In the Field

Building the Knowledgebase

IOUG survey results drive the user group agenda, affect product development, and inform the wider public.

By Andy Flower

January/February 2012

The most valuable benefit that members of the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) share is our collective knowledge about our industries, technology, and Oracle products. It is why IOUG exists, and it is why people come to our conferences, read our periodicals, and attend our online or in-person seminars.

This benefit is not confined to the IOUG community: increasingly, IOUG members’ opinions and insights into many of today’s challenges are sought after and referenced by individuals and groups outside of our user group. The next time you see a presentation from Oracle on how it is addressing security, data warehousing, business intelligence, cloud computing, or big data, for example, look for the IOUG logo. In such presentations, the problem the technology solves is framed in introductory slides that show trends in the technology and what customers are saying about their current challenges—and it’s there that you will often see data from IOUG surveys.

IOUG is proud that our membership’s opinions are valued, not only by those outside of our community but also by Oracle specifically. This is how we directly, proactively, and positively have an impact on solutions to some of our technology challenges. In fact, Oracle and other vendors have been so interested in our surveys that they are increasingly eager to participate in them with a few targeted questions of their own. IOUG and Unisphere Media, the firm used to execute and manage IOUG surveys, maintain control of the overall direction and content of the surveys. Yet having other vendors voice genuine interest in our members’ opinions is part of the advocacy mission of IOUG.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the surveys help shape this column, because what is important to our members has a high probability of being important to the readers of this magazine. The surveys also direct the strategy of IOUG. Our annual review of IOUG programs evaluates the information from these surveys so that we can ensure critical, topical programs and educational events are appropriately funded.

One of our most recent surveys, The Petabyte Challenge, focused on the explosion of data managed by organizations. Not only do we need to manage all of this data from a physical perspective (that is, how do we effectively store and retrieve this much data?), but we also need to get value out of this big data store through analytics and business intelligence. The following nuggets of information from The Petabyte Challenge survey are some that I found interesting. Each finding is followed by the corresponding question IOUG membership should help to answer.

Survey finding: 30 percent of organizations have seen data grow at an annual rate of more than 25 percent, with 10 percent seeing greater than 50 percent growth. 27 percent of respondents currently have more than 100 TB of data. Nearly 1 out of 10 sites now has data stores in the petabyte range.

IOUG assignment: The more data we have, the faster it grows. How do we manage this explosion?

Survey finding: Data warehousing and business intelligence, online requirements for data, and business protection and compliance account for a majority of the data growth.

IOUG assignment: A diversity of factors drives this data growth, implying that there must be more than one approach to managing it. What are the best strategies for managing the factors driving your growth?

Survey finding: Having multiple copies of data, in addition to production data, also drives growth. Nearly half of the respondents have three to five copies of their data, and 71 percent maintain all their data in-house.

IOUG assignment: Most organizations are throwing hardware at the data-growth challenge, with some implementing directed archiving strategies. But what about a fundamental rethinking of how data is managed?

The IOUG assignments above are just some of the issues our members will be focusing on in the future, with the goal of providing solutions, recommendations, and direction to add to IOUG’s collective knowledge.

What can you do to take advantage of this IOUG knowledgebase or to add to it? Download the executive summary of our surveys from the IOUG Website ( (IOUG members can download the complete surveys.) More importantly, you should join the conversation with your peers at IOUG and share your solutions with them, and learn from what other members are doing. Become an IOUG member and add your voice to a chorus to which industry insiders are increasingly listening.

Next Steps

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Photography by Gian, Unsplash