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Ottawa Sybase User Group - Closes its Doors

The Ottawa Sybase User group (OSUG) located in Canada's national capital has decided to close its doors after 21 years in operation. The Ottawa Sybase User Group has been in existence since 1992 and was formerly known as the Ottawa PowerBuilder User Group (OPBUG) until its current name change in 2003.
The group was originally founded by Chris Pollach who at that time worked for the local Ottawa, Canada PowerSoft distributor & education partner - AJJA Information Technology Consultants. Chris was also the first certified PB developer and instructor in Canada. While Chris became OSUG’s first president in 1992, there were three individuals after him that also took on the presidential position growing the membership to over 200 people. However, by 2002 with no current president the OPBUG had less than 25 active members and was at the verge of folding. In 2003, Chris again took on the user group roles as president renaming the user group and growing the membership back to a healthy level - which at its peak in 2008 was 532 members. 

Since 2008 though, the user group's attendance at meetings has been rapidly declining and harder and harder to fill. In recent years, the main interest in meetings has been bolstered by outside attendees from Montreal, Toronto and New Your state - but, even those numbers have declined significantly in recent years. OSUG president Chrs Pollach sites these main factors for user group attendance declining:
  1. Local IT management are reluctant to allow employees to attend the User Group presentations in general. This is a growing phenomenon - possible linked to SAP's misdirection with Sybase products or the decline of these in the local market place.
  2. Travel and Living costs for out-of-town attendees have grown significantly making it more prohibitive to attend.
  3. More and more meetings are held via Webcasts.
  4. Assistance from organizations like ASUG and ISUG-TECH is now non-existant
  5. Sybase product management has become invisible.
  6. Sybase product Technical Evangelists are no longer active.
  7. Access to Sybase product engineering is no longer present.
  8. SAP seems to be mainly obsessed with their products and not Sybase's.
  9. SAP does not provide any long term product road-maps. This makes meeting content much less attractive.
  10. Many local IT shops are moving off Sybase and even SAP technologies towards J2EE, .Net, PeopleSoft, etc.
  11. Sybase and now SAP does not stimulate the local consulting market.
  12. Sybase products have no local education offerings any longer. There are no new younger OSUG attendees in recent years.
  13. Many long term OSUG members are now retiring.
  14. Sybase products are not keeping up with the times. For example in the PowerBuilder realm where Web and Mobile are now the main interest - not more C/S. In fact, for the Canadian Government in the past 10 years, the direction is web only.
  15. SAP's indecisiveness to confidently move forward with Sybase products - especially PowerBuilder.
  16. Sybase`s senior management is no longer present to assist in the interests of the UG or its content - especially people like Raj Nathan.

OSUG has enjoyed some great & memorable meetings though, here is a trip down memory lane for some of these recent meetings ...

a) http://chrispollach.blogspot.ca/2010/08/cts.html
b) http://chrispollach.blogspot.ca/2012/10/pbnhl.html
c) http://chrispollach.blogspot.ca/2012/03/osug20120524.html
d) http://chrispollach.blogspot.ca/2012/09/osug.html
e) http://chrispollach.blogspot.ca/2014/01/pbwt_10.html

OSUG would like to thank former Sybase Technical Evangelists  Dave Fish and John Strano for all their great contributions over the years, Sybase presenters like Raj Nathan, John Chen, Billy Ho, Brian Vink, Matt Creason, David Dichmann, Anthony Robinson, Stan Loche, etc just to name a few. OSUG would also like to thank Appeon CEO Armeen Mazda and Novaly CEO Christophe Dufourtmotelle for their great support of the Ottawa Sybase User Group! Last but not least, former Sybase Technical Director Tony Antonello for over two decades in support OSUG`s efforts.

As Bob Hope would say ... Thanks for the memories!

Regards ... Chris
Over Two Decades of Great Meetings!

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Chris Pollach

Chris Pollach is a Senior Consultant with over 30 years experience in Systems and Software Analysis, Development, Maintenance and Technical Support, mainly in the areas of GUI Design, MS-Windows Programming, Java / .NET Programming, Wireless, Application / Web Server Design & Programming, Object Oriented Development Tools and Methodologies, Data Base, Data Communications and Network application development. He has participated in numerous technical, planning and management roles, as well as consulted and educated in these fields for a diverse clientele. He is also the owner of “Software Tool & Die Inc.” a company dedicated to provide custom software and education solutions on Object Oriented business systems.

As an educator, Chris is certified to teach PowerBuilder (first in Canada), MS-SQLServer, Sybase’s Enterprise Application Studio and EAServer integrated application/web development environment. He is former Certified SilverStream developer (CSSD) and current Certified PowerBuilder Developer – Associate / Professional (CPD-P) as well as a Certified Sybase Tools Instructor (CSI).

Chris has written numerous articles in various popular personal computer magazines, newsletters and is the author of the PowerGuide and PowerExpert products as well as the STD Foundation Classes. Currently, Chris has developed a Foundation Class library for Sybase's PocketBuilder, SAP's PowerBulder and EAServer products and now Appeon Web & mobile products that integrates JSP or ASP web development, Section 508 / CLF web standards and mobile applications. A new Web Service framework has also been released for IIs to support PowerBuilder based web service NVUO's!

Chris recently became a 2nd Degree Black in the TaeKwonDo martial art and has developed a Martial Art multimedia study guide using the Component-One “Doc2Help” and Sybase PowerBuilder products. Since the fall of 2004 he became a TaeKwonDo instructor for the City of Ottawa’s Goulbourn program. He has also been certified with the World TaeKwonDo Federation (February 2005 - 1st Dan and October 2008 - 2nd Dan).

Chris was awarded the Sybase “Innovation and Achievement” award for 2005 as voted for by the International Sybase User Group (ISUG). This award was presented for innovations to the PocketBuilder mobile development product, contributions to the PowerBuilder News groups and support of the Ottawa Sybase User Group.

To round his management and leadership skills, Chris is the former president of the Kiwanis Club of Goulbourn and still volunteers his time with the service clubs in his area. He is also the coordinator of the Ottawa Sybase User group and a certified NAUI scuba instructor. For the last three years, Chris has been voted onto the ISUG Board of Directors and holds the position of "Director - North American User Groups".

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