A year ago I wrote about the IBM i Large User Group. The LUG met again last week; approximately 100 LUG members from all over the world traveled to Rochester, Minn., for the meeting. It’s truly a testament to the loyalty of these clients to come to Rochester for a winter meeting! Not only has it been very cold there, but the meeting began with a reception Sunday evening, which was also Super Bowl Sunday; LUG members and out-of-town IBMers came to Rochester for the LUG meeting rather than staying home to watch the big game with friends and family.
The February meeting was focused on strategic topics and IBM i DB2. There are several components to every meeting and the highlights of this recent meeting include:
- • Presentations from IBM on trends and directions where IBM shares future plans for key products with the LUG. All LUG members have non-disclosure agreements in place with IBM, so a major privilege with LUG membership is learning about these future plans.
- • The LUG provides IBM with tactical requirements on needs they have today. IBM’s track record of delivering requirements is quite amazing. Not every requirement is accepted and delivered, but a large percentage is.
- • The LUG and IBM work together to discuss the strategic direction for i in the future. These clients are committed to running their businesses on i and they work with IBM to ensure future plans are in place so the i will have the required support and features so it can continue to have a strong role in the future of their companies.
- • Throughout each meeting, IBM gives presentations on technical topics – for this February meeting, most of these presentations were related to DB2 for i. Many of these presentations are educational in nature, covering the latest updates and enhancements that have been made.
- • The LUG is a user community and a major part of the LUG meeting is sharing of experiences and learning from each other. This collaboration between LUG members – the sharing of experiences between different companies – is amazing.
When I was working on putting together the agenda for the meeting, I had to find the appropriate IBM speakers. One of the speakers, from Austin, Texas, has extensive experience with the AIX client base; he voiced his appreciation of the LUG and the IBM i community. There really is nothing else like this – the loyalty to the i, the willingness to travel to the frozen upper-Midwest in the dead of winter and the passion these clients have for the product is like nothing else in the world.
If you think your company might be a candidate to join LUG, check out the public LUG website for more information. And if you work for a smaller company that is not eligible to be a LUG member, be sure to participate in local user groups (another kind of LUG!) that may be available in your area.
You can also find a nice review of the LUG in The LUG – Giving to Gain blog written by Lynne Benedict.
I want to add one more observation – while most companies are not eligible to be members of LUG, the LUG is an important organization for all of us. It is a vital group that makes it clear to IBM how important this platform is to their businesses. That is good for everyone who uses i.