February 7, 2022
How User Groups Enable Innovation and Agility in the Digital Age
By Jon Vaughn, CEO, Quest Oracle Community
Ever wonder how some companies seem to sail forward with their enterprise solution upgrades, migrations and extensions, smoothly dealing with the hiccups that come with all technology transitions? And why others grapple endlessly with one unexpected challenge after another? A word to the wise—one of the best resources for any technology-powered organization is an active customer user group. User groups remain a gold mine of insights, information and connections that help companies harness the power of their enterprise solutions to drive business returns more intelligently, quickly and successfully.
In this digital age, it’s fair to ask how user groups remain relevant to their members. Companies are moving en masse from on-premise to cloud-based solutions where new functionality is pushed out to all customers at once, instead of companies opting in for the next upgrade. Release notes and product manuals are online and software vendors have many ways to connect directly with their customers. Yet user communities persevere, not only surviving but thriving, thanks to the value delivered by the unbiased, unfiltered, peer-to-peer exchanges that occur spontaneously within user groups. Knowing this, perhaps the better question is: given the rate of change, volatility and complexity businesses face today, why would any organization try to go it alone?
The Quest Oracle Community was founded 25 years ago and now serves 25,000+ users of JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, Oracle Database & Technology, and Oracle Cloud Applications including Cloud ERP, SCM, EPM, HCM and CX. Well known for its user-designed, user-led conferences (including COLLABORATE, PeopleSoft RECONNECT, JD Edwards INFOCUS and now BLUEPRINT 4D) that connect Oracle customers, product teams and partners, Quest has long been a proponent of online learning and collaboration, embracing digital in its ability to connect the global Oracle community through blogs, webinars, digital events, special interest groups, digital forums, virtual conferences and a deep web library of white papers, articles and user-authored presentations.
“Quest is unique in its ability to connect Oracle users with other customers, the Oracle teams who build their product and the solutions providers who implement it,” says Josh Stauffer, Senior IT Director at Harbison Walker International and Oracle Cloud SCM customer. “The rapid rate of change that comes with cloud is a challenge, but through Quest we’ve met other customers ahead of us in the release cycle, picking up a ton of insight from their feedback and experiences that have helped us to better prepare and adapt more quickly to the updates that come with each release.”
“The opportunity to build relationships with other customers is invaluable,” agrees John Harvey, VP of Business Transformation and ERP Applications at Hanger, Inc., former Executive Director of Supply Team Transformation at Oracle and current Oracle ERP, HCM and EPM Cloud customer. “The shared knowledge helps everyone to learn from others, adopt best practices, leverage innovation and drive more quickly to business success.”
Effective customer user groups remain relevant, particularly in today’s digital age, because they deliver meaningful value in three key ways:
- Knowledge sharing User groups are where customers can ask questions, find answers, swap stories and learn from the product experts. From IT leaders and technologists to functional leads, tech teams and end users, Quest and other user groups like it create opportunities for knowledge sharing at all levels of an organization. Our members send their teams to Quest to build skills, increase knowledge and gain efficiencies, which in turn leads to more innovation and greater agility. After investing millions in their enterprise solutions, it’s simple math to make the case to invest in their people.
- Facilitating relationships User groups bring together the customers who use the product with the strategy teams who build the product and the partners who implement it. Members connect directly with product experts, industry innovators and technology leaders including early adopters of new technology, other companies on the same modules or release cycles, and solution providers developing industry best practices with their customers. Quest makes it easy for members to connect directly with Oracle product teams for the latest product info, roadmaps and functionality updates and many use these opportunities to build personal relationships with key Oracle contacts.
- Increased product satisfaction and business impact We hear it from our members all the time—Quest helps companies get more out of their Oracle products. In a recent survey, we found that 88% of business leaders reported that their team’s engagement with Quest significantly increased their company’s overall satisfaction with its Oracle products. And 85% of leaders said their involvement with Quest made them more likely to consider incremental investments in their current or other Oracle products.
Quest is where customers learn and connect. As the world goes digital, so have we, often in new and unexpected ways. But the feedback is clear—user groups remain relevant today, perhaps even more so as the pace of digital innovation increases and the shift to cloud continues unabated. As on Day 1, however, our mission remains the same—to bring users together to learn and connect, enabling knowledge sharing and facilitating relationships that help customers build skills, drive innovation, increase agility, and get more from their Oracle solutions.
Not yet a Quest member? Check out our website to learn more about our vibrant community of Oracle users. Basic membership is always free. Corporate memberships provide unlimited employee access to all five product communities and deep registration discounts for Quest events. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for BLUEPRINT 4D in June when the Quest community comes together in Las Vegas and online for 4 jam-packed days of information, insights and education!
Are you an Oracle Cloud ERP customer? Join Cloud Customer Connect to connect with Oracle product strategy teams and other customers. 85 percent of Oracle Cloud innovations come from customer suggestions—so sign up to contribute!