Jul 11 2008

What’s Happening to the Annual Conference?

Categories: Conferences Dave Rathbun @ 9:23 am

There has been quite a bit of speculation on BOB about what the future holds for the annual conference. As many readers will know, I have been a very active participant in the conference for more than a decade. I attended my first conference in 1995 and delivered my first presentation in 1996. I have been honored to have been selected as a presenter every year since.

But that was then, what about now?

As some of you may have heard, SAP purchased Business Objects. :-P SAP does not run their conferences the same way. The European Insight conference was merged with the SAP conference in Berlin earlier this year, but future conferences are apparently going to be managed by ASUG. Or, more specifically, a new organization called the Business Objects Community Alliance or BOC. I suspect the reason they’re doing a separate organization at this point is because the ASUG structure is already well established… but more importantly, ASUG’s structure and policies are quite a bit different from the way Business Objects user groups have been run. By setting up a separate entity they can run things in a different way. I don’t know for sure if that was the main reason for the split, but it seems to make sense to me. You can make your own judgement. :) Here’s a quote from their web site FAQ:

Will the Business Objects Community Alliance become a part of ASUG?
The Business Objects Community Alliance will be an independent community that will leverage the people, technical infrastructure and user group expertise of ASUG to create an independent community focused solely on the Business Objects eco-system.

That certainly seems to imply that the BOC will remain separate and distinct from the SAP groups, and at least for right now I think that’s appropriate… and a good thing for us.

But to get to the point: the BOC is sponsoring the fall conference this year, and here’s what we know so far:

  • The conference will be in Dallas
  • It’s going to be from October 20th through the 22nd
  • The call for papers (speakers) is supposed to be out by the end of July

That’s about all we know. :) There are a number of topics on BOB where more speculation has taken place, and I don’t want to add my own speculation here. These are just the facts that we know at this time. We’ll have to see what else we can learn as the conference dates get closer.

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5 Responses to “What’s Happening to the Annual Conference?”

  1. Comment by Jamie

    I’d like to submit an abstract or two for this year. Is there a standard template, or an example I can look at to start putting this together? I know once the call goes out, things will move pretty quickly, and I’d hate to write 100 pages if I need 2, or vice versa.

  2. Comment by Joshua Fletcher

    Hi Dave, great news for you guys in the states, but here down under we still have not heard anything whether we will be having a conference for Asia-Pac.

    I really hope so, as I really enjoyed the Sydney 07 BO conference!

    - Josh

  3. Comment by twentyfive

    Hi Dave. Basically, i’m waiting for a green light from you end on attending this conference. I have never attended a BusinessObjects conference in the past. Once you ‘advise’ that this conference may be worth the trip, or if we you inform us that you are presenting, i will look to attend.

    A question: if not this conference then which one? Is there any other BO conference for the year? If not, we don’t have a choice.

    Thanks.

    (and since this is my first time reaching out to you directly – i’d like to say i’m honored. You have made life easy for BOBJ folks)

  4. Comment by Dave Rathbun

    Welcome all of you as new comment-folk on my blog. Thank you for taking the time to respond, it is much appreciated on my end.

    Jamie: the abstract process is fairly painless. The hard part is coming up with an idea. The next step is to condense that idea down into a 500 character summary. So no, you don’t need a 100 page document. In fact, you probably shouldn’t have a 100 page document even after you are finished with the final presentation. :lol: What we have found over the years is that your odds of getting selected are better if you provide the selection committee with more than one option. If they get tons of “building better reports” abstracts and you have only one of those, your odds of getting selected go down. If you submit several topics in several different areas, your odds of getting selected go up. It also seems to help if you can provide a clear technical benefit as opposed to something that is more of a marketing push.

    Joshua: I have not heard a thing about an Asia-Pac conference yet. With things getting started as late as they are for the Americas conference that does not seem to bode well for having something in your area this year. If I hear anything I will post here.

    twentyfive: First, thank you for the compliment, I do appreciate that. To give you some indication of what my plans are… at this time I certainly plan to attend the conference. Since it is essentially in my own backyard, it would be silly of me not to. :) I spoke with some of the management folks at Integra this week and at this time we certainly plan to attend, and we plan to try to support the conference by submitting a number of abstracts for potential speaker slots. I’ve done this so often now it would not feel like a complete year if I didn’t attend the conference, even if it is under new management. I would be more worried if ASUG had never done a conference before, but they have plenty of experience. I expect that some things will be different, of course. But we can all hope that most of the differences are on the “hey, this is cool” side of things more than the “what were they thinking” area. ;-)

    If anyone is on the fence about going, I suggest that you lean more towards going than not. If we don’t show support for the annual conference it won’t give the BOC the leverage that they need to continue (and improve) the annual experience.

  5. Comment by Jamie

    Dave, thanks for the insight. Maybe I should just send in something like “Make your business better by spending more money on Business Objects”. With the new MyBOC, this may be the last year that sort of abstract will get me in.

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