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Oracle user group needs time to succeed

Oracle Application User group reveals plans for next year’s event, puts timeline for success

Oracle user group needs time to succeed
Mohammed Thameem Rizvon, group IT manager for retailer Kamal Osman Jamjoom.

Preparations are already underway for next year’s meeting of the Oracle Applications User Group (OAUG) – but the Middle East chapter admits that long-term success will be an uphill battle.

It’s going to take some time and set it up as a meaningful forum. I don’t expect it to become a vibrant community for at least one or two years. What we want to do is collect as many members as possible and generate as much enthusiasm and positive energy into it,” said the group’s chair, Mohammed Thameem Rizvon, group IT manager for retailer Kamal Osman Jamjoom.

The formation of the group was first announced in April at its first official meeting, Connection Point 2009, at Dubai’s Dhow Palace Hotel, which drew a crowd of over 100 attendees. At present, OAUG’s confirmed membership stands at six members, split evenly amongst end-users and system integrators. The total may seem low, and Rizvon explains why, in spite of the obvious benefits, it’s been difficult to sign up new members.

“We want more CIOs to come in. Everybody’s interested, but it’s difficult [to convert interest into action]. It’s not about cost, it’s about committing time and energy to it. Everybody’s interested, everybody feels that it is a very strong requirement in this region where the user group has to contribute strongly. But every CIO, apart from the current state where they are busy with things, they are also part of other forums, so they are not able to dedicate time to it. Ideally, we’re talking about at least a couple of hours a month,” he says.

The key element in making OAUG a success, Rizvon says, is making sure that events like Connection Point keep regularly occurring. To that end, he’s already busy organising next year’s event to be held in February, although a location has not yet been locked down, and long-term, the event may even shift from the UAE altogether.

Interestingly, it’s been named Connection Point Dubai – we may look at changing it in the future but probably for the next five years or so, we’ll continue doing it in Dubai. We’re planning to do it at the end of February, 2010, which will probably be a two day event. The venue is still under discussion. Dhow Palace is a probable venue. We’re also looking at the Marriott and a couple of other places also,” he reveals.

Rivzon also defended the decision to make OAUG a paid event, unlike certain other user group meetings: “It’s not like SUGAR or SAP MENA. It has to be paid. We feel that there is a dearth of events here, though Dubai is probably the place which has been spoilt. Events have been held in the Atlantis and Burj Al Arab and people attend without paying anything. We wanted people to pay, because we want people to be committed and take it seriously and we also want to give them value back.”

For more, look to the September issue of Arabian Computer News for a full report on the state of the Middle East’s first fledgling Oracle user group. 

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