Hi all - we're now two weeks removed from what might be referred to as the last "old school" Cognos Forum in Orlando, FL. We won't lie, there was much trepidation going in. Having decided to invest as a Gold Sponsor in the Performance World for the second year in a row, there was much hand-wringing over the ability to recoup this year's investment going into the event. News was that registration was hovering at less than a 1/3 of the last year's numbers going in. A molasses-like economy and swine flu rage - which I believe was a news epidemic more than anything else, but what do I know - had folks anticipating disaster going in.
Guess what, it was a fantastic event! I'm confident that this will end up being SpotOn's most profitable Forum in the four we've attended as partners. When they started throwing IBM Cognos staff out of the fancy hotel, it was a positive sign that there was a rush on last minute registrations. And when you think about it, when times are tough and dollars are tight, if companies send people to a conference you know that they are looking for tangible information and likely have budget and a buying agenda. This was reflected in the nature of the conversations we had with Cognos customers.
I've also become a firm believer that you can only "be" one thing at a conference like this - unless you are a household name. Yes, SpotOn can do many things (some would say "anything" with our SDK prowess) but at this event we were the people that put ESRI map into Cognos reports. How do you know? Because it is on the 42 inch monitor at our booth, in your face when you walked through the door.
We also had tremendous access to senior Cognos and IBM personal this year. I met, and had tremendous conversations, with executives from Services, Worldwide Cognos Sales, Cognos Partners and Alliances, and leaders of the IBM Software Group. Already these meetings are proving very fruitful with several ongoing dialogs.
Also it didn't hurt to have some major "hardware" sitting on our booth. And I'm not talking about servers and storage here, my friends. But we'll save that story for next week.
Great to see old friends - and make some new ones. I'm interested to see how the Cognos Forum we know and love gets folded into the Information On Demand event in October 2010. I just hope we don't lose that Forum Magic.