Most user groups are repositioning themselves to accommodate the e-induced sea changes sweeping through industry today. They have a golden opportunity to exploit a new age of power, influence and networking to ensure the best value from IT for their organisations.
The Telecommunications Managers Association recently renamed itself the Communications Management Association. The National Computing Centre this year revamped its structure and is embarking on a new direction under a new chief executive. And other user organisations such as the British Computer Society Elite Group, the Impact Programme, CIO-Connect, Institute for the Management of Information Sytems, Certus, and Technical Infrastructure Forum, have been looking hard at their strategies.
Supplier-focused user groups, so strong in the 1980s, are a shadow of their former selves, while user groups run by the big research companies have become expensive, with their value and rationale under much more scrutiny.
If the future is all about the effective integration of process within and across sectors, independent user groups cannot afford enervating turf wars. The climate is ripe for leaders of those bodies to grasp some nettles. United, with each playing to their strengths, a loose confederation of independent user groups will create a new, powerful and effective force to create true value from IT.