Users hope a heavier, 50,000-member group will gain new advantages and added leverage with HP.
Three independent Hewlett-Packard user groups have voted to join under one
banner, creating a new 50,000-member organization.
The leadership of Encompass,
HP-Interex EMEA and ITUG
are expected to announce May 5 that their
rank-and-file members have voted to consolidate the three groups into one new
organization that will be called Connect.
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Nina Buik, president of Encompass, the largest of the three groups, is
expected to become president of the new Connect executive board, which will
include members from the other two organizations along with representatives
With 50,000 members, Buik said the new user group should have a newfound
influence with HP, while being able to offer its members more educational
opportunities and access to the company's leadership.
"We are on HP's radar at that level," Buik said, referring to
membership size of Connect. "We may have not been so much before,
especially independently and fragmented. We certainly are now and I think that
influence and the amount of education that they [the membership] will have
access to-they will have more access to education than ever-and for such a low
point of entry [will be valuable]."
The new Connect user group will also expand its membership to other parts of
the world as HP
also looks to expand its business beyond the United States at a time of
While Encompass mainly focused on North
America, HP-Interex EMEA and ITUG concentrated more on Europe,
Asia, Latin America and the Middle
Connect will hold its first user conference in June and plans to hold its
first expo in Europe in November.
Monday's announcement marks the end of what had been an ongoing debate about
the various HP user groups since Interex shutdown operations in 2005. (HP-Interex
EMEA is a separate group that is a federation of users in Europe,
the Middle East and Africa.) From
that point, Encompass became the dominant group, although leaders of the three
groups have said that the consolidation push was not related to the shuttering
There are still some independent HP user groups, such as Vivit, which
focuses on HP software instead of the company's hardware offerings.