

These changes in 12c make running a cloud easier and cheaper and a better customer experience, which ultimately keeps the cost down. so as the world starts to adopt Cloud Applications 12c ensures Oracle are able to provide the best platform at any level.

But going back to the overall session, it was split over two timeslots each with 45 minutes. I thought it would take a while for switch-overs so did not think we would have much spare time, but I had underestimated their professionalism.

The crowd was building and we were almost full as we started.

I introduced the session and Milena and Ralf were my time keepers. Thanks to Graham Wood who lent us a 2nd projector so we could have the clock show up on the wall, unfortunately Graham couldn't attend the session and I spent 3 days carting it around trying to catch up with him, luckily it was light.

Jonathan went first (the podcast explains why) and finished on exactly 5 minutes, the bar was set. Then the others just got on with it and we had almost 20 minutes for Q&A after the first 6. I was worried about that but actually we could have had more, people were so engaged.

Then we had a lesson in Big Data, despite having told Oracle both in advance and on the day that both sessions were combined, everyone, yes everyone had to march out, queue up and be rescanned to enter the room for the 2nd half. Apparently they wouldn't have the data they need if we didn't.

Again after the 2nd half we had plenty of time for more Q&A and the event finished on a real high.

I have had so much feedback, people who want to do it again, so let us have your ideas as to what topic to do next.

Back to My OOW14 Recap


My OOW14 - Speaking

As well as the EOUC 12 short talks on 12c that I hosted (and spoke in at the last moment) I had 2 other speaking sessions and a customer lunch.
I was included in the AppAdvantage Lunch – the only partner present not sponsoring but I was there in my capacity as guest author on their blog and joined in the discussion raising the topic of importance of dialogue between business and IT.  

Rick & I Selfie
This gave me the idea for my OTN tech tip video.

Then later in the week I was to join Rick Beers from the AppAdvantage team in a panel session on  technology assisted deployments and upgrades. Unfortunately on the day I was the only panellist but I loved it the interaction was great, Rick had a slide set and I gave my opinion and ideas on each topic.  


On Thursday I was the demo-babe for the First Time UX experience session, a bit nerve wracking as my new boss Tim Warner attended. It was not a bad turn out for the end of the conference and an important message as there are still a lot of people who don't know what to expect. I was also able to share real life experience from users.

I didn't have a session accepted for OOW this year and yet still ended up with several. Thanks to the different Oracle programs who reached out to me and I loved being part of yet another amazing OOW.

Back to My OOW14 Recap


My OOW14 - As A partner

This was my first OOW with Certus Solutions who I joined just 3 weeks before. Certus really 'get' the value of being an ACE in the Oracle World and support all that I do, in return I want them to have the benefits.

Certus are Oracle Cloud Application experts and one of my first objectives is to help move us into PaaS for extensions where additional functionality can be added.

One of the reasons I talked to Certus in the first place was I already knew Tim Warner as he has been involved in User Experience  and is co-chair for the HCM SIG at UKOUG. So it is not surprising that Certus are committed to producing not just great quality PaaS applications but ones that match the UX design principles of the Cloud Applications themselves.

So my mission for OOW was to find out everything I needed to know about PaaS including the timelines for availability. I also needed to meet up with the EMEA SOA Community lead Jürgen Kress, The UX team, Development and Partner Enablement, all who had reached out to help us since we made our intention known.

I talked in my ACE Director blog about having access not only to Product Management but also to peers in different disciplines, so I was able to talk to them about our approach. As we embark on this journey I will also be adding another column to the Oracle AppAdvantage blog exploring the different stages.

Not all the components we need for the full UX are available yet as PaaS but not too far off on the roadmap. We have an approach agreed and that includes selecting a development partner which is next on the to-do list. Certus is the best at what they do, implement Cloud Applications and we in turn will select the best partner for what we want, cost effective but UX compliant extensions.

The meetings went really well and next steps agreed, so no time to rest up after OOW we have a long way to go but its coming together and I'm very excited.

I made a quick OPN video on PaaS and my colleagues Tim Warner and Rob English made one on recent Certus projects.


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My OOW14 - Couldn't say it better Myself - Analysts

A full time analyst / commentator has something I don't have - time. So as I part of my summary of OOW here are a few already published I like:

 Dennis Howlett who I greatly admire - filmed me at Collaborate earlier this year talking about Cloud Applications and he took time to talk to me again at OOW. His summary of the event quotes me well.

 Ray Wang of Constellation Research who I have an affiliation with and am a judge for their annual awards - made a great video blog review of the event with his team.

You can watch all the keynotes and general sessions and download the presentations of the others

OOW was all about Cloud, underlines I made the right choice joining Certus as they only operate in the Cloud for Fusion.

I spent time talking with other analysts I have met over the years and it is great to validate my thoughts against the experts.

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My OOW14 - Just for Fun - My Oracle Family

I try to keep my blog for my thoughts, both about what I do and what I think in the Oracle space (I have a private blog for random things), I keep Facebook for fun, my criteria for friends being those I would have in my home, and twitter I TRY to keep for business comments.
But the Oracle world is a community and you can't separate clearly the different parts, I have so many friends around the world I have met or travelled with and they are just like Family.

So social media doesn't always work out the way  I intend especially when tagged by friends on twitter who have different use cases. I don't mind normally but it does sometimes confuse people, especially in reference to my Oracle family.

To recap, last year Tim Hall aka oracle-base decided to call Graham Wood of the Real World Performance team, his dad. Lots of fun around this concept.

Then in April of this year whilst on the Norwegian usergroup conference cruise, Tim and I made our way to the restaurant for dinner, we were early and the only person in there was the captain. So unless we wanted to get married there was nothing for us at this time, so we thought 'why not'. Most importantly we didn't really or legally tie the knot but Tim blogged we had married, and Tim's blog has thousands of readers.

The following month I went to Collaborate and sat next to Graham at the ACE dinner. I tweeted a photo of us saying 'having dinner with the new father in law' and also posted it to Facebook. Interestingly real relatives were getting in touch to see if I had something to tell them.

Tim loves a windup and quickly started to mention it frequently and to be honest I quite liked the fun. Heli from Finland who wanted to be included so we decided to adopt her. Our family was complete:

My Oracle Husband - MOH - Tim Hall

My Oracle Father-in-law - MOFIL - Graham Wood
My Oracle Daughter - MOD - Heli Helskyaho

In Bulgaria three of us (no dad) were reunited and it was great to all be together again.

Tim keeps the story alive and planning started for a family dinner and official photograph for OOW and it happened on the Wednesday before.

Me, Tim, Heli and Graham

During the ACE Director briefings Tim kept tweeting about it (remember I want twitter to be professional) so when he started his series of interviews with.... Blogs, I with the help of Michelle Malcher returned the favour.

Love the Craic (as they say in N Ireland) but need to add that when introducing my real daughter to Doug Burns he asked if she was real or part of my Oracle family.

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