>> I went to the COMMON web site and printed several web pages ("What is
COMMON", "ROI", & "Benefits of Membership"), but I will need more specific
information as to how our company will benefit by my attending a COMMON
conference.  Especially on the ROI.

Much of the return on investment is either intangible or not easily measurable.
The main advantage your company would get is a much better informed and
connected employee.

You can spend up to 3 days browsing at the COMMON expo, where you'll see all of
IBM's latest hardware and software, as well as the offerings of several hunred
vendors. Whether you're primarily supporting the iSeries hardware or software,
your hours spent in the expo will give you the contacts and information needed
to make the most advantageous decisions for your employer.

You can attend 4 days full of technical sessions, in virtually any interest area
related to iSeries and at any ability level.  There will be 6 tracks of hands-on
labs, so you can go home with applied knowledge.

You can talk with the instructors both during the sessions and between them,
forming long-lasting contacts with both IBM developers and your peers in the
rest of the industry.

Many of the people on this list participate in COMMON, so you'll be able to
attach faces and personalities to the contacts you've formed here.  (Of course
some people's personalities shine through whatever communications media they're
using, but some might surprise you!)

No matter what kinds of decisions you're struggling with, you'll be able to have
informal conversations with other people who are struggling with the same
things, and maybe even learn from someone who has already been down that path.

I haven't seen any final plans on whether IBM will be offering certification
tests, but often you can pick up one or two IBM certifications while you're at
COMMON.

And last, but certainly not least, you'll have so much fun and excitement,
you'll go home energized to work twice as hard on all sorts of new projects.

How's that for a short list? (Others on this list can feel free to pipe in!)

Janet Krueger
Andrews Consulting Group and COMMON Board Member


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