In the age of crowdsourcing, Google, and social media, starting a user group seems to be a trend gone by the wayside. But for one tech giant and its customers, user groups and participation are not only encouraged but thriving. In late 2016, a group of twelve Oracle Commerce customers and solution providers partnered with Oracle to launch PipelinePros, the Oracle Commerce user group focused solely on Oracle’s ATG, Endeca, and Commerce Cloud platforms.
“This is a brand new user group and the response within the community has been extremely positive,” said David Lyle, Founding Member and Chairman of PipelinePros. “As a group, we felt that we needed the ability to better leverage our software investment given the rapidly evolving technology landscape. This presented a great opportunity to create a dedicated community for Oracle Commerce users that will provide additional guidance and support.”
Lyle and founding members know that the likelihood of launching a successful user group without the software vendor’s support is minimal. In this case, gaining support from Oracle proved to not be an issue.
“This is an exciting initiative and we’re pleased that our customers and partners are working together, and with us, to further develop the Oracle Commerce community,” said Ken Volpe, Senior Vice President for Oracle Commerce.
So what exactly does a user group do? A user group typically brings a group of users or customers together with solution providers of like technology. They meet regularly to discuss a particular product or solution, share knowledge and experience, hear from solution providers, and hold special workgroups or other related activities. PipelinePros activities include:
– Hosting the annual Insight conference
– Hosting the Insight Europe conference
– Hosting a virtual conference called The Virtual Summit
– Hosting webinars
– Composing and sending a bi-weekly newsletter
– Creating and maintaining a website with over 100 resources
– Hosting discussion forums
Users also share feedback with the software vendor to help guide new features, functionality, and trends within the industry.
What does it take to get a user group off the ground? Having been Chairman of Quest International Users Group, the Oracle user group for JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, and Cloud Communities, Lyle quickly moved to find staff to run the day-to-day operations of Pipeline Pros. In year one, not only did PipelinePros add multiple staff members, the group also launched several content resources, hosted events, and built up its membership.
“It has been a whirlwind year for the PipelinePros staff moving quickly to create a vibrant community,” said PipelinePros Executive Director Anna Taylor. “The board of directors has worked closely with Oracle to set a vision for the organization, and we are now seeing that vision come to life.”
For more information about PipelinePros, The Virtual Summit, or to check out the 100+ resources, visit pipelinepros.org.