By Stan Jakubik
In my last few columns, I’ve talked about the importance of collaboration in the user group community. But truth be told, I like competition, too. Competition works. Competition makes me better at what I do. Competition gets the juices flowing and the creativity moving. Competition is good.
So how does that square with everything I have said before about cooperation; about working together for a common good; about sharing, educating, and networking? How can you compete and still cooperate?
At the recent COLLABORATE 10 conference, user organizations that might be viewed as competing for members joined together to put on an extraordinary event for the community at large. It was called “Fusion Architecture: Soup to Nuts” and was a great collection of knowledge, resources, and talent.
Instead of presenting a single look at Oracle Fusion architecture, the organizations that make up the International Oracle Users Group Community (IOUC) created a daylong opportunity for the multiple organizations IOUC represents to share their unique perspectives. The Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), Quest International Users Group, Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG), Higher Education User Group (HEUG), and Oracle Development Tools User Group (ODTUG) developed a program that looked at Oracle Fusion architecture from all sides.
Led in its efforts by Floyd Teter, executive vice president of OAUG, this team of user groups worked for months to collect everything we know about Oracle Fusion architecture and how that architecture will affect us all over the next few years. Participants analyzed Oracle Database, development tools, middleware, applications, and overall usability framework. Each organization offered up its best people, its best thinking, and its best experiences to the effort. Oracle brought in experts in Oracle Fusion architecture, Oracle Application Integration Architecture, and usability to lead workshops. Competition? Sure. Cooperation? Absolutely.
The result was so successful that the organizations expect to use the same approach with future topics, helping all user group members to benefit from our combined experiences.
And why didn’t we do this before? Well, sometimes it just takes the right combination of leadership, personality, and willingness to see beyond the tunnel. It takes competitors putting in check the very competition that makes them good at what they do—a bit of “check your ego at the door” goes a long way.
And rather than fearing the combined strength of unified user groups, Oracle leaders helped the groups to form these new connections. Oracle created IOUC and the forum for leaders of these groups to integrate into a worldwide coalition of Oracle clients. Rocky sometimes, sure—but definitely productive.
If you want to join us in something important, learn more about IOUC at iouc.org. From there you can locate hundreds of user groups, big annual conferences, and smaller specialized conferences. Beyond these, get involved in weekly events, regional meetings, learning experiences, Webinars, and a host of other opportunities presented by these groups around the world. By bringing together these competing forces, we can “soup to nuts” all kinds of enterprise IT challenges.
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