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Tuesday, 05 February 2008 10:26

HP user groups mull merger

Today's Hewlett-Packard is the result of several mergers, but the company's customers still belong to user groups reflecting the old structures. That may be about to change.

Compaq acquired Tandem (the 'NonStop' company); Compaq acquired Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC); and Hewlett-Packard and Compaq merged.

But the user groups that had grown up around those companies largely continued as separate entities.

DECUS (Digital Equipment Users Society) expanded its scope to include technologies beyond the DEC heritage and was renamed Encompass.

HP-Interex is a federation of user groups in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, and includes some national bodies in that area still operating under the DECUS name.

ITUG serves the ex-Tandem community.

The three bodies have announced they plan to consolidate to form a single community of users of HP enterprise products and services.

"Our intent in pursuing this new unified organization is to bring value to the entire HP community by creating expanded user group member benefits and relevant content," said Nina Buik, president of Encompass in the US.

"We believe that with this stronger worldwide representation, we will be able to greatly improve our member and partner programs, and deliver greater value to all our constituencies."

Scott Healy, chairman of ITUG, said, "The leaders of ITUG, HP Interex EMEA, and Encompass are committed to preserving the culture and community spirit that exists within each of our platform-focused groups around the world today. We see this as a positive impact on our current user group members and partners, and we are confident that they will embrace a new, unified organization because of the tremendous value it will deliver."
Henk Pomper, president of HP Interex EMEA, said his organisation looks forward to better serving European IT professionals as a result of the consolidated organisation. "Leveraging the combined insight and experience of HP users and partners from around the globe will be a key differentiator for this new organisation,"

"It will enable us to facilitate connections and sharing among members regardless of where they live and work," he added.

Michael Klein, the chairman of Encompass Australia, said in a message to members that work on the merger process had been underway for a year or so, but "How this affects Encompass Australia is yet to be discussed and voted upon, there is no compulsion to become a part of this entity, in fact we are still and will remain very much a standalone Australian entity."

"We (Encompass Australia) have in place an agreement in principle to support it where it is in our best interests," he added, explaining that members will have plenty of opportunity to discuss and vote on any proposals.

A name for the combined organisation has yet to be chosen, and the merger will only proceed with the approval of members. Voting is planned for the northern spring.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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