CUA huddles up in Hursley

IBM CUA members last month held a briefing at Big Blue's Hursley Laboratories to be gened-up on the "Emerging Technologies"....

IBM CUA members last month held a briefing at Big Blue's Hursley Laboratories to be gened-up on the "Emerging Technologies". Elspeth Wales tells all.

News from the CUA
July's briefing took the theme of "Emerging Technologies", and was held at IBM's renowned Hursley Laboratories, where many of the company's very latest technological advances are made.

CUA members always find a visit to Hursley, and the chance to get their hands on new devices, fascinating. As well as providing an introduction to Hursley and the work carried out there, this year's briefing focused on the technology areas of business process management, a middleware update, wireless e-business and e-server developments.

Almost 40 delegates attended the briefing which they found provided them with insight into future technology directions enabling them to judge how relevant they may or may not be in the businesses for which they work.

During the meeting, the CUA held its annual general meeting (AGM), when new council officers were elected and reports on the past year's activities were presented. Ray Titcombe and Pat Flannery were both re-elected to their positions of chairman and treasurer respectively, while Steve Way was elected as vice-chairman of the CUA, replacing Mike Jones who resigned last year.

Three new volunteers to stand as council members were welcomed by Ray Titcombe. Richard Murphy, who is alliances manager at Safestone Technologies, joins council, and within the CUA would like to work towards improving the relationship between IBM and its Business Partners.

Stuart Jupe, software product marketing manager at BMC S/390 Solutions, also joins as a council member, and views his role within the CUA as helping to keep the interest of the S/390 community by widening the business appeal and promoting platform independence.

David Gyngell is associate director of managed services at Fiserv (Europe). As his role at Fiserv involves managed services on the iSeries platform, David would like to work with the Business Partners Group of the CUA, and to define what the phrase and business model ASP (Application Service Provider) really means.

The recently formed Business Partners Group is seen as an important new unit by the CUA, and it was agreed that a significant amount of effort is to be put into this group, said Ray Titcombe.

Its initial meeting was held in May, and was attended by 30 companies who said that through membership they want to get to know each other and obtain a better understanding of IBM's goals for its Business Partner community.

A second meeting is to be held towards the end of September for Business Partners, although topics and location have yet to be decided. The CUA is developing the possibility that in the future a partners' meeting could be combined with a general CUA briefing.

Autumn briefings
Meanwhile, the autumn series of briefings kicks off on 20 September, and will tackle the topic of e-commerce, in a joint venture with Guideshare Europe. The venue is the Selfridge Hotel in Oxford Street, London, and is aimed at senior management, not necessarily at IT directors, although the content will also appeal to them.

The theme is to de-mystify e-commerce, and convey the message that implementing an e-commerce strategy need not be as traumatic an ordeal as some envisage, and that it will deliver tangible business benefits. An IT-aware Labour MP is due to present some Government initiatives designed to encourage e-commerce implementations. There will also be some industry speakers and case studies that show successful and beneficial projects.

At the end of July the CUA also said goodbye to its secretary, Heather Speciale, who has been a lynchpin in the association's administrative team for 28 years.

"Heather retired on Friday, 20 July, and will be very much missed as the information 'hub' of the Association. I am sure that everyone will join me in wishing Heather a long and happy retirement," said Ray Titcombe on behalf of the association. Debbie Garcia and Margaret Briscoe will share Heather's responsibilities to ensure that the work of the IBM CUA continues to be carried out efficiently at the Gants Hill secretariat office.

Diary dates
  • September briefing
    September 20
    E-commerce seminar,
    Selfridge Hotel, Oxford Street, London

  • October briefing
    October 11
    Common UK meeting,
    Mottram Hall, Prestbury, Cheshire

  • December briefing
    December 5
    Common UK Education Day,
    Oxford Belfry Hotel

Want to Join the CUA?
You can find out what new developments IBM has up its sleeve, and how they may affect you. You can take part in forming the new shape of the CUA as it moves forward into this new millennium. The CUA runs a regular newsletter, monthly briefings, free legal advice, and a friendly, efficient secretariat. To join, or find out more, contact the secretariat on: 020 8518 5110, or visit the CUA Web site at

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