There’s no denying the relevance of user groups – but they take on a whole new meaning during times like this.
Our international user group community spans 71 countries across 5 core products. Members can fill up on product knowledge, transfer important skills and network within their community. They also enjoy open lines of communication. It is also very important to us; our mission is to apply feedback from you – our users – to the future direction and growth of our business.
These exceptional times have prompted us to look more closely at the needs of both parties. Generally, when you ask a software vendor, they’ll say that user groups help them stand out against the competition, boost customer satisfaction, and bolster customer retention. But what we’re noticing now is how important it is to cut through the noise to establish and consolidate closer relationships with you.
For our users there has been a shift in needs too. The traditional motivations are still there, but there’s more pressure: Business continuity is critical. And building resilience to “business as unusual” is a necessity. Understandably, you – our customers – are looking to release the value in your investments even faster. But that’s a big ask when many technical units are running at limited operations, new processes are expected overnight and teams are working disparately.
In business-as-usual times, a key vehicle to bring users together has always been our annual IUG conference. We consider it one of our most important live events for building customer engagement, product advocacy and informing the product planning process.
But anyone that thinks that you can take a live event and simply digitalize it is wrong. A truly successful digital event uses multimodality to boost the digital experience, and still creates personalized touchpoints.
New medium, same thriving community
IUG 2020 was Software AGs first virtual event and we packed it with strategies to make sure everyone’s needs were met. Within a simulated live environment, we „created the illusion of a real event,” as one of you said. After the user tracks, comprising more than 70 streamed and pre-recorded sessions, visitors joined our Software AG experts and partners in the virtual meetup zone—their avatars superimposed with their real moving faces. Our comedian host and Fun Drive game added the element of surprise.
Thoughout the event, it was heartening to see the level of commitment you showed. One of you even joined the Cumulocity IoT track from a boat off Tasmania. And Sudhir Patel, IUG President, chose to celebrate his 60th birthday with us online.
Amarish Pathak CIO of @AAFMAA, and IUG President, opened his track by saying: “Thank you, Software AG, for deciding to hold this IUG virtually! Doing so allows us all as customers and partners to maximize value. The IUG really is a unique forum. And now, more than ever, an online presence that facilitates knowledge sharing and collaboration is essential.”
At Software AG, we are constantly trying to improve our products and build stronger partnerships. We think user groups are the vanguard of both. Which is why—despite the disruptive global climate—IUG 2020 was about proving our commitment to this and to you.