Hello, everyone. I'm Deborah Grant, Editor-at-Large for OATUG, and today I'm your host, along with James Lui, who is president of OATUG. I'm so glad to have you here, James.
So far, reflecting on 2022, what are your thoughts about what we have accomplished? What message do you have for OATUG members?
Thank you, Deborah. This has been not only a roller coaster ride of a year but a great way to exit what have been trying times. Luckily, with every gathering we've had with OATUG, we’ve become bigger, better, brighter, and more intelligent.
We've been working with our OATUG membership to ensure you all out there have someone along with you every step of your journey, along with these Oracle products.
We saw record attendance at Ascend 2022 – double the number of in-person attendees compared to 2021. Planning is underway for Ascend 2023, June 11-14, in Orlando.
Three focused education weeks provided in-depth information on Database Upgrades, Cloud EPM & Hyperion, and EBS Upgrades for hundreds of OATUG members. And Cloud ERP Week is coming up in November.
We welcomed many new members in 2022 and were pleased to welcome back some returning members whose business was sharply impacted by COVID over the past couple of years.
Our Geos are once again offering face-to-face meetings in 2022.
This year, we brought valuable insights and know-how to the OATUG community in more than 75 live webinars. And most are available on-demand in the Knowledge Base for OATUG members.
Also, this has been the year OATUG began to emerge with better ways to deliver the information to you. And that's our primary goal now, to develop new ways to reach all of you in the membership. We aim to make it easier for you to do your job and to give your management some idea of what to expect in the next five to ten years.
There are Oracle user groups around the world, and Oracle is a global company with products used in governments worldwide and in all different types of industries. What makes OATUG different?
Probably the idea that we've always ignored borders! Our borders have always been open to everybody who wants to listen and participate. We've never said we're the North American Oracle Application Users Group or the United States group. The reality is that we all share a common challenge, which is a complicated group of products. It's probably the most powerful one in the world. Unlike a one-size-fits-all solution, it has many sizes for every solution. So implementing something like Oracle can be as complicated as doing heart and brain surgery.
The knowledge gained over decades of this kind of experience teaches us how to help each other. It's like saying we've invented fire. Now what do we use it for?
You could burn down forests, but you can also warm a home. You can cook things on it. You can sterilize, you can melt things together.
I like the analogy of fire because, no doubt, technology can now be dangerous if not used properly. If users don’t understand security issues or identify the positive ways the technology is designed to save money and empower employees, they can actually harm their organizations, right?
Yes, and that’s why, affectionately, each of us who became good at Oracle started being called firefighters.
In other words, we can't just buy a license from Oracle and expect to understand all that is involved. And that's part of what created user groups.
Yes, I've been impressed by our members and how many different challenges they've faced, and how they've solved some major problems together.
You’re the Principal Information Technology Analyst at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which is a very big job. Water is super important in Southern California, as I happen to know, also having lived there for 20 years.
So how does Oracle play a part in your organization, and what's changed this past year? Have you noticed any significant shifts in terms of using Oracle yourself?
MWD was a very silent organization when I came on board, as it usually should have been over the last 100 years. We didn't have a water crisis. Now we're national news, if not international news.
We're providing guidance to places like Saudi Arabia and China. How do you get this water all over the place?
My organization had the foresight probably 15-20 years ago to know that we’d need flexible back-end systems that are powerful enough to move more than what we used to do then--such as just pumping water from a river over here and putting it in a big pool over here, and giving it to a family.
Now it involves figuring out where the sources are going to come from. How do you charge for those sources, and how do you pay for the sources? How do you redistribute water intelligently? We're looking at everything from machine language and AI to anything else available to help solve those problems, which we would not have seen 40 years ago.
Now everything has changed for us in almost any industry regarding choices that must be made. We have a playing field that is extremely wide, involving questions like, “How do you decide to run your application and which computer are you going to run it on?” to “Which operating system, what technology should be behind it?” “Where do I choose my subscription?” Or “No, I just want to use it as a service.”
You now have multiple choices. And because of that, Oracle has had to fight harder for our dollars. It also makes a big difference in how vendors respond to what you need the technology to do.
This is one of the neat dovetails between OATUG as a users group and the vendors that supply us. Solution providers will try to fix almost every challenge we give them while understanding that customers have limited resources.
Finally, tell us a little more about Ascend 2023, our annual conference coming up on June 11-14th at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, and what you hope attendees can gain by attending in person.
It will be a place to learn about how Oracle can work for you, a place to reconnect with your community and share real-life stories about your experiences. You’ll go back home with new knowledge. And of course, you can bring the whole family because there is so much for everyone to enjoy in Orlando.
It is always a pleasure to speak with you, and we appreciate your service as President of OATUG 2022. Thank you, James Lui, for your time today.