Monday, 20 April 2015

Collaborate 2015 - Quest Executive Forum

Every year Quest hold a very successful Executive Forum at Collaborate, and this year I wanted to attend to see how UKOUG could learn from them, we are always looking to increase our senior attendees and I wanted to learn what Quest do differently.

First invitations are sent to anyone with an executive job title already registered for the conference, which means that these executives, or their management team were attending anyway, There is quite good content on professional development, but most content is similar to any other user group, a mixture of customer and vendor presentations on upgrades, special features and oracle roadmap sessions.

The Oracle product team, Lyle Edkdal and John Schiff have great passion for their customers, are very open and encourage dialogue both at group and individual level; but so do most product teams, yet UKOUG are not alone in wanting to reach more at the top of an organisation. So why does this user group have such a thriving executive forum?

The day kicked off with talk from Colonel Anthony Wood who talked about his experiences in the Marines at the Fall of Saigon. The story he told was to about 'Being a commanding leader, regardless - and in some cases in spite of - the situation' and in the weeks after Collaborate as the world started to mark the 40th anniversary of the Fall, I thought more and more about what he had to say.

The next session was from Nigel Fenwick from Forrester who talked about CIOs Accelerate Business Technology, and this was a great look at how, when a CIO embraces Digital Change the right way, an organisation can take advantage of it rather than be left behind. I found this summary which talks a bit more about it. 

The next speaker was Mark Sunday, Oracle's own CIO who as I mentioned before is the ultimate Oracle user and it is always fascinating to listen to their internal story.

I had to leave after lunch as I had sessions of my own to deliver, but it was a great morning, and I want to say thank you to Quest for the invitation and especially Jesse for the talk over lunch about how this works.

The things that stood out for me were:

  • Most of the Executives attending are from the JDE community, and have been on board with the user group from the beginning of their JDE journey.
  • JDE has a high percentage of mid market customers and the CIOs are closer to the product, more engaged with the challenges, more personally interested in the products.
  • The CIOs brought their top management with them, or perhaps the top management who are those engaged with Quest bring their CIOs to the event. 
  • Sponsors are happy to engage because they know the success in bringing this rich community together.

This has given me and UKOUG lots to think about, but top of my list and something I hadn't thought about before was that we have a new community of mid market customers emerging, those net new customers for Cloud Applications, and this is something we in user groups need to start thinking about, quickly.

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