Having attended, but not spoken at the KTL User Conferences of the past, I have a unique perspective on attendee observations. Without the time constraints imposed by presenting at sessions, I get a chance to sit with and chat with attendees, go over things at lunch and generally “kibitz” with everyone while at the conference.
The most common comments we hear are “this is a great learning conference” or “we should have had Janice attend” (or some other staffer they work with). During the day, I try to determine what makes these comments germane, and what the attendees do to make it a great conference.
These are the five common elements to a successful user conference, in no particular order:
· Arrive early
· Stick with a presenter
· Talk to other attendees that use similar solutions
· Talk to Microsoft
· Do different tracks morning and afternoon
OK, I know it may seem strange, but why talk to Microsoft? Well, for most of us, we use their products in our work lives. Microsoft is the most common business software in the world. Even if the applications you use are not branded Microsoft, they most likely use SQL and .NET (both Microsoft tools). Talking to Microsoft puts a face behind the company, and the staff can give you “down the road” specific information about Microsoft plans for the Cloud, Office, Cortana/BI that can impact your organization. Just good stuff to know!
Why stay with a presenter? Usually their presentations are related, and this way you get a “deep dive” into the subject matter. Whether Business Intelligence, CRM or something else, you can become much more of a subject matter expert to your colleagues back in your office. Isn’t this what you came for, to make your organization use technology better?
To me, talking to other attendees who use similar solutions, or have other commonalities is the most important thing people say they like about the conference. Sometimes we struggle with a business issue or a simple technology workaround only to find others have a simple answer or suggestion. There is much talent in the room, not all which is standing up front presenting; use it all! I know sometimes I think issues I face are unique to me or my company, but most of the time, others can be very helpful solving issues.
Doing different tracks keeps you fresh, and gets you out of the required sessions, (I am in accounting, so I better go the accounting track). If you are an accountant, go to the tech session to see what those happening over there. If you are a CRM person, check out what makes the accountants get excited about (yea, well) so that you can bring back to your accounting team some interesting tidbits. “Hey Janine, (a person in your accounting department) I heard that the new FASB revenue recognition process may impact the way we record sales of the servers and related service plans” will really enliven the day of your accounting team. They may even invite you to their secret accounting parties.
Arrive early, as the ONLY complaints I ever hear is “Metro was this or that” or the “Accident on 270 caused so much delay”. There is a great breakfast, good people to chat with, and make it a day to NOT sit in traffic or get frustrated, like we do every other day.
Well, that sums it up. The KTL User Conference is a great day of learning and collaboration, we hope to see you there!
STEVE HAMMETT | Director of Sales
Steve graduated from University of Maryland, Baltimore, with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.), in Economics and a few years later, a Master of Science (M.S.), in Information Technology. He has helped organizations for over fifteen years to solve business problems using technology. He is well informed with all Microsoft Business Solutions and is a Solutions Certified Sales Representative.Forfunhelooks to the outdoors, whether water, where he is a sailor (Coast Guard certified in Costal Piloting and Navigation), a PADI certified scuba diver, and a certified Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, or land, where he is a skier, hiker and mountain biker.