Pictured: Sam Adams Rebel IPA and Andaro’s Super Special – mmmmm.
I’ve been speaking to a few of you (Alberta craft beer brewers) and some of the software vendors you’re using to run your breweries and come to a bit of a conclusion; you ought to collaborate to get the most out of your software investment. A few of you have already, when asked, expressed an interest in a [pick your software provider] user group.

The way I see it, right now there are three main purposes of user groups:

  1. share (software) challenges and successes;
  2. share best practices for working with the software;
  3. discuss and suggest new features that you’d like to see in the software.

If there are other benefits you’d like to get out of a user group, let me know.

A user group would also be beneficial to those brewers who are investigating what software to buy. A low-key environment, without vendors present can be a great forum to learn the unvarnished truth about software, regardless of what industry you happen to be in or what business issues you’re trying to address.

I’ve reached out to a couple of vendors to get their thoughts on this, and to see what kind of support they might be willing to offer us. It really is in their best interest to be supportive, however, their blessing is not required.

Initially I’d like to keep things pretty informal, fun, and logistically simple. Monthly or bi-monthly gatherings at a rotating volunteer “host” venue seems to be the simplest approach. Based purely on numbers meeting in Calgary makes the most sense. If numbers and interest warrant we can always have meetings in other locations.

And since I know some of you are thinking “what’s in it for him?”, the answers are simple:

  1. Consulting work;
  2. Beer.

Here’s my take on this: your core competencies are making great beer and running breweries; my core competencies are working with businesses and technology vendors, and using technology to make businesses run better.

Let me know what you think. You can comment directly on this post, use the contact form, or email me directly at chris.walker@phigsimc.com.