Sunday 25 June 2023

User Group Conferences

I think of April, May, and June as the US Oracle conference season. We have Blueprint 4D, Ascend and KSCOPE, and I'm lucky enough to speak at all three.


KSCOPE starts this weekend and as I am on the board of the ODTUG usergroup, I'm obviously biased that this is the best. And what makes KSCOPE so special is the in-depth learning and amazing feelings of belonging.


But before that starts let's have a quick look back at Blueprint 4D and Ascend. These are my personal thoughts based on how I see it as an outsider, and I am sure there are things that I am not aware of.


I presented at both events, learnt more myself and loved the user interaction, but whilst it may be a little controversial have the following observations.


Prior to COVID there was Collaborate, this was a conference that had been running for over a decade and comprised of three separate user groups:


·      QUEST who services JD Edwards and PeopleSoft

·     OAUG (now OATUG) who serviced traditionally E-Business Suite, some PeopleSoft. 

·      IOUG whose serviced technology especially the database communities


Collaborate events were successful but there was little overlap between the communities to start with but with the introduction of cloud applications this started to change. At the same time IOUG found a home within the QUEST organization itself and then the decision was made that these two organizations would return to separate events.


COVID was a bit of a false start and whilst modest events happened in 2021 it would be unfair to judge the new way on that year. 2022 saw both events back-to-back in Vegas the biggest advantage and or disadvantage of this was for vendors who found themselves at 2 trade shows and no opportunity to follow up on leads from the first one before the second one started. Although most vendors preferred only having Collaborate.


This year they were a few weeks apart Blueprint 4D being in Dallas in May and Ascend being in Florida just last week. This was much better for exhibitors and for speakers who may be attending both, but conferences are not just about exhibitors and speakers it's all about the delegate experience.


If you were a JDE, EBS or any other Apps Unlimited organization happy where you are, looking to be platformed on Oracle cloud or even moving to cloud applications, these events are perfect, you can find other organizations who have been there and sharing their story, their tips and tricks, but I can't help wondering that if you're already a cloud applications customer, would you not benefit from more organizations who are there the combined populations of these two events. The benefit may have been diluted.


Let me explain that further, after the Collaborate separation, OAUG now called OATUG, joined forces with OHUG for the new Ascend conference series. OHUG services all Oracle HCM users whether they be on premise or in the cloud. This is the direct overlap of OATUG who have Oracle e-business suite and some PeopleSoft HCM and cloud HCM, so by joining forces they are enlarging the populations of each of those constituents rather than diluting.


In the same way KSCOPE covers technology and database and is the now much smaller IOUG also suffering from the same dilution of communities.


In person events have been dwindling for many years, not a COVID specific phenomenon and should user groups be working tog to find a new model