Report - May 14, 2024

The CONTACT Software User Group

Independent, impactful, and informed: the CIM Database User Group brings together customers from various industries for personal exchange and to discuss their current topics with us. This network benefits not only the companies represented there but also us and our products.


In 2005, three leading automotive suppliers founded the CIM Database User Group (UG) to coordinate relevant customer requirements and bring them to our attention. Shortly after, the Stuttgarter Straßenbahn AG and other customers joined the manufacturer-independent initiative of MANN+HUMMEL, Eberspächer, and ORIS (a brand of ACPS Automotive since 2018).

Today, the UG represents nearly all major industries. In addition to the mobility sector and mechanical and plant engineering, these include companies from the high-tech industry, logistics, medical technology, infrastructure, and consumer goods manufacturers. All CONTACT customers can join the group for free and benefit from its advantages.

The organization

The UG meets twice a year each time at a different industry company. All events start around 1 pm with a customer-only meeting, followed by an informal dinner with CONTACT. The next morning, the current topics are discussed with CONTACT's representative Markus Feldmann. The participating companies submit their proposals in advance so that they determine the respective customer agenda based on priority.

“The dialogue with the User Group helps us to keep our finger on the pulse of new market requirements,” says Feldmann. “That's why our management often joins the meetings.” Sometimes his colleagues from software development get involved and present new apps or product enhancements via web sessions. For a brief period, the UG also offered virtual participation for its members. However, this approach was abandoned because it did not allow an intensive exchange of ideas.

“The personal contact with other project managers and IT professionals cannot be valued highly enough,” says Friedemann Schmieg from ACPS Automotive. “We often face similar challenges, receive valuable application tips for our own company, and can advocate for new software features and other important topics together.”

Schmieg was the coordinator of the UG for 14 years and has witnessed some controversial debates. Like with other software providers, the most discussed topics are changes to the license model or maintenance fees. “Especially with these issues, things can get passionate,” says Feldmann. “But ultimately, we always find a constructive solution and understanding of why price adjustments are necessary.” To provide planning security for customers, CONTACT has developed a dashboard that transparently breaks down the licensing costs.

Additional workshops

To complement their regular meetings, the UG offers practice-oriented workshops. Here, members can delve deeper into specific topics, discuss current or new requirements in smaller groups, and, if required, develop measures for the future together with CONTACT. Workshops at the operational level with colleagues from the specialist departments are helpful, says Schmieg. The next workshop will focus on “Workflows”, and another one on feature-based classification with CONTACTs “Universal Classification” is currently in planning.

New coordinators

After around 25 years, Friedemann Schmieg has handed over responsibility for the PLM environment at ACPS Automotive to fully dedicate himself to his other important task: protecting the internal IT landscape against cyberattacks. Since he was appointed Chief Information Security Officer in 2013, the demands on IT security have increased dramatically, making the dual role no longer sustainable.

Therefore, the coordination of the User Group is now in other hands. The new main contact Klaus Eberhardt from Syntegon Technology already coordinated the latest meeting at Sennheiser in early March 2024. Involvement in the UG is also worthwhile for CONTACT's international customers, emphasizes Eberhardt. “They can contribute topics to the agenda, and rely on us to represent their interests,” says the PLM project manager at Syntegon, a leading manufacturer of process and packaging technology manufacturer for the global pharmaceutical and food industry.

Next meeting

The UG will come together for the second time this year in Munich on November 11, the day before the Open World 2024. Please reach out to Klaus Eberhardt via email if you would like to attend. At CONTACT's two-day customer and partner conference from November 12 to 13, the User Group will also have a booth at the accompanying exhibition.

Good to know: UG members benefit from a discount for their tickets to the CONTACT Open World 2024. They can request the discount code by emailing events@contact-software.com.

 


Your contact

Barbara Scholvin
Senior Manager Public Relations & Corporate Communications
 

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