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August 2014

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IOUG President John Matelski's Tips for a Great Oracle OpenWorld Experience

As president of the Independent Oracle User Group (IOUG), John Matelski is passionate about educating fellow DBAs and technologists. Matelski is also CIO and director of IT services for DeKalb County, Georgia, where he is charged with executive-level planning, decision-making, and policy formation.

Because he is also a long-term Oracle OpenWorld veteran, we asked Matelski to give us his tips for getting the most out of this year's event, which takes place in San Francisco, California from September 28 to October 2.

Q. What are the hot topics this year?
A. More and more, people understand that all roads, whether virtual or on premise, eventually lead to the database. With exploding data creation, that is more true than ever, especially as everyone figures out how not just to manage that data, but also how to extract business value from it.

Specifically, I think we are going to see lot of buzz around Oracle Database 12c, big data, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things. And considering the high-level data breaches in the last year, privacy and security are also going to be hot-button topics.

Q. Do you have any tips for first-time attendees?
A. First, schedule online. The earlier you register for sessions, the better chance you have of getting in. So as soon as I receive the conference booklet, I sit down and do some online planning. Watch for the online schedule builder tool coming in August. It doesn't just enable you to sign up for sessions, you can use it to really customize your whole Oracle OpenWorld experience to suit your own organization's needs.

Also don't miss the sessions where Oracle executives present product roadmaps—those presentations are incredibly valuable—and get face time. Oracle OpenWorld offers an amazing chance to meet with Oracle executives.

Q. With so much going on, how do you avoid becoming overwhelmed?
A. Plan activities in advance. Carry a water bottle with you. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Go in with an attitude that you have a four-day pass to a theme park powered by Oracle. Yes, it's an enormous conference, but don't be intimidated. Pace yourself, plan ahead, and—most important—network and have fun.

Q. Tell us your best networking experience during the many Oracle OpenWorlds you have attended.
A. Many times, I have found that networking has enabled me to solve specific challenges on the job—right there at the event. A perfect example was meeting with the Oracle Support team about an issue we were having. By meeting informally with Oracle Support executives and other IOUG members, we got the product fix we needed on the Oracle roadmap.

Q. What activities does the IOUG have planned this year?
A. First, everyone should come by the User Groups Pavilion, which will be in the central corridor of Moscone South. It's a great way to make connections with the community.

User Group Sunday is also a don't-miss experience. You get to attend deep-dive sessions with expert peers before the conference even begins.

And for a little fun, the IOUG is hosting an event at one of the fine local San Francisco pubs. For more details, just swing by the IOUG booth in Moscone South.

Learn more and register now for Oracle OpenWorld 2014.

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