User groups keep Global 100 vendors moving in the right direction

No vendor could generate enough revenues to qualify for the Manufacturing Business Technology Global 100 without a sizeable customer base, nor could they stay on the list very long without taking continual steps to keep those customers happy. This inherent need to maintain high customer satisfaction rates has caused many of the Global 100 vendors to adopt what at one time would have been consid...

07/01/2007


No vendor could generate enough revenues to qualify for the Manufacturing Business Technology Global 100 without a sizeable customer base, nor could they stay on the list very long without taking continual steps to keep those customers happy.

This inherent need to maintain high customer satisfaction rates has caused many of the Global 100 vendors to adopt what at one time would have been considered an unusual practice: collaborating with independent user groups.

These organizations represent a cross section of the companies using a particular vendor's products, and their independent status means they typically tell the vendor exactly what it takes to hold on to customers.

Among the most influential of these groups is the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG), which at one time was among the most vocal critics of the way Oracle treated customers. That relationship changed for the better after Oracle acquired PeopleSoft, which had just started a relationship with another feisty organization: the JD Edwards user group.

PeopleSoft had acquired JD Edwards a few months before Oracle purchased PeopleSoft.

As part of a corporate image makeover, Oracle opened the lines of communication between the company and its various user groups. It found the gesture profitable, as have many other vendors.

“Although developers of any product or solution only want to hear good things, an independent user group lets you work with an organization that uses and understands your product,” says Lori Webber, VP of marketing and communications for Dassault Systemes. Webber also is the company's liaison to the CATIA Operators Exchange (COE), the independent user group for Dassault's product life-cycle management suite.

“We hear the good, the bad, and the ugly, and it all helps us understand how our products are used and where they need improvement,” Webber says. “We take users' ideas and move them forward into new products and solutions.”

Often very much behind the scenes of COE are professionals from association management provider SmithBucklin Corp. Established in 1948, SmithBucklin partners with nonprofit organizations as well as some of the oldest and largest independent user groups in technology:

  • SHARE, an IBM group, since 1975;

  • The International Telecommunications User Group (ITUG), which represents users of Hewlett-Packard technology, since 1983;

  • The aforementioned IOUG, since 1993; and

  • America's SAP Users Group (ASUG), since 1994.

“We champion the independent user group model that establishes deep partnerships between users and vendors, as opposed to an advisory group that the company might create,” says Jim Luisi, VP of client management for Chicago-based SmithBucklin.

SmithBucklin personnel work by direction of the user group board of directors to facilitate event planning and management, membership registration, and training and education for end users. “Being in the business for decades, we're able to identify best practices so that groups can benefit from our experience,” says Luisi.





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Additive manufacturing benefits; HMI and sensor tips; System integrator advice; Innovations from the industry
Robotic safety, collaboration, standards; DCS migration tips; IT/OT convergence; 2017 Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey
Integrated mobility; Artificial intelligence; Predictive motion control; Sensors and control system inputs; Asset Management; Cybersecurity
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This article collection contains several articles on how automation and controls are helping human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software advance.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me