Saturday, December 6, 2008
The Critical Success Factors of BIWA Summit 2008
While we had a Panel focusing on the Critical Success Factors of BI Implementations, I though I would list the CSF's of the BIWA conference here. Since, this was the second BIWA Summit, we had some history behind us. However, just like Jeanne Harris said the biggest fallacy "if you will build a DW, they will come" - the conferences have to deal with the same issues. With a fairly successful inagural BIWA Summit in 2007, we kind of assumed the same attitude, you organize a BIWA Summit and the attendees will come. As we got closer to the event, we had to re-look the strategy and go out and "Push" the information to attract more attendees. Finally, we managed to attract attendees from all over as shown in the visual that Dan Vlamis created for the opening ceremony.
We realised there is no substitute for experience in hosting a conference. To list a few we had Dan Vlamis the conferece chair with 26 years of experience in the field related to Oracle technologies. Dan has been a member of user groups for a while. Among the Oracle Advisors, Charlie Berger, has organized several events for Life Sciences User group and has been involved with BIWA from very early stages. Karl Rexer, has been on the organization of KDD and related conferences. We were also very lucky to have the presence of Ian Abramson (President of IOUG) and Tony Jedlinski (IOUG Board member) to share their experiences, each having 10+ years of involvement with IOUG/Collaborate.
Our CFO, Matt Vranicar, who is President of Piocon, managed the finances of the event, to make sure we can support the event without a "stimulus package" from Larry! Rich Solari, who is now part of Deloitte, has a 10 yr history with Oracle, helped to us find the first ever Platinum Sponsor IBM. I was quite surprised with the existing relationship that IBM has with Oracle, as outlined by Marty in the Welcome to the Platinum Reception talk. Unlike last year, we were able to throw the reception at the end of Day with the help of the contributions from the Platinum sponsorship.
BIWA Board has been weaker in the involvement from the West Coast. This was all the more important for Summit 2009 due to the Oracle HQ based event. However, presence of John Haydu in the Oracle HQ and the 20 years of experience of Lynda Yana of Oracle Marketing, was quite useful to us.
Alissa Kang, has been the link of the BIWA Board to the Education industry and has been able to send the message out to the Higher Education folks. As for myself, my involement with IOUG pre-dates BIWA or my direct involement with Oracle. My first IOUG conference was in summer of 2003 at Orlando that got me interested enough to speak at Oracle Openworld in Sep 2003. The RAC SIG was launched in the same event. When I was invited to launch the BIWA SIG in Summer of 2006 at Collaborate (Nashville, TN), I knew I could use some of the "best practices" from the RAC SIG, such as the periodic webcast. However, BIWA SIG has been a pioneer in its own annual event. However, for the regional Oracle user groups, a periodical in-person meeting is not a complex event.
Apart from help from within the BIWA and IOUG community, we received help from the ODTUG, NCOUG and BI SIG of OAUG, to get their advice and help in spreading the word out. I think all these were our Critical Success Factors for the BIWA Summit 2008.