In a first for the IBM Computer Users' Association, members are to spend a day with Microsoft on 10 November for a technical briefing on security and patch management.
"This is the first time we have met with Microsoft and it reflects a new direction for us," said IBM CUA chairman Ray Titcombe.
"A lot of organisations have a mix of IBM and Microsoft strategies. The vast majority of our members are Microsoft customers and want to know what is going on. We are seeking to increase awareness for our membership that we can address more than just IBM-related topics.
"We are looking to bring people up to speed on all aspects of managing Microsoft patches, management processes and areas of using their products which are not best understood.
"This is an initial pilot briefing. I am positive about the potential numbers and would hope to see more in 2005."
Titcombe added that this event marked a new approach. "In its meetings Microsoft tends to focus on new products and services, using them as a route to market," he said, "But this is an infrastructure day.
"Microsoft has recognised that it has become a huge player and its contact with end-users has not been that good. It works through partners who have the contact with the customer base. But Microsoft is progressing to strengthen communication with customers. This event represents a real awareness that we are in a heterogeneous world where a lot of platforms meet."
Titcombe said he is looking to have formal events with other suppliers, especially Peoplesoft and JD Edwards. However, he does not plan any such meetings with Oracle.
"Oracle has a particularly strong user group itself," he said, adding that he sees the Oracle User Group's membership as more technical than that of the IT management-focused IBM CUA.
IBM Computer Users' Association autumn events
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- 12 October, London. Open source for Linux - facts, not fiction. Day long sessions for members considering or implementing Linux. Event features speakers from IBM, Novell, MITL and RedHat.
- 2 November, Manchester. IBM CUA Business Partner Group joint meeting with IBM's Business Partner Community Conference.
- 4 November, Bedfont Lakes. IBM CUA Business Partner Group joint meeting with IBM's Business Partner Community Conference.
- 10 November, London. Microsoft technical briefing. Trustworthy Computing - security and patch management. Following a keynote session on Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative, members will have sessions with Microsoft technical experts on security essentials, automating patch and update management and an in-depth look at anti-virus measures.
- 1 December, Bedfont Lakes. Common UK IBM Roadshow. Day sessions with specialists from IBM Rochester Labs. They will share information on system management and availability, security,application development, web enablement and Websphere.