Cameron Lackpour, ODTUG Director
ODTUG has always been a collection of technical communities bound together by the Oracle brand and desire for knowledge sharing of product functionality and methodologies.
It has been ODTUG’s goal to consistently and evenly work with all of our communities. The former Hyperion SIG was a manifestation of community organization and direction, but it only applied to one part of ODTUG. The ODTUG communities and outreach initiatives are ODTUG’s new way to work directly with all members and Kscope attendees to fulfill our mission of outreach and education.
I’m both professionally and personally very excited by this change! The EPM community is pursuing very targeted goals that will change how ODTUG addresses education and how it communicates with members and the wider Oracle community outside of ODTUG. ODTUG is becoming more member-driven, including the direct member experience within Kscope, focusing on the entire ODTUG year. It’s a time of experimentation, innovation, and yes, some risk. I’m convinced ODTUG has assembled a team of volunteers who can pull off our ambitious agenda and is willing to give those volunteers the guidance and resources to succeed.
It’s important to understand how this works within ODTUG. As Board of Directors liaison to the EPM community, I keep the board informed of EPM community work, help justify budget requests, and make sure the EPM community goals coincide with the goals of the board. That’s it. The hard work is done by the volunteer leaders, and of course the volunteers they recruit to help them realize their goals.
Who are they?
- Sarah Zumbrum, the meetup lead and my right hand
- Jennifer Anderson, the social media and marketing lead
- Courtney Foster, EPM Monday night event lead
What is the EPM community trying to do?
1) Start five regional meetups across the world. ODTUG won’t own or brand them. Education and outreach (yes, we are a bit of a broken record on this) are the goals, and slapping an ODTUG logo on that mission is not important. What we do hope is that regional grassroots initiatives that benefit from ODTUG support in the form of speakers, organizational support, and a very small amount of money will make the ODTUG membership experience richer and drive more people in the EPM community to ODTUG. We’re not a regional meetup organization; meetups are not ODTUG. Both local groups and ODTUG are necessary to a healthy EPM community, and the meetup initiative can help grow both.
2) Create a combined social media marketing campaign that will knock your socks off. This includes:
a. A social media campaign to better publicize both what ODTUG is doing in the EPM community and act as the source for EPM information
b. A quarterly newsletter that contains unique and valuable information. You’re reading one of those articles right now.
c. A revitalized LinkedIn group
d. More and better EPM webinars
e. Recruiting EPM thought leaders as writers for the Technical Journal
3) An even better Monday Night Madness event at Kscope. If you think about what most EPM Kscope attendees experience at the conference, the Monday night party is really the single biggest EPM event outside of the Sunday symposium. It is one of the few places that all EPM attendees meet together in a relaxed atmosphere. While the Wednesday night event is an extravaganza, it is not only for EPMers and is less about deep networking and more about entertainment. The Monday night event is both focused for EPM and is a whole lot of fun!
There’s one other thing the ODTUG community initiatives have as a goal: growing the next generation of leaders. A volunteer organization needs new blood, new ideas, and new approaches to succeed. If the leaders of that organization do not change, it becomes ossified, backward-looking, and eventually dies.
But volunteer leadership is hard on several levels. The first is that it’s tough to find people to do the work. Sometimes ODTUG work is incredibly glamorous; other times it’s just a long, hard slog. Work goes faster when there are many hands, and it can sometimes be challenging to find people to do that work. New leaders bring their networks and contacts with them, all grist for the ODTUG volunteer mill.
Moving into a leadership position can be a difficult transition. Many ODTUG members are technologists first and leaders second. There is an art to the practice of leadership, and the only way to master it is to do it. I made the transition from leading exactly no one to being on the Board of Directors. It was a huge learning experience and I could have done better had there been a way to ramp up to that level of responsibility. I fully expect all of the volunteer leaders and the volunteers they have recruited in turn to eventually serve on the board of directors (given the lag between when this article is being written and the current elections, there may be several community volunteers who are on the board). The EPM community initiatives are the pipeline of ODTUG leadership.
Want to know more?
Read below for Sarah, Jennifer, and Courtney’s take on their initiatives. And keep reading this newsletter for updates on the EPM community’s progress.
You can also contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Zumbrum, EPM meetups
Earlier this year in late April, I received a phone call stating that the ODTUG Board of Directors decided that each of the tracks in the user group would be forming a community to better serve the members of ODTUG. I also found out the Hyperion Special Interest Group (of which I was the Secretary) would be disbanded in favor of the community model. I was very excited about the opportunity because I have seen other tracks in ODTUG perform at a high level when it came to support and communication. The EPM group was, well, behind. I had wanted to make my two or more years on the SIG board really count – I wanted to help us become a worldwide team, full of educational opportunities and instantaneous help via Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. With the disbandment, that was not going to happen. However, I fully believe a community model is the right direction. The ODTUG community model allows for more interaction with the Board of Directors, possible funding for community initiatives and, most importantly, for more volunteers to get involved in the production of the community. In order to have an “EPM Family,” the SIG Board had to go away.
I was asked to help lead a brand-new EPM Community. I was not naïve to think this would require an hour or so a month; I knew this effort would require a head-first dive into dreaming of what the EPM Community could be to the ODTUG community as a whole. In the beginning, Cameron Lackpour and I had almost weekly meetings about what opportunities we had, what our initial foci would be, and what people to engage. Fortunately for us, we had some people in the Leadership Group that we could utilize as well as volunteer signup lists from Kscope, all that to say that we were not starting from nothing. We had a foundation; we just had to figure out the best way to build the EPM Community house.
Some of you on the Kscope volunteer lists may be wondering when you will be called up for duty. I assure you that it will be soon! Please do not think we have forgotten about you and your desire to be involved. You see, we have strategically placed people in a few areas of focus right now. We narrowed down our “desires” list to a few main areas: better community marketing, quality quarterly newsletters, increased number of EPM Technical Journal articles, at least five new regional meetups, and maintaining dedication to Kscope 2015’s Monday Night Madness. Each of the leaders will speak about their area in their own words; mine is regional meetups.
Earlier this year with the support of ODTUG, I helped start the Raleigh Oracle Meetup. That is our temporary name, but it will be changing soon to something more exciting. In addition to the Research Triangle of North Carolina, we are also assisting North Texas, Southern California, Southern Florida, Hong Kong, and possibly another US city and one in Europe. As you can see, we are working to reach people where they live, to give them contacts and resources in their hometown, no matter where they are. If these meetups are successful, we hope to expand to more cities in the coming years.
One thing I like to remind myself when considering each of our leaders is this – we are all volunteers. This is important because each one of the leaders is dedicated to the community’s success and is giving up their free time to make this happen. What level of passion from EPMers! We are here to serve you. If you have a fantastic idea for building our community or want to get involved, please feel free to email me at SZumbrumWeb@gmail.com. We can always use more people to help strengthen the EPM Community!
Jennifer Anderson, social media and marketing
Earlier this year, I had the privilege as being accepted as a member of the ODTUG Leadership Training Class. Part of our project is to help our community grow. I’ve worked with the EPM products for a number of years and have many times referred to the ODTUG site for webinars and white papers as well as blogs by a number of members in the EPM Community. Those resources were able to help me grow in my position. What I’m hoping to do at ODTUG is help give back in return for all that I have received. I feel very fortunate that I can use my time to help this group. We’ve found that there are two ways we can help to grow this community.
The first way we’re going to grow the community is by increasing the amount of EPM content in the archives of the webinars and Technical Journal. We’re currently working with a number of people who have been kind enough to help add to our content. But we can always use more. We are getting content from a number of members of the community who have contributed in the past, but we’d also like to hear from some of you who might be new to writing or giving presentations for ODTUG. Please let me know if you’d like to contribute to either the webinars or the white papers. We’d love to have your help with this initiative. Also, if there’s some sort of content or topic you’d like to see but might not have the expertise, let me know and we’ll see if we can find someone who might be able to help us add the content.
Once we have the additional content we need, our goal is to make all of the members of the EPM Community aware that the resources are there for them to use. That is what makes up the second item in the social media and marketing initiative. If you’re a Twitter user, you may have noticed we’re using the #orclEPM hashtag when tweeting items related to the EPM Community. We’re busy tweeting about events and happenings in EPM and ODTUG. We are also retweeting relevant EPM information that may come from other sources such as Oracle, Oracle partners, blog posts, or any other helpful publications. We will also be utilizing other social media avenues such as Facebook and LinkedIn. If you haven’t already, please join our group in LinkedIn to get updates from our group. We will also be sending out a quarterly newsletter, which will include EPM Community news, local meetups, articles, and also some items from the Technical Journal.
This initiative is driven by our leaders and volunteers, and our hope is that it will make a difference in the accessibility, quality, and quantity of information from ODTUG and the EPM Community. In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to grow our social media presence and ask for help from all of you. If you are tweeting EPM-related information, don’t forget to use the #orclEPM hashtag. We will also be asking for assistance with content and other volunteer opportunities. If you’d like to help, please email me at email@example.com. This is your EPM Community, and we’re growing it for you!
Courtney Foster, EPM Monday night event
Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to... wait wrong event! While Halloween, Kscope15 abstract submission deadlines, and voting for the ODTUG Board of Directors (what do you mean I can only vote for four???!!!) are around the corner, other ghostly things are brewing. Kscope15 EPM Community Night planning is well underway! While I would enjoy seeing my fellow EPMers scream with fright at such nightmares as "Coding Gone Wrong,” the theme for Kscope15's EPM Community Night is no such fright! What is this year’s theme you might ask? You'll just have to hold tight to the edge of your seat or better yet jump up out of that seat and ask, "What can I do to help make an awesome Community Night?!"
I thought you'd never ask!! If you are interested in finding out what kind of jokers meet regularly to plan a fun filled evening for the ODTUG EPM Community, all you need do is send an email over to Courtney Foster (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are busy devising another evening of networking and fun; there is still much to be done before the bright lights shine on Hollywood, Florida, on June 22, 2015. So what are you waiting for? Reach out and become an active team player in the greatest user community group around!
Are you excited yet? You should be! Thanks to the work of these EPM community volunteers, ODTUG will become the catalyst for local user groups, ODTUG’s internal and external messaging will be ramped to the highest level, and Kscope15 will have an event that is uniquely EPM. I, for one, am very excited.
I have been around ODTUG since Kaleidoscope 2008 and have never seen the energy and enthusiasm that Sarah, Jennifer, and Courtney are bringing to our EPM community. You will see it, too, in the months to come.
Be seeing you.