As a first time participant in Solver’s annual user conference, Focus, held in Marina del Rey, California, I am pleased to report that it was a huge success. Partners and customers alike turned out in record numbers to sell out the conference. Focus 2014 was truly bigger and better than last year in another way: the Solver team added a whole day of sessions dedicated to partner enablement to discuss sales, marketing, and the roadmap for the future of BI360. My favorite part of the experience was the sense of community built through the networking nature of the conference. Partners and customers were able to connect and put faces to names and e-mail addresses, with each other as well as with the Solver team.
There were several highlights of the conference, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the beauty of Marina del Rey. With the marina right out front of the hotel, conference attendees were able to not only work hard and learn a lot from BI360 experts and customer showcases, but they also came together to play beach volleyball and explore the sights of Venice Beach through a team photography competition. Additionally, all meals were served on the top floor of the Marriott, which boasts an observation deck with incredible panoramic views of the marina, the ocean and shoreline, as well as a city view of Los Angeles in the distance.
One of the most memorable meals involved the Customer Awards dinner, complete with a red carpet. Solver took the opportunity to honor top customers in a variety of categories, including:
- Wirtz Beverage Group, Top U.S. Customer
- Entercard International, Top EMEA Customer
- Crown Worldwide Holdings, Ltd., Top APAC Customer
- The Area Agency on Aging, Top Not-for-Profit Customer
- Smart City, Top Corporate Customer
- Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, Appreciation for Solver Loyalty
- The Fetzer Institute, Top Customer on GP
- MidCountry Financial, BI360 Trailblazer
- NGL Energy Partners LP, Top Customer on AX
- Logix Federal Credit Union, Customer Evangelist
- Quicken Loans, Best Budget Model
- Mobilex USA, Best Data Warehouse Operational Modeling Solutions
- University of California, Irvine, Most Creative Use of Reporting
- Pine State Trading Company, Top Customer on SL
- Alzheimer’s Association, Top Customer on Sage 500
It was apparent that the Solver team truly values the relationships they have built with their customers and partners. Consultants, developers, support professionals, and even customers offered sessions outlining best practices for maximizing the use of Solver’s BI360 through a better understanding and grasp of the product. I am confident that this conference will continue to grow in size and popularity, through word of mouth if nothing else. There was a genuine buzz that was likely a result of productivity, learning, networking, and the beauty of the Southern California locale. I look forward to seeing attendees from this year and newcomers at next year’s event, held again in Marina del Rey. The 3rd Annual Focus user conference will be held in September 2015, with more details to be released in the next couple of months.