Thursday, 25 September 2014

My Oracle Open World Objectives

Every year I plan a modest OOW experience, promising myself I will keep time in my agenda, but then reality hits and here I am as ever turning down invites to really cool off-piste sessions and meetings because my dance card is full.

I always explain this is because I am wearing so many hats.

  • Oracle ACE Director*
  • Oracle Applications UX Advocate
  • Usergroup Leader
  • Speaker
  • Partner - My new job
  • With Analysts
  • Just for fun
  • As a mum

It also means arriving earlier and earlier and I am already in Redwood at Oracle HQ. I never get bored of visiting here, sunshine and beautiful walks.

Oracle ACE Director Briefings:

Two days of the best information briefings from Oracle Executives, not PowerPoint normally mainly Q&A, including a kick off from Thomas Kurian for an hour. Just how cool is that? Many of the ACEs come for these briefings and don't stay for all of OOW, this is more valuable use of their time.

Why these work is because we are a group of people who have proved our expertise in our areas through the nominations process and so the sessions are deep, under NDA and certainly not marketing. If I attend a session I don't understand (not being technical) I have a network of ACEs I can go to for the information. To me it isn't really about learning more about my area, I am all ready plugged into development there, it is more about filling in the gaps of my wider Oracle understanding.

Oracle Applications UX Advocate:

Traditionally this happens the day before the ACE briefings and I have found this the best way to understand where Apps development is, is going and how customer feedback influences what they are doing. I talk about UX all the time this is my sweet spot with Oracle.

This year is their biggest audience to date as people in the field are realising UX is the differentiator of Oracle Cloud Applications (Fusion).

The are also UX Exchange events during OOW I will attend.

Usergroup Leader:

Oracle traditionally held their usergroup leader meetings in January but this year have moved to this week before OOW. That clashes with ACE briefings so I am not attending but that isn't a bad thing, UKOUG has 2 representatives attending (James Haslam and Fiona Martin). However throughout OOW I will be thinking about what every announcement means to our members and what we need to be addressing and communicating.

On Sunday which is Usergroup Day EMEA user groups have some cool sessions that end with a double session on 12c database. 12 short talks by 12 of the best of EMEA presenters. What other session is going to have so many experts in one place?

      1. Upgrading to 12c: What Will It Break? Jonathan Lewis, Oracle ACE Director, OakTable
      2. The Optimizer in 12c. Christian Antognini, SOUG, Oracle ACE Director, OakTable
      3. Data Pump Enhancements in 12c. Osama Mustafa, MEOUG, Oracle ACE
      4. Pattern Matching in 12c. Gurcan Orhan, TROUG, Oracle ACE Director
      5. PL/SQL Security Enhancements in 12c. Alex Nuijten, OGH, Oracle ACE Director
      6. Data Redaction in 12c. Oded Raz, ilOUG, Oracle ACE Director
      7. A Case for the Multitenant Architecture, Even with a Single PDB. Tim Hall, UKOUG,        Oracle ACE Director, OakTable
      8. How Does Oracle SQL Developer Manage Multitenancy? Ami Aharonovich, ilOUG, Oracle ACE
     9. Multitenancy: Impact on SaaS.   Kashif Manzoor, MEOUG, Oracle ACE
    10. Oracle Multitenant in Standard Edition: (How) Does This Work?    Julian Dontcheff, OUGF, Oracle ACE Director
    11. What Features Will 12c Offer Traditional Oracle Apps?  Bjoern Rost, DOAG, Oracle ACE Director
    12. In-Memory—Enables Us To?  Dimitry Volkov, RUOUG, Oracle ACE

These are sessions UGF8949 & UGF9221

Oracle Open World Speaker:

I am taking part in two other sessions:

I am a regular blogger for the AppAdvantage team and will be joining them on a panel session, talking about using FMW with Apps Deliver Business Innovation while Reducing Upgrades’ Risk [CON8534]

I have been a UX Advocate for a long time and will be a demo babe showing the Simplified UI in their session - Oracle Applications Cloud: First-Time User Experience [CON7972]

Now I am with Certus I am responsible for enabling their growth into ERP Cloud and PaaS extension apps for ERP and HCM, so these areas are important to me. I am meeting with lots of development and partner enablement people. Hope to learn lots to for this at ACE and UX events.

There are many receptions and events to attend as well, one of the great things about OOW is everybody is there.

I hope to make a partner video about PaaS.

With Analysts:

I work with several analysts throughout the year and will catch up with many and share with each other how we think Oracle are preforming. Ray Wang and Dennis Howlett

Just For Fun:

All these communities have given me many great friends and OOW is a chance to catch up with some of them. Organised fun outside of the official parties are the Bridge Run (which I will walk) on Sunday and swim in the Bay Monday. Depending on my final schedule I will also do Chi Gung each morning.

And as a mum:

My daughter is in the Military and just come home from a long deployment, so she is also going to San Francisco, and celebrates her birthday Tuesday. Not sure how much time we will get together but Saturday we will cycle the bridge, something I have done but she hasn't.

* Oracle ACE Program funds my trip to HQ & OOW


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Sad but Not Unhappy

Ralph C Wood wrote Sorrowful Vision of Joy a commentary on JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and I think it sums up how I feel today.

The Oracle ACE Program is part of OTN and one of the things they do is enable ACE Directors to travel to conferences and speak to audiences who normally struggle to get good speakers across the whole range of Oracle.

Obviously OTN has a budget and one way to make that budget go further is the concept of OTN Tours. This is where a number of user groups agree an itinerary for their events in such a way ACE Directors can present at several over a shorter period.

Francisco Munoz Alvarez is one of the great organisers of OTN Tours, he is president of the Chile User Group and also very active in his adopted home of New Zealand and has arranged many successful tours in Latin America and Asia Pacific. I personally have had the opportunity to take part in several, most recently Latin America 2014.

There have also been tours in India and the Nordics and this year the first Middle East and North Africa MENA tour took place.

Where the user group is not English speaking, it can be over whelming if all content is in English and not all usergroups can afford translators, so they try to get a good balance. I firmly believe that one responsibility of ACE Directors on tour is to encourage local speakers to step up and to identify those who should be in the ACE program, and it is great as these usergroups are able then to have more balanced content. I have nominated or championed several people I have come across this way. It is not just to encourage them to speak, but to blog and write papers in their language to add to the content available for sharing knowledge.

This however means that along with a greater number of ACE Directors applying for a tour, less English speaking slots means there is much more competition. To get funding on a tour you need to have 2 presentations at each of at least two legs. This is always a challenge for me as many usergroups are technically focused and already have very little applications content.

So today I heard I have not been successful for the next Asia Pacific tour in November and I am sad, but also pleased that they now have enough good local speakers to reduce their reliance on us 'foreigners'. It is always sad to be turned down for a conference but like I say to people not successful for UKOUG, it is not about being rejected it is about capacity. I will particularly miss Tokyo as I have spent a lot of time there both with usergroups and in my role with Fujitsu.

To my friends who are going, have a great time. I am busy enough, I am taking part in the Nordic tour in October and will be submitting my papers for Collab and RMOUG over the weekend and hope I judge what people are looking for correctly.

And I have an exciting new job so still a happy wee lady.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Please Vote for Certus in UKOUG PYA

As I’m not an end user I can’t vote in the UKOUG Partner of the Year Awards for my favourite Fusion partner but…..
 Do you remember that advert “ I Loved the product so much I bought the company “ ? Well not quite bought the company, but certainly bought into their offering, I have joined Certus Solutions.

 I have been looking hard at all those offering Fusion or Cloud services and in April I talked about how it was the new niche companies who had stepped up and taken the challenge who were winning in this area and not the traditional big partners.

 I was asked by Oracle to deliver some training to partners and I did this through Certus which led to some great discussions and the more I learn about Certus' plans and their strategy the more I wanted to be apart of it.

I have built my reputation around Fusion , so please if you are an end user (you do not need to be a UKOUG member) please vote for Certus in the Fusion Applications and Training Partner categories of the UKOUG Partner of the Year Awards.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

New Challenge

Today I joined Certus Solutions.

Certus Solutions press release

Setting up DCL was great fun and really helped me to narrow down the areas I want to concentrate on. Having looked at what all the partners in this space were doing Certus ticked all the boxes for me. I  was really excited by their plans and jumped at the opportunity to be part of their success.


Sunday, 17 August 2014

LAOTNTOUR 2014 – El Salvador – 13th August

Last leg of the tour for me, sad but I am tired and have taken the opportunity to go diving on my way home, so am ready.

Again Gurcan selected an early flight to give us most of the day in San Salvador, not quite as early a start as the previous leg but still an 0440 pickup from the  airport. Glenn and I treated ourselves to McDonalds for breakfast, I had Bacon, Onion and Cheese (with egg) McMuffin which I had never seen elsewhere and it was lovely and I do have to say the coffee was awesome. It should have been our quickest flight but due to a technical issue on another aircraft it appeared that all of Avianca’s staff needed to go somewhere via El Salvador and we had to wait for them to board with all their luggage, all the things that frustrate me with other passengers.
Never mind we arrived at the airport about 90 minutes late and due to a communication issue we had to then find our way to the hotel on our own but not a big issue and we were there and checked in by 10am. We had arranged a private tour of local attractions - the Mayan Route for 1pm so we had a simple lunch overlooking the hotel pool.

I had another banking issue here, according to my xchange app they uses Colones in El Salvador at a boy 7 to the $, so I asked the ATM for 500, quite a shock when it gave me 50 $10 bills! Apparently they stopped using Colones many years ago albeit unofficially and stuck to the dollar!

Our tour guide Cesar, spoke brilliant English, and later told us he was 70, a testament to his naturalism lifestyle which he told us about throughout the day. He really was very knowledgeable. We started by driving through the city where he pointed out a few places including his favourite restaurants which Glenn and Gurcan later visited.

There are even more volcanoes in El Salvador and so we drove out to the archaeological sites of San Andrés and Joya de Cerén, also known as the Pompeii of America.


Gurcan and Tom debating the database
The conference was held at Universidad Centoramericana "José Simeón Cañas" which was a beautiful campus but a shock. Normally we are in very air conditioned buildings and actually cold, this campus was almost open with roofs and very little walls. There was a gentle breeze but it was hot and very humid and it got worse as the day went on. Then as dusk fell poor Tom Kyte had to raise his voice over what sounded like the entire El Salvadorian bird population, but he managed, the ultimate professional.

There was a mixture of Oracle professionals and students and I think organisers need to have specific tracks for students. They are so important but deep technical sessions are not appropriate for them at this stage in their learning and adapting the sessions for them is not fair on the professionals. A separate track would ensure both communities get the right content.

There was one company Unicomer with several people attending who are looking at their E Business Suite update and have the same questions every user does worldwide. They run shops across the Caribbean and Latin America and the decisions they make are key to that business. It was great to be able to talk at length to their technical lead.

The sponsors of the day took us for dinner in a small restaurant over looking the city, a great way to say goodbye to El Salvador and my LAOTN tour 2014.

LAOTNTOUR 2014 - Guatemala - 11th August

Next stop Guatemala, and did I mention the early starts! We actually flew from Mexico via El Salvador which would be my last stop on the tour. We said goodbye to Brendan in Mexico and it was odd to not have him with us.

Deiby Gomez is the president of GOUG and he met us at the airport and took us to our hotel. We said we wanted to see something of the city and asked for ideas. Not only did he suggest a drive out to Antigua the original capital of Guatemala but he insisted a member of his team take us. 

So after a quick freshen up we were collected by Carlos and his new bride Amy who gave us a wonderful afternoon.

The city is surrounded by volcanoes and I love them. I really would love to study geology perhaps when I finally retire. The city was so colourful, and full of local tourists.

We had a wonderful meal and wondered around for hours.  

The event was held at INTECAP and was well attended. Tom Kyte had joined us for this leg and El Salvador and Pablo was with us again to talk about OTN. I had been to Guatemala before but not had a chance to see anything so was really enjoying this visit.

I also gave my talk on consolidation, to a small audience at the end of the day (well I can't compete against Tom) but we had a good conversation about the benefits.

Plinio had also come to Guatemala and he and Gurcan thought the time had come to do an ACE jump for Yury. Some traditions just have to be upheld. I also need to mention the food! The college has a catering school and they did so well, at both breaks there were healthy looking burgers and the best chocolate cup cakes I have ever had, light and fluffy. Lunch was also awesome. 
Speaking of traditions I also when we were taken to a great dinner that night just had to taste the local rum, but it wasn't my first time, Carol Dacko gave me a bottle of this for my 50th birthday, I am a lucky lady.

Not too much though, up EARLY the next day for my final leg of the tour

I forgot to mention that we were searched for weapons before being allowed entry to the restaurant. Not a normal occurance! 
And finally photos from OTN Latin America 

LAOTNTOUR 2014 - Mexico City - 8th August

We arrived in Mexico City late in the evening and made our way to the hotel, unfortunately when they finally got around to speaking with me there appeared to be a problem with my booking. The logistics of the OTN tour are booked via Oracle travel where possible and I had given them the name of the hotel as agreed by the group, and they assured me they booked the ONLY Radisson in Mexico City. Apparently they didn't, and it took some time to get past the young girl on the desk who simply wanted me to travel an hour in a taxi on my own, and find a manager who could find me a room that night. Brendan and Gurcan had even offered to share a room so I could have a room but she wouldn't have it. Not a good start but I knew it would be a good stop as Francisco was joining the tour.

In fact we were also joined by Noel Portugal from the Oracle UX team who gave the keynote on wearables and then Pablo Ciccarello from OTN gave the community presentation. The event was held at UVM Campus Coyoacán and it was packed. The day was kicked off by Plinio Arbizu an ACE Director and leader of the Mexico User Group.  I loved the day I had users of E Business Suite, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards in my sessions. 

Actually the Oracle UX team have a development office in Mexico and Noel was joined by local Rafael Belloni and had other sessions so we defiantly got the UX message out in Mexico. Noel has since blogged about this

On the way to Latin America I read a blog by Albert Barron explaining cloud using Pizza as an analogy. If you read my blog regularly you know I love analogies and this really helped to explain what SaaS meant in my presentation 'Do Cloud Applications Add Up?' For the event Rene Antunez tried to get me a pizza to share with my audience but we were not allowed it in the university.

That evening Rene hosted us all at his home, I felt sorry for his wife with all these computer nerds descending and then we discovered it was her birthday. What a wonderful couple.

The next day we had planned to visit the pyramids and it seemed we didn't need to think too much about it as we had Francisco and just needed to turn up at the bus station at 0840. That was of course until 0835 arrived and no sign of Francisco or his son Thomas. Gurcan rang him and it seems his alarm didn't go off (had to explain the weekday concept doesn't apply to Saturdays) but they were soon downstairs and we hot footed it along the road. We soon realised the bus stop was further than he remembered and after a quick bribe to a taxi driver to take all 5 of us to the bus stop, we made it, much to the relief of Mark who was waiting there for us.

The first stop on the trip was the Basilica du Gudalupe a phenomenal cathedral that houses the national shrine. The shrine sits above the pulpit and whilst services go on, people travel along a moving walkway underneath to look up at the shrine. Really good crowd control without ruining the religious experience in the main cathedral.

Then it was off to the Piramides Teoihucan to see the pyramids of the Moon and the Sun.

 It was a lovely day and not too hot although most of us got a little sun, Brendan and I never see the sun in Ireland and Glenn keeps well covered up so we looked a great white bunch. I recently hurt my hip and promised my physio I wouldn't walk too much, do you think 257 steps up and back down again count? I am so glad I managed it and have to thank Glenn who helped me for at least 200 of those. Although I looked liked I needed CPR at the top!!

Afterwards we watched a fertility dance where men climbed what looked like an enormous may pole and then danced on top before jumping off with ropes. It was mesmerising and defiantly worth watching. Then we had to try tequila (well we were in Mexico) and then a great lunch. Once we got back to the city I then did on my own a 3hr city tour on an open top bus, they really are the best way to see a city when you are time poor.

Another stop over on the LAOTN tour 2014.