UK OUG Conference Highlights and Insights

As per my preemptive post, this was the first time the annual conference organized by the UK Oracle User Group (UKOUG) was split into two events, one for Oracle Applications and another in December for Oracle Technology. Apps13, as it was branded, was hailed as a success, with over 1000 registered attendees and three days of sessions, exhibition, round-tables and many other types of content. As this poster on their stand illustrates, the UKOUG is a strong community with popular participants from both big and small Oracle partners and customers.

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The venue was a more intimate setting than previous years also, allowing everyone to casually bump into those they hoped to. It gave a real feeling of an Apps Community. The main themes over the days where CRM and Customer Experience, HCM, and FIN/SCM. This allowed people to attend just one focused day if they wanted. In addition the Apps Transformation stream ran across all three days, offering insights, advice, and details on the newer product solutions like Fusion Applications.

 Here are some of the key take-aways I got from the conference, specific to my role in Fusion Applications Developer Relations:

  • User Experience continues to be a significant reason for adopting some of the newer application products available, with immediately obvious gains in user productivity and satisfaction reported by customers. Also this doesn't stop with the baked-in UX either, with their Design Patterns proving popular and indeed currently being extended to including things like extending on ADF mobile and customizing the Simplified UI. More on this to come from us soon.
  • The executive sessions emphasized the "it's a journey" phrase, illustrating that modern business applications are powered by technologies such as Cloud, Mobile, Social and Big Data and these can be harnessed to help propel your organization forward. Indeed the emphasis is away from the traditional vendor prescribed linear applications road map, and towards plotting a course based on business priorities supported by a broad range of integrated solutions. To help with this several conference sessions demoed the new "Applications Navigator" tool, developed in partnership with OUG members, which offers a visual framework to help organizations plan their Oracle Applications investments around business and technology imperatives. Initial reaction was positive, especially as customers do not need to decipher Oracle's huge product catalog and embeds the best blend of proven and integrated applications solutions. We'll share more on this when it is generally available.
  • Several sessions focused around explanations and interpretation of Oracle OpenWorld 2013, helping highlight the key Oracle Applications messages and directions. With a relative small percentage of conference attendees also at OpenWorld (from a show of hands) this was a popular way to distill the information available down into specific items of interest for the community. Please note the original OpenWorld 2013 content is still available for download but will not remain available forever (via the Oracle website OpenWorld Content Catalog > pick a session > see the PDF download).
  • With the release of E-Business Suite 12.2 the move to develop and deploy on the Fusion Middleware stack becomes a reality for many Oracle Applications customers. This coupled with recent E-Business Suite features such as the Integrated SOA Gateway and the E-Business Suite SDK for Java, illustrates how the gap between the technologies and techniques involved in extending E-Business Suite and Fusion Applications is quickly narrowing. We'll see this merging continue to evolve going forwards.
  • Getting started with Oracle Cloud Applications is actually easier than many customers expected, with a broad selection of both large and medium sized organizations explaining how they added new features to their existing Oracle Applications portfolios. New functionality available from Fusion HCM and CX are popular extensions that do not have to disrupt those core business services. Coexistence is the buzzword here, and the available integration is also simpler than many expected, commonly involving an initial setup data load, then regularly incremental synchronizations, often without a need for real-time constant communication between systems. With much of this pre-built already the implementation process is also quite rapid.
  • With most people dressed in suits, we wanted to get the conversations going without the traditional english reserve, so we decided to make ourselves a bit more obvious, as the photo below shows. This seemed to be quite successful and helped those interested identify and approach us. Keep a look out for similar again. In fact if you're in the UK there is an "Apps Transformation Day" planned by the UKOUG for the 19th March 2014, with more details to follow. Again something we'll be sure to participate in.

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I am hoping to attend the next half of the UKOUG annual conference, Tech13, that focuses more on Oracle technology and where there is more likely to be larger attendance of those interested in the lower-level aspects of applications customization and development. If you're going, let me know and maybe we can meet up.

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This blog offers news, tips and information for developers building extensions, customizations and integrations for Oracle Fusion Applications.

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