Andrew Winsland is Oracle Deployment Manager for Europe at global manufacturing and technology company, Emerson.
Why did you first engage with the user group?
My first experience of the UKOUG was with a previous employer whilst migrating from Dun & Bradstreet Millennium software to Oracle 10.7 during the mid 90’s – the good old days when F7 & F8 entered & executed form queries!
What value did you find through UKOUG?
When I fell into the IT world 15 years ago, as an Oracle DBA, my organisation sent me to lots of training courses where I learnt lots of practical solutions and received hands-on experience during Oracle labs. This was good but I felt something was lacking. When attending user group events I was able to see real examples of how things were being implemented, without any sugar coated answers. I could hear lessons learned and what to and to not do, what to avoid, what would help when I came across a particular issue.
Through user presentations showing the practice implementations and what made a difference for their company (sometimes where they have spent a very long time working on a solution and are then happy to share it with you), all UKOUG members can learn from each other and the sense of community and support for my day to day work is unparalleled. This is the kind of training you cannot get anywhere else, but through UKOUG!
What SIG/s do you attend and why do you find them informative?
My current role involves a large element of travel and I seldom have the opportunity to attend UKOUG events however when I do attend a Financials or BI SIG I often pick up useful hints and tips, learning how other users get the most from their Oracle products is always beneficial.
Is there a specific example where engaging with UKOUG has had a direct beneficial result for you and your company?
Meeting with other users is always a positive experience, several years ago during a UK Oracle User Group Conference at the ICC Birmingham a chance conversation about ADI Kiosk whilst moving between sessions resulted in a collaboration which introduced significant improvements to our reporting solutions.
Have you taken advantage of other member benefits, such as Oracle University course discounts and publisher discounts?
Yes, only very recently I took advantage of the UKOUG publishers discount to pick up Cameron EDITION 1 Oracle Self Service Applications & Prusinski EDITION 3 Oracle E-Business Suite Financials Hndbk.
What are the top three reasons you would recommend membership to another Oracle user?
1) Sharing information, exchanging tips and best practices
2) Product Demonstrations that tell me what I need to do and show me how it is done
3) Access to Oracle and its partners
If allowed a 4th reason it would be the website Library
Any final comments?
Having a strong independent user group is important if we want to influence Oracle and its product direction.