First, Happy 2018 to all my fellow leaders and CUGC community members! We sure have come a long way in just a few years since we kicked off CUGC at Synergy in May of 2015. If you want to reminisce, the announcement is still out there: https://www.mycugc.org/blog/cugc-goes-live.
I won't spend time recapping everything that happened in 2017, but if you haven't checked it out yet, Lee Winbush does a good job summarizing 2017: https://www.mycugc.org/blog/2017-a-great-year-for-cugc. 2018 will no doubt be another great year for the SIGs, local user groups and regional events (XL).
I did want to quickly throw some thoughts on paper about my experience now as both a Citrix customer/support engineer and on the VAR side as a partner and how it relates to the community in general. With the new year upon us, I am now about 50/50 give-or-take in years spent as both a customer and partner of Citrix. So, essentially, that means quite a few years now of heading to both Citrix Summit and Citrix Synergy in the same year. A quick glance at the CUGC community and leadership teams will probably show a good mix of both partners and customers as both local leaders and community members. Many of us are probably a part of more than just one local technology community and this is important as well. There are probably many of you reading this in the same boat, or maybe some of you looking to move from customer to partner or possibly back again.
To me, this combination of roles is very important to the overall health of the Citrix community, as being on one side or the other brings a different perspective, as well as the capability to serve and help out differently to some degree. e.g., We have webinars where the moderators can only be on one side or the other depending on the content and presenter(s).
The partner side of things will typically afford us more contacts and different levels of insight moving from project to project whereas as a customer, we usually have more day-to-day interaction and experience working on those issues and demands that come up on a daily basis. As a customer/support engineer, I know the mundane everyday grind of break/fix and improving my specific environment was very different from the 'billable' project-focused work that usually fills out the week on the partner side–where I might be jumping from environment to environment. As a partner, many times we do not get that time to sit and focus on every little thing that would be those perfection points, in my opinion, of customizing every little thing or scripting everything needed that we would do as a customer focused on our one specific area and company. As a partner, we must spread that time over many different areas and technologies focusing on the very latest features and capabilities just as much as supporting the old in order to stay relevant and billable across many verticals and customers. The list goes on and on as to the differences in where our time can be allocated; yes, there are similarities also, but from my perspective many more differences than similarities.
This is good from a local user group perspective, as we can then help bring different insights into how we use Citrix technologies across the whole stack and how we help others. I know for our local group here in Omaha NE, we have myself and four customer-side leads including Steve Elgan, who wrote up a great blog way back in 2017 that has since generated quite a bit of interest and discussion that also touched on this point a bit https://www.mycugc.org/blog/anatomy-of-a-successful-cugc-meeting. We all work closely together to bring different perspectives as to the content, presenters, and activities. This affords us the dynamic required to allow us all to fill in roles and pick up the slack if needed.
Bottom line is that we are all working for the same team, if you will, and therefore champions of the Citrix brand and the technology if we are part of this community. No matter if partner or customer, in the end, being a lead or member of CUGC means taking part in the community, socializing, networking and helping, as well as learning, from others. It should end up with the goal of promoting the technology, supporting our sponsors and bringing passion to our local communities.
And as a bonus, we sometimes can have a few cold ones, make new friends and get to go to some pretty fun activities. So, with that, cheers! And here's to a successful 2018 for all my friends on CUGC, local or otherwise. I hope to see many of you at Summit, Synergy or both!
Scott Osborne AKA Ozzy has been a Senior Solutions Architect and North Central Regional Lead at Choice Solutions since 2011, which is a leading business technology company and Citrix Platinum partner providing forward-thinking and innovative solutions to clients across the United States. Scott is a Citrix Specialist for Networking/Data Center, Citrix CTA, Nutanix NTC and Lead for the Omaha CUGC and Omaha Nutanix Chapter. He currently holds certifications with and is a certified installer for Nutanix, as well as holding Citrix CCP-N CC-SDWAN and CCE-V certifications. He may be reached at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter at @virtualozzy.