Continuing with its tradition, last November 20th TUG presented another excellent set of meetings.
or the second time in a row, we were treated with a professional discussion panel that involved the audience as well as the four panelists on stage. Ken Sadler, (TUG director and manager of Application Development at Coca-Cola Beverages) teamed up with three other Lotus Notes experts to present their experiences with this highly capable tool, and to answer questions from the audience. Accompanying Ken on the stage were Kenneth Chan of Catholic Children's Aid Society, Samuel Lee of Children's Aid Society of Toronto and Stacy Peuhkurinen from Bell Sigma. Certainly all of these people demonstrated their interest, knowledge and understanding of a still fairly mysterious product. Mysterious yes, but fabulous "group-ware".
One thing to say about these users panels is that it is the true essence of a "users group". The way I see a users group is a sharing of knowledge, experience with other colleagues or community in order to improve everyone's knowledge.
'Doing Business on the Internet' was our second topic of the afternoon and Randal Johnston, a consultant in systems integration and network centric solutions, (CEO of Intesys Network Communications Ltd.), told us why we should consider the Internet (and its related technologies) as normal tools to carry today's business and why we should improve as much as possible our relationship with this amazing tool.
Today the Internet is the mainstream; the next generation will be more familiar with the Internet than we are today with our current technologies.
Smart companies will recognize that the "e-commerce" will not threaten business, but will complement the current business models. Randy gave a few examples where the Internet was used to improve/complement existing businesses: FedEx & UPS with their parcel tracking Internet services where you can electronically follow the route of your parcels; American Airlines with their royalty program members, etc.
Some key success factors in setting up for the Internet: It must add value to the partners' relationship; it (the Internet) cannot add more middle-men to the relationship; the expectation of the consumers or customers is that it will reduce costs; it must be seamless and must be easy to use.
I have been to many presentations on the same topic, and Randy kept my attention all the way through.
After the social hour, Joan Burek of Cancom closed the evening with an AS/400 Networking Solutions Primer presentation. She presented many different ways connections can be made today to allow many different types of computers to talk to each other. Joan addressed the many communication protocols, network topologies, various type of carriers for terrestrial and satellite networking, the different ways to achieve what we want to do.
Some of the steps she described to show us how we could "get from here to there" are: separate the local from the remote; establish a common platform; serve your mission critical needs; evolve / consolidate your network; migrate your mainframe; address individual peculiarities, and many others.
Those who are serious about connection and connectivity, will follow with pleasure Joan's column in this issue of the TUG News-magazine. Starting with the last issue, Joan will be contributing a regular column on these topics.