Why Customer User Groups are Integral to the Success of Today's Technology Organizations
October 13, 2021
Software and technology user groups as we know them today have been in existence since the 1950s with the IBM mainframe. However, today’s user groups have evolved tremendously and are often driven by established technology providers of all sizes with more formalized interactions designed to help the organization learn much more from its users than ever before. This dynamic presents an unparalleled opportunity to not only build stronger symbiotic relationships with users but also to uncover nuanced product findings and industry trends. At their core, user groups exist to facilitate knowledge-sharing and communication among individuals who use the same technology, so providing a frictionless forum to share and receive information is critical.
I’ve been involved with user groups since my early career, starting with organizing and managing large user groups. I’ve traveled the world meeting with user groups and speaking at their events — both for my own companies and as a guest executive speaker. For example, I’ve spoken to user groups about technology and road maps and met with partner user groups to engage on integration topics. The overarching value of these experiences for me has been the ability to gain customer feedback and opportunity to listen to them and use this feedback to inform future product direction.
Many technology companies decide to form user groups when they have motivated and engaged customers who see the benefit of participating in a community around the company’s particular products or platforms. As groups grow, it’s the relationships — built among members and the vendor — that are the basis of user groups’ value.
Read more from Terra Dotta's CEO, Anthony Rotoli, on Forbes.