Examining the ongoing challenges of delivering high-quality, value-added ERP services in Higher Education.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

HEUG Debrief

It has been three weeks now since I spent a few days in the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center for the Higher Education User Group (HEUG) Alliance '12 Conference. This conference brings together IT professionals from higher education customers of Oracle ERP systems for three days of information sharing, networking, and discussion. Hard to believe, but this was my fifth year attending (and presenting) although it seems like only yesterday I was a newbie (at MGM Grand that year...)

My organization is fortunate to have three members of the Product Advisory Groups (PAGs) to provide feedback and input to Oracle Corporation as they plan the future direction for various systems and modules. While my PAG reps arrived in Nashville on Thursday, I didn’t arrive until Sunday. By that time they almost knew their way around the “bio-dome” and helped me avoid getting totally lost! They also forged some strong relationships (I hope) with other institutions and made our wishes known to the powers that be in Oracle Product Management!

The Executive Forum was quite insightful this year. Michael Horn from the Innosight Institute, who co-wrote Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns with Clay Christensen and Curtis Johnson, was especially evocative in his discussion of the pressures on higher education and the notion of “disruptive innovation.” My favorite bit was “why did you hire that milkshake” – see here for more info… We also heard from Nicole Engelbert from Ovum regarding market trends and Tom Fisher from Oracle Cloud Services.

In the general sessions I was able to spend time learning about Oracle E-Business Suite, Fusion Applications, Oracle Hyperion EPM, and OBIEE. It is always insightful to learn how other institutions are using these applications. It was especially fun to see old friends from Harvard’s implementation of Hyperion Planning present about their progress at Berkeley! And Fusion Accounting Hub (including Essbase under the covers replacing GL Balances) was mighty intriguing... My own presentation (Oracle iProcurement) was sparsely attended but we fielded several good questions – not a tremendous success, but far from a failure.

Perhaps the brightest success of the week was that the E-Business Suite PAG -- generally a minority at the conference -- decided to call attention to itself by passing out Mardi Gras beads at the opening afternoon Mix and Mingle. The beads were quite popular and generated a lot of positive buzz. When HEUG President Ted Simpson strode on stage wearing a string of purple (or were they green?) beads the EBS folks went crazy!

In summary, an exhausting but valuable few days... Major kudos to HEUG leadership and the Alliance program committee for their hard work! I look forward to seeing everyone next year in Indianapolis!

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They also forged some strong relationships (I hope) with other institutions and made our wishes known to the powers that be in Oracle Product Management!


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