The UK Oracle User Group (UKOUG) is set to raise its profile among C-level executives.
Its new president, David Warburton-Broadhurst (pictured), CIO at telematics systems provider Masternaut, told Computer Weekly he wanted to extend the user group to encompass the business challenges of using Oracle software, building on the group's traditional base in technical issues.
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Before being voted in as president on 25 April, Warburton-Broadhurst had been a member of UKOUG for seven years. He admitted he did not attend UKOUG events, which were focused predominantly on practical issues, but many of his staff did.
“When the chance came up this year to become a council member, I saw an opportunity to engage more with the user group,” he said.
“We already have a solid history in applications and Oracle technologies. I want to extend our appeal to C-level executives, because no one uses Oracle for the sake of it,” he added. To address this audience, Warburton-Broadhurst said the user group will develop a business strategy track within the user group to address the business challenges faced by CIOs and business leaders.
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In terms of a timetable, he said the UKOUG would establish a business strategy working group by next quarter. “By our end-of-year conference there will be sessions with a C-level focus,” he added.
Warburton-Broadhurst plans to invite Oracle to engage with users at a strategy level. “I want the UKOUG to build a relationship at a senior level with Oracle in the UK. We want to have a two-way conversation. We would like to understand Oracle's strategy and try to influence it,” he said.
Warburton-Broadhurst's vision for UKOUG reflects a shift in how Oracle and other major suppliers are selling software. They have always aimed to become strategic to their customers, but many CIOs have shied away from this, preferring best-of-breed systems. So while Oracle may have traditionally been their choice for the relational database, the applications for enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and other enterprise software could be purchased elsewhere.
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Warburton-Broadhurst believes cloud computing has changed supplier relationship management, such that it now makes sense to standardise on one supplier. “Lots of suppliers are jumping on the cloud computing bandwagon. It is far less risky today to go to one big supplier to buy all your [cloud] services, than use multiple suppliers.”
Oracle's strategy is based on the so-called Red Stack. It provides products to fit across all tiers of an IT architecture. Organisations buy specific components and use Oracle's preferred orchestration methodologies to potentially lower the cost of IT integration. The strategy encompasses server hardware and aims to bridge cloud and on-premise enterprise IT.