We’re a group of dedicated Arbortext users who have been using the product, in one way or another, since 2000. Most of us met at Arbortext User Group (AUGI) conferences or on the long-running adepters mailing list.
The Arbortext corporate history is full of detours and road construction. The AUGI conferences were annual events organized by Arbortext corporate staff. All users were invited to attend. There was a large exhibit hall as well, because the open API model that was available on all of the Arbortext products, encouraged a healthy development and extension ecosystem. The last conference, held in 2004 at Disney World, had more than 800 attendees. They were concerned about future conference locations because there are few places to go that can support 1000+ attendees.
Turns out, they needn’t have worried. In 2005, Arbortext was acquired by PTC. Acquisitions change everything and it can take a long time before every detail is handled and everything is merged into one. There’s learning on every side — both companies have things to learn…and so do the customers of both companies.
In PTC land, user conferences were organized and run by an independent group, PTC/User. Because they were on the outside, they didn’t incorporate the Arbortext user base into their operational awareness until 2006. In 2006, Arbortext Users were invited to the PTC/User conference for the first time. At that point, Arbortext users realized that organizing and maintaining their tribal and institutional knowledge was their own responsibility and several of us joined together to figure out how to grow PTC/User’s awareness of us and how we could use their model to better support other Arbortext users like us who felt we’d been left out in the cold. Although this was how many of us felt, it was simply a casualty of the acquisition and the complexity of the situation.
Still, to make the best of it, by 2009, we had organized the Arbortext User Group. We tried in-person meetings but that was untenable since most Arbortext Users were not regionally co-located. So we did virtual meetings instead. In 2009, there weren’t many options. Wolters-Kluwer donated access to LiveMeeting for us to hold meetings. Recorded videos required extensive, difficult, conversion to save and post to the web. Video formats were wildly varied and while we have restored many of the recordings from our early meetings, some were unfortunately lost forever.
Since then, the organizers behind PTC/User made significant efforts at welcoming and improving programming for Arbortext users. Many of us were on the review committee, evaluating presentation submissions and choosing the programming for the conferences. Others joined the Technical Committee to help drive product direction at PTC (another thing PTC/User was focused on). Others of us worked to preserve tribal knowledge that had been in Arbortext servers, mailing lists, and user-noggins on sites like this one.
So, who are we?
We’re users–Arbortext users–just like you.