Oracle users in South Africa say availability lags

This year’s South Africa Oracle User Group (SAOUG) conference held at Sun City last week, aimed to meet the needs of the CIO, whose responsibilities, the user group says, are currently being redefined to transcend from functional to strategic roles.

With Meta Group Inc. invited to present keynote addresses on trends for CIO agendas, BI and value delivery, chairman of the SAOUG, Bryan Roestorf, said the user group is focusing on assisting CIOs to cope with current issues of security and governance. Several presentations also focused on project management and leadership.

Oracle Corp. South Africa’s MD, Kelvin Reynolds, said the focus on the CIO’s role in business processes was evident in the attendance of more business-orientated and less technical delegates, compared to previous years. “This reflects the changes in the SAOUG towards achieving a balance between technical and management skills, as well as focusing on issues of governance and risk taking,” he added. “There has to be a community initiative to bring the business, technical and BI disciplines together,” he continued.

One of the main achievements of this year’s conference, according to SAOUG, was to “put a face on Oracle”, by bringing in a greater number of the local Oracle management team. “This reflects Oracle’s efforts to communicate and make itself accessible to the community,” said Reynolds.

Due to Oracle’s recent affirmation of its commitment to Linux, the conference saw a huge focus on exploring whether Linux is ready and viable for the enterprise. “As Oracle we have publicly made our commitment to Linux. At the moment we will stick to the strategy of supporting the main brands such, as Red Hat and SuSe,” he added.

With regards to DBAs, while there were more presentations on data architecture, Oracle pledged its support for the developer community, with Reynolds commenting that there should be an increased number of developer-focused presentations. Reynolds said Oracle is shifting emphasis from data or information processing to information access and availability, and prevention of database failures through strategic information management.

Oracle users who attended the conference said they would like to see greater availability of Oracle products. “SA lags behind in how users obtain and use Oracle products for maximum value; although we are part of EMEA, we are still far removed from other parts of the world and international developments,” said Roestorf.

Roestorf added that holding conferences is becoming increasingly challenging, as more companies are holding independent conferences. “The fact that this year we have had a Futurex, METAmorphosis, Internetix, SAP, Microsoft and Gartner conferences to name a few, means there is higher competition for sponsorships and attendees,” he concluded.

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