What stood out to our attendees of the 2016 North American Basware Connect user conference? Some may say thought-provoking content, the networking, the amazing food (ok – so we all enjoyed that), contributions from analysts and speakers, the social activities, the demonstration stations, the planking (you had to be there for that one), or maybe some other valuable takeaway. While we’re always excited to hear what our customers think, let’s flip the perspective and take a look at what we learned from the other side in running this user conference that we think is beneficial for everyone to know.
As procurement and finance professionals filled the ballroom at Le Méridien in Charlotte, N.C. on October 5th and our emcee kicked off the conference from the elaborate stage set glowing in “Basware blue,” the atmosphere in the room was one of engagement, inquisitiveness, and camaraderie. Throughout three days of keynotes, interactive sessions, and open discussions, many realizations took root for us, the North American planning team, and we’d like to share those takeaways.
Here are three of our primary observations:
- Collaboration is Cathartic: Collaboration is absolutely essential to the success of any business initiative – this is something we say all of the time and the foundation for the content of many sessions at Basware Connect. But what we saw during the conference was that not only is collaboration critical, it is cathartic. Our attendees really enjoyed the opportunities to openly discuss their processes, systems, and questions with their peers. You could see the energy and excitement multiply as they joined the round-table discussion on system administration best practices – eyes lit up as ideas were exchanged and brainstorming ensued. We could see that this information sharing was allowing people to open up and learn from others facing similar circumstances. Some sessions spilled out into the foyer and carried on during social activities as the conversations continued; attendees eagerly swapped contact information so they could stay in touch after the conference. It was clear that bringing people together in this way adds real value to the work they do and produces a re-energizing effect. So, what’s the takeaway here? Don’t shy away from opportunities to engage with your peers – virtually or in person – and don’t be afraid to share what you’re doing – it’s good for them and good for you.
- People Like to Laugh: Obvious – right? But I think what was clear to us on this account, was that even if the topics being discussed are very serious (preventing fraud – gasp!) people still enjoy a well-mannered joke to keep things interesting. On the last day, two of our presenters even engaged some audience members in a little role play to highlight some of the humor in situations users face every day. Jokes and role play are nothing new of course, but it got us thinking – maybe those tactics could also be helpful in situations like power user training or change management during implementation. If people can laugh a little, even during important discussions, it lightens the mood and keeps everyone focused on the ultimate goal.
- Competition can be Healthy: This is another seemingly obvious statement – it’s been known for a long time that friendly competition can motivate people and encourage them to push themselves harder. At Basware Connect, we had a little healthy Twitter competition with plans of awarding a prize to the attendee who tweeted the most throughout the conference. By the last day, it was so close that we couldn’t really deem just one winner. The attendees had outdone themselves in tweeting, so we had two winners. This reminded us of a key pillar in our WeProcurementTM approach to e-procurement – awareness. Making employees aware of the impact of their actions on the overall financial standing of the company and awarding those who rise to the top with their usage of a purchase-to-pay system fosters a competitive spirit and acknowledges those who are doing the right thing. Ultimately, this leads to more excitement around the system and more engagement from the user base.
These notes are just scratching the surface of what took place at Basware Connect 2016 in North America – there were so many instances of valuable conversations, applicable takeaways, and strategic thinking – all possible because everyone came together with an open mind.
Thanks to all of our customers, sponsors, and speakers for a great event. Be sure to check the event page for a Basware Connect near you and plan on attending – you just might learn something.