IT Innovation | July 14, 2015

Best Practices Shine at EMEA User Group Leader Summit

By: Guest Author


User groups are the voice of the customer and provide
priceless insight that informs our strategies. In addition to Oracle’s ongoing
interaction with user groups across the globe, we convene annual summits of user
group leaders in each global region designed to capture concentrated feedback
and explore new initiatives.

Last month, 40 user group leaders from 27 countries spanning
Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) gathered in Lisbon, Portugal, to
share their experiences with Oracle solutions and best practices, and
discuss how they’re leveraging the cloud, Internet of Things, big data and
engineered systems to advance their enterprises. Participants also collaborated
about how to attract the next generation of IT and business professionals to
their communities.

The leaders attending represented over 75,000 individual
members ‒ almost half of the 200,000 Oracle user group members across
EMEA, a community that continues to grow each year. The summit followed a
similar event in Asia Pacific held in May and preceded Oracle World
Brazil, where leaders of all Latin American User Groups met with Oracle in

“The Internet of Things and User Groups – Are We There
Yet?,” which featured Antonio Murta, Digital Champion Portugal for the European
Commission, was a highlight of the event. Antonio discussed his vision for a
time when companies like Inditex (parent of Zara and other brands) will
not only tag clothing for store inventory but for beyond the shop door too – to
the point where one can interrogate a shirt to ask where it comes from. He also explored the future ramifications of the
“digital divide,” which continues to grow as wealth and knowledge are
increasingly concentrated.

Other popular summit programs included:

  • Generation Y and Z are Your New Members ‒ a panel that presented strategies for attracting
    and engaging younger user group members
  • Harnessing
    Advocacy Throughout User Groups ‒ a lively discussion about how user groups can
    use social media to extend their reach and effectiveness
  • User Group Cloud Adoption & Best Practices ‒ a panel presentation that explored
    the many options of hybrid cloud that many users’ companies have adopted.
    Panelists highlighted best practices and things to watch for.

The event also promoted the “Are You a Member Yet?”
campaign, an initiative supported by Oracle to help user groups continue to
grow their ranks. The program supports
innovative user group initiatives to grow membership.

For example, the Spain Oracle Users Group (SPOUG) has
defined a horizontal community to provide best practices on migrating to the
cloud and adapting to new technologies. SPOUG’s cloud community blog has become
one of the group’s most popular forums, hosting more than 200 visitors and discussions
a month. SPOUG also has a digital magazine supported by Oracle, addressing
topics such as whether one should upgrade to a new release of on-premise
or move to the cloud, and best practices for making the move. 

The Danish Java Users group (Javagruppen), is pursuing a different approach to
membership development. Its “Bring Your Own Teenager” initiative is a fun event
where members and their children spend a day using Lego Mindstorms to build
robots and learning Mine Craft modeling. The successful and popular program
also features Raspberry Pi computers, dials displays and sensors - all
using Java. In the future, the Danish
group intends to provide free membership to universities. Once students
have their diploma and enter the industry, they will receive a one-year
free membership – encouraging them to get involved and engaged from the
start of their career.

Future-proofing membership is also on the agenda of the
Higher Education Oracle Users Group (HEUG), which represents 1,000 institutions
globally. The group's initiative focuses on developing the next generation
of HEUG leaders. The group also has a reverse mentoring program designed
to inform current leaders about what younger members want from their user group
and how the organization can adapt to maintain that relevance.

Oracle user group communities continue to thrive around the globe. It’s
exciting to see the many innovative programs being launched to expand their
ranks and deliver continuous value to members. Are you a user group member yet? Visit this
site the find the right one near