The group plays an important role for its members in two ways: mediating on basic issues of user/supplier relations, such as contracts and terms and conditions; and getting clarification on how the products actually work in the practical corporate environment.
It is an active, independent user group which aims to share practical user experience in a constructive way.
Three-quarters of the members are from user organisations. The rest are IBM business partners or third-party software suppliers. At CUA meetings a full gamut of opinions and interests are aired. "Our briefings take the bias out," said Ray Titcombe, chairman of the IBM CUA. "Users learn the good, the bad and the ugly.
"We have no interest in destroying IBM or any of its products," he said, "but we want user experience."
Titcombe is keen to work with other groups. "We are always happy if it benefits existing members to utilise links with other groups."
The IBM CUA incorporates Common UK, a separate user group for the i-series midrange systems; hosts Linux User Group meetings and collaborates with the IBM mainframe user group Guide Share Europe.
This was first published in May 2003