Man, times flies, doesn’t it? Microsoft Convergence, Intacct and Acumatica events were only a short while ago, yet seem like so far back, especially because of the work the conferences set in motion, the new collaborations, and other Business Intelligence (BI) events that have taken place in the meantime. User conferences for Sage and SAP Business One are also coming up very soon. Just like that, it is officially summer, and our calendars begin to fill up with meetings, events, family vacations, planning sessions for the second half of 2015, etc. As we all start to solidify our itineraries for the summer, this article will discuss the premier BI event of the season, BI360 Focus 2015, Solver’s annual partner and user conference. As a second time attendee of BI360 Focus, I will share the insights I gained from last year – and the inside scoop on what to expect this year.
First of all, let me say that Focus 2014 was a really great experience, and here’s why: the conference is a really great blend of brains and beauty. In regard to brains, there are four complete tracks of educational sessions, in addition to a hands-on learning lab, for direct interaction with BI360 experts, who are there to help you get the most of the software in meeting your specific business needs. On top of that, the first day of the conference is dedicated to the large network of BI360 partners, zooming in on topics that range from technical to sales and marketing of the product. In terms of beauty, the event is set in beautiful, sunny Southern California – Marina del Rey, CA to be exact, right across from the beach. Additionally, the recently renovated Marriott offers stunning views from the lobby all the way up to the rooftop ballroom. Whether you’re eating a meal in the Bayview Ballroom on the top floor or lounging by the pool with a partner, the property offers 360˚ views of beautiful beachside cities and the Pacific Ocean. But the real beauty is in the networking.
My experience at BI360 Focus 2014 was memorable because of the organically social and productive nature of the conference. First of all, with several VARs (vale-added resellers), hundreds of customers from all different kinds of industries and sectors, as well as Solver team members from all corners of the world, all in one place, the conference is a combustion of professional learning and networking, all with the backdrop of a recently remodeled Marriott in scenic Marina del Rey. It made for a seriously social, dynamic networking experience – and this year is only going to be bigger and better.
Besides staying in Marina del Rey for BI360 Focus 2015, the third edition of this conference has a lot of new to offer. The agenda is comprised of 40+ new classes for returning and first-time attendees to soak up as much knowledge as they can about maximizing their understanding and use of BI360 to go home and best tackle their own business problems head-on, whether that has to do with financial reporting, budgeting, data visualizations, data warehousing, or some combination of these BI processes. Returning this year will be the extremely popular hands-on BI360 learning lab and opening keynote by Solver CEO, Nils Rasmussen. But the more exciting details might be some new additions to this year’s conference.
In addition to Rasmussen’s opening address to attendees, Solver will host a guest speaker for the keynote address on August 27th. Highly ranked Ted Talk speaker Drew Dudley joins the agenda for BI360 Focus 2015 to discuss everyday leadership, specifically what he calls “lollipop moments,” when something you have done has fundamentally improved someone else’s life. He will follow his keynote with a special workshop dedicated to the implementation of everyday leadership values. Something else that’s new: a handful of complementary Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) will have a presence to discuss how to build a best-of-breed solution toolbox for all of your data management and analysis processes. But the event won’t be all work and no play.
Solver really enjoys quality time with their partners and customers – and this year will be no difference. While 2015 is officially the Year of Learning for Solver, the agenda includes several opportunities to socialize and enjoy the location with fellow BI360 users. A welcome reception will bring together partners and customers before customer sessions even start on August 26th. After a full day of learning tracks, Solver will continue the tradition of beach volleyball, while adding The Solver Amazing Race as an alternative activity to enjoy the Marina del Rey area. Wednesday, August 26th concludes with a Customer Appreciation Dinner and Awards Banquet in the rooftop Bayview Ballroom with delicious food and a full bar. That all said, all of these agenda items are not the reason I’m excited to return for BI360 Focus 2015. It has to do with the people.
I don’t want to overuse the word “networking,” but the annual BI360 Focus Conference really delivers in this area. Whether it is more casual in settings like the Welcome Reception, on teams for Beach Volleyball or the Solver Amazing Race, or sharing a meal together on the rooftop, or in learning experiences like one of the four tracks of sessions, the learning lab, or in either of the keynote addresses, this conference brings together people from diverse areas of the business world to share best practices and build relationships that can be the beginning of new friendships and/or collaborative business partnerships. Last year’s BI360 Focus succeeded at nailing a relaxed, yet productive learning experience for Solver customers and partners – and #BI360Focus15 is on track to do the same.
To learn more about BI360 Focus 2015 and to register to attend August 25-27, 2015 in Marina del Rey, you can visit the event web site here.