Sunday 3 April 2022

Have In Person Conferences Had Their Day?


Two years of Covid and most in person events were cancelled, we made do with virtual content but is that now the new-normal, or will in person events regain their popularity?

I have always been involved in user groups and the highlights were always the in person events. You got to meet people, hear more end user stories and have your own content, as a speaker you are challenged and validated. I posted about how I felt as a presenter a few months ago but today I want to talk about the delegate and what might it mean to them.

Being at a conference was often seen as a 'jolly' with delegates having to justify their attendance. To be fair if I sent someone to a conference and they came back with no learnings they could share with their colleagues, it would be their last event. 

But can someone learn as well online? Don't get me wrong, business and individuals would have had so much more an impossible time without technology. Zoom, Teams and a plethora of other platforms has enabled us to learn, sell and stay in contact with people. In my world we have even been able to implement technology remotely thanks to that 'Cloud' thing.

So yes we can learn, but what we learn is what is in the content only. There is rarely conversation, examples shared and lessons learnt spoken about. 

Oracle end user conference season is upon us. The user groups behind them have really struggled, in person events made up most of their annual income. They have done their best to keep their communities going and provided great content through the various platforms. The problem often is people sign up for a virtual session and don't turn up, or get sidetracked and intend to watch later and never get around to it. 

If people don't sign up for this year's conferences the user groups will be even further effected, they have rolled forward hotel and conference centre bookings and this year could be pivotable to them.

I'm speaking at several this year and really want the discussions and my own learning. But I want there to be end user delegates and not just other partners or Oracle themselves. Will they come? Well in most cases it depends on the organisation they work for, even if that is themselves. What is the value?

Travel, Accommodation and the event costs. There has to be a justification and most of the events will help by having justification letters created by their planning community. The payback has to be learning and making connections that can help the organisation in the future.

But I have another angle. Why not reward your staff who have stuck by you during Covid. Worked around the clock and not just joined the great resignation. Say thank you. That cost is much less than finding a replacement. Let them have a few days out, re-energise them, let them learn from others and come back ready to share that with others.

Just a few events I plan to speak at or attend in the next couple of months

OUG Scotland

Blueprint 4D


KSCOPE - this being my number 1 recommendation since I am on their board and it has always been my go to event to understand the Oracle technology

If you aren't sure which is for you - ping me and I'll give you my honest opinion  .

I am still doing virtual events but so looking forward to being with people.