The year ahead
2013 was a busy year for UKOUG. We held 58 SIGs, 9 special events and our flagship Apps and Tech conferences. The conference committees and project teams delivered two fantastic events. Feedback from delegates, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and Oracle from each event was overwhelmingly positive and we have a great platform on which to build a bigger and better Apps14 and Tech14 events this year.
Last July, UKOUG formed a Strategy Working Group who took input from volunteers’ day to a strategy workshop in September and published the final Strategy output at the end of October. The output from Strategy forms the basis by which the UKOUG Management team and Board create a business plan. The objective for 2014 was to create a business plan and a low risk, balanced budget creating a small surplus to protect the ongoing financial viability of UKOUG.
In December, despite significant work, it proved impossible to meet the required budget objectives and fully meet the output recommendations from the Strategy Working Group. Faced with this challenge, in January we reformed the Strategy Working Group. We held a Group call and took feedback from the Group along with a host of community and Oracle stakeholder discussions which have culminated in UKOUG publishing the updated 2014 strategy and business plan.
Key to success in 2014 is to build on our member satisfaction of 2013. We will continue to deliver our SIGs and relevant products and services that not only service our existing members, but also broaden our appeal to new members in the wider Oracle community. We are committed to directing and supporting UKOUG staff and volunteers empowering them to fulfil their part in UKOUG’s success as one of the leading Oracle user groups in the world.
Reinforcing our commitment to delivering value to members we have an extra addition so there will be four editions of Oracle Scene to the 2014 calendar. Content submissions have grown as has the use of our online edition, with increasing interest from other user groups around the world. We have made the decision that from February 2014, we will no longer be posting out hard copies. We’re not saying goodbye to print and will continue our normal print run, so all of you who love a print copy will still be able to pick them up at UKOUG events and in Oracle offices.
The feedback we received from both the inaugural Apps and Tech conferences was overwhelmingly extremely positive for all involved. Both conferences scored a high level of satisfaction with delegates, speakers, exhibitors and Oracle. However both, for different reasons, caused us a challenge financially.
The reconvened Strategy Working Group considered a recommendation from the Board that in 2014 we co-locate the Apps14 and Tech14 conferences in week commencing 8th December. The Strategy Group have supported this recommendation. See FAQs here.
The Board and Strategy Working Group also recommends that we keep this format into 2015 to allow for a longer planning cycle and ensure we create a predictable roadmap for our members and stakeholders so you know what’s coming, what you can expect and you can plan accordingly. The co-location of the conferences will be reviewed by this year’s Strategy Group as part of the planning process for 2015/16.
JDE14 will remain a separate event in November in 2014.
The UKOUG’s 2014 plan for co-located conferences has been shared with Oracle stakeholders. All were supportive of the plans.
We’ve got a few new events in the calendar this year.
- An educational UKOUG Licence Management Event aimed at assisting our members to understand this complex topic impacting so many. We aim to enable our members to plan more effectively for the future. For this event we’ve introduced the concept of having anonymous delegates. The event is governed by a code of conduct that all participants are committing to uphold on the day so delegates can be confident of a no pressure environment. To maximise the value of the day for delegates we’re also offering “The Clinic” - the opportunity to get 121 consultative sessions with Oracle and Partners.
- A series of Next Generation events to help many of our members successfully find entry level recruitment whilst helping students enter a career working with Oracle. At these events students will find out about the many different areas of the IT industry, including the Oracle world, and have the chance to submit their CV for consideration to the employers involved in the event. On the flip side, hiring organisations will have access to enthusiastic young prospective employees who will drive their business and the IT industry forward.
- A Hardware Special Event in late spring that is an evolution of its Exa and Engineered Systems forerunners. The event will cover engineered systems, servers and storage and topics like operating systems and virtualisation - a one-stop-shop for all things Oracle hardware.
OUG Ireland this year celebrates its 10th anniversary. We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported and helped this community grow since we started in 2004. We remain committed to delivering high quality, valuable events for the user community in Ireland
OUG Scotland 2014 has a change of format this year with and agenda spanning two days to incorporate standard 45 minute conference sessions and longer deep-dive technical sessions. We’re confident this will prove popular with delegates.
Our annual UKOUG Partner of the Year Awards is once again in the calendar for October. This is such an important and highly visible way of partners being recognised for their contributions to the customer community in the UK and we want to see all our partner members engaging and nominating themselves for an award.
The full calendar of events can be viewed at: www.ukoug.org/events
Volunteers are at the heart of UKOUG and are integral to its success. Over the last 2 years it has been increasingly difficult for volunteers to take yet more time out to attend volunteers’ day and we have struggled to get representatives from all our differing communities.
We recognise the need to look at volunteering and what we can do to enable better recognition, reward and networking. For 2014 we are removing from the calendar volunteers’ day in its current format. We have however ring fenced a budget and are creating a working group to investigate options for how we can ensure our volunteers feel engaged and recognised.
We want volunteers for all of our projects, so if you’re looking for a new challenge in 2014 get involved! We want you to help shape our events and ensure we continue to innovate and lead the way. Whichever community you belong to we need your support.
Here’s to a busy, successful and fun year!
Members Advocate Chair