Friday, 30 September 2011

The Best Women in IT

When I became Chairman of UKOUG the press release mentioned that I was the first woman Chairman. Several journalists asked me how I felt about that. I have never been hung up about being a woman in a man's world, but I do wish more girls were encouraged into the industry.

But in Slovenia I realised that there are only 3 women presidents in all the EMEA Usergroups. Heli from Finland OUGF, and Melina from the Bulgarian User Group BGOUG. Three of the best user groups there are, led by women. I don't really mean that, there are lots of brilliant user group leaders but they aren't as good looking as us.

Bletchley Park

Carl and Mary Ann

UKOUG held a security special event recently, and the location was none other than Bletchley Park. We had a great line up of speakers including Mary Ann Davidson Chief Security Officer from Oracle. She like everyone else was very impressed with being at Bletchley Park.

The Day was organized by Carl Dudley a long time board member of UKOUG and now a member of the new Council. The numbers were not as good as we hoped but everyone who went had great day. The building was magnificent and we were given a tour over lunch.

It was a privileged to see the enigma machines, and to see the Bombe that was invented to break the codes. They have rebuilt this as part of the museum and it is a tribute. To think that Bletchley Park was to be developed and all that history gone forever. I was humbled by the work done to save what is a really important part of our history.

This week I attended an event that included on the panel Dr Susan Black who used social media to fire up the debate and campaign to save Bletchley Park.

We also saw colossus, the computer believed to be one of the first. I would like to say I was impressed with the whole Bletchley Park experience but actually it invoked a very different emotion in me. The story of Alan Touring, who broke the Enigma and his suicide really touched at me. This man played such an important part in our history and yet we as society judged him and drove him to kill himself.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Fusion Nation

This year FINALLY Oracle have promised to make a big fuss about Fusion Applications. And one of the things they are trying to encourage is for people to talk about it, and to do this they are putting 500 people in red vests for you to stop and ask.

The people are made up of Oracle Development (finally allowed to talk), Oracle product management, trained SI partners, Early adopters and User Group advocates. This last group is mine, 26 people who are either part of the Product Development Committee who have worked with Development since Fusion was just a dream, or Fusion Apps UX advocates from the ACE program. Two initiatives I am very proud to have led.

I am not sure the vest will suit me, and I can't promise to have much time to talk, as ever my dance card is very full, BUT do stop me, do ask me, once I start talking you may never shut me up.

Listening to User Groups

One of the values of belonging to a user group is being part of a voice that is listened to. This is not just an empty boast, Oracle do listen to UKOUG, we share our survey data with them and we agree action plans where necessary.

I am very proud of how UKOUG have been central to what user groups have done with Oracle around Fusion Applications and they have listened to us. Right back in the early days we were asked to talk to marketing about the messages we were hearing, and a few weeks ago I was asked to speak again to marketing as they start their first campaigns to sell Fusion Applications this was a great honour for me personally but it also cements the value of the user group.

As a direct result we are working together with marketing, and our Fusion Days early in September were because we worked with each other. They asked me to speak on Andrew Sutherland technology panel.

We worked with marketing to time our Fusion Day, which totally filled up in hours, so we worked again with the presenters in Oracle Development all flying into the UK, and they agreed to do another day. That was full as well. The feedback I got on the day was great, bringing demos to our members. Look out for a article from Colin Terry, who hosted the first day in his new role as UKOUG Council member.

We are working with Oracle on an applications day they will have later this year where again I will be part of the panel, and then we have UKOUG conference where you will get more Fusion content.

I talk a lot about Fusion technology and applications, but others in UKOUG are working just as hard on other areas. This is part of the value we bring to you.

My time at oracle open world

As ever I am writing this blog on the plane, which makes it too late, but never mind. What am I up to at Oracle Open World this year?

First, as an ACE director I am at HQ for two days of briefings. I often talk about these days, but this is heads down, briefings from the experts, and a way of assimilating all the OOW messages in a calm environment before the event. We will be under NDA so may not talk about them yet but at least I will understand.

I have meetings at HQ with my partner manager and the SOA Community leader, a great chance to catch up be fire the madness begins.

Saturday things are a little quieter but I still haven't finished ( to be honest even started my presentations, although I know what I want to say), so it is my emergency time. In the evening I have an OakTable party to go to. A night with the worlds best DBAs, goodness knows what I will talk about.

Then Sunday OOW kicks off and I have the very first session. In total I have 3 sessions (see my last post). Oracle have mucked me around this year, which is annoying. This first presentation did not get approved till the last minute, and my other two got changed. Including moving one from Tuesday to Thursday afternoon, I must really have pissed someone off. However one was moved from Sunday as a 30 minute session to Monday for an hour in a much bigger room because of advance registrations. So I guess they all equal out.

As a user group leader I have time to serve at the UG pavilion in Moscone West come along and check it out. I have several meetings with people about how we can continuously improve UKOUG. I also have analyst and press meetings. UKOUG Vice President and great friend Lisa is coming to OOW for the first time and has I am pleased to say she has bought comfortable shoes, she will need them.

The Fusion Nation (more information coming) program will fill up any time I think I have but I am so pleased Fusion Apps are having their day and I really want to speak to those customers who are early adopters.

As Fujitsu I will pop along to our Booth#1311, meet with analysts for them, meet customers from around the world, and attend our global practice day on Thursday ( just in case I feel the week has not been long enough).

There is plenty of fun as well, I have lunches and dinners planned with friends, colleagues and Oracle executives; I am looking forward to Wednesday and seeing Sting. When I was 19 I lived in a bedsit in south London and listened to him playing live on Streatham Common with Police, so it may make me feel young again. And Friday morning Lisa and I are planning the Golden Gate Bridge cycle. Only this year I will try not to lose my camera!

I will come home with 100s of business cards, a very long to do list, too much information to share but lots of happy memories of another Oracle Open World.

My Sessions at OOW

Try and come along, it may be the only time you get to see me. And if the title or extract doesn't appeal to you remember I have a lovely English accent.

Sun   0900 Moscone West 3000    #41576 Your Path to Understanding Fusion Applications

Mon 1230 Moscone West 3006     #08637 Do I Upgrade or go straight to Oracle Fusion Applications?

Thu   1330 Moscone South 300       #08633 Consolidation to the Cloud

And hoping these won't move again