On Friday 29th September, 2 days before the commencement of Oracle’s most important event of the year – OpenWorld whilst attending the Oracle Partner Advisory Council I received word that I had been promoted to a full Oracle Ace.

For those not working in the Oracle ecosystem this is comparable to being confirmed as a Microsoft MVP, a SAP Mentor or Java Champion. These schemes recognize contributions made by non employees to the community and the parent company itself. These contributions range across public speaking, articles for journals, helping through the various community sites and blogging among others. Hoist the accreditation is based on contribution, to be a successful contributor you need to be deeply knowledgable in your specialisms.

The importance of the Ace recognition is important for my employer (Capgemini) and for myself for different reasons. For an employer the association of expertise can be a key value propositions, and some Oracle partners actually use the number of Aces they employee as a key part of their differentiator and market proposition. Secondly, being out communicating with the community raises brand awareness increasing the chances of both sales but also make the company more attractive as a potential employer. Finally, through participating with in events you get to know product managers and other scenario Oracle people. As a result, when additional support and engagement is needed you have the contacts to draw on. But is not just help, the opportunity to contribute to product development exists. In many respects this can become a virtuous circle – the more you do the more opportunities open up, the more you can do.

For me personally the Ace programme is a very friendly embracing community that whilst can be commercially competitive is very mutually supportive. This combined with the fact that the culture of sharing knowledge is actively encouraged, supported and acknowledgement of those efforts is always satisfying.

In the middleware space there are less than 50 active Oracle Aces of all grades globally. Four of those are in the UK  Luis Weir (Ace Director – Capgemini), Simon Haslam (Ace Director – eProseed), Mark Simpson (Ace Director – Griffiths Waite) and myself. I am also fortunate enough to count all three as friends.