Tuesday 10 April 2018

Passing on the Baton, Still Supporting the Team

As you will have seen in today's UKOUG eBulletin my participation on the board has come to an end. The time has come to hand over the baton to Neil Chandler and leave the organisation in the very capable hands of our current board.

It is a little bit sad. I know it right to go but I also feel there were things I had not finished however the board are perfectly capable of taking over.

As I start the hand over I had the chance to reflect on what I have achieved in all my time on the board, both this period and the earlier period which ended with me being chairman and then president:

  • I have worked hard to welcome our 'acquired' communities of PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Hyperion, Siebel etc into the wider user group world.
  • Bringing the User Experience team and their labs to UKOUG
  • I've bought Women in Technology and Next Generation initiatives which although we are always looking for better ways to make a difference are at least on the agenda.
  • On a personal note, UKOUG gave me, as it has many other members of the Oracle ACE program, an opportunity and stage, to learn my craft as a presenter and the opportunities to share my Oracle knowledge. I will certainly continue to do so.
  • I also grew my career through UKOUG, many years ago when first joining the board I undertook Director training from the Institute of Directors, jointly funded by UKOUG (in the main via a grant) and my then employer Fujitsu. Through that and many, many hours of hard work I gained my Charted IT Professional, Chartered Engineer (Software) and Chartered Director. 
But it hasn't all been easy, user groups have many challenges, I have seen Oracle change beyond recognition, both through acquisition and their move to Cloud. The global crash put great pressure on training of all kind and usergroup events struggled with both attendees and exhibitors. Digital disruption has also bought social marketing which now competes with in person marketing. Oracle are a big competitor too, not a month goes by that they don't have an event or meetup. More personal to UKOUG, we have had a succession of interim leaders since James Haslam left and now with James Jeynes having moved on there is again lots to think about. I still believe user groups have a big role to play, our independence from and our ability to influence Oracle are a big benefit to our members and the meeting of like minds to learn from each other should never be underestimated.

Paul Fitton our President has talked about the current Project Reach which looks to address the current challenges and I know that those involved will all work to overcome them with exciting new ways of working. My most recent job at UKOUG was to revise and re-issue our Mission and Values.

I want to thank all those who I have served on the board with, Ronan Miles for his mentorship, Burt Spence for his original encouragement and more recently Fiona Martin. I also want to thank the staff led by Karen McCormack. It hasn't always been easy but we have always delivered.

Most of all I hope I have encouraged others and that I don't need to be on the board to do.
I'm not leaving UKOUG, I am still leading the Applications conference this year, and hope to volunteer in a number of other areas so you haven't heard the last of me.

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