By David Baum
Implementing enterprise software is the first step toward ensuring an efficient, productive workforce. Making sure that users adopt the new software environment is the next step, and user group membership often plays an important role.
Oracle encourages user group membership as an essential part of maintaining an open dialogue between Oracle and its customers. Oracle has more than 420 unique user communities working within six well-established umbrella user groups such as the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), of which NATO is a member.
Jan Wagner, who serves as president of OAUG and works for NATO at the Allied Maritime Component Command Headquarters Northwood, believes that NATO’s participation in OAUG has helped accelerate the return on its software investments.
|1. Be active in one or more groups.|
2. Get involved with a special interest group that is part of a larger umbrella user group.
3. Work with a regional group.
4. Attend Oracle OpenWorld to network with like-minded users.
5. Provide input about products and request enhancements.
6. Seek out users with similar interests to gain visibility for issues of common concern.
For example, as NATO upgrades and centralizes its financial operations, compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) is an essential goal. Wagner says the valuable information he has gained on this topic through user group interactions has been highly beneficial as NATO contemplates rolling out the Centralized NATO Automated Financial System (CNAFS). “Hearing about IPSAS compliance issues at OAUG meetings assures me that we are following the correct path with our application,” says Wagner.
User groups also provide insight into Oracle’s company culture, vision, strategy, new technology, and areas of special interest. By interacting with like-minded people and sharing successes, user group members become better-informed customers and develop a unified voice with which to approach Oracle regarding application issues, from product support to the cost of running different platforms to industry-specific problems.
“Oracle user group members want to get the most out of what is undeniably a large, complex software investment,” says Wagner. “Attending Oracle user group meetings provides members opportunities for nonstop networking, a chance to meet product experts, and a way to gain information pertinent to a specific job or industry.”
Meanwhile, Oracle sees user groups as an important vehicle for acquiring the industry knowledge and expertise needed to develop its world-class solutions. “Networking with others using the same products, sharing best practices for implementation, influencing product direction, and socializing with people who share like interests can be critical factors in an organization’s successful use of Oracle products,” Wagner adds.
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