Advocacy has been a key tenet of Connect and its founding user groups. The other two main “legs” of a user group are Education and Community and these continue to be met by Chapter and RUG meetings, attendance at HPE Discover and the Various Technical Boot Camps with associated SIG Meetings and Technical Forums.
Advocacy has however had a much more difficult road. For Connect (including its predecessors) and the members it has been the process by which the membership has influenced the development of Operating Systems, the tools available under those operating systems, their features and extensions, by various methods of communication to and from HPE. Advocacy has also helped shape the products and services provided by HPE and its partners.
However as products and services mature the requirement for Advocacy shifts. A platform may cease to exist due to developments in other areas – and Advocacy may shift from a focus on HPE to another provider of the service (an example is the Stromasys development of the HP3000 platform emulation). The product or service used may no longer be under the full control of HPE, so how does Advocacy work then (for example LINUX). In addition, a product may be spun off from HPE, so the Connect Advocacy program must now work with that new organisation as well as HPE who often still hold the IP (Intellectual Property) behind the product or service.
As well, the communication channels to and from HPE get built on a combination of business processes and personal relationships – and these are easily broken when re-organisations take place. In addition the “old” methods of communication and requests for changes or enhancements also change – a platform that has been used for a period falls out of favour for use and must be changed – better methods of communication come into existence and Advocacy methods must shift to take advantage of these new methods.
Throughout all of this, Advocacy must be a two way communication channel – we can run surveys and measure requirements, but if we don’t – or can’t – tell the survey respondents what we measured and what the outcome was, then surveys fall out of favour. Alternatively the sheer volume of traffic from many organisations using the same or similar methods can “turn off” the people who we need in the Advocacy process.
Essentially we need your help. Advocacy is going through another round of change, but is it enough? At the moment we are actively working on developing methods of communication using Slack Channels and we are including Advocacy activities in the popular Tech Forums at Discover and the Technical Boot Camps as well as the SIG meetings.
Is that enough? We need your feedback as to what Advocacy programs you want for technical content, as well as the methods of communication that you prefer for receiving this content.
We recognise that you are stretched. The company you work for probably runs in-house as well as Cloud based Systems. There is little overlap in job, your ability to get to external events for updating your skills are limited, and there is constant change and a need to minimise costs within the organisation. So how can we help – let us know.
How? Well I am going to break a rule – send me a (hopefully short) Email on what form Advocacy could take that would be meaningful to you and we will look at the responses and develop a program – if possible – that meets the common threads of the responses.
We won’t be able to meet all requirements – but we will have a better understanding of what you need and that can only help us all, which is what a User Group is all about.
Put Advocacy in the Subject line so that my spam filters don’t file your Email where I won’t look at them, and the Email address to send your comments to is firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks for your thoughts on Advocacy in advance, and a Happy New Year to you all.