Monday's Musings: The Role of User Groups - Check and Balance

Conversations and polling at recent user group meetings confirm a common sentiment that user groups should play a role as client advocates with the vendors.  Information dissemination, benchmarking, product issues, training, and maintenance fee reductions rise to the top of the list in this 235 person on-going survey.  While not explicit in all charters, here's a full list of expectations user group members seek from their user group:

  • 85% - Communicate vendor news and updates.
  • 73% - Benchmark performance.
  • 72% - Address product issues, bugs, enhancement requests.
  • 68% - Deliver training and educational sessions
  • 65% - Fight for maintenance fee reductions.
  • 63% - Influence product road maps.
  • 59% - Share product and technical knowledge.
  • 51% - Facilitate peer networking opportunities like user group meetings
  • 40% - Provide recruiting opportunities.
  • 35% - Liase with software vendor executives
  • 32% - Negotiate license discounts

The bottom line - Get involved and make a difference.

Companies join user groups for both professional and social reasons.  User groups command true power in influence a vendor's direction while bringing common issues for discussion and sharing.  Recent actions by SUGEN - the SAP User Group Executive Network in making some progress on the topic of maintenance fees and improving the vendor-client commitment show how publicity and impact can shape influence.  The key is for user groups to leverage the power of the users and clients to publicly and privately create checks in the balance of power with the vendors.  Go make a difference and contribute your time to your user group today!
Your POV.
Do you feel your user group has given you value?  What are you looking from your user group?  Feel free to share with me your experience.  You can post here or send me a private email to [email protected].
Copyright © 2008 R Wang. All rights reserved.