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One thing that never stops surprising me is that regardless of how many events I attend, or how many customers I interact with, each time these meetings and interactions result in new insights

Back in the daily routine after an intense IFS World Conference last week, feeling a bit “right, so now what do I do?”. One thing I always make sure to do a few days after is to spend a couple of hours reflecting on what the event actually meant to me, IFS, and our customers.

When planning these events we focus a lot on the value we can provide to customers and partners participating. Hear the latest news, see new products, meet with experts, network with other customers, attend training, etc. However, I think we underestimate the values that we—as IFS, and as individuals working for IFS—get out of this.

One thing that never stops surprising me is that regardless of how many events I attend, or how many customers I interact with, each time these meetings and interactions result in new insights. It can be brand new ideas, or as more often the case a realization that means I go from considering something to convinced and sure about it. On that note, here are three things that I learned at IFS World Conference.

I Touch It, I Get It

Talking to customers and IFS:ers hovering around the mobility center where we were demonstrating our new smartphone apps there was a lot of comments along the lines of “Yes, I had heard about apps for IFS Applications, but it is only now that I have tried it myself that understand how useful they would be.”

POV: A picture says more than a thousand words, or in the case of software that a test run says more than any number of product descriptions, case studies, and fact sheets. From now on a “try me” capability should be strived for in anything we do—not just in apps.  If this is done well, there is little need for other collaterals.

Knowing is better than Guessing

As a software developer, you are often forced to generalize and “guess” a little what customers want in a new solution you are about to develop. One of the great things about events like IFS World Conference is that I get to meet with a lot of customers and many of them proudly tell me (or as some did, show me) about solutions they have built on top of IFS Applications. The good thing about these solutions is that although they are typically built specifically for one organization at least you know, rather than guess, that they are working well in real life.

POV: Although we are (in my own opinion) good at involving customers in our development to provide feedback and validate that what we build works, we could do more to seek out and review real life examples before we start any development. I believe that way we would need fewer iterations to arrive at business software that is just right.

People over Product

What are my strongest memories from IFS World Conference? Is it all the interesting products from our partners, or the questions I got about our own products? Is it product demonstrations? Nope. It is realizing that our head of corporate legal is a rock star—literary. It is pride in the eyes of the guys from Damen when they showed me an iPad they had built for IFS Applications. It is watching Ray Wang snapping pictures of the crowd with his iPhone. In short – it is about people. Bet it is the same for most of you too.

POV: Events like these tend to be very product focused. Product news. Breakout sessions by product area. Meet the experts for each product. Yet the lasting impressions are often people. Feels like some untapped potential here.

IFS World Conference 2012

 

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