New kid on the block

The Middle East's first Oracle application user group has been held in Dubai, complete with Oracle big-wigs and a slew of end-users, but it was Oracle's pledge to continue investing in the region that stole the show. ACN reports on the debut at the Dhow Palace in Dubai.

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By  ACN Published  May 2, 2009

The Middle East's first Oracle application user group has been held in Dubai, complete with Oracle big-wigs and a slew of end-users, but it was Oracle's pledge to continue investing in the region that stole the show. ACN reports on the debut at the Dhow Palace in Dubai.

The Connection Point conference, a gathering of Oracle end-users from the Middle East and Africa, has been held for the first time in Dubai. The event serves as the Oracle User Application Group's (OAUG) first foray into the region and is a completely user-driven event.

Husam Dajani, vice president and MD of Oracle MEA used the opportunity to pledge the company's continued commitment to the Middle East and Africa during his keynote address.

"What I can tell you is, considering what is happening with the economy, we are continuing to invest in this part of the world. We are not bringing down our level of investment or anything, we believe in this market and we believe that this market is continuing to grow regardless of what happens with the economy," he said.

Dajani also points out that Oracle feels there is a lot that can be done with IT and the biggest factor that stops people from growing is the availability of people and resources.

"When the market was booming, one of the things that we suffered here was that it was very difficult to get people to come and immigrate to this part of the world because the costs were extremely high elsewhere. If you consider that India is only a couple of hour's flight from here, it was actually quite difficult even to get resources from the closest supplier, which is India," he adds.

According to Dajani, the one thing which can be taken positively from the current state of the economy for information technology is that there are now resources and good people readily available.

"I hope that in future years we will see a much bigger audience and much more coverage of different topics and contribution from people in this region. Oracle has been present in this region for a little more than 22 years, so we have been around for a while, and I think that we can say that we helped shape the IT industry in this part of the world," claimed Dajani.

"Those of you who lived in Dubai, in this part of the world, and those that are visiting I think that you will notice that we love to dream and we love to make things that will get into the Guiness Book of Records," he adds.

The OAUG get-together comes a few weeks after long-time rival SAP held its own user group gathering, the SAP User Group Middle East and North Africa (SUG-MENA) in Bahrain, which was the largest event the German-based company has held in the region.

Mohammed Thameem Rizvon, group IT manager of Kamal Osman Jamjoom, spearheaded the creation of the local OAUG and believes Connection Point differs significantly to SAP's iteration of the event.

"SUG-MENA is an initiative where SAP gets involved directly - though I am not very clued up on it - from my understanding SAP runs it," he says.

Rizvon believes that Oracle's user group is at a very strong advantage because it remains independent.

"We define our own agenda and of course Oracle is part of the initiative and they support it, but our objective is to always remain independent," explains Rizvon.

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