RUGs rare now, but Houston holds on
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Free, low-cost, and high value training

Several user groups will ask for your HP training dollars this month, from the ultra-specialized Computer Aided Manufacturing User Society (CAMUS), to Encompass, to the Greater Houston Regional User Group (GHRUG). Customers have a wide array of prices to consider for these events. Travel for personal meetings is the glue that holds together the Internet education that most IT pros pursue these days.

Encompass boasts the biggest lineup of classes for HP system managers and customers at its June HP Tech Forum conference. Today Nina Buik of the group said $500 a day for training was a reasonable, average price for good instruction. She added that anything lower than that ought to be examined closely for its educational value.

Buik runs a training company, so hers is an informed opinion. But the two other user groups have events with lower per day costs, if price is the predominant factor to leverage your in-person training.

I liked Buik's comment about the value of personal training. "There is no exchange for this element," she said today. "Even when we find our mates online, we still require the face-to-face meeting." All three groups will make a case over the next 90 days for wooing your travel training dollars and time.

CAMUS is offering its Free Training Day once more at its August conference in the Bay Area. ERP experts with specific HP 3000 experience lead free seminars as a kickoff to the complete CAMUS User Conference.

It's hard to come much cheaper than free. Buik noted that the free price was the most significant discount Encompass gave the former Interex members — the ones left holding the bag on memberships could join Encompass for free through the middle of last year.

Then there's the September GHRUG International MPE/iX Conference. The registration is the real value there, but even with hotel and airfare you'd struggle to spend $500 a day. Nearby hotels, some with suites, cost less than $100 a night, and Southwest Airlines tickets to Houston are priced under $400, no matter where you buy them or when.

So that's three price points and three varying levels of 3000-related content: application specific (CAMUS); environment-specific (GHRUG, with allied migration-bound sessions) and pan-HP training, with soft skills for IT pros (Encompass).