New BITUG Chairman (Dec 2013)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

I am writing this on the run up to the Christmas break. I must admit, I am a great fan of Christmas. I mean what is there not to like. You can’t argue with a Christmas lunch and the subsequent turkey sandwich / curry / pasta bake or salad. As those of you that know me are aware, I am partial to the odd Christmas drink. I don’t even mind the Sound of Music, the Great Escape or the X Factor finals!! But what I do mind, what absolutely blows my brain, more than any other task on the planet, is the bloody shopping!!! How do women do it? I know a great proportion of the people who will read this will be men and I am sure that like me, you get dragged round your local shopping centre, in a kind of bewildered daze, as your wife asks your opinion, on yet another red scarf and do you think it will go with your mother in laws new coat, that your brother / sister / mom / dad / cat (delete as appropriate) has already bought for her. You nod, trying to look interested enough, not to get into trouble, when really all you want to do is plunge the nearest coat hanger into your own eye, in the hope that it will transport you away from all this, even if it is in the back of an ambulance!!

So what does all of this have to do with BITUG. Well if it wasn’t for the good old (and the good new) HP NonStop, then all those queue’s in all those shops would be a hell of a lot longer and would move a hell of a lot slower. They tell us our economy is recovering, the banks apparently have loads of money to lend us and the small businesses, that surround our everyday lives. As we know a good proportion of these financial movements, at some point hit the HP NonStop and it is you folks, which help keep all of this moving.

I recently attended the Connect Bootcamp event in San Jose and while there, attended a tour of HP’s ATC. Now don’t get me wrong, a massive room full of row upon row of IT cabinets doesn’t really float my boat. But when you hear about some of the quite frankly, startling projects that the HP NonStop is involved in (I don’t know what I am allowed to say publically and what I am not, so I am going to play it safe and say nothing) it does give you that warm fuzzy feeling. I mean, I am forty two now and I have been part of the Tandem community from when I was seventeen. From day one, right up to now (some 25 years later) all I have heard about is how HP NonStop is on its way out. I am sure we have all heard stories of this ‘company’ and that ‘project’ dropping the NonStop. But do they, well we are all still here aren’t we!!


So here we are, and the ‘we’, to which I refer, is the good ship BITUG. 2014 will be my second stint as Chairman and with Graham Neild now stepping down from the committee; I am now the longest serving member of the committee at some seventeen years. So what does your committee have in store for you this year then? Well firstly, we have given the website a complete overhaul (please check it out at and let us know your feedback). In fact we have taken the marketing side of BITUG a lot more seriously of late; I hope you have enjoyed the much better looking mailshots and the recent new style newsletter. We are sticking with our proven formula of two good events per year, focusing on user experiences and good quality, relevant training.

Now this is where you come in. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you that this is YOUR user group and like a lot of things, the quality of what you get out, is directly proportional to the quality of what you put in. So we need to hear about what you are doing. If you have a project that has just completed, is half way through, or is in the early planning stages, the chances are several other companies are in the same boat, or are very much interested in hearing about the boat that you are in. So we want to hear about it. Don’t worry about standing up in front of a room full of people you don’t know, we have ways around that. But please, please, please get involved and get in touch.

So that is it for now. I will be in touch in the not too distant future to see what you are up to. So all that leaves me to do is wish you a very prosperous 2014 and I look forward to seeing you all at this year’s BITUG events.


Sean Bicknell

BITUG Chairman 2014