It’s Thursday morning. Yesterday was a hard day of travel, but one that I know was well worth it. While I am somewhat anxious about my company’s annual off-site strategic planning event, I know I am prepared.
I am prepared because I just spent the last three days at the Infor ERP annual user’s conference, the ERP system that my company currently uses. From an Enterprise System standpoint, I know what strategies must be made a priority.
While attending a conference can appear to be an excuse to go to Las Vegas or Orlando, and it is fun to go to these places, it is vital that you go for some rock solid reasons.
First of all, your attendance puts you in that elite class of users that make a huge sacrifice of time and money to get to the conference.
If you look at the number of users who attend a conference when compared to the total number of companies that use your ERP system you are in a group that probably comprises far less than 1% of the user base.
As an example, this year, there were 400+ companies or 6000 registrants out of a total base of 90,000 companies!
So if you make it to your conference, you are in a select minority. As a result, you have a great opportunity to further your company’s goals and objectives.
Some of the concrete things that can be accomplished at your ERP provider conference are:
• To be the first to know what is coming
• To be heard
• To network
• To contribute
• Educate yourself
To Be the First to Know what is Coming
Enhancements and new products are many times announced first at the conference. This is invaluable information for strategic, tactical and operational planning purposes. The sooner you know what it coming, the more accurately you can layout the roadmap for your company.
To Be Heard
Most conferences are not only attended by the user base, but also by key executives of the ERP system or systems sponsoring the event. In my experience these individuals are there to listen to “the base”. Let there be no mistake about it, these men and women know that you have a choice, to be there or not, and they want to find out what’s on your mind.
This is the opportunity to get to know people in many roles, segments of industry and from many countries. In addition, in many instances, the conference is where user groups are formed,
We all have areas of expertise and experience that others could benefit from. Submit your proposal to deliver a session on one of those subjects. You will get to know a lot of people and will also learn a lot in the process.
It goes without saying that you are going to build your knowledge on those subjects where you attend breakout sessions, but as cited above, also in networking and teaching others as well.
Usually the things that I learn at a conference come from a casual conversation over coffee, at lunch, while talking with sponsors. You need to make the effort to mingle, meet people and to go the extra mile…
By the way, the strategic planning session went great! I had the solutions needed to meet key objectives and to drive the company forward for the next few years.
So be sure to budget and plan for the conference early in the year and make it an annual event.
Oh, one other very important thing… write stuff down! I can’t tell you how many times I have not done this, and wish that I had. It is so easy to think that you will remember the key points of a conversation, but when the time comes to recall it …
Please feel free to make a copy of this post and use it as reference whenever you are having a hard time convincing your boss that it is worthwhile to attend your enterprise system conference.