Reflections on the UKOUG Applications’ Journey to Cloud 2017 by Andy Pieroux

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The recent UK Oracle User Group (UKOUG) Applications’ Journey to Cloud 2017 event, held on 8 March at the Holiday Inn Kensington, was a very enjoyable and brilliantly organised day. In addition to attending and listening to some of the impressive speakers, I had the privilege of presenting Walpole Partnership’s thoughts on Oracle CPQ Cloud, along with some winning strategies and approaches to implementation.

It was great that the event took place this year. Those of you who were booked onto the event last year on its original planned date know that it had to be cancelled due to the flooding of the venue, an act outside the control of the organising team. Last week, the UKOUG events team were wonderful on the day, and I must give special thanks to Emily and Emma who made sure everything ran so smoothly (which was of great comfort being a speaker!).

The venue itself was a great choice – good seminar rooms and it felt nicely contained and easy to navigate, with space to network and get refreshed at the appropriate times. Just right for this type of event.

The agenda was strong with good representation from most of the range of applications that Oracle provides. Insightful speakers with real world experience were plentiful and some of the sessions were standing room only a real tribute to the choice of topics, and a clear representation of the UKOUG members need for information and guidance.

I was particularly pleased to see the CX suite of apps given good airtime too. As our exposure to the world of Oracle has been via the acquisition in 2014 of BigMachines CPQ, I’ve sometimes felt that the traditional Oracle world of Tech databases and infrastructure can dominate similar events. As Oracle’s cloud and applications strategy evolves and becomes ever more significant, it is really important that the user groups coverage expands to cover all aspects effectively, and this event certainly managed that.

It was interesting for me to see the different challenges faced in the various parts of the Oracle user base. Coming from the perspective of a cloud-only application in CPQ, it’s not always easy to realise the challenges that companies who are just starting out on their cloud migration journey are facing. In many cases, the CPQ equivalent of on-premise systems is a collection of spreadsheets.

Personally, I now assume that a cloud approach is standard. For many others it requires a significant shift of mind-set. The panel session at the end of the day was excellent in this regard, and the speakers, Colm Gillard, Gary Patterson, Richard Bingham, Steve Davis and Tim Warner, gave really clear and strong guidance for the on-premise applications customers. The concept of staying close to standard functionality whether in HCM, ERP, CRM or CPQ becomes vital compared to the heavy customisation of on-premise applications in the past.

The many benefits of cloud naturally being on a leading edge platform, reduced costs of upgrades and maintenance, and simple scalability to name a few can be enormous, but it does require a shift of thinking. It is necessary to focus your efforts on the desired outcome of the systems and processes, more than the technology and the how you get there by customising your systems. This is a really key point that came out specifically in the panel debate, and one that we heartily subscribe to when talking to customers about CPQ Cloud.

Overall, it was great that these discussions and thought-provoking debates have a place to be held, and it was clear that the support is there for all Oracle’s users from Oracle themselves to the wonderful partners that I saw and met. The UKOUG plays a really important part in stimulating and facilitating these discussions, as well as opening their members eyes to newer technologies and platforms in the Oracle world.

Just to round off a wonderful day, we were also really proud to receive our award from UKOUG’s Kerry Stuart, as Silver CX Partner of the Year 2016. I look forward to the next UKOUG event (and the next award too!)

This post was written by Walpole Partnership’s MD, Andy Pieroux. 

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