This year on 22 March we had OUG Ireland. Sometimes it is hard to let go. I have been the project lead for Ireland for many years, but this year Tony Cassidy took the lead. He and his volunteers (of which I was still one), did a great job and we had a wonderful couple of days.
This is the third year it has been at the Gresham and was a case of 'last chance' for the hotel owners. On paper it is ideal: Central, easy to get to, right size, right cost, but the first year there were lots of problems. Last year they promised everything was fixed and although better, still not quite right. But then the hotel was sold the the RUI chain and I have to say I was impressed with the changes.
Again we had a two day format which does work really well here. The day was opened by Tony and then John Donnelly & John Caulfield, from Oracle spoke about the Irish market for Oracle.
After the keynote we had another first at OUG Ireland. Last year each sponsor was given a few minutes in the exhibition hall to say what they did and why they were there. It worked much better than expected and so this year, it was repeated but this time on the main stage. It is the sponsors who make these events possible and they loved the opportunity and delegates could hear the message without being 'sold to' and if they wanted could follow up with the vendors afterwards, and many did.
I did the kick-off for the Applications stream which I was very proud to be asked to do. I wrote an article in Oracle Scene just before Christmas on 'What Route to Cloud' which I presented. Looking at all the different scenarios and some of the options.
We took a detour from the normal, Q&A being at the end of the day, and did it after my kick off. The idea being then all speakers would have an opportunity to know what people were looking for and hopefully answer their questions during the two days. We had hoped that oracle would join Tony and I on the panel, but for logistical reasons that didn't happen but I think we answered most of them.
During the run up to the event we had a larger than normal number of selected speakers cancel. Part of this was our fault, call for papers was before the date was announced and that meant some had to say no, but others canceled for different and valid reasons right up to the last week. So many of the speakers picked up free seasons and I think did UKOUG proud, although someone not at the event suggested I did too many, which upset me as I didn't ask for them and was helping out. I wasn't the only one, I know of at least 3 others who at the last minute stepped up. Perhaps I am simply just too sensitive.
My extra session on day one was about the different ways you can extend SaaS. This is based on a short session I have been asked to present at Collaborate in a couple of weeks. So a new presentation for me and one that was really well received. I even had an Oracle sales person photograph some of my slides as he said it was the first time someone had compared the pros and cons of the different options.
I felt the audience wanted to hear about cloud. Like in Apps17 people are keen to understand, and perhaps not all are actively planning, they know it is now relevant to all.
At the end of the first day we had our annual ACE Dinner and again I had been replaced as the organiser, by the local Brendan Tierney and he did a great job. We were back at our favourite restaurant and it was a lovely evening. Tim Hall and I left before the real drinking started, I'm simply too old to party when there is more work to be done.
On the second day I had a 'Back to Basics' session. This was my original Fusion architecture presentation almost 8 years ago and revised on behalf of hroug last year.
Again I think it was well received.
We also had some Irish students who were here as guests of Oracle Academy, thanks again Brendan for arranging.
Since it was a Friday, I was finished my sessions, apps was over and Dublin is only 3 hours by bus home and no flight. I took the opportunity to leave a little early and started my great adventure home. Bus from outside the hotel and it was trouble and stress free.
I hope I'll be back again next year, as both a volunteer and a speaker. Ireland was my first event I sponsor when I joined the board originally, and it is my home event.