Computer Business Review


CBR Staff Writer

18:30, October 31 1990

Senior network managers from large companies around the UK gathered in Brighton last month to share their experiences of corporate networking. Resembling something between Network Managers Anonymous and the Network Managers Trade Union, the group is one of the 12 subcommittees of the UK Computer Measurement Group which is a user group run by the members for the members. Apart from holding a conference in May each year, members of Computer Measurement Group claim that at its best, the organisation works something like a private club and an old boy's network rolled into one, where members can meet, make contacts, swap stories, and then ring one another up later when things go wrong. The idea is to foster beneficial relationships with people in similar positions but across different vendor environments. The networking subgroup conference also provides something of a cathartic experience for attendees, as the unprofessional, unpaid speakers stand up before their peers and describe how they have completely messed up a particular project in some cases even their own pet projects. And the person that most honestly admits to having bungled gets a prize for his or her efforts this year the prize is a trip to the parent organisation in the US, the US Computer Measurement Group in Orlando. With around 35 company representatives, this year's conference had fewer attendees than last, but of those that did turn up most agreed that it had been worth it. User speaker slots are generally agreed to be the most useful bits of the formal conference, where as well as noting down what to avoid, delegates can pick up useful handy hints for implementing Netview, or whatever the subject happens to be. Vendor speaker slots are less welcome. John Martin, chairman of the networks subgroup justifies their presence by saying that it is their software which is being talked about. Of the seven papers presented, two were from vendors - Legent and IBM. Some delegates come away with pages of notes to be followed up, simply on certain interfaces or other connection products that are new to them and may be useful. Others feel that the broad base of the conference in terms of vendors discussed and organisational-type means that a lot has to be sat through before anything relevant or useful comes up. But everyone agreed, organisers and delegates alike, that the lunchtime and evening discussions form an integral part of the conference's usefulness. As one delegate pointed out, just being able to talk over common problems in a supportive, constructive way made the whole thing worth it.


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