As long time readers will know, every year we attend the UK Oracle User Group conference. As the largest gathering of Oracle professionals outside the USA, it's a great opportunity (local to me) to meet people and discuss ideas, thoughts and plans. Again this year it ran in Birmingham and with the Applications specific stream (aka Apps17) alongside the Technology stream (aka Tech17), it allowed attendees to dip into both as they see fit.
Applications sessions were split into the following categories and you can view the three day agendas here.
Similarly you could identify yourself as being part of a particular community using the free badges provided, as illustrated by the photo below. These were a useful ice-breaker when networking during the session breaks in the exhibition hall (the adjacent photo).
One phrase I heard a few times was that the move to Cloud Applications is an "exercise in Change Management" - meaning the optimization of existing business processes to meet the best practice standards baked into Cloud Applications. This harmonized nicely with my session related to trying to move customizations to the cloud. Here I share a simple methodology in approaching this challenge filled with common sense practices to help drive success. You can download the slides here.
My second session was related to integration with Oracle Cloud Applications, a topic of much interest for Applications customers with heavily integrated existing systems. Indeed one attendee explained in the session they have over 300 integration's from their E-Business Suite ERP system. My session went thought the different options, with a particular focus on explaning the web-service based integration - but only after pre-built opportunities are considered. Again a focus on simplicity and a common-sense approach here. Use this link to download this sessions slides.
In addition we led two round-tables which we found well attended and lead to interesting group discussions. What was interesting was the mix of Oracle Partner / SI particpants and end users - something that brought input from multiple perspectives. As an Oracle Employee I found this very valuable and came away with lots of ideas of things we could do to help.
Excitement around new technologies actually spilled over from the Technology stream into some of the Applications stream too, which was great to see. This seemed to suggest both the increased maturity of the technologies involved as well as the speed of adoption thanks to Cloud delivery.
For example our colleague David Haimes from the Cloud Financials development team did a session on Blockchain and how this may fit into Oracle Applications of the future. You can read more about this from his blog here.
Another session I enjoyed was Lucas Jellema's interesting demo of using Twitter (to illustrate a point) and then Apache Kafka as the event-driven integration platform. This is a common requirement for Applications customers and the use of Kafka is something Oracle is behind in many of it's new platform services, such as the Oracle Event Hub.
Machine learning was also strongly represented, with a real Application examples driven from technologists such as Oracle's Grant Ronald in his sessions related to Chatbots in the CX world. Read more about these fascinating opportunities and see demos here and here.
The UKOUG are hosting an Oracle Cloud Applications event day in London during April 2018. We'll be there and hopefully get a speaking slot. If you're local the Call for Papers is open now (Dec 2017) and we'd certainly welcome any ideas for topics you'd like us to cover too.