Monday, 20 July 2015

Revealing a recent hand - Four ACE Directors

This is my second Oracle ACE Program blog today, the first is about Community Sharing v Community Leading, and this one is about a few people who have recently been awarded ACE Director.

In May I wrote a blog about the Self Appraisal process and about how I feel when asked to nominate or endorse nominations.

When I wrote that blog, I talked about a number of scenarios that I had real experience of. I am always honoured when asked to help, mentor or nominate someone, I think it is a really important part of being an ACE Director.

I do say 'no' more often than I say 'yes', but I always make sure I give detailed reasons as to why I can't endorse someone immediately.  I am always happy to help mentor someone who is not yet ready and to help with crafting a nomination, ensuring it brings out their strengths that align with what Oracle are doing.

In the past few months there have been a number of new Oracle ACE Directors and I am really proud to have played a tiny part in four of their journeys :

Deiby Gomez - His blog in spanish    twitter: @hdeiby 

Deiby is an impatient but lovable young man from Guatemala. He is really young if age is simply a number, but Deiby has packed so much into his short life, far more than many of us twice his age. 
He sets his sights on something and goes for it. I met Deiby last year on the Latin America tour and he was so busy making sure it was a success, whilst also presenting and creating Spanish content for OTN. His original nomination for ACE Director was turned down, although he was granted ACE. Deiby saw that as failure and I and many others worked hard to ensure he didn't think of it with disappointment, but as an exciting step on his journey. This year his ACE was upgraded to ACE Director and well deserved.

Sarah Zumbrum - Saying thank you   twitter: @epm_queen 

Sarah is an inspiration, from the day I first met her I knew she would be an ACE of the future, Everything she takes on, from the ODTUG leadership program to running an ironman, is taken on with 100% commitment and you just know she will succeed. I was really proud to be a tiny part of this success, and wrote a whole blog post on it last month.

Martin Widlake -  I've been made an oracle ace director Twitter: @mwidlake 

Yipee, Martin is a great local speaker and amazing supporter of UKOUG. Martin encourages those around him to take part and as he has cut back on the amount of work he is doing (I think he told his wife it was semi retirement), he has stepped up the amount of input into the community. Martin is part of the UKOUG Tech Conference Committee and always passionate about getting the right mix of speakers, covering all the technologies, but my favourite thing about Martin is he is one of the organisers of London Oracle Drinks, the idea being a few (or more) friends who get to gather occasionally for a beer and perhaps sometimes the conversation will become technical.

Sai Ram - Sai hasn't had time to blog yet    twitter: @sai_penumuru

Sai like Deiby is someone I first met when speaking at their local groups. I met Sai on the Yathra tour early in 2014. I was amazed by the amount of work Sai put in. Alongside his user group leadership role, he spoke at every event and shared his knowledge. Visiting speakers can encourage, like I hope we did, local speakers, but it is the local speakers who can encourage local people to step up and take part. Sai has been able to speak around the world thanks to his employer's support and I was very honoured to have him at UKOUG last year.

I am not an expert in the same disciplines as these people, someone else judges their ability, and at ACE Director that is someone senior in the relevant Product Management team, but I have had the pleasure in seeing them all speak and how they engage their audiences and share their obvious knowledge.

Sai Ram, Yathra 2014
Martin Widlake
 RMOUG 2012

Sarah Zumbrum, KScope 2015
Deiby Gomez, Collaborate 2015

Now it is their turn to encourage and mentor the next members of the ACE program.

More Thoughts on The Oracle ACE Program

I am very passionate about the Oracle ACE program and have been very open about the opportunities it has opened for me. This is not a one way street, Oracle get a lot back, not just from unscripted advocacy but also from expert input through beta programs, initiatives and working with product management.

I also believe that membership of the ACE program should not be easy, it has to be valued by both sides. I often write about the program. When I am asked what the ACE program is about my standard answer is:

     "Having the Oracle Knowledge and Sharing it back to the Community"

Recently my dear friend Tim Hall released this video with his thoughts on the program.

Tim Hall on Video

I agree with everything Tim says about community participation but I want to talk about the difference between knowledge sharing in the community over community leadership.

I am a user group leader, when I was President of UKOUG and through all my time on the board (12 of the last 14 years), it has taken up a lot of my time. I know that has been appreciated by the members and by the staff, and it is a difficult balance with the day job. If you are a presenter as well it is even more difficult because you can't always be a presenter and a leader at the same time. I also know I have given up my own slots on an agenda, selected by judges to allow another great presenter a slot. This is juggling at its hardest.

Knowledge sharing isn't just about presenting, some people excel at forum participation, blogs, articles or book writing, but many do contribute via public speaking. 

There are lots of great user group leaders in the ACE program, even at the ACE Director level, but there are even more great leaders who have the knowledge to make great ACE Directors but don't have the time to share enough. They are supreme enablers to the sharing the program needs to be a success and perhaps there should be an ACE Supporter recognition.

When these wonderful people step back a little bit from their leader role, I encourage them to use the network they have built up to redirect their passion into the knowledge sharing and be recognised for those skills.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

UKOUG Conferences - The Countdown has Begun

The planning for conferences starts really early, but there is a lot to do, and this year is no exception.

The papers have been judged and the agenda planned and now it has been launched. I know you will find something to interest you come December, but start your planning now.

To whet your appetite there are some agenda highlight videos on this conference overview page, and because I am conference lead for apps, here is ours:

I promise it will be fun, educational and well worth your membership. See you there.

Next Up Latin America (Again)

One of the wonderful advantages of the Oracle Ace Program is that at ACE Director level you can apply for funding to take part in speaking opportunities overseas. The best of these are the organised ACE Tours, were usergoups in a region arrange their events in a time frame that allows a group of ACE Directors to travel together and cover several events in one trip.

They are hard work, for the speakers who have a lot of travel to do, and juggle their day job, but even more so for the individual who co-ordinates them, bringing together the local user groups, local speakers, Oracle speakers and the ACE program.

On of the most established tours is the Latin America Tour, or should I say tours. It is now so successful that the tour has to be split as it takes almost a month to work its way through the continent. This is arranged by Francisco Muñoz who is the President of the Chile Usergroup, despite living and working in Australia. He now has plenty of help locally from Nelson Calero from Uruguay.

The first Latin America tour, now know as LAOTN was in 2010, and I first took part in 2011, In 2012 it split into two and I did the Northern Leg , I skipped Latin America in 2013 (doing Australia & South Africa instead) but last year I was back again. This year I am doing the Southern Tour, many of the places I visited on my first tour plus Argentina where I have never been before.

I am speaking on Cloud Apps Maturity and PaaS4SaaS, so I will be in my element. I will be travelling with old friends and making new friends, it will be great fun.

Almost Too Technical

I bet you saw the title and thought I was talking about myself, well I wasn't, I was talking about the recent UKOUG ERP Community Applications Innovation Day held in London.

This was the 2nd of three events where the relevant SIGs came together to look at what opportunities there are to move forward with their applications. The first event was the HCM Community Applications Innovation Day at the end of May and this was a great success with this article in Oracle Scene telling you why? The day was exclusively around Cloud HCM and very well received.

Anyway back to ERP, and the volunteers for the event, taken from the SIG committees, decided on a wider remit. I have to admit I was a little concerned, they asked for an APEX session, and then also selected a PaaS and a Cloud Extensions session, as well as cloud presentations. The agenda looked really random and wide to me, but we worked hard on the marketing to ensure that those attending knew what to expect.

Julie Stringfellow
At the HCM Day we had 3 customer case studies, which I know is what SIGs love best, but ERP Cloud is behind HCM on the adoption curve, although there are lots of organisations currently implementing there are very few references today, but this will change quickly. That meant we had a lot of Oracle sessions, but I still wanted a customer to endorse what they were saying. I approached Julie Stringfellow of Reading Borough Council, who has been live on ERP Cloud for quite a while now but she was unavailable for the whole day, however she did say she would pop in if she could be first on.

Julie talked about the benefits Cloud had brought Reading, and why she thought people should consider this.

Alex Nuijten

Next Up was Alex Nuijten from Ordina in The Netherlands talking APEX with EBS. Alex is an APEX ACE Director and last year I asked him to speak in Liverpool on this subject. He said yes and then looked at EBS for the very first time. He has since given the presentation at several events around Europe and every time he gets new questions.

    Adil Khan

Next up was Adil Khan, FulcrumWay who came from the US and talked about moving to a role based security in EBS, which is the way security is also handled in the Cloud.

Adil had lots of questions too, as many in the audience have used the traditional EBS security model for many years and it takes a little bit of unlearning before this concept makes sense.

Adrian Griffiths

At the Oracle Modern Business Applications Day in May, KPMG had people turned away from this session on what the Cloud meant for Finance, so I was really pleased to be able to have Adrian Griffiths come along to this session.

Liam Nolan

One of the great things about Cloud is the continuous innovation with updates twice a year. Liam Nolan who is no stranger to UKOUG was on hand to tell us what is new in the next release of ERP. Whilst none of the audience has yet to move to cloud they are a pretty knowledgeable lot, their communities within UKOUG have a watching brief on Cloud.

Tracy Bishop

Another great favourite with this community is Tracy Bishop and she came along to give a demo on Accounting Hub Reporting, the cloud service that sits above an on premise ERP system and gives you the amazing essbase and analytics reporting that are embedded in the ERP Cloud. This is a product I think that along with Planning Cloud, every ERP customer should be looking seriously at.
Peter care
Next up was Peter Care from FXLoader. Peter has a product that looks after the maintenance of your foreign exchange rates. He has developed this to work with ERP Cloud as well and here has used PaaS4SaaS and even got his product listed on the Oracle MarketPlace.

This tied in very nicely with the presentation from Alex as the development tool here is APEX. This was not a direct product pitch as Peter was sharing how he did it, rather than what it did.

Peter and I have given #PaaS4SaaS sessions along side each other at a few events recently, my session is looking at extending SaaS rather than feeding into it as Peter's does. I hope I will get to present mine at the next Apps Innovation Day as well as at APPS15.

Richard Bingham

Finally was old favourite Richard Bingham, who talked about how we could extend Cloud Apps. The content was great but I was frustrated about how many times Richard said customised. It isn't his fault, Oracle are using the term when changing artefacts in the Cloud, but the traditional concept of customisation is NOT allowed. There is a lot of ways to tailor and I will continue to push those subtle differences.

It was a great day, and as I mentioned at the start of this blog, much more technical than I expected, but the audience were very engaged and I was able to relate back to what Julie had said about their experience of Cloud, at every stage so the story did come together.

The final in this series of 3 is the Tech Community Applications Innovation Day  on 6th October, where the agenda's of the co-located Apps Server and Development SIGs will have a third tangent looking at how their disciplines can add innovation to Applications.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Digital Disruption - Catching Up With A Legend - Ray Wang

Over the years I have spoken to many analysts about what Oracle are doing and what that means to their users.

Some analysts are just about the figures and that is also important but those that dig into the impacts on users are my kind of people, and top of my list are Ray Wang and Den Howlett. Interestingly on the surface they seem very different but both really care and are real gentlemen. 

Ray and Den also are both experts in the area of digital disruption. Something I have been thinking about recently in our Oracle World, Customers, Users, Usergroups etc. My latest article appeared in the current OTech Magazine

Me, Ray and Craig Dale (SAP User Group)
Ray Wang never stands still, literally and even if he is at an event he swops in and swoops out and it is so easy to miss him, although a few years ago we did play truant at Oracle Open World to go try out the local doughnuts.

Ray is part of Constellation Research and in 2011 I was honoured to be asked to join them as a user advocate, and my main role has been with their annual supernova awards where I am a judge and advocate.

Ray has written an excellent book on Digital Disruption and is currently on a tour promoting this. recently he was in London and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to met up with him.

The event was not just some learnings from and promotion of his book, he also had some round tables looking at how this was affecting the business we do today.

Not only was it a great chance to catch up with Ray but with other people who appreciate his unique take on the technology world from a user perspective. Craig Doyle from the UK SAP Usergroup was there plus Mike Simons editor of Computerworld UK.

This year Oracle Open World is much later and I will be able to attend the Constellation Event - Connected Enterprise the following week, more quality time to hear from Ray and many other experts on the wider world of technology. 

Follow Ray (and Den) on twitter to keep up with them.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

2015 KSCOPE - PaaS4SaaS

Earlier this year I wrote about our PaaS4SaaS proof of concept and the white paper I wrote and I gave this presentation at Kscope.

I submitted it for the Editor's Choice Award for which I got a T shirt with a great quotation from the Dalai Lama “Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.” 

What is interesting is that our customers and other users have discussed with us what they might need in PaaS and to date we have been able to do whatever they need by clever configuration of the SaaS, but this will come once people understand what PaaS delivers. There is always a gap between launch and mass takeup of technology. Something that Den Howlett talks about in his write up.

I once wrote a paper on the use of Fusion Middleware (the development tools now available in PaaS), and at the time the conclusion was, those adopting were doing old things with new technology, but that has changed and now it is about the cloud lowering the barriers to entry.

Whilst Kscope was on Oracle announced their next wave of PaaS including Application Builder Cloud Services which were previewed by Product Manager Brian Fry at the Kscope event. Our development partner, eProseed, were there and Lonneke Dikmans was very enthusiastic about the opportunities and we talked about how we could perhaps repeat our proof of concept prior to OOW.

Sue Duncan one of the Oracel Product Managers based in the UK and a great friend of UKOUG arranged for me to meet with Brian and share our stories. We know hope to work together on this and present back hopefully at OOW.

This is a really exciting area to be in at the start of, I have several articles published along with the white paper and I hope that ABCS will make it even easier to extend Cloud Applications with the same rich user experience as the Applications themselves. After all we wouldn't just add a generic roof rack to a Rolls Royce, simply because it does the job.

I'm not knocking other forms of PaaS, in the APEX blog I said I would use it where it made sense, and there have been some great examples of PaaS being used for data collection and processing prior to being loaded into Cloud Applications. 

The Oracle UX team recently wrote about PaaS4SaaS and I had a few mentions in that too, and the A&C SOA team released this video (not sure about the dog at the end).

Constellation Research, DiginomicaMarket Realist opinion on announcements