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ASUG and GBN Merge to Broaden Educational and Networking Opportunities

by Abbe Mulders | SAPinsider

October 1, 2009

ASUG Chairperson Abbe Mulders and GBN Steering Team Chair Mark Frederick discuss the merger of ASUG and GBN, and how the consolidated user group is an excellent resource for SAP customers, regardless of their underlying platform.

Abbe Mulders
ASUG Chairperson
Dow Corning Corporation

Mark Frederick
GBN Steering Team Chair
Denver Business Objects User Group Chair
Ball Corporation

Q: Last year, ASUG announced the creation of GBN. What is the motivation for merging the two organizations now?

Mulders: Our primary motivation was to stay in step with SAP as they continue incorporating former Business Objects offerings into the SAP BusinessObjects solution portfolio. A consolidated user group is an excellent resource for SAP customers, regardless of their underlying platform, to understand how the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio affects their organizations. The potential addition of GBN’s 3,000 members into ASUG will expand all members’ educational opportunities and professional networks.

Q: ASUG has traditionally served customers who use SAP ERP. How will the diverse ASUG and GBN communities work together to ensure all member needs are met?

Frederick: GBN volunteers have been working closely with their ASUG counterparts to determine what this new merged group will look like. GBN has five special interest groups (SIGs) and dozens of regional groups. Depending on volunteer recommendations, some of these groups may blend together, while others will become new SIGs within ASUG.

Q: How does the merger benefit GBN members?

Frederick: GBN members will now be able to leverage ASUG’s 20-year relationship with SAP, which can facilitate essential connections. In fact, GBN members have already reaped the benefits of this relationship. With ASUG’s help, in March 2009 GBN launched its first Influence Council, which is a group of customers who work with product managers to provide feedback on a specific product or service. The first GBN Influence Council focuses on the next release of SAP Business-Objects Web Intelligence ad hoc reporting software.

Mulders: ASUG’s Benchmarking and Best Practice program — a program in partnership with SAP and exclusive to ASUG members — is another considerable benefit for customers who use SAP BusinessObjects solutions. Attendees of GBN’s event, the SAP BusinessObjects User Conference (October 18-21, 2009, in Dallas, Texas), will get the first glimpse of the program as part of our educational offerings.

Q: What’s next for the consolidated group?

Mulders: In the past, an organization’s IT arm was usually seen as simply a tactical service machine. Today, IT professionals are increasingly asked to drive innovation and become true business partners. Our combined resources will help SAP and SAP BusinessObjects solution customers make the most of their IT investments by enabling cutting-edge thinking while minimizing risk in their operations.

The new year is right around the corner, and we enthusiastically anticipate the great work our united community will accomplish in 2010.

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