Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Planning the IOUC Meeting

I said last week how I was getting ready for the IOUC meeting. Well yesterday was the travel, and in an attempt to save money I have flown BHD – LHR – Chicago – SFO, quite direct but over 24 hours door to door, still a good opportunity to catch up on email and finish my slides for RMOUG, edit an Oracle Scene article and clear my to do list (almost).

I was actually typing this above the Rockies on the final, bumpy leg of the journey. I arrived about midnight and was hoping a few friends would still be at the bar so I could have a nice whiskey (Irish spelling) before collapsing into bed.

Today I had meetings all day, first with the FMW team to have the VM images of apps on my ACE FMW kit updated, then a meeting with the new Oracle Marketing executive for Fujitsu, this is an important time for my organisation as we manufacture Sparc and X86 for Sun. Then I met with Applications Marketing to understand their current and planned campaigns.

Tuesday I am meeting with the person behind Fusion Functional Setup Manager, I was privileged to see this before Christmas and have promised a blog entry but need to check out a few things.

I also am meeting a friend from the Fusion GL team, I would like to say it is because of some dark secret, and in a way it is, I have said before most of the brains behind Fusion are British and this is another x-pat who asked me to bring out squeezy marmite.

Then it is lunch with the user experience team and then an afternoon in the labs. The evening is an EOUC dinner, where X user group leaders have managed to make the journey out to HQ

Wed is the big Sun event, being broadcast live from HQ and I am privileged that user group leaders are being rewarded with VIP invites. Then it is straight into the User Group Presidents meetings. The evening kicks of with a reception.

Thursday starts with my committees first meeting at 7.30, then we have a full program of executive briefings and the same on Friday, problem is there are 4 streams and between Ronan, James and I we need to try and cover it all. Another reception Thursday gives us another chance to network with other user group leaders.

Friday I again have a 7.30 committee meeting and a lunchtime one to plan our next project and the main meetings finish about 2.

I will stay on and have a few more meetings , I have tried to fly out the same day before but my brain is just buzzing and the journey is simply too much. I will quietly start all the actions I have taken, write up notes, email people, update this blog and attempt to clear up the ‘day job’ which hopefully I have kept on top off as the week has gone on.

Then Saturday a quick chance to shop, quiet lunch and the long journey home starts. I will be in my house about 6pm Sunday, and hopefully ready to start bright and early Monday morning. Lucky I don’t suffer from jetlag, I am back n the US, Denver in just 2 weeks for RMOUG.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Where Did You Go For Lunch?

I started this blog to give an insight into the life of a UKOUG director. Today was the first board meeting of 2010 and it was defiantly different.

Ann Power who has been a director for 5 years and is responsible for HR and very important in our Apps community, works for Thales, and today's meeting was hosted by Ann at their new flagship building in Crawley.

It was a very busy day, we had our annual board appraisal to look at, we take this very seriously and use a questionnaire provided by the Institute of Directors, and it looks at all the areas that a board has to address to ensure the success of their organisation. Completing the questionnaire was a few hours work for each director. Then we look at the areas we score low on, and even more the areas were we don't agree on how well or otherwise we perform.

Today we also look at the governance of the organisation, and what that should include. Then we looked at how to encourage innovation from both the staff and our members, what new membership products should we introduce? You tell us please.

However the most memorable things of the day were totally unrelated, it snowed hard, all day and we all worried about getting home, however none of the snow settled but the piece de la resistance was the treat Ann arranged for lunchtime. She had arranged for us to go down onto the shop floor and see the flight simulators. Amazing, and we even went into one that was in use, and landed in Kuala Lumpur, not bad for a quick lunchtime trip! We even looked at the computer power behind the simulator. I would love to have photos in this blog but for obvious reasons camera phones etc were banned. We must say thank you to Ann but especially to Robert who was our guide.

UPDATE - Thales have sent us a few pictures of what we saw

Saturday, 16 January 2010

OUGDK is no more - welcome DOUG

One of the things we take seriously in UKOUG is encouraging other user groups. In the same way we think users learn best from sharing experience we believe it is true of user groups themselves. And in the same way, user groups together have better access and voice into Oracle.

January is the time of the User Group Summit in Redwood which Ronan, James and I will attend. It is 3 solid days of executive and product management briefings and meetings fitted n around it. My Product Development Committee has two meetings both at 7.30am! And lots of opportunity to get together with other user group leaders and share ideas.

Not every user group can attend and it is important especially here in EMEA where user groups are more geographical in nature that the bigger user groups can represent the others, ensuring the wider voice is heard, and this is where the spokespeople of the EOUC come in. Our current spokespeople Janny and Heli do a great job at representing the other user groups and feeding back to them.

One of the challenges for geographical user groups is language. They may be limited in size purely by the available Oracle population for their language. It is very important for these groups still to network, and UKOUG wants to support this however we can. User group speakers also like to support where possible and I love being able to address other groups.

This week I was asked by Miracle A/S to speak at the Danish User Group which they were supporting. The usergroup has been inactive for a while and this was an attempt to relaunch. I can tell you it was a very successful day. Oracle told me they wanted 10 people to turn up and would have been delighted by 20. The 80+ attendees only had lack of car parking to complain about. There were plenty of volunteers and lots of enthusiasm to keep it going. I had a great reception and want to thank Miracle for making it possible for me to take part. They hold their own conferences and yet still want to give back to the whole community.

As part of the launch they renamed the group the Danish Oracle User Group DOUG rather than the Oracle User Group Denmark OUGDK. Good luck with your venture.