Three HP User Groups Agree on Merger Plan

Three independent Hewlett-Packard user groups announced last week that they plan to merge into a single organization in an effort to increase their clout with the IT vendor.

The groups, which have a combined total of more than 50,000 members, said they also hope to reduce costs while reaching out to younger users of Hewlett-Packard Co.s technologies through social networks and other Web 2.0 tools.

The planned merger involves Encompass, which originated as a group for users of the former Digital Equipment Corp.; ITUG, which represents users of HPs NonStop fault-tolerant systems; and HP-Interex EMEA, a Brussels-based affiliate of Interex, a U.S. group that folded in 2005.

The merger has been approved by the boards of the three user groups but still requires a positive vote by their memberships. Officials said they expect to have the new organization formed by HPs annual technical conference, which is scheduled for June in Las Vegas.

Among the things still to be determined is a new name; for now, the combined group is being referred to by the code name Endeavor.

Scott Healy, ITUGs chairman, said NonStop users will stay a strong community after the merger. But Healy, who is vice president of industry solutions at GoldenGate Software Inc., added that many ITUG members are also responsible for other systems. The merger will help them gain access to a broader base of peers and more training programs, he said.

Another goal for the combined user group is to add more members, especially among a younger demographic, said Nina Buik, president of Encompass. To remain relevant and viable, its important that we grow, she said.

The merger should also help lower costs, according to Buik, who works as a senior vice president at IT training firm MindIQ Corp. Were all basically paying for the same type of infrastructure, she said.

One HP user group that isnt joining in the planned merger is Vivit, formerly known as OpenView Forum International. Buik said that Vivit, which focuses on OpenView and other HP software products, was asked if it wanted to join, but it declined.

Vivit officials werent available for comment.

Copyright © 2000 IDG Communications, Inc.

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