By ChristinaColunga-Oracle on Jul 14, 2015
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 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 you.