Will there be a conference this year?
jluko said:Will there be a conference this year?
Your question is very timely. Yes, we are working on some things that will be most interesting... not just "a conference", there will be multiple thematic conferences this year. Public announcement, registration page, etc. is forthcoming, so stay tuned!
FWIW, check out this article regarding the topic.
Speaking from the perspective of a company owner from the UK, I agree with everything Michael and Shawn have said. I have budgeted for both AU and BE (or whatever it's going to be called year on year) and if I had to choose one now I'd choose AU every time. Why?
1. Consistency. The date, the location, the format is consistent. You know what you have to plan for and can sign off the budgets in December a year ahead,
2, It's a conference (including BIM Management, CAD Management, Design, and peripheral subjects which might not seem directly relevant but can hold incredible insight) not a direct sales pitch. Note the emphasis on "a" conference (single).
3. Most of the classes are led by users and are not software demos. I want a demo I can call up local sales guys and get them to come in without having to travel.
4. It's relevant. Steve makes a good point. BE doesn't have the relevance any more - we haven't even known what the agenda is until it's too late the last few years.
5. It's entertaining - gone are the days when we had evening events at the BE conference. There's no feeling of community any longer.
6. Keynotes are inspiring. This last year we had Mars missions, Bot & Dolly, guitar designers. It's not directly relevant no, but it inspires. (Remember Nordstrom & Ridderstrale anyone? We still talk about that keynote now!)
6. It's a community of international users. I see people at AU that I don't see otherwise. I need to meet those people to keep up with developments and understand my industry. I can't do that at local user groups - I'll go to those for free here in the UK, thanks - unless I travel to every event.
That's why numbers are down at BE and why attendance AU increases year on year. It will take a couple of years to get back to "the glory days" as confidence has been damaged, but changing the format, the name, the location(s) again isn't the way to solve this.
One event. One date. One location. Relevant. User-biased.
Thank you and see you in 2014 (in Vegas if not, hopefully, before).
Amen!! So much for Bentley listening to users. Go through these communities and you will see many comments about how frustrating it is that information comes out so late, how many times the name changes, remember Learn and the Star rating??? Consistency is the key and Bentley moves support and planning around so much, it is impossible.
Thanks for your comments and hopefully I will run into you at AU.
My posts were not a knock on the individuals...my posts were in the spirit of full disclosure and to clarify what happened at that meeting as an attendee.
NigelPDavies said:6. Keynotes are inspiring. This last year we had Mars missions, Bot & Dolly, guitar designers. It's not directly relevant no, but it inspires. (Remember Nordstrom & Ridderstrale anyone? We still talk about that keynote now!)
Two things that matter...shopping and... <insert expletive here>
Thank you for your spirited critique of the new Bentley LEARNing Conference format. Your input is much appreciated as was the feedback we received during our meetings at the conference last year, from the attendee surveys, from users and accounts that didn’t participate in last year’s conference, and from the data that showed us what sessions individual users attended.
Our goal is to deliver Bentley LEARN subscribers a robust social learning experience that includes the physical Bentley LEARNing Conferences, the post-event online Bentley LEARNing Conference “Encore Series” sessions, Special Interest Groups (SIG’s), support for user groups, etc. and to build communities that connect users around the world, including via Be Communities. Our goal for the conferences is very much aligned with Steve’s comment above: we want people to walk away knowing more about the product and [anxious] to use the new features to increase [their] productivity.
At Bentley, we pride ourselves in our drive to innovate both technically and commercially and sometimes we may be guilty of changing things too often. I think most users will agree that is better than us not innovating, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t right to push us to publish agendas sooner, and be more predictable so you can better plan and budget, etc. Point taken.
Every time there is change, there are people that liked the old way. This was true when we moved from having separate InRoads and GEOPAK conferences to having a single conference, so it isn’t surprising that the same sentiments exist as we return to more focused conferences. Some people like big conferences in Las Vegas, some don’t, and some can’t. Some people prefer the conference in their backyard and others want to travel.
But everyone agrees building community is key. With the new format, users are more likely to meet people using the same products and/or working on the same types of projects than they are at a broader "all product" conference. The hotel-conference facility makes it easier for the community, including Bentley colleagues, to continue discussions together after hours.
The 2014 conference agendas are designed so that almost everyone who attended the 2013 conference could have a similar agenda by participating in just one of the 2014 conferences. There are exceptions, like Michael, but these are fewer than you might think. The 2 day format softens the impact on project schedules and the post-event online Bentley LEARNing Conference “Encore Series” extends the learning opportunity for everyone, including co-workers that aren’t able to attend.
Sessions at the 2014 conferences will be taught by a mixture of Bentley Software colleagues, LEARNservices trainers, consultants from Professional Services, and other users. Most sessions will be focused on workflows consistent with the conference theme, e.g. at the Michigan and Arizona conferences MicroStation and ProjectWise sessions will be “civilized,” if you like, including how civil and geospatial data meet.
I won’t be at all the conferences but will be attending the Michigan and Birmingham, UK conferences. As always, we will seek feedback on how we can continue to improve. And if you are there, I look forward to hearing your thoughts after you have had the opportunity to experience the new format, including the new sit-down “social dinner” on the first night.
Answer Verified By: Shar Govindan