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1 How to Start a Local User Group... and Keep It Going!

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1 1 How to Start a Local User Group... and Keep It Going!

2 2 Agenda u User group purpose u ISUG structure u Creation of a user group u Formalization of a user group u User group maintenance

3 3 User Group Purpose u Provide mechanism for sharing common experiences u Technology and knowledge transfer –Case studies/experiences –Tools (Sybase and 3rd party) –User created utilities u Direct link to Sybase u Influence product direction

4 4 International Sybase User Group (ISUG) u Independently incorporated entity u ISUG Mission –Establish a communication network amongst Sybase, Inc. users and Sybase management –Provide a strong advocate for user issues –Institute a forum for users to influence future directions of all Sybase, Inc. products –Maintain an effective channel for Sybase to communicate important information to users

5 5 ISUG Entity-Relationship Diagram ISUG Local User Group HAS MANY Regional User Group HAS MANY 1 m 1 m Special Interest Group HAS MANY 1 m Europe North America Japan Asia/Pacific Latin America Sybase Database PowerBuilder Any Sybase, Inc. Product Internet Mailing Lists Meetings at Conferences

6 6 Regional User Groups (RUGs) u Defined on geographical boundaries u Provide communication mechanism between local user groups and ISUG u Structure of RUG varies by region –North America is subdivided into 5 smaller regions –Europe has elected officers at the RUG level

7 7 u Regional User Groups (RUGs) –Europe –North America –Virtual User Groups/SIGs u RUG Director is a member of ISUG Board of Directors u New regions will form where there is interest and demand, run by committee RUGs (continued)

8 8 Local User Groups (LUGs) u Established on a geographic location u Users within a small geographic location (1 to 2 hours travel) u Self-governing, independent organizations u ISUG does not mandate the organization or structure of a LUG u Chartered LUG status granted if 60% of a LUGs membership, mailing list, or average meeting size are ISUG members

9 9 Chartered LUG Benefits u The Sybase User Group Formation and Operations Guide u Access to Sybase Speakers Bureau u Interaction with other LUGs –Presentation/Newsletter ideas and samples –Meeting advice (such as how to run a vendor fair)

10 10 Chartered LUG Benefits (continued) u ISUG Technical Journal u 1 Free User Conference Registration u 1 Free Advertisement in the ISUG Technical Journal or Assistance with 1 Mailing u New Benefits Continually being Developed

11 11 Special Interest Groups (SIGs) u SIG Director is member of ISUG Board of Directors u Electronic Forums u SIGs utilized in Enhancement Requests Process u Meetings held at conferences

12 12 Initial Steps of User Group Creation u Identify other dedicated users –Assist in identifying interested members –Organize initial meeting u Coordinate an organizational meeting u Plan in detail the first meeting –Agenda –Location –Date/time

13 13 Contact Sybase u Contact Aline Martin (User Group Marketing) at or u Contact local Sybase account manager(s) –May provide contact names of potential members –May send mailing to customer base announcing initial meeting –May arrange for or provide the first meeting site, speakers, and refreshments

14 14 Advertise Initial Meeting u Bulk Mailings u Post agenda on Internet –Sybase-L listserv –comp.databases.sybase –Sybase, Inc. sponsored newsgroups ( u ISUG will post meeting announcement on web site u Notify local newspaper with press release

15 15 Formalization u Establish timetable for ratifying the organizing committee –Elect officers (President, V.P., Treasurer, Secretary, etc.) –Elect a steering committee or board of directors u Organize Committees –Bylaws –Enhancements –Communications/Newsletter

16 16 First Meeting u Feature one prominent speaker in order to draw users u Invite local Sybase office staff u Allow time for user interaction –Have each members introduce themselves and their involvement with Sybase products –Provide breaks which allow users to interact –Encourage questions u Survey users in order to identify topics of interest

17 17 Determine Membership Qualifications u Organizing committee or group members determine the membership qualifications u Some qualifications may include –Sybase license holders –Individuals associated with Sybase licenses –Sybase employees –3rd party vendors –Software consultants –Employment recruiters

18 18 Incorporation u Process varies by state and country u Provides members a limited liability u Provides centralized management u Clarifies the duties of officers/directors u Corporation will require by-laws u Filing of tax return probably required u Consult local insurance broker

19 19 Meeting Frequency u Determined by members u Most LUGs meet quarterly or monthly u May meet more frequently as group becomes more organized u Some SIGs have only electronic forums

20 20 Meeting Sites u User sites u Vendor sites u Sybase offices u Hotels and meeting centers u Universities

21 21 Finances u Finances required vary by group u 2 main cost items –meeting sites –newsletter/mailing costs u Ways to minimize cost include –Conduct meetings at user sites –Utilize and web sites to announce meetings and publish newsletters

22 22 Finances (continued) u Alternatives for member provided funding –Collect annual membership fees –Collect meeting attendance fees u Alternatives for non-member funding –Allow vendors to sponsor meetings and mailings –Sell advertisements in newsletter/mailing –Sell advertisements on web site

23 23 Presentation Ideas u Other LUG newsletters and agendas u ISUG Technical Journal u Speakers Bureau u ISUG Conference presentations –Utilize Speakers Bureau benefit –Identify local presenters u Solicit ideas from members on an individual basis

24 24 User Group Maintenance u Delegate responsibilities!!! u Continually recruit new volunteers u Incorporate new activities –Panel discussion –Exhibit hall u Discuss new products and technologies (e.g. internet or application servers) u Establish meeting dates and locations in advance (maybe for entire year)

25 25 u Delegate, delegate, delegate, delegate!!!! u No task is too small to delegate u Responsibilities that can be delegated –Phone calls –Vendor presentations –User presentations –Newsletter editor –Newsletter mailings YOU DONT HAVE TO DO IT ALL! – Advertisements – Exhibit hall – Formatting agenda – Membership – Sybase contact

26 26 Summary u ISUG structure allows for independent local user groups for all Sybase, Inc. products u User group organization and maintenance is the same no matter which Sybase, Inc. products are discussed u ISUG can assist in creation of any user group u Each user group has its own personality and structure (ISUG does not mandate any structure) u Key factor in success is the group of dedicated organizers

27 27 Read More About It u User Group Formation & Operations Guide

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