October 16, 2018 | IBM i

Why Join a Local IBM i User Group?


The IBM i sometimes gets a bad reputation for being considered old technology, even though we know that idea couldn’t be further from the truth.  One of the keys to ensuring that your IBM i takes your organization into the future is getting educated on everything the platform has to offer…and there’s a lot to offer.  The challenge is that IBM i specific education can be hard to find.


Local User Groups (LUGs) offer an excellent service to the IBM i community by providing high-quality education at a low cost.  Even better than the low price, LUGs offer benefits to both you and your employer. If you’re not participating in your local user group, you’re missing an excellent opportunity to improve your skills while networking with your peers.

Why Join a LUG?

Local User Groups offer meetings for a low cost.  Some groups have a small per meeting fee, based on where meetings are held, whether food and drink are served, speaker fees, and other expenses.  Other LUGs offer corporate rates, meaning your company can get real value by sending multiple people to attend the meeting for one low price.  Compare this to COMMON, a weeklong event that requires each attendee to pay for the conference plus travel expenses, and suddenly you have your justification for having your company pay for a LUG membership.  While COMMON is a great value, LUGs are a great value with a lower time and price commitment. Attending a full day or half day meeting once a month is just sometimes easier to do.  It’s much easier to justify the lower costs of these types of meetings.


Local user groups meet several times a year.  Having multiple meetings gives you a chance to gain exposure to different topics and speakers without having to give up several days in a row out of the office.  Most user group meetings last from three to four hours all the way up to a full day. Some meetings are held at night, so you don’t have to miss much work at all. You can also attend some LUG meetings remotely, so you may not even need to leave your office to get LUG education.


The same great speakers who educate at COMMON visit the local user’s groups and provide the same level of education.  Steve Fier from IBM, Jon Paris or Susan Gantner from Partner400, Pete Massiello from iTech Solutions, Ted Holt from Profound Logic, and many other IBM i experts speak at LUGs throughout the year.  They recognize that not everyone can attend COMMON and they want to share their messages with the IBM I community.

Networking with other IBM i Professionals

Another huge benefit of attending LUG meetings is to network with the IBM i community.  Networking benefits both your organization and your career.  From an organizational standpoint, you can learn what your colleagues at other companies are doing to help their companies take things to the next level.  From a personal perspective, you can build relationships with other companies where you know your skills could be applicable in the future.


Smaller LUG settings offer you a better chance of having one on one discussions with some of the experts who are presenting.  If you attend a short group meeting with 15-20 people, you have a better chance of getting a few minutes with an expert than you do at a conference with 250-300 attendees.  The odds are in your favor to get some significant input from an industry expert!


Some of the Local User Groups offer one-day conferences.  These conferences often involve several speakers along with a Vendor Solutions Center where you can network with vendors to learn more about the latest offerings.  Again, these local events are usually lower cost and lower time commitment, making it easier to get approved.

Need help finding a Local User Group?

If we’ve piqued your interest and you’re interested in attending a LUG meeting near you, here’s a list of some of the Local User Groups currently active in the United States. Click on the attached links to see what they’re up to this year.