OAUG divided over closer ties to Oracle

A sizeable minority of the group serving users of Oracle Corp.'s business applications has no interest in working with the software company on a trade show, according to a new survey. But the survey shows a majority of the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG) is at least open to the idea.

The survey results are coming to light just as the board of the independent organization is discussing possible collaboration on a joint trade event -- a thorny issue during the past 18 months for both Oracle and the Atlanta-based OAUG.

A recent OAUG survey of about 2,000 members showed that 33 percent of the membership didn't want to involve Oracle with OAUG events at all, although 67 percent of the respondents were open to exploring ways OAUG could collaborate with the company.

In addition, 92 percent of the OAUG voted to keep its semiannual user events independent, despite repeated offers from Oracle to fold the conference into its own AppsWorld event.

Although the survey results haven't yet been publicly released, they were made available to Computerworld on Thursday.

The OAUG, according to its president, Jeremy Young, has agreed to review papers being submitted for presentation at Oracle's AppsWorld next April. But that show "is managed and controlled by Oracle," he said.

Young also noted that the survey "indicates the value [the users] see in the independent conferences we run. We also see it as a continuing vote for the independence of the OAUG."

Even so, Oracle has indicated it views the upcoming April conference as a joint event. "We're delighted," said Mark Jarvis, the software vendor's chief marketing officer. "We always wanted to do a joint conference. It would benefit Oracle's users and be a benefit to the OAUG."

"I'd say we're proceeding cautiously," Young said. "Given the discussions that have happened over the course of the last year, we want to go a step at a time and see tangible results coming back." He cited as an example Oracle's recent agreement to extend the support date of its legacy 10.7 suite of business applications -- a request the OAUG had sought on behalf of a number of concerned users.

Among some of the items being discussed by the two groups is the possibility of an "OAUG Day" as part of AppsWorld.

Meanwhile, the OAUG plans to conduct its fall conference in San Diego next month.

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