Sunday 2 January 2011

UKOUG Technology and E Business Suite Conference Series Event

Straight after VisIT it was time for my favourite conference, our own. Since UKOUG created the conference series to ensure each community had the conference experience they want, the traditional, pre-acquisition event has affectionately become known as TEBS.

UKOUG has a unique funding model where members pay up front, and in general the membership base funds everything we do through the year, except the actual conferences which bring in additional funds through exhibition. That is a very over simplified statement and I can assure you the budget cycle for every event is much more stringent but it is useful to understand the basic premise. When money was less tight, this worked very well and we could concentrate on the content, the last few years have been a real challenge and a lot more effort than you think goes into delivering something that needs to improve on the last event and yet cost much less. Added to that the needs of our community as well as the community itself is changing; it really is the only constant.

There were a number of little things that became big things behind the scenes at conference and I tend to see it all and then worry about them, but most of the feedback I get is very positive, and when you read the blogs about it it was successful. But we always need to improve so if you have any ideas let me know.

We tried a few new things this year, the Panto and the Inspiring Presentation Awards which I will talk about in the next posting but I think our biggest challenge was something we never planned for - the weather. We lost about 200 delegates and some speakers to the weather and there are great stories of people making the event regardless. One lady travelled overnight from Edinburgh by coach and many had to leave early or not leave when their travel plans were interrupted. on the Wednesday many people came back from the airport because their flights were cancelled whilst many more had long, long delays. Then the UKOUG community came into its own, Jury's was a very popular hotel and each room has two beds, and I think everyone who had planned to stay Wednesday night and had a room, gave their spare bed to those who had not planned on it, and we had a great night.

And yes looking back it was a great success, so well done to everyone involved and I hope you have next year's date in your diary already. Dec 5th - 7th

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