If you read Oracle blogs, you will probably have noticed a few lively debates about the Oracle ACE program. The announcement of the Oracle ACE Director category caused a bit of a stir, causing several people, including myself, to throw the toys out of the pram. I’m not totally sure what I want to say in this post, but I feel I need to say something, so here goes…
I was very flattered when I was nominated as an Oracle ACE. I’ve spent a lot of years writing about Oracle and it was nice to get a thank you from someone for my efforts. It was not something I expected, or really thought I was worthy of, but it felt good. I never considered it to be more than a pat on the back, but when I looked at the names of existing members it was a little daunting.
Worth to the community is a very difficult thing to judge. Some people have great technical skills, but quite a small readership, so they are not helping the wider audience, but they are raising the bar by which we all measure ourselves. Some people are less technical, but have a very wide readership, so they are helping to get the message out there. In my opinion, both of these groups of people have equal importance to the community, but service it in different ways.
I think we can also be a little myopic about the Oracle community, assuming it means the big names in the English speaking world. There are many large Oracle communities where English is not the first language. I don’t read articles or attend seminars in these regions, so I’m not in a position to “rate” these individuals and their contributions, but just because I can’t rate them doesn’t mean they have no value.
I think the Oracle community is still very database-centric, by which I mean value seems to be judged on the level of skill in the core database technologies. Oracle has moved on, so should we. My passion is still the database, but it is almost irrelevant to others, who could still arguably be called world leaders in their field, which is Oracle technology.
As for the Oracle ACE Director, it is now clear to me it’s just a pat on the back with some extra commitments. If people think it means more than that they are wrong.
I’m starting to bore myself now… 🙂
7 thoughts on “Oracle ACE Program…”
I agree with almost everything you say here, with one slight proviso.
I think the Oracle community is still very database-centric, by which I mean value seems to be judged on the level of skill in the core database technologies. Oracle has moved on, so should we.
If you’re referring to the likes of Fusion, then my beef there (which I’ve expressed consistently in a user group context) is that Oracle apps users, even including Siebel, Peoplesoft and the rest are a tiny fraction of the core technology users. So, purely in terms of numbers at the moment, I think core technology issues are more important to more people and a community is surely made up of it’s people? So if (and it’s a big if) you’re talking about Fusion then I’m not sure I do have to move on really because it has no effect on what I’m working on and other non-Apps users (the majority, remember) are in the same boat.
But, other than that there are lots of good points here that I agree with 😉
I wasn’t thinking of anything as broad as Fusion, which seems to be a euphemism for “anything other than the database”. There are skills and technologies, that relate to the database, but that I don’t consider core, like OLAP, BI, Spatial, and those that are totally separate, like the app servers and their related infrastructure elements. The ERP applications are a whole different ball game.
I’m happy to be an Oracle ACE and I’m also happy for other people that are oracle ACE too, and the last idea I would have would be asking to myself if these other people deserve the award more or less than me…
This award has been given to me by Oracle and they can change the rules as many times they want, because I do not have any “ego” problem with this 😉
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head at an angle and bent it a little. The non-core users are very numerous, they just haven’t been as active in the same online communities we have. This has long puzzled me on usenet, which I’ve half-rationalized by thinking there must just be some industry-wide thinking that people are expected to go to training, user groups, then go to their jobs and follow documented procedures. If there’s any problem, go through the DBA to get support. There may also be more specific vendor-sponsored online communities, perhaps we are just now seeing them with this ACE Director thing.
IOUG Las Vegas sure seemed to be majority non-core users. Personally I just looked at the core stuff and barely interacted with the others. Same with the last Open World I went to.
Hope I’m not misinterpreting what you said too much.
>> Hope I’m not misinterpreting what you said too much.
Not at all. Just to give a little more background, though … a year or two ago the UKOUG started to talk about Fusion a *lot*. Then I attended an Oracle presentation in Glasgow and it was all Fusion, Fusion, Fusion. Strangely, there was a slide in that presentation that showed that something like 10% of Oracle-licensed systems were using the various ERP apps. I simply question (and did at the time) why a community that amounts to 10% of a wider community (in terms of installations) should have such undue influence on the user group? A cynic might suggest it’s because that’s a growing area of business for Oracle, rather than a static part of the business that needs ongoing support too.
That’s what my bug-bear about Fusion is. It’s not about tools, BI, or anything else, but about eBusiness Suite, Peoplesoft, Siebel etc. and I definitely don’t mean it as “a euphemism for “anything other than the database”.” and I’m not aware that I’ve ever used it that way, although others might have. I’d rather see all parts of the community get involved, but I worry that the areas that Oracle are interested in growing might lead to my own, completely selfish, constituency being by-passed in future. That may seem touchy, but I’ve helped the user group out with presentations in my own time for years, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to care about the direction it might take.
Perhaps I should have made that clearer, though.
No cynicism about the growing part, Larry’s been more than clear that’s Oracle’s direction. The other 90% – how much of that is home-grown, how much other 3rd party apps? Since most of my work for more than ten years has been “other 3rd party apps,” I’ve wondered how skewed my viewpoint is.
Now that you mention it, I realize part of what put me off from Open World this year is all the Fusion hype – in the past, it was just sort of a new tech that didn’t really apply to me except as a “maybe in the future I’ll fall into that somehow, oh look at the pretty pictures” thing. On top of the 11g hype, now it’s just too much for me. Maybe if I didn’t have to pay… 🙂
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