5 Questions with OAUG President Melissa English

At Oracle OpenWorld each year, there are significant announcements about Oracle products and insight provided on key areas of focus for the future. Melissa English, president of the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), recently reflected on some of the key developments at the 2015 OpenWorld conference and their relevance for OAUG members. 

Cloud is a big area of focus for Oracle right now – what are the concerns and opportunities that OAUG members see with cloud?

Melissa English: The OAUG supports Oracle’s measured but steady progress in bringing Oracle’s Cloud Applications to its customers. Oracle’s cloud platform provides additional options for making its applications available to customers and gives customer flexibility in choosing how to obtain and use those applications. We support Oracle’s coexistence strategy that allows customers to begin using Oracle’s Cloud Applications solutions – on premises or in the cloud – alongside their existing installations to maximize their investments in the new and existing products. This enables our members to invest with Oracle Cloud solutions that fit within their enterprise, including Oracle HCM Cloud, Oracle CRM Cloud, Oracle Fusion Accounting Hub and more.

What is the OAUG’s role in helping members embrace the cloud?

Melissa English: As far as any concerns with the cloud, it’s natural for customers to be confused at first about their options when new technologies and solutions become available. The OAUG’s most important role is to help our members gain access to information that can help them through the journey by evaluating options, connecting them with others who have experience, developing a plan, providing best practices on implementation, etc. The OAUG’s recently formed OAUG Cloud ERP Special Interest Group (SIG) brings members and experts together to discuss a variety of cloud topics and uncover best practices for implementation. The OAUG partners with Oracle to provide updates, roadmaps and strategies involving the cloud at face-to-face events like OpenWorld and COLLABORATE and OAUG eLearning webinars.

What were the key announcements for OAUG members at Oracle OpenWorld and why?

Melissa English: I think one of the key things, and it relates to Oracle’s cloud focus, is that Oracle understands the continuum of customers who are just beginning to learn what the cloud is all about to those who are already testing and implementing cloud solutions in their organizations. Oracle’s announcements about continuing to support on-premises apps for the next 10 years and beyond are significant. And having the option to implement cloud solutions using a hybrid model that supports both cloud and on-premises solutions is so helpful. Customers need that flexibility and that security.  In addition, Larry Ellison [Oracle executive chairman and CTO] talked about “always-on” security.  This is a great feature that will help organizations trust that their data will be secure in the cloud.

What were the sessions that OAUG members were most interested in?

Melissa English: That’s a good question. OAUG members have wide-ranging interests, so I’m sure each individual attending OpenWorld had a unique list of boxes to check.

I would say that there was a good amount of interest in the cloud, of course. It’s a big area of activity for Oracle, which means customers need to stay informed so they can plan next steps and build capabilities for implementing next-generation technologies.

I heard attendees talking about how valuable the Oracle demo grounds in exhibit halls were. And a couple of people mentioned the EBS 12.2.5 and product roadmaps sessions they attended.

I also have to say that the Oracle User Forum on Sunday was very lively. Attendees really like being able to add the opportunity to meet with specific geographic and special interest groups to their learning and networking opportunities during OpenWorld.

How are you following up on these areas in the coming months as we lead up to COLLABORATE?

Melissa English: The OAUG offers live and recorded webinars throughout the year to keep a regular stream of educational opportunities between the major face-to-face conferences: Oracle OpenWorld and COLLABORATE. Our geographic and special interest groups are a vital part of the year-round educational programming.

We’ve already been providing a good amount of content related to the cloud. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a continuum of readiness, so helping members no matter where they are is important.

OAUG webinars, conference white papers, magazine articles and other resources cover a wide range of topics to try to align with members’ interests and needs.

The COLLABORATE 16 call for presentations closed recently. We’re very excited about the response. We received more than 1600 submissions. Some of the areas receiving the highest number of submissions are related to financial, business intelligence, application upgrades and cloud. There are a total of 17 educational tracks; we received a lot of submissions across all the tracks.

For more on the OAUG, go here, and for more about  the OAUG’s plans for COLLABORATE 16, go here.