COMMON Rejiggers Itself for the 21st Century
September 25, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
COMMON, the largest user group dedicated to the System i platform, announced some big changes at its event in Miami Beach last week. Many of these changes were rumored and anticipated by the OS/400 and i5/OS community.
The first big change is that the semi-annual big COMMON shindig, complete with a Town Hall meeting and a big vendor expo is history. In fact, the Fall COMMON event in Miami was, for all intents and purposes, the last such Fall COMMON we will see–at least like the past events.
Next fall COMMON will, however, host a smaller event in Columbus, Ohio, called COMMON Focus 2007, which will take place October 14 through 17. The COMMON Focus events are going to be less like the COMMON sessions we are used to and will be based more on an intense three-day workshop format, where COMMON members can come for intensive training. COMMON says that the Focus 2007 event will have a limited number attendees–but it was unclear if the limit would be imposed by COMMON or by mere geography. Instead of a big Expo floor, COMMON will be allowing a small number of vendors to have table-top exhibits.
There will still be a big COMMON event every spring, which is now called the Annual Conference and Expo. The 2007 event will be held in Anaheim, California, from April 29 through May 3. COMMON says this event will have more educational sessions, more user sessions, and bigger networking events (meaning people networking, not computer networking) than past semi-annual COMMON events.
In addition to these changes, COMMON will provide free monthly Webcasts (available to members) on technical subjects and will host one-day seminars in conjunction with local user groups.
COMMON says the changes it has made were based on feedback from members in the organization, who say they have limited budgets for training and they are working on very tight schedules.
In a separate announcement, COMMON had an election for its board of directors just before the Fall 2006 event in Miami Beach. COMMON said that Jeff Carey, who is a system administrator at System i shop Acxiom, has been elected to the board. So has Jim Oberholtzer, a consultant from Computech Resources who has experience as a programmer and IT director. COMMON also said that Randy Dufault, who is serving his first term on the board of directors, has been named treasurer. Dufault works at MBS Technologies, a midrange business partner from Minneapolis, Minnesota.