Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The 2009 Anaqua User Conference

The Anaqua user community continues to be an important value for Anaqua’s clients. They include world leaders in technology, industry and consumer goods with a willingness to share and contribute for the good of the community. The opportunity to learn how others have solved problems and introduced new methods for their IAM practices is invaluable.

This year’s annual Anaqua User Conference continued and expanded this community activity. Previous years’ events in Toronto, Boston and Delray Beach, Florida took place over 3 days with both business and social sessions and ample time for networking and informal discussions. In planning for this year’s event in the last few months of 2008, we quickly realized that the declining economic environment made it very difficult for our clients to commit to budget expenses for May of 2009. As a result of this feedback, and with the overwhelming support of the Anaqua User Council, we made this year’s conference a virtual, on-line event.

Conference sessions covered business topics including: IP Leadership in a Troubled Economy; Successful Change Management in a Legal Organization; IP Valuation, as well as technical topics such as the Anaqua Roadmap and How to do a Successful Software Upgrade. There were a number of client case studies and panels as well as Anaqua training sessions on areas of the product such as budgeting and reporting.

Over 100 attendees participated in a very successful conference over five days from April 27 to May 1 and the feedback is in - how does a virtual event compare to a traditional physical conference?

Advantages:

  • Significant cost savings with no travel or accommodation expenses
  • Broader attendance – more of the client team can participate without concern for cost
  • Easier to invite guest speakers when they do not have to travel

Disadvantages:

  • Lack of face-to-face networking. Many said that this was an important aspect to preserve in future events. Open mikes and social networking software can help but does not substitute for direct interaction with people.
  • Time zone challenges – it is (just) possible to accommodate US Pacific to Central Europe business hours but in practice impossible to include live participation from Asian attendees as well.

Anaqua will review options with the User Council for the 2010 conference, but the early indications are that we will return to a physical event supplemented by virtual services for important sessions.


Do you have experience with virtual events? I’d love to hear your comments! Please comment here or email me at ireid@anaqua.com - Ian Reid, vp marketing, Anaqua.