In the Field

Learning Circle, Part 1

President Alyssa Johnson talks about OAUG’s evolving mission and commitment to innovation through community.

By Carol Hildebrand

July/August 2014

As Alyssa Johnson takes over the reins at Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), she draws on more than 10 years of user group participation to refine the community’s mission of connection, education, and innovation. Oracle Magazine recently sat down with Johnson to talk about her history with Oracle technology, the mission of OAUG, and collaboration.

Oracle Magazine: How did you get started with Oracle technology?

Johnson: I got started in technology almost 30 years ago in software development in the scientific field. I took a break from that part of my life to concentrate on family, and when the time was right, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to go back into technology. It was then that I first focused on Oracle and on the functional side of applications. I was part of a Release 12 team for Oracle E-Business Suite, and we really invested a lot of time in understanding and implementing the many features in Release 12, specifically around the financials product family.

Oracle Magazine: And that eventually led you to OAUG?

Johnson: Exactly. I began leading learning sessions and regional workshops, which led to giving presentations at COLLABORATE. For me, it was about giving back to the OAUG community, because when I first started working in Oracle technology, I leveraged a lot of the education that was provided by OAUG through resources such as OAUG eLearning and the Conference Paper Database.

I currently serve on the OAUG Board of Directors, and I served as president-elect last year. And because I worked very closely with Margaret Wright [Johnson’s predecessor], I will be able to continue with the vision and the strategy that she and the board had.

Oracle Magazine: Will you give a little perspective on that vision?

Johnson: The mission of OAUG is to enhance the return on investment in Oracle Applications for its members by building a global knowledgebase of information. We do that through education and personal development; through unique networking opportunities; and through established channels for communicating with and advocating to Oracle, such as the OAUG Customer Support Council.

As president, one of my focus areas is finding innovative ways to improve the benefits we currently provide. For example, in the past our Conference Paper Database has not been easy to use. But we just released a version that is highly searchable and easy to use.

Another area that I—and the entire board—want to focus on is increased member involvement. We want to challenge each one of our members to be more involved this year than last year. You don’t have to run for president of OAUG, but take a look to see where your involvement helps you learn. If you didn’t participate in any of our OAUG eLearning events last year, join us this year. Or read an article in our OAUG Insight magazine. Or maybe you’d like to come to COLLABORATE. We want to better communicate to our membership about opportunities and encourage them to be more involved.

Oracle Magazine: Speaking of COLLABORATE, tell us about that event.

Johnson: COLLABORATE is interesting, because the different user groups [OAUG; Independent Oracle Users Group, or IOUG; and Quest] have different needs. But at the core, all the groups are still about member education, facilitating networking, and communicating with Oracle. I think there were 1,900 COLLABORATE 2014 paper submissions just for OAUG. After completing the presentation selection process, there were more than 1,400 sessions across all three user groups. And with almost 200 partners involved, the exhibitor showcase was fantastic. One thing we did a little differently in 2014 was restructuring the Oracle Meet the Experts session to give attendees the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the experts on certain topics. And we debuted the new COLLABORATE mobile application, which lets people network with fellow attendees right on the app and search on different and trending topics.

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Photography byJoshua Hoehne,Unsplash