How to get the most out of Alliance!

I have been a part of HEUG and attending Alliance since 2009 when OHIO University selected PeopleSoft as our new student information system.  My first Alliance was so overwhelming.  I was new to the product and did not know what to expect.  I knew I had a ton to learn and was eager to absorb as much as I could.  That initial conference taught me so much --- I learned about the system, the pros and cons of integrations/modifications, the daily issues folks encounter, and most of all, I met dozens of wonderful people that were willing to assist a “newbie”.

Over the course of the last decade, I have gone from that “newbie” to a member of the Student Financials Advisory Committee.  Obviously, that transition did not happen overnight and there were lots steps in between.  The first half of the last decade was spent absorbing as much as possible and being scared to even speak out loud with fear that my knowledge was not to a point of being able to share.  In the last five years, I got brave!  I started sharing what I knew.  For those that know me, you probably are shocked that I would be scared to share, but I was.  Even though I am brave to share now, that doesn’t mean I know everything.  I continue to learn something new each year at Alliance – new functionality, a different way to approach an issue, or learn why they system acts as it does sometimes.    

With the planning of Alliance 2020 going on now, I thought it was a good time to share all the ways to get involved during an Alliance Conference:

  • Community Mingle (First Session on Sunday) – Your first opportunity at the conference to meet the Advisory Group members and fellow Student Financial functional/technical community members.
  • Birds of a Feather – A conference session where attendees have a chance to ask questions of the SF community and get answers immediately (or get pointed in the right direction to get an answer).
  • Stop and Shares – If you have a topic that has perplexed you or your institution or wasn't covered in a formal session, create a Stop and Share topic. Meet your peers to discuss, brainstorm with your peers, make new contacts and learn what others have done to reach a solution.
  • Meet the Experts – This is an opportunity to speak directly with Oracle strategists and developers.
  • Break times – Grab a drink/snack and chat with fellow attendees.
  • Exhibitor Hall – Take an opportunity to visit with vendor partners.
  • Presentations –Alliance is nothing without the presentations. Attend as many presentations as possible – within your area of concentration and not.  In addition to attending, I would also encourage you to think about sharing your knowledge with the SF community.

Come with questions!  I always have my list of questions with me.  It is the best time to ask – you have a captive audience. 

If you are unable to attend Alliance, the presentations are uploaded to the HEUG website.  Prior year presentations are available online at https://www.heug.org/page/past-and-future-alliance-conferences .  You are able to download the PowerPoint presentation and/or the audio version to listen to.

Another great way to get involved is to participate in the HEUG online Forum (or as I call it, the Listserv).  The SF Listserv is one of the best places to research a problem – someone may have had the same issue and there may be solutions documents.  If you don’t find your answer, pose the question to the community.

Get to know others.  Share what you know.  Ask questions of others. There are lots of options and opportunities to learn and participate. 

Kim Trout

HEUG Student Financials Advisory Group, Communications

Associate Bursar, Office of the Bursar

Ohio University

troutk@ohio.edu

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