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After the recent user conference, several coworkers inquired as to how it went. Before answering, I asked myself: what really makes a user conference successful? Was it successful because of the many smiles in the room throughout the conference? What about the presentations? The weather? Maybe the end-of-week surveys? In the end, I determined, it all boils down to one thing: relationships. 

Why is this so important? For one thing, sharing ideas and solving problems are a direct result of building successful relationships. Many of the roundtables demonstrated this. In the upload and upgrade roundtables alone, lessons learned were shared, questions were answered, and creative solutions explored. We also had some excellent presentations and panel discussions that really helped facilitate business solutions. 

From an AdvantageCS perspective, the information was invaluable. It’s always helpful to hear the collaborative voice of our clients and take that information back to the office along with fresh perspectives. Lesley Jones from Duke University Press had this to say, “The AUG conference allows me to connect with other Advantage users and bring back ideas for ways that Duke University Press can improve processes. Each year I learn so many new things from the user community.”

This year’s keynote speaker, Thomas Easley from the AMA, brought to light the topic of “Big Data.” He presented the challenges of processing large volumes of data, and security and data integrity issues. It was intriguing to hear how important this data is for marketing, while at the same time, keeping end customers' data privacy in check. 

I personally enjoyed being able to present some of the new initiatives we’ve introduced in 2014 and 2015. Others from AdvantageCS had the pleasure of demoing features such as Cider, our new eCommerce platform, continuous updates, automated testing, and future endeavors.

During the conference, we took a few minutes to celebrate the retirement of Greg Stout. After 35 years of service, he will get to enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation. Greg was instrumental in helping bridge the gap between our user community and AdvantageCS in the many user conferences throughout the years. Greg, thank you and congratulations--you will be missed by everyone at AdvantageCS as well as the user community.

Yes, it was nice to enjoy the warmer weather in sunny Florida. Michigan, in February, is never a place I want to be. And yes, it was nice enjoying a night out at Cirque du Soleil with the group—including much food and laughter. But most importantly, I enjoyed watching our user community grow and the fostering of relationships. 

Thank you Steering Committee Members for making the 2015 Advantage User Conference an incredible success!



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