Informing the IBM Community talk to i-UG’s chairman Mike Ryan about their upcoming annual conference


Hello Mike.

As the official representative of COMMON Europe in the U.K, i- UG has always listened to the current needs of its members to ensure they get great content that’s relevant to their day to day needs and have done this for many years by organising 4 regional conferences each year, for members, and non-members.

The last two years have been very tough for event organisers, especially in-person technical training events were hit very hard.

So it’s good to see some organisations are once more starting to organise in-person training events and education days.

Question 1

Now that COVID restrictions have been relaxed, is i-UG bringing back its annual flag ship  conference this year as an in person event?

Hi Nigel.  Yes indeed, the previous restrictions certainly threw i-UG some challenges, but I think it managed them pretty well.  And… Yes indeed, i-UG will be presenting the i-UG International i-Power event in person.  We have already presented events in a Hybrid form and wholly in-person on the run-up to this event very successfully.  People are very keen to meet again and shake hands – they constantly tell us this, and I’m pleased we can actually make this happen.

Question 2

If so, do you have a dates and venue details?

This year, we are holding the event in the hotel we had previously contracted to but needed to move and replace with our Virtual conferences.  It will be held on the 7th and 8th of June 2022 at the Park Inn by Radisson in Northampton.

Question 3

Given the current and sad situation with the war in Ukraine, many companies are aware and worried that they may need to increase security measures. Do you have an agenda or theme for the conference this year, and will it reflect the changes and challenges we are all facing in these post Covid times?

Well, we do have a theme, but it is not based on the conflict.  The theme is ‘Back to School’ and reflects more on Members and guests getting back up to speed and getting educated in the progress that has been going on – despite the Pandemic and the war.  However, the current world situation is definitely putting even more pressure on Security!  In particular, the worries about Ransomware attacks are at the top of many ‘C’ level Executive’s agendas.  The good news is that IBM has a phenomenal answer, and we’ll be talking about this in the Executive Stream (a new extension for 2022).

Question 4

John and Susan Paris are two very popular international speakers, especially when SID topics are included, is this something you are looking to do this year?

This team always goes down well, but they do have to travel quite some way to get here.  Luckily, we approached Jon and Susan, and also Paul Tuohy, and all of them are more than happy to attend and contribute to the i-UG event this year.  Check out the Agenda on the web site – – and you can see when they are presenting.

Question 5

Have you a line-up of local and other international speakers yet ? We could do some individual Q&As with them preconference perhaps?

We are lucky.  The i-UG events have proven themselves over many years now as a great place to get Education and Information.  This attracts speakers from far and wide as they know that they will get an audience for them to get this education out to people.

We have speakers and lecturers from the US, Germany, The Netherlands, France, Ireland and Canada as well as from the UK.  Some of these guys are World Class speakers and lecture around the world – just like our own Steve Bradshaw; who will be presenting in his inimitable manner too.  And hey, we have Alison Butterill this year too.

Maybe also pick out a few sponsors to run some editorials on what new releases or products they will be showing alongside the conference?

Check out the IBM education from Adrian Tully on Day 1 afternoon…  I can’t say more than that just now.  We’d love to be talking about the hardware that might follow Power9 but will settle for the latest O/S enhancements – IBM i NEXT – Steve Bradshaw should enlighten us somewhat on Day 2.

Question 6.

Are you planning a Gala dinner for the evening? I know sponsors and delegates enjoy this extra networking opportunity.

Ever since we took that first tentative step to launch the Gala Dinner, we have never looked back.  I think the idea (the push) came from Claire Monk at Help Systems, and for that I am forever grateful.  Yes, we will be putting on a great Gala Dinner, and this is where some of the best Communication goes on.  Sometimes a brief chat with peers’ results in great solutions to problems that we all have from time to time.

Question 7.

Most years you have introduced some interesting themes, the flight simulator being one of those. Have you a Mike Ryan great idea for this year’s show?

Innovations for this year are more aimed toward the delivery of information and the engagement in debate.  For one, the Executive Round Table – where User Executives meet the top IBM Executives for closed-door discussion – is being extended so that there is an exclusive stream put on just for those executives.

We will also be sharing the great strides we have made in engaging with the young students coming out of College and University and how we are working to get those skills into our Members Workforces.

But one of the great things we are staging this year is the ‘Town Hall Debate’ where a panel of experts debate a common challenge and the audience is fully engaged.  We have trialled these at the 1-day conferences and they have been a phenomenal success, with heated and passionate debate and a great sharing of information.  The debate for this event is wicked – Cloud vs On Premise.  Now THAT will spur some serious debate… but it is important to air both sides.

Mike, its been lovely to speak to you and to learn about International i-Power 2022, which I hope our readers will attend, I sure will be!

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