For the last four years, I have been involved with the Cisco IP Telephony Users group. Not just attending the national conference, but also helping run a local chapter here in Seattle. It has been at times a frustrating experience but also very rewarding as I have been able to network and build friendships with people in other companies I would not have otherwise meet. Networking is really the heart of the user group experience no matter what technology your focus is. With the current economic climate, networking may also be the difference between a smooth job transitions after a layoff as well.
I mentioned frustrating because it is difficult to sustain a groups interest in attending user group meetings with so many things competing for peoples time and travel always a hassle. This year we decided the focus for the user group is to evolve much like the that of the company I work for. Less travel, more virtual collaboration. Will this make a difference in attendance levels I am not sure. This certainly give an avenue for those that are interested and not certain about attending in person a chance to experience what a user group has to offer. Eventually I hope this helps with increasing attendance to a more steady level.
Over the next 12 months, I plan to share more of my experience of being a member of the leadership team of our CIPTUG local chapter. The high and low points. What works and what doesn’t. I will also share agendas for the CIPTUG Northwest chapter and details how to get involved with various Microsoft and Cisco groups.
You may have noticed that the information I provide on this blog contains a good mix of information on both Cisco and Microsoft products. I work heavily with both technology vendors and in my honest opinion, the best solution for your business is what works for your business model. Working for a manufacturing company using both technologies gives me the flexibility to be an advocate for technology and not just one vendor’s solution. .
Please post a comment and remember to support your local user groups for which ever technology you use.