Martin, Tony, Chris & I met with Sue Davis & Nicola Bain, of Gartner, at their offices in Egham. Socitm's current two-year contract with Gartner expires on Sunday!

The contract provides two "IT Leader" seats with access to Gartner Research material, a few days on-site support from Gartner Analysts, and a number of tickets to the annual Gartner Symposium at Cannes.

It also provided significantly discounted access to Gartner Services for Socitm Members, but the reality is that we haven't marketed it effectively, and the cut-down service excludes some services that are most valued to Members so, understandably, there has been little uptake of late.

What I'd really like to do is negotiate a more strategic relationship with Gartner – or another research organisation – that provides direct value for our membership, in addition to the (not inconsiderable) value derived through Insight and Consulting Services.

Socitm produces a great deal of first class original material, so has much to offer in any partnership.

However, in view of the imminent expiry of our agreement, my colleagues' belief that the service, which Insight budgets for, provides a significant input to their work, and, as dedicated Socitm servants, they really must attend the next Gartner Symposium at Cannes, an ordeal in which they toil from dawn to dusk and live like paupers, and my view that a more substantive relationship will best be linked to our proposed new membership model, we agreed to renew the current agreement.

We will, however, continue to explore the broader partnership opportunities.

There was a pleasing response to the Socitm Member Interests Survey. The Survey is now closed, and I've written back to Survey respondents as follows. However, I'll always be happy to hear from anyone else with offers of help.

"Many thanks for taking the trouble to respond to my Socitm Interests Survey.

"With your permission, I will use your response, and those of all other survey respondents, to establish a database of Member Interests that will form part of the Society's new CRM system, once it's installed. When we are seeking Socitm representation on any matter, we will check the database and contact you if it appears that you will be able to help us.

"In the meantime, I would like to report your interests to the new National Advisory Council, which meets for the first time on 22nd September. It will be seeking to ensure that all Socitm Regions and all types of Public Sector bodies are adequately represented at the NAC and at other key groups such as Socitm Futures. It's possible, therefore, that we may be in-touch in the near future!"

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