By Chris Taylor.

In the spring of 2004, Microsoft approached the OPCUG with an idea that they would like to provide support to an "IT Pro SIG" in the Ottawa area. They had found during their TechNet tours that the hundreds of people who came out did not know about support groups like the OPCUG. It was their opinion that they could help raise the profile of the OPCUG (and other user groups in Canada) as well as provide support for the professionals working in IT if they helped out a special interest group for "IT Professionals".

Discussions took place with Microsoft about what sort of support they would be interested in providing. Any concerns that the SIG would become a simple mouthpiece for Microsoft were quickly laid to rest as Microsoft indicated they were interested in helping out the IT professional community. They realize that there are non-Microsoft technologies that IT professionals use and they would try to provide appropriate help and resources.

Microsoft provided a liaison between the OPCUG and themselves. Rick Klaus is an IT Pro Advisor with Microsoft. Rick has a well-rounded background in technologies including both Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies. Rick has joined the OPCUG and will be an active member in the SIG.

The first meeting of the "IT Pro SIG" was held Wednesday, October 13th, 2004. A dozen members showed up. The discussion started with where people thought the SIG would go in terms of topics and format. Several ideas were mentioned including things like patch management, service pack deployment, help desk issues, software deployment, server management, and more. Given the timeliness of it, the conversation quickly shifted into Windows XP SP2 deployment and the difficulties this presents to those professionals responsible for installing this massive update to other people's computers. Many ideas were discussed about what needs to be done to ensure minimal disruption and problems as a result of installation of SP2.

It was a good first meeting and we look forward to a long and healthy life of the IT Pro SIG.

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