HP user groups crank up consolidation
Discount is departing for HP's Universe

A new conference on the horizon

Three weeks from today, the HP Technology Forum becomes a little more expensive item on HP professionals' itinerary. The early bird registration discount ends on April 18, about two months before the mid-June meeting of HP and its customers, partners and employees.

Encompass and the ITUG user groups have been the driving forces for content in the conference, and the meeting's Expo floor generates revenues for the groups. The need to attend the Technology Forum will seem greatest to the HP 3000 site doing a migration, since almost all of the seminar content and confidential disclosure briefings address non-3000 solutions.

Tech_forum_agenda Some HP 3000 community partners will be exhibiting on the Expo floor. At the left you'll see (with an added click for detail) the overall agenda for the four days of meetings and networking, so you can start planning your travel. But at the moment there's no evidence of specific HP 3000 content scheduled for the June 16-19 conference. There's plenty to learn about HP's Unix, or Windows, or even OpenVMS — although that last environment isn't on the destination list for many 3000 users who are sticking with HP in their migrations.

Nevertheless, the June meeting presents the world's largest computer company in all of its enterprise glory, a meeting devoted to operating and improving computer user experience on the target platforms HP wants to sell its 3000 customers. The final word on the proposed consolidation of four HP user groups will also take stage in Las Vegas.

The discount for registering for the Forum by April 18 is "your choice of $100 gift certificate to HPShopping.com or HP's Logo Store." The HP shopping Web site offers desktops and notebooks among its most enterprise-oriented products (but nary a computer ships with anything other than Windows Vista, an OS gaining more problems with its first Service Pack release.) You can put your $100 toward a flatscreen TV for the executive boardroom, though. Joining Encompass earns you a discount off the $1,695 full conference pass, or off the $695 day pass, but the Encompass member discount doesn't have a deadline.

A new poll has popped up on the Encompass Web site about the top reasons which are luring people to the event:

Technical Education     65%
Networking Opportunities     52%
Hands-on Technical Labs     38%
Pre-conference Seminars     29%
The Technology Expo     29%
Advocacy Opportunities     15%
Keynotes by HP Executives     18%
Discounted Onsite Certification Testing     13%
Chapters & Special Interest Group Events     11%

Of all the attractions listed, the final one will reveal the new name for the consolidated user group.

Without much in the way of conference session specifics, we're left to learn that that Mark Hurd, HP Chairman and CEO; Ann Livermore, Executive VP TSG; and Randy Mott, Executive VP and CIO will be speakers. It's early in the registration process, so early that the space on the Expo floor is still being sold by Encompass user group management partner Smith Bucklin.