Simon is Principal Consultant at Veriton Ltd and helps mid-sized organisations get the most out of their Oracle investments - usually centred around the design, build and tuning of Oracle Fusion Middleware infrastructure.
Why did you first engage with the user group?
I have been attending UKOUG conferences since 1998 I think, and my first presentation was at the DBMS SIG in 2001.
What value did you find through UKOUG?
I had attended various developer conferences during the 90s but what I found immediately useful when I started going to UKOUG events was the amount of information speakers were prepared to share. Then, when I started sharing my own experiences through presenting, I found it was a two-way process - I would learn more than I expected in preparing for a session, and then I would benefit further when discussing the topic with my peers over coffee afterwards.
What about UKOUG membership has surprised you?
Whilst you would expect to meet plenty of other people from the Oracle community at UKOUG SIGs and conferences, several of them have become really good friends whom I enjoy spending time with. When you run a small company you don't have the social network that a large organisation offers so in some ways my UKOUG friends are more like work colleagues.
Is there a specific example where engaging with UKOUG has had a direct beneficial result for you and your company?
Being associated with UKOUG raises my profile in the Oracle community - whilst I can't say that speaking at events or being a SIG Chair has directly brought new business to me, perhaps it has helped differentiate me from others. Of course, being a UKOUG volunteer has its ups and downs too but, like so much in life, the more you put in the more you get out!
What are the top three reasons you would recommend membership to another Oracle user?
1. To discover how other customers are using Oracle products, e.g. what works well and what should be left alone for a patchset or two!
2. To discuss technical topics with your peers and Oracle staff in informal settings.
3. To develop your own personal skills by public speaking or helping to organise events.