Regional User Groups – Do they provide value to the user community?

Regional User Groups – Do they provide value to the user community?

Bonnie Berry, PLM World Administrative Assistant

Yes, of course, absolutely! RUGs (Regional User Groups) play in integral part in the PLM World community. They are valuable because they are a lifeline between the end users and Siemens PLM Software. Kristy Timbimboo of the Intermountain RUG comments, “RUGs provide opportunities to local regions that many users of Siemens software products may not otherwise get to experience, including learning sessions and networking, for a minimal cost. Education sessions often include an onsite training lab staffed by Siemens trainers or presentations ranging from what’s new to best practices that allow users to increase their own productivity. Attending a local RUG meeting also allows users to share their experiences, optimize their techniques, or get solutions for software application issues from local contacts, thereby expanding their resource base. You can’t afford to miss out.”

Regional meetings are valuable because they give the end user a chance to be “part of” by the giving and receiving of information and ideas. Chris Cooper of the SoCal RUG has this to say: “As the President of the SoCal PLM World Regional User Group (RUG), one of the questions I am most asked is ‘Why is a RUG important?’. I usually tell them that for me, the biggest thing is communication. The partnership between the user community and Siemens PLM Software is one that facilitates the communication between the user and those Siemens employees that can best answer a user’s question; or at the very least, direct the user to that resource that will answer the user’s question. Additionally, in Southern California, we have a great number of NX users spanning a variety of fields ranging from aerospace/defense to medical devices to automotive to the one closest to my heart, golf club design. Many times, the RUG is the only way competitors in these fields can communicate about CAD related issues, without sacrificing intellectual property in the process.”

RUGs have value because they help the users stay up to date with the latest and greatest products that are put out there as well as the products that have been in place for a while. Rollo Cain from the Midwest RUG explains, “Some key take-aways by users that attend RUG meetings:

  • exposure to new ideas or capabilities they have not seen and could use
  • networking with other users using the same software to share experiences and learn
  • chance to talk to a company developer on issues/questions they are having
  • (bottom line) learn something new they can apply when returning to work

Showing future software releases with new functionality will not keep the user coming back to RUG meetings, because that has no value to them today and many times they have no control over when releases are actually in place in their own organization.”

RUGs are valuable because they provide a platform for networking and other resources. Steve Champagne from the Chicago RUG says: “I believe RUGS are very important for the networking with other companies. I know when we started out with the Siemens’s product (NX and then in to NX Manager, and finally into Teamcenter) we were looking for someone to give use some kind of direction. Siemens salespeople were helpful but they don’t use it in a work environment. At the time we were part of a RUG.

Ever since we have been part of the RUG it is amazing how many people have gone through what we went through or how many people are on the verge of trying to figure out what to do.

I got involved with our RUG for one main reason: I wanted to help people/companies out that felt like there was no one else going through what they were going through. There are plenty of people in RUG’s that have done what you are trying to do as a company. Hopefully they can save you and your company time and money by not making the same mistakes as someone else has.”

RUGs have value because a community can be formed for the good of one another, to help those out that are in the same situation. “With deadlines always getting shorter, it’s nice to have a community of people in the same boat as yourself. RUG members can come up with novel, creative uses for particular commands that were never intended for that purpose. RUG groups also provide a quick and efficient way to get up-to-speed on the latest changes from version to version of the software. The value provided by RUGs can’t be beat.” says Barry Bruce from the Wisconsin RUG. Mark Wurzer from the New York RUG adds, “RUG’s are important to interact with other people/companies who maybe doing the exact same thing you’re doing but with a different twist, and it’s always nice to understand the direction Siemens is taking the software.”

“I feel the RUGs are a huge asset to users in that they allow the free flow of ideas, usage tips and information between members who attend. Where possible we try to schedule speakers from the national event so that users unable to make that can still get some of the presentations that went on there. We are lucky to have the support of Siemens education services and can rely on their mobile classroom and first-rate trainers to present classes at the RUGs, a major draw for our members.” says Tom Burrer from the Southwest RUG.

As you have read, the RUG officers quoted here believe in the RUGs, that they do have value. While Siemens PLM Connection is the heart, the RUGs are the arteries that keep us all connected. We hope that you agree.

Michele Diller, RUG Liaison and Rocky Mountain RUG Leader, says, “Kudos goes out to all the RUG leaders as well as all the other volunteers for your time and energy spent to enhance the RUGs. We appreciate you and thank you very much.”

If you are interested in joining an existing RUG, click here.to find a RUG near you. Perhaps you have an interest in starting a RUG in your area, if so contact Michele Diller (RUG liaison) for information and assistance.

Of course, you still want to mark your calendar for the National event, May 2-5, 2011. This event will be held in Las Vegas at the Rio hotel. This event promises to build upon the energy we saw at the 2010 conference, and deliver another world class conference for the PLM World user community. We hope to see you there. For more information, please visit http://event.plmworld.org/ or contact Kati Kenyon at kkenyon@plmworld.org.

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