I am a little tardy in the posting of this blog - my excuse being that my own institution, the University of Glasgow, has been engaged in our Campus Solutions 9.2 and PeopleTools 8.55 upgrade over the last few weeks (plus the months of preparation...) - I'm pleased to say it was a success and we are now looking forward to the development of fluid self-service functionality for students and the adoption and roll out of some of the features and functionality we've watched many of you use to streamline your user experience across campus!
But with that safely 'in the bag' I can turn my attention to our upcoming Alliance conference in the spectacular State of Utah, and also to some exciting appointments within Oracle, the most notable of which is that Nicole Engelbert has recently joined Oracle in a new position of Vice President of Higher Education Development and as such the primary spokesperson for Oracle in higher education!
I would recommend that you read Vivian Wong's blog to hear the full story, but let me say that from the HEUG leadership perspective we think this is an inspired move by Oracle.
In her previous role as the Global Practice Leader for Ovum's Industry Technologies, many of us have consulted and used Nicole's research to inform and influence decision-making at our own institutions, and at the HEUG we have been fortunate to have Nicole speak at a number of our executive forum events at Alliance to an always-enthralled audience. Nicole has an almost unique perspective on higher education institutions and technology that is not restricted by organisational culture or governance, not driven by market share, sales or profit, but one that is based on research, facts and understanding of how these factors all interplay in our sector.
We are therefore excited and perhaps a little intrigued by this bold move but certainly we are looking forward to building on our strong relationships with both her and with Oracle in this new way. Nicole does a great job of explaining her motives and reasoning in this blog - why she joined Oracle and why now, and I would urge you to read how her insights into the industry and into the changing role of technology has somewhat determined her career path. Congratulations to both Nicole and to Oracle!
And so now to Alliance '18 in spectacular Utah - a state that is home to some of the most beautiful scenery that you can imagine. If ever there was a time to add personal vacation time onto an Alliance conference this might be the year to do it! But before you dream of the "100 things to do in Bryce National Park", or touring "5 in 5" (although with 100 things to do in one of them this doesn't seem possible...) let's look forward to the conference itself.
My top tips for getting the most from the conference:
1. Plan ahead - download the app and plan your agenda - do this now! Don't wait until you're at the airport?! Planning ahead not only ensures that you are organised for your information-packed 3-day learning bonanza, it also helps the conference team to ensure that the sessions are scheduled in rooms that are the right size for the expected audience.
2. Attend a community mingle on the opening Sunday - this is a great opportunity to meet the Advisory Group members who represent you in their discussions with Oracle strategists each month, but also a great opportunity to meet others in your community. The Advisory Groups do a great job in helping make introductions easy so if you are new to the HEUG, new to Alliance or just want to get the conference off to a great start these are sessions not to be missed.
3. Be prepared to share your experience and best practices - in casual conversation, in Q&A at the end of sessions, in BOF (Birds of a Feather) sessions, or even in Stop & Share sessions. The beauty and the value of the HEUG is in these exchanges...make sure you are part of it.
4. Tour the Exhibitor Hall - check out the solutions our vendor partners have to offer - the freebies are there to tempt you over to their booth but make sure you also stop and have a chat - don't think its all a sales pitch they are also interested to hear from you about your institution and the challenges you face - this helps them to design better products and services in the future! But take a freebie whilst you're there - they don't want to take them back home again!
5. Be prepared to ask questions - of presenters, of vendor partners, of other attendees and of the HEUG leadership (Advisory Groups and the Board of Directors) - you'll learn so much by being inquisitive!
6. Stay tuned to the communications coming out over the next few weeks - there'll be more information along with tips and tricks for successfully navigating the conference, the social events and the host city!
7. Last, but not least, if you see any of these members of the conference team as you move around the convention centre or the hotels, say hi and thank you - they have done a phenomenal job of putting all this together for you to enjoy!
See you in Salt Lake City!