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IOUG president dissects Oracle conferences at Collaborate 2015 event

IOUG President John Matelski answers questions about Oracle users attending the big conferences, like Collaborate 15, and the process of integrating users from Oracle's new acquisitions.

John Matelski is president of the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) and chief innovation and information officer for the government of DeKalb County in Georgia. At Collaborate 15, a conference held jointly in Las Vegas by Oracle's three primary user groups, SearchOracle spoke with Matelski on navigating the Collaborate 2015 event and the changing Oracle landscape.

In the interview, he discussed what it's like coming to Collaborate from the public sector instead of a corporate organization. Matelski also explained the big difference between Oracle OpenWorld and Collaborate and why he sends different people to each conference. And he talked about how the IOUG is handling the influx of newcomers who are users of Oracle's recently acquired products.

Most people who attend Collaborate are coming from a corporate background. What is your experience like coming to the conference from the public sector?

John MatelskiJohn Matelski

John Matelski: That's one of the reasons we in the public sector get involved in user group conferences: I don't have to worry about competition. I don't need to worry about the situation where Pepsi might not be able to present on best practices because Coke might be sitting in the same room and learn from it. I'm a government. If someone learns something from me, that's a good thing. It makes it easier for us to network and share best practices and lessons learned.

Collaborate and OpenWorld are the two biggest Oracle conferences happening right now. Where do you stand on the Collaborate vs. OpenWorld divide?

Matelski: OpenWorld is a good conference. It's actually complementary to this one. You typically go there for product roadmaps and strategies. Here, you come for that user-to-user experience. I'd go to Oracle OpenWorld to find out what's next and should I upgrade. Then I might come here and say [to other attendees], "Yes, I'm upgrading. What did you learn and how I can upgrade better and not recreate the same mistakes that you made?" Then they tell me how they overcame those mistakes.

That's the beauty [of the different events]. A lot of people are like, "Oh, you're competing." Honestly, we don't. I send people to both. It's just the type of person that's different. I'll have director-level or functional directors attend OpenWorld, whereas I'll have my DBAs, my developers and my application functional experts attend this conference. There's room for both from an organizational standpoint.

How are you, at the IOUG, handling all of Oracle's recent acquisitions from the user group standpoint?

Matelski: The challenge with a company like Oracle, and especially with all of the acquisitions it's doing -- in the last year, 120 acquisitions or something like that. So, you've got potentially 120 different ways of dealing with companies that have licensed or bought the products, and now you're trying to move that into an Oracle way. I think one of our biggest challenges is that as Oracle is making all of these acquisitions, a lot of the communities that come along with them tend to be virtual, or they may not be used to coming to an event like this where you pay and you're here for four or four-and-a-half days. Those are some of the things that the Collaborate community and the IOUG itself are looking at -- how to welcome in some of these new communities and provide them with services and events that either better match the way they're used to doing things or somehow complement how they've been doing things. Oracle can't incorporate everything and make it part of Oracle OpenWorld.

We're not looking to put that square peg into a round hole, but to see if we can help facilitate their entry into the Oracle ecosystem, either as a part of the IOUG or just providing them lessons learned and best practices, and we work with them to get them engaged in the system. We just want to make sure that all the communities that come on board are onboarded in a way that helps their community -- and to the extent that we engage with them, we bring in more value for our membership and they bring in more value for theirs.

Jessica Sirkin is associate site editor of SearchOracle. Email her at [email protected] and follow us on Twitter: @SearchOracle.

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