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#itelli2019 Blog Post 2 – catering for different communities
In my previous blog I revealed the theme for this year’s NTT DATA Business Solutions conference is community.
In this short post, I want to focus on the way that we use knowledge of the various communities to help us with decisions around the conference agenda.
Conference Registration Communities
Our conference registration process begins, as you would expect well in advance of the conference itself. In the case of #itelli2019, formal registration opened in October 2018, a full 8 months ahead of the big day.
We monitor registration numbers, trends and patterns closely. There are questions asked about return rates, delegate churn, referral registrations and many more. In and amongst this, one of my key focuses is representation. I want to see all our customer communities represented within the registration list.
In the previous post, I talked about some of the different ways in which we identify and track communities within our contact base of customers and prospects. One of the main reasons we do this is of course to ensure that we build an agenda that will appeal to those who may wish to attend. Looking back to a couple of the segmentation styles we discussed in the previous post you can see how we have a number of choices in front of us when it comes to how we structure and fill the agenda.
However, there is a surprise lurking within the numbers. In taking a closer look at the registration patterns over the last 5 years, we have noticed an interesting trend. The majority of the registrations received are before we release the agenda or announce the celebrity keynote speaker.
This is very interesting and gratifying, it shows that many of you return based on prior experience and trust us to prepare an agenda that will work for you.
With that in mind, how do we go about building an agenda that works for the various communities?
Solution Communities & Agenda Themes
If we think about the communities through the prism of the solutions that they use then it is relatively easy to start pulling together a list of the topics that will need to be covered. In fact, this is precisely what we did for the first few years of the conference.
However, there are an increasing number of solution communities to address. Historically NTT DATA Business Solutions could focus on SAP ERP and SAP BusinessObjects customers, now we must ensure we also address those who have investments in SuccessFactors, Concur, Ariba and any of the other solutions that support the Intelligent Enterprise vision.
However, we cannot rely on merely sharing technical information we have because of our Global SAP partnership. We need to add more value; we need to share the intangibles, the project insights, the thought leadership and most importantly, real experiences from customers themselves.
How Communities Inform the Agenda
In response to the widening of solution focus and the increase in the number of more senior business representatives attending our conference we evolved the conference agenda to include three different types of session:
1. Product / Solution Focused – discussions and (often) demonstrations of specific technology or solution sets for example – “S/4HANA Cloud roadmap”.
2. Horizontal Strategy – general advice and best practices abstracted away from technology for example – “Managing change in a distributed environment”.
3. Industry Aligned – advice, best practices and discussions about the challenges of particular sectors for example – “Next generation Student Experience in Universities”.
In some cases, it is obvious and easy to see what a particular community will expect from a session.
It is perfectly logical to expect that an SAP ERP customer will be interested in S/4HANA and that a BusinessObjects user will be interested in knowing when version 4.3 will be released and what features it will contain.
To some degree, this encourages safe and obvious content. However, if we are to keep things fresh and attract new delegates then we need to challenge ourselves to publish an agenda that will not be predictable. We need to examine the relationships between the session types and the various communities to ensure that we include sessions that appeal across communities and present an opportunity to bring different views together.
This is of most importance during the morning and afternoon keynotes when we have the entire community of #itelli2019 delegates together in a single room.
Releasing the Agenda
We are currently finalising the agenda for #itelli2019, we have our long list of proposed sessions and speakers, including as always a good representation from your peers in our customer community. Whittling the list down and having to choose the lucky presenters is always a daunting but also very rewarding task.
My job over the coming weeks is to make the final forty session choices and sequence them into the ten streams. Wish me luck!
I hope that this short blog has explained how we use a community-based view to build an agenda that excites and challenges all of those who attend the conference.
In the coming weeks we will release a series of community guides to attending #itelli2019, look out for them.
Community is not just the theme for our conference this year, it is a focus for us as a business. During 2019 you can expect to hear more from us as we introduce you to more of our internal communities and their members. We also want you to tell us how we can build upon the community spirit we see at our conference and events.
To see what the NTT DATA Business Solutions community looks like in action, why not watch the #itelli2018 video.
If you want to experience the NTT DATA Business Solutions community first hand then apply for your #itelli2019 tickets now.