In the world of retail and professional IT services, balancing hard fought margins and sustainability with non-profit generating activities, like staff support and training, are an ever present nightmare.
Most resellers are small businesses whom work with other small business as clients or as business partners. They don’t have the time to take their eye of their income stream else risk their business faltering.
Many resellers are also IT professionals in their own right and have discovered an obvious secret: Share the information. User groups of various technology persuasions have popped up around the globe over the last 10-15 years and more recently are growing in diversity and offering many benefits to their members. The leaders of these groups demonstrate various technology products, invite in representatives of common products to train on their specific wares and then they branch off into business management and other aspects of running your business, in a collaborative environment.
The leaders of these user groups have become the IT heroes. They have a community focus and want to help. User group members find themselves learning in an environment where networking is promoted and from which support groups easily form. Alliances commonly form amongst competitors, the pressure of running your business is shared, the time it takes to learn new products is reduced and your resources grow. The user group members then evolve and start to share their experiences and their product knowledge and they themselves becoming IT heroes.
User groups are a fertile ground. The user groups of today are producing tomorrows IT heroes. The groups are enlarging, becoming organised and starting to pool their buying and bargaining power. They are gaining recognition amongst vendors and forcing change. No more do resellers have to go it alone and rely on their own resources.
Usergroups exist in all forms of technologies. From IT hardware though to software. Many of these groups are generalists like the Australian SMBitPRO group, some concentrate on specific technology like Microsoft SQL server and some are associations like the Australian Computer Society.
There is no better recommendation in today’s business climate than to seek out a group. Become a part of the movement and start sharing the load. Bring your expertise and questions with you and build a support base around you.
User groups exist in every capital city of Australia and are demanding the attention of the likes of Microsoft, Intel, Trend Micro, Symantec and others. This means expertise is flowing from these organisations into the smaller cities, where these organisations don’t even have offices.
All of this because someone wanted to stand-up and start a user group. The IT hero.
The Global IT Community Association (GITCA) supports IT Heroes. GITCA supplies many services including discounted Microsoft exams, prizes, user group locator tools, promotion of user group activities and much more. I am fortunate enough to be the APAC Chairman and want to hear from you. I want to enable you as an IT hero.
Michael Jenkins is a director of Business Technology Partners Pty Ltd. michael.jenkin@GITCA.org