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Sandy Kemsley

BEAParticipate and TUCON wrapups

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Last session of the conference, and it was a tough choice: the ALBPM Experience track was featuring a talk about BAM, but since I'd already covered this in the past two days, I decided on the performance tuning session. Unfortunately, 10 minutes into the time slot, the Q&A for the previous session was still dragging on; I took this as a message from the conference gods that my time here was done and ducked out to write this wrapup post before I leave for the airport. I'm back in Toronto for a week catching up on real work (the sort that actually pays, as opposed to this blogging gig) so blogging may be light for the rest of the week. My next conference is Shared Insights' Portals and Collaboration in Las Vegas later this month, where I'm speaking on the changing face of BPM.

It's been an interesting experience attending two (competing) vendors' user conferences back-to-back: TIBCO last week, and BEA this week. Since this week's conference was only a subset of BEA's customer base -- those that use ALUI and ALBPM -- it was less than half the size of last week's TUCON, but I found myself at both conferences having to make decisions between what to see in any particular session since there was a lot of good content at both. Since both of these vendors are from the more technical integration space, and gained their BPM products by fairly recent acquisitions rather than organic growth (Staffware in the case of TIBCO, and Fuego in the case of BEA), the conferences were still quite focussed on technical rather than business attendees. TIBCO, having a head start on the BPM space by a couple of years, probably did a bit better at addressing the business part of the audience, but both they still have a long way to go. I contrast this with FileNet user conferences that I've attended over the years, which have a much higher percentage of business attendees (by my assessment) and many more topics specifically addressing their needs.

The reception that I had at both conferences was nothing short of amazing. My hosts made sure that I had everything that I needed to work productively (although there wasn't much that they could do about the crappy wifi in either location), access to the people who I wanted to talk to, and wined and dined me around town in the evening -- my diet starts tomorrow. Special thanks to Jeff and Emily at TIBCO, and Jesper and Marissa at BEA for being the point people during my visits, although there were many others involved at both vendors.

Just to finish up, I've been noting the logistical things that make attending a conference a lot better for me. Not to sound like too much of a prima donna, here they are:

  • Wifi. Free wifi. In fact, I would go so far as to say that technically-oriented conferences should only be held in hotels that offer free wifi throughout their hotel, both in public areas and rooms.
  • Power. Although less important than wifi, because I can run for a couple of hours without it, the last thing that I want to do is have to switch from blogging to paper note-taking because my battery dies during a session.
  • Tea. Hot. Preferably green.
  • T-shirts. What is it with all the fancy paper notebooks being given away as conference schwag this year, with nary a t-shirt in sight? All I know is that if I go home without a man's large t-shirt from the conference, I hear about it for days. Particularly this week, when I'm missing his birthday to be here.

I have to say, both TIBCO and BEA failed me on the t-shirt requirement. ;)

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