Why I joined BIWUG as an active member last year.

Last year (2010) I joined BIWUG as an ”active member”. BIWUG is the Belgian Luxemburg Information Worker User Group. A lot of people (including myself) had some criticism  on BIWUG. Mainly on their on-line presence, the website (which is a WSS 2.0 website at the moment of writing) but also on the topics and subject that were presented during the BIWUG sessions.

The reason I started talking with the current board members was because I was a little disappointed in the content of the sessions. Just like Microsoft, BIWUG is focused on developer and IT PRO’s. and actually even a little more on developers. The actual members are also mainly developers and IT-PRO’s. And they also work for consulting or outsourcing companies, so this makes it a select group of IT professionals. While SharePoint is so much more then developing and administrating. See also my blog post Why Microsoft is wrong in their SharePoint bring to market approach.

So instead of just complaining, I joined BIWUG together with Peter Cattersel and our mission is to start a third track next to SharePoint development and Administrating tracks. We currently name it Information Worker track, but it might be renamed to Knowledge Worker track or Functional track. We are also going to try to broaden the members of the user group. We would like to have more functional consultants joining BIWUG and also business (super)users.

What is going to change? Peter and I created a list of topics that we think should be presented during on of the BIWUG sessions, and most probably we will deliver some sessions ourselves. We will also try to find channels to reach to the SharePoint customer base in Belgium, and I’m silently hoping Microsoft is willing to help us with this. I know they have a GREAT marketing department in Belgium and I think we might collaborate very well without exchanging customer names and contact details :-). There are also some structural things I would like to change in the BIWUG organization, but I can’t disclose that in a blog post.

In a meanwhile, since this is the first time for me that I engage myself to a user group, it will require some personal organization and if other user groups would like to share experiences, best and worst practices, PLEASE DO SO. You can comment in this blog, direct message me on Twitter or if 140 characters is not enough, you can email me directly at .

About Patrick Sledz

Patrick works as a consultant. He assists organizations to deliver SharePoint business value and create the awareness in these organizations that only a strong technical team is not sufficient to deliver this added value.
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