HP User Groups Looking to Consolidate

In April, three of Hewlett-Packard's user groups will vote on a plan that will combine them into a 50,000-member organization.

A trio of Hewlett-Packard user groups are looking to consolidate into one organization.

In April, the membership of Encompass, the largest of the three, HP Interex EMEA and ITUG will vote on a plan that will combine the three user groups into a single, 50,000-member organization.

The leadership of all three groups has already voted to approve the consolidation plan and they are now presenting the plan to their various members, said Nina Buik, the president of Encompass.

The new combined group will have a better global reach and allow its members to better share ideas and bring concerns to HP, Buik said. Since HP already has a large global presence and since Encompass mostly focuses on North America, Buik said it was important to reach out to other areas and users in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

"All three organizations come from their own positions of strength and we want to ensure sustainability and increase the visibility of the organization," Buik told eWEEK Feb. 8. "We can do that better together."

Scott Healy, the chairman of ITUG, said that he hopes the consolidation plan will attract a new generation of HP users and strengthen the membership through more outreach and other programs.

"Each group has its own strengths and weaknesses and we wanted to come together with a new organization and a clean slate," Healy said, adding that a name for the new organization has not been decided yet.

Encompass became the dominate HP users group after Interex, another user group, closed its operations in 2005. Buik said the idea to consolidate Encompass with the other two groups had nothing to do with the folding of Interex.

Interex EMEA, which remains in operation, is a separate group that is a federation of HP users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.