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Let Me Introduce You to ISUG…

First and foremost, they do a lot of planning and coordination that few know about

Though it will be September by the time you read this, TechWave just ended a few hours ago. As with any conference, it had its high and low points, but for me the highs far outweighed the lows. I won't review TechWave in this editorial, but I do want to tell you about something that caught my attention. For full coverage please see Jerry Neppl's TechWave review in this issue.

Just before the conference, a new TeamSybase position was created on the International Sybase User Group Board of Directors; its purpose is to improve communication and achieve even greater levels of cooperation and synergy between ISUG and TeamSybase. I had the honor of being voted to this role by the TeamSybase members. As a result I spent a good deal of time at TechWave getting to know the ISUG board members. Through a few board meetings and many conversations I came to realize that I had overlooked the value of ISUG. Maybe it hadn't been communicated properly or maybe I hadn't been listening, but until last week I didn't know much about what they did or how membership would benefit me and other Sybase product users.

First and foremost, they do a lot of planning and coordination that few know about. For those of you who went to TechWave, you saw everything run smoothly and professionally. Most of that is due to Sybase planning and management, but with ISUG's recommendations in a broad range of areas. Some events were directly planned, managed, and sponsored by ISUG. Immediately after the conference, the board and Sybase conference management reviewed many aspects of the event in order to improve next year's conference.

In addition to TechWave, ISUG played a major role in planning and running the Sybase "Road Shows" that recently toured the U.S. and Europe and will do so again in the near future. ISUG also publishes a periodical to help educate ISUG members technically and keep them up-to-date on the latest Sybase happenings; they also support local user groups. They're involved in so many things I can't cover them all here.

Though the ISUG board works all the time, they meet only once each quarter for planning meetings that often take several days. They meet with Sybase executives and product managers to learn about Sybase's current direction and provide feedback on what the product users want. This includes soliciting enhancement requests from ISUG members, managing and prioritizing the lists, and advocating the requests to Sybase product teams. Though the ISUG board work is wide-ranging, this is one of the most visible and valued of their efforts.

The members are all volunteers, voted into position or appointed. They spend many hours each month working on the tasks I already mentioned. For the most part they do it solely as a service to Sybase and to every Sybase product user. Other than a quick introduction at TechWave, they don't receive much recognition for their efforts. All the major Sybase products are represented, but most board members work daily with the big two: ASE and EAStudio.

This group works hard for the benefit of all Sybase product users, but with special attention paid to ISUG members (only ISUG members can submit enhancement requests, receive the ISUG periodical, have special TechWave receptions, and more). If I had realized the extent of their efforts earlier, I would have joined right away as each membership helps them continue their important work.

I didn't intend to sell ISUG in this editorial, but as I began writing I realized how valuable the organization is and how important each membership is in keeping it going. I strongly encourage you to become a member. Sure you'll receive some goodies, but, more important, you'll help this advocacy and planning group achieve great things on your behalf. For more information see the ISUG Web site (www.isug.com). Feel free to send me an e-mail and I'll direct you to someone who can give you more information.

More Stories By John Olson

John D. Olson is a principal of Developower, Inc., a consulting company specializing in software solutions using Sybase development tools. A CPD Professional and charter member of TeamSybase, he is co-editor and author of two PB9 books, and the recipient of the ISUG Innovation and Achievement Award for 2003.

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