CEAC is a technical advisory council consisting of a representative sample of end user members from one of the Common Europe organisations. It is used as a forum for a dialogue with IBM on strategic and long term issues.
As with almost every company in the world IBM has a limited R & D budget and it wants to ensure that it invests these funds in areas that its customers want. CEAC has been established to help them find the optimum balance between customer Enhancements and its business investment. Through CEAC, Common Europe members have a direct link to IBM and the ability to get their voice heard with regards to new request for enhancements and needs for the IBM i platform. They will also receive advanced insight into the future direction of the platform and find out about new functions, technologies and directions for the platform before they are publicly announced.
CEAC members are IT professionals with extensive IBM i experience, visionary ideas and business knowledge from a wide range of business sectors. Their main task is to give IBM open, honest and constructive feedback on strategic directions, feature set, current shortfalls and potential enhancements for the IBM i platform. In addition they agree to actively seek out and gather new requests for enhancements for IBM i from COMMON Europe members (usually in their own local geography) and present these through monthly conference calls and face-to-face (F2F) meetings.
To be a member of CEAC you need to be member of one of the Common Europe country organisations. It is required that all members are able to speak and write in English. Members are encouraged to stay for a minimum of 3-5 years, so as to be able to learn, participate and see results. CEAC aims to be a group of about 15 members, the majority of who work in customer sites, rather than IBM Business Partners (BP) or Independent Software Vendors (ISV). Any new applicant can apply for CEAC membership through their countries organization or be recommended by a current CEAC member. All members of CEAC have to sign a None Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with IBM to be able to get the strategic information from IBM, open answers and discussions regarding enhancements. Any member that repeatedly fails to attend face to face meetings or monthly conference calls may be released from membership.
IBM has two other customer groups similar to CEAC, Common America Advisory Council (CAAC) and Large User Group (LUG), members can be invited to join other groups meetings as a guest.
CEAC is a part of Common Europe (CE) and to maintain communication with the CE Board of Directors and IBM the CEAC has a designated liaison within the CE Board and IBM. Membership of CEAC is on a voluntary basis and as such members do not get paid. However, Common Europe will pay for 1 night’s hotel accommodation for the F2F meeting held with the COMMON Europe Congress.
IBM has a dedicated contact assigned as a liaison to the CEAC. Their role is to plan, facilitate and host the monthly CEAC meetings. In addition, during meetings, their role is to capture any actions and updates involving IBM and to make sure that IBM is responding to Enhancements / questions a proper and timely fashion and that the right persons from IBM are asked to attend monthly and F2F meetings. CEAC members can contact the IBM liaison directly between meetings if they have questions for IBM or need to follow up on a specific Enhancement.
Each month IBM sends out the invites to a conference call to discuss requests for enhancements, give updates regarding announcements or to have roadmap presentations and discussions. All conferences calls are held on a secure and private IBM Collaboration Platform. Agenda (Final agenda for the meeting is always put up on the CEAC website two weeks in advance)
* IBM Presentation
* CEAC Feedback
* Next meeting planning / wishes
It is not mandatory for all CEAC members to attend all calls but it is highly desirable for them to do so. Members should be expected to attend at least 8 out of the 10 scheduled conference calls each year.
The CEAC meets twice a year. These are usually a 2 day event and usually follow on from one of the Common conferences. Key members from IBM also attend this event. It is not mandatory for all CEAC members to attend all F2F meetings but it is highly desirable for them to do so. Members should be expected to attend at least one each year.
Marketing of the CEAC is important for IBM, Common Europe and the CEAC team itself. It is important that we highlight the success stories from the work carried out by the CEAC and also to seek new council members and of course new Requests for Enhancements. All of the CEAC members are under a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) so we have to be sure that we review any communication or marketing to the outside world to ensure we do not infringe this agreement. But this NDA does not mean that no communication is possible.
Common Europe Advisory Council (CEAC)
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