I just arrived back from the 2008 Business Objects User Conference operated by the Global BusinessObjects Network (GBN). It was a great conference but there was a lot of confusion on who GBN is and what they offer. This was exemplified with the launch of the new SAP Business Objects Community (BOC) which is not affiliated with GBN. I’ll explain the differences and story here.
GBN (http://gogbn.org) is an independent, non-profit, customer lead organization that manages user groups and provides a customer voice to Business Objects – for a yearly membership fee (free for 2009). There appears to be some confusion between GBN and the new SAP Business Objects Community (BOC), owned and operated by SAP (http://boc.sap.com). For those of you familiar with the classic Business Objects technical community (Diamond) then BOC is the evolution of that community. BOC is an SAP operated, collaborative knowledge sharing network with an ungated community site for the greater Business Objects network of customers, partners, employees and others interested in finding more about Business Objects solutions. Note: GBN and BOC have no direct affiliation with each other.
A bit of history on GBN. Back in 2006 when Reed Hornberger (at the time he was the VP of Americas Marketing) started at Business Objects, he realized within a short period of time that Business Objects had a neglected user group community (lack of corporate speakers and low to no funding). Reed immediately put some $$$ and head count up to support the user groups. A short while later SAP acquired Business Objects and Business Objects was introduced to ASUG (American SAP User Group). ASUG is an independent, non-profit organization that focuses on managing SAP user groups and providing a customer voice to SAP – for a yearly membership fee. ASUG has a proven track record with customers and user groups and manages a sizable membership. Seeing an opportunity on both Business Objects and ASUG sides, ASUG with the involvement of Business Objects created GBN to focus on the Business Objects specific customers from a user group and providing a strong single customer voice to Business Objects. As part of this, Business Objects gave GBN the Business Objects Insight conference (now Business Objects User Conference) which is owned and operated by GBN.
I hope that clears up some confusion, let me know if you have any questions.