I attended many Hyperion Solutions conferences back in the day. I really enjoyed the experience, but after the first couple of years, I didn’t feel like I was getting my money’s worth. I started to wonder if I knew all there was to know about Essbase, as every presentation I attended seemed very basic. Was I that good? Did the benefit of attending these conferences shift from knowledge gain to networking? I decided to stop attending.
Last year, Jake Turrell invited me to become be part of the Kscope12 Hyperion Planning track selection committee. Being away from the conference scene for so long, I jumped at the chance to find out how presentations were selected. I thought it would be a great opportunity to be part of a team that was trying to make the conference content better. I was extremely impressed with the topics, but was still hesitant on how valuable attending the conference would be for me, outside of networking.
Two words express what I experienced in San Antonio.
HUMBLING and EXCITED
I was never involved in the abstract selection process for the Hyperion Solutions conference, so I’m unable to compare the marketing behind the process of collecting and selecting abstracts, but I can say with conviction that every presentation I attended far exceeded my expectations.
This year, I was asked to take on the role of committee chair for the Planning track. My goals were simple – to set measureable and meaningful evaluation standards that a democratic group of experts could use to make the best decisions on the presentations for Kscope13 and continue its presentation excellence.
To provide you a little background, presentations were ranked and selected according to the content, regardless of presenter’s industry exposure. Once the presentation was paired to the presenter, we verified that
- No presenter dominated a track
- No consulting company dominated a track
- The consulting/customer ratio was reasonable
- A presentation that was known to be presented at a national or regional conference was excluded, unless there was an overwhelming reason for it to be presented again
- Presenters’ abilities were verified by interviews, or feedback by an industry contact that knew the presenter
There was great dialogue among the selection committee to select the abstracts that showed the most promise. Once the abstracts were ranked, a discussion surrounded each one on its merits and possibilities. This discussion included the presenters’ backgrounds, the content and whether it was presented before. The selection committee members were not immune to this degree of scrutiny either, as some of my own (the almighty track chairperson) topics were disregarded!
The bottom line is that the committee made every effort to showcase the best of the best, regardless of the presenter’s historical credentials and industry panache.
After the smoke cleared, the selected presentations were tweaked so no presenter or organization dominated the track. The presenters that were not known by a committee member were called and interviewed to ensure the most potential for a great presentation.
If you want to further your knowledge, improve your productivity, network with some of the best minds in our industry, and further your career, join us in New Orleans. We think the result will be a conference well worth your time and investment.
You are sure to enjoy the experience.