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President's Perspective

President's Perspective

Leading through Change & Uncertainty

By Bill Dunham, President, OATUG

Leadership is rarely an easy path. It requires a willingness to try new things – or try old things in new ways – in the face of uncertainty, criticism and scrutiny. It requires an assessment of risk and a willingness to assume responsibility for judging the appropriate level of risk to be taken. It requires casting a vision of what’s possible and inspiring others to join the journey.

Each of us, in our ways in our own lives, have faced those challenges of leadership in the last year. Some of us have led at work. Some of us have led at home. Some of us have led as school board members, city council members, or just as engaged citizens. I’d bet most of us have been pushed beyond our comfort zone with decisions that required us to assess risk for ourselves and for others, and we’ve done it with imperfect information and unclear outcomes.

Through the face of all of that, we led on.

I’m proud to say that’s what we’re doing at OATUG. As the first Oracle user group, we have forged new paths before. This year, we are doing it again with the launch of Ascend 2021. There we will invite those who are ready to meet again – in person – for education, conversations and connections that have the potential to accelerate business progress and profitability for all who attend. We will build there on our long legacy of outstanding education and energizing, impactful events. It will be different – as it has to be – but it will also be refreshingly familiar in the ways that matter most. If you’re ready, we are.

For those who aren’t yet ready or able to meet in person, Ascend 2021 will be the Oracle community’s first hybrid event – a conference that invites both in-person and remote participation. This is a new approach that I suspect is here to stay. Undoubtedly, we will get better and better at it over time, and we and other user groups will learn from what goes well and what doesn’t at Ascend. But someone has to go first, and OATUG is proud to be leading the way again – this time with the Oracle HCM Users Group, our partners in the production of Ascend.

Ascend is all about positioning the Oracle user community – you --  to lead organizations, teams and projects forward from a position of greater strength and greater certainty in areas like:

  • Addressing the vast complexities of deciding whether and when to upgrade Oracle on prem applications and databases. While the year-end conclusion of premier support for EBS is certainly a critical consideration, it is still an enormously complex decision that requires consideration of costs, business needs, integrations, customizations, bandwidth, potential partners and more.
  • Taking advantage of new technologies and cloud-hosting options. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has grown leaps and bounds in the last two years as a compelling alternative to further investments in on-prem hardware and to its larger cloud competitors. (If you haven’t looked at OCI lately, you should.) But whether OCI, Azure, AWS or another option, evaluating the potential savings and scalability of cloud infrastructure is an imperative most of us need to address sooner than later. (It evolves constantly, too, so this requires frequent fresh looks.)
  • Capitalizing fully on investments in Oracle Cloud applications. Quarterly patches and updates bring challenges and opportunities with new features and functionality that require evaluation, implementation and then adoption. How are others managing this? What do others see as the must-do’s and the must-not’s? This is relatively new territory for everyone, which makes it a fertile field for exchanging insights and experiences. In fact, we are planning a special event-within-the-event for Oracle Cloud customers to facilitate this exchange and accelerate progress by amplifying issues that emerge to Oracle on your behalf.
  • Navigating increasingly complicated team and workforce dynamics, with changing roles, work styles and expectations. So many things have changed about the way we work, communicate and collaborate in the last 12 months. Professional development and attention to soft skills is arguably more important than ever – whatever your career stage. In the face of the “regular work” that’s kept us all busier than we ever thought we could manage, it’s near impossible to make time for leadership and management skills development. My hope is that everyone who steps away to invest in themselves at Ascend will also find at least one hour to invest in the professional development sessions offered there – or to connect with peers or mentors who can serve as trusted sounding boards.

Ours is a community of leaders and of learners. It’s a true honor to be leading this group in 2021 and to be charting the way forward together.

Ascend 2021

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Bill Dunham

Bill Dunham

President, OATUG

Bill Dunham is president of OATUG and principal of Oracle Applications & Technology Consulting (OATC).