Monday 15 April 2019

My User Group Thoughts

Collaborate has three user groups that come together to create the largest user group events of the year. This was a year of change, not only the venue but also the user groups themselves.

IOUG joined with Quest, which I believe is a great way to safeguard the legacy of IOUG and to grow the reach of Quest. However I spoke to several IOUG people who think of Quest as being the home of TOAD rather than the user group

OAUG changed their name to OATUG to include technology. I heard somewhere during the week 40% of the content is already technology,  it probably is, but the technology they cover is dedicated to that used with E Business Suite, so I’m not sure if I was a technology person I would know whether the content I want is covered by IOUG through Quest, OATUG or ODTUG.

UKOUG New offices 
I believe user groups do need to be refreshed and restate their objectives, and  I was very pleased when at the end of last year UKOUG tweaked their brand by adding the very important independent to the name. I was very proud to have led that part of Project Reach before I left the board and love that they have decorated the new building with the mission statement as well.

UKOUG mission statement

Emerging technology is something that all the user groups have to do with all the time and it’s a guessing game as to how much and when I’ve often talked about the gap between Oracle Marketing and full-scale uptake in the user base. At first it is easy to get presentations from Oracle as they promote the new products and then as early adopters appear they are in great demand for their story but we must quickly provide content for those who have actually moved. 

In my area of SaaS, I think many user groups including UKOUG and those at Collaborate are struggling with this last category. The number of customers who are now using cloud applications is high and yet there is very little content about the things that are important to them, the update cadence and the new functionality delivered that they have yet to switch on. There is plenty of content for those thinking about going to cloud. We also need to ensure we have content for those staying where they are, which Collaborate did well and UKOUG have an event in June.

The same problem is true of PaaS, in ODTUG, middleware lost it stream a few years ago as attendance wasn’t high but hopefully now the new emerging technology stream will address this. I have a session this year on VBCS.

I don't have a quick answer, but perhaps user groups need boards or advisory teams that represent all the communities. There are many of us in the user group communities who are traditional and old school. That may be where the passion is but is it totally representative?

Sunday 14 April 2019

2019 Collaborate

Collaborate for the first time in ages was not in Las Vegas which really pleases me although it is back there again next year.

This is the biggest user event in the calendar and I had 5 sessions, across the 3 uaergroups.


I was part of an OAUG Cloud Panel facilitated by Alyssa Johnson and it also included Mohan Iyer and Alfonso Pinan from City of Atlanta who had previously shared their story at OOW. This was a good session and showed the interest from users.

Later in the day I facilitated a panel session on Community, which was the idea of Jennifer Nicholson who runs the ACE Program. Also on the panel was Michelle Malcher, Karen Brownfield, Mia Urman and Opal Alapat. Everyone shared stories about how communities, especially the ACE program has helped their careers both privately and professionally.

The ACE Program also launched a new ACE Directory.


I spoke on 'Which Cloud Should I go to', this is my flowchart presentation based on the article in Oracle Scene. I am very passionate about this because I think Oracle have separate conversations with their customers and not a single strategy approach. I spoke to one customer who told me they had both their Apps Account Rep selling SaaS to them and their Tech Account Rep who wanted them to go IaaS, at Collaborate, entertaining them separately!

I also gave my presentation on VBCS, which in Ireland last week I realised is more just an example rather than this actual example. In Collaborate it was the last session of the day and no one turned up. This is the first time this has happened to me and I was very disappointed. I know the session time is part of it (other people had no shows as well), but I also think I need to change the extract to reflect its true objectives.


I also had an early session on Thursday, after the party Wednesday night, so I was worried it was going to be badly attended as well, but I shouldn't have worried it was a really big crowd. This was my Back to Basics session that talks about what is under the covers of Fusion. It may be true that you can't touch this but for those moving from on premise they do have an interest. 

I also got the chance to catch a session from my great friend Floyd Teter who is part of the Oracle HCM CoE.

As like last year the User Group Royalty were together again. Thanks to Quest for sorting the room, Michelle Malcher, Sue Shaw and I were together again. I attended a session Sue gave on living in the cloud and it was excellent. 

Sue, Michelle & I - UGR
Networking was also fantastic, I had dinner with Jennifer, then the ACE Dinner, loved the big party although bowed out early and finished the week with a great night with Sue and Michelle with dinner on the River Walk after a bus tour of the city.

Despite it being Las Vegas I look forward to next year.

2019 - OUG Ireland

This was an in and out conference for me.

It’s a two day event and this year it was the 15th Irish User Event and I have attended everyone. I even remember the board meeting when regional events were first suggested and I offered to champion this, my local event. I led it for many years and am still a volunteer under the leadership of Simon Holt.

Unfortunately I could not stay for both days, I had to rush back to London for the Oracle Partner Awards, where Accenture had been nominated. John Able was the keynote speaker, and as ever excellent, he really understands this community. John and Tony Cassidy also had to rush back to London for the awards.

I was there the night before and had an opportunity to have dinner with Alex Nuijten and to celebrate the recent promotion to ACE Director for Patrick Barel. Leaving early meant I couldn't be ring-girl for the 2nd bout between Alex and Chris Saxon, but Maria Colgan helped out, I'll be back again for the next one at Kscope in June

I had two presentations, Chatbots and Extending SaaS with VBCS. Both had a good audience and lots of questions. The VBCS was the first time I had given this specific example and the conversation was more about the principle in general rather than this use case.

I managed to chat with Maria Colgan and then Tim Hall, and have a look around the very impressive exhibition hall. I hope to be back next year.

And as for the awards, Accenture won Cloud Implementer or the Year.