Solver and its global family of international companies came together last week to host their annual partner and user conference, BI360 Focus 2015, in beautiful Marina del Rey, California.  As expected, it built on last year’s momentum delivering higher attendance, more learning sessions and educational tracks available for participants – and even a Ted Talk speaker presenting the second keynote address of the event.
This was my second time participating in Solver’s big user conference, BI360 Focus, hosted in sunny southern California, and it simply got better.  Networking happened organically through thoughtful discussions, panel presentations, Q&A sessions, a welcome reception, a game of volleyball, or Amazing Race teamwork, amongst other opportunities.  Customers and partners alike registered in record numbers, selling out the conference.  And while Partner Day was added last year, the Solver team expanded the day to include a track of consulting/technical implementation and independent software vendor (ISV) sponsor sessions, detailing integrations and best-of-breed solutions with BI360.   The Welcome Reception, held in the courtyard of the Marriott, offered a tasting event of California trends in food and beverages that brought customers and partners together before the customer conference even began.

There were plenty of highlights of the event, but it is important to also note that Marina del Rey is one gorgeous backdrop.  And the conference wasn’t “all work and no play.”  Solver employees, customers, and partners were all able to take a break from all the learning happening in customer showcases, learning labs, and discovery sessions to partake in some good old fashioned beach volleyball or the new Solver Amazing Race, exploring parts of Marina del Rey and Venice Beach.  The best view of the event arguably came from the Bayview Ballroom, which is on the top floor of the hotel, where attendees enjoyed breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
One dinner was particularly special because it was a red carpet event honoring outstanding customers and partners with awards.  Solver recognized top customers and partners in an assortment of categories, including:
Casey Family Programs, Top U.S. Customer
San Diego Padres, Best New U.S. Customer
Brookfield Residential, Best Canadian Customer
Preem, Top EMEA Customer
Agrace HospiceCare, Inc., Top Not-for-Profit Customer
Logix Federal Credit Union, Top Data Warehouse Customer
Elmer Candy Corporation, Top Customer on Sage X3
Adams Land and Cattle, Top Customer on Sage X3
Progressive Components, Top Customer on GP
Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, BI360 Trailblazer
Wirtz Beverage Group, Top Customer on AX
University of California, Irvine Extension, Customer Evangelist
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Best Budget Model
Hollywood Wax Museum, Most Creative Use of Reporting
Center for American Progress, Top Customer on SL
Mobilex USA, Top Customer on Sage 500
Tribridge, Global Partner of the Year
SBS Group, U.S. Partner of the Year
Crestwood, U.S. New Partner of the Year
Codestone, EMEA Partner of the Year
IBS Global, EMEA New Partner of the Year
Ciall, EMEA Trailblazer of the Year
Olympic Software, APAC Partner of the Year
Dynamic Edge, APAC New Partner of the Year
Callow & Associates Management Consultants, Inc., Canada Partner of the Year
Njevity, Inc., Cloud Partner of the Year

By the end of the conference, it was pretty clear that Solver and its international locations are a large family of professionals that truly includes the vast community of customers and partners.  BI360 consultants, developers, and support team members, as well as ISVs, customers, and Ted Talk speaker, Drew Dudley, all presented sessions, demos, and hands-on labs to maximize the product output for all kinds of company needs.  This conference will for sure continue to get bigger and better, even if by word of mouth alone.  The buzz I experienced this year seemed most tied to the synergy of learning, networking, and collaboration all in the beautiful setting of Southern California.  I’m looking forward to seeing both conference friends and new attendees when next year’s event rolls around, with the location and date still to be determined.  The 4th Annual BI360 Focus user conference will again be the BI event of the summer in 2016, with details to be released in the upcoming months.

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