Sharing Experiences - The International User Groups Conference 2012


Issue 2, 2012 From May 7th to May 11th, 190 participants from 90 companies and 20 countries met in Berlin, Germany for the 2012 conference of Software AG’s International User Groups (IUG).  During the week-long event, participants attended product-sessions, Software AG and customer presentations, meet-the-expert sessions and highly popular customer-to-customer workshops.  The exchange of experiences and knowledge at this event inspired participants to apply lessons learned in their daily activities and take back ideas to their local groups. You can view all conference presentations on Empower, Software AG's Global Support Services extranet.  
The 2012 conference of Software AG’s International User Groups (IUG) was a multicultural event with attendees representing every continent.  Most were long-term Software AG customers and active members of user groups from all around the globe, representing companies such as Nissan Australia, SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp. of Japan, Banco do Brasil and Petrobrás of Brazil, Army and Air Force Mutual Aid Assoc. of the US, Saudi Arabian Telecom, National Policing Improvement Agency of the UK, Statoil of Norway, Oesterreichische Nationalbank of Austria, and Bosch and Kühne + Nagel of Germany. 
Throughout the conference, we provided a personal and friendly atmosphere where customers felt comfortable and communicated freely and openly. The attendees made ample use of the opportunity to network and share and discuss ideas with other Software AG customers. As in the past, we started the week of conferences with the Adabas and Natural sessions on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, we held a general session followed by parallel tracks for ARIS and webMethods on Thursday and Friday. All sessions were very well attended.
One of the most popular aspects of the conference was the customer-to-customer workshops. Customers with similar backgrounds were matched together to meet, exchange experiences and share lessons learned. For example, the Ministries of Defense from Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic, Sweden and the Netherlands faced common challenges and were able to learn from each other.  Another workshop was with Petrobrás of Brazil and Statoil of Norway, an accomplished ARIS user. Petrobrás was very keen on learning about Statoil’s experiences with the Enterprise Architecture approach.
In the general sessions, topics covered included Software AG’s Product Strategy and Vision, Premium Support Services and the introduction of “Prime”, Software AG’s globally standardized project methodology to improve time-to-value for business solution deployments. An expert of the German Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology held the audience’s attention with his presentation on secure software engineering. 
After last year’s conference, we were approached from several sides to arrange for presentations of student projects based on Software AG technology through our University Relations program. This year we succeeded in recruiting dedicated students and professors for every session of the conference. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and we received several requests for more such presentations at next year’s conference.In all sessions, we had a balanced mix of Software AG and customer presentations. The Software AG experts informed the participants about roadmaps, new technical features, as well as tips and tricks. Customers shared their experiences with Software AG technology, some with very impressive figures. All customer presentations were rated highly valuable and useful to conference attendees. In the category “What did you like in particular?” we received feedback such as “Customer Presentations – We all face similar challenges!”
Some of the customer presentations expressly mentioned in the feedback include:
  • “Usage of Adabas Backout and Job Control at ADAC” – General German Automobile Association (ADAC)
  • Live demo with an iPhone to get data from an application at AAFMAA in Washington D.C., based on Software AG technology
  • Best practice with an integration project at Coca-Cola Enterprises
  • Experiences with process management at Swedish Armed Forces
All presentations were of great value and are available on Empower, Software AG's Global Support Services extranet. 
As mentioned before, apart from supplying our customers with an abundance of useful and relevant information, we also provided sufficient opportunity for participants to network with Software AG experts and other Software AG customers. Among these opportunities included two evening events, where business was put on hold to make room for fun and laughs.
IUG conference attendees also offered valuable feedback to Software AG's Global Communities team on how to continuously add value to the Software AG Tech Community.  As experts in Adabas, ARIS, Natural, Terracottoa, webMethods, and more, Software AG customers are the backbone of the online community that provides immediate access to a wealth of technical resources and wisdom from a collaborative network of thousands.
Customers support our user group concept, and the conference in Berlin proved that we are on the right track. Several presidents of regional user groups (UG) participated in IUG 2012, e.g. from the Austrian UG, the Eastern UG in US, the ARIS UG in the Netherlands, the German ARIS and webMethods UG. The meetings in Berlin emphasized the strong bond between the IUG and the International IT Leadership Committee (IITLC), a forum of CIOs from Software AG’s worldwide customer base. Several companies represented in last year’s IITLC meeting also joined the IUG in Berlin, e.g. AAFMAA, Coca-Cola Enterprises, NPIA, Statoil, DB Netz AG, Kuehne +Nagel, UNIQA.
After the conference, many of the participants took the momentum and experiences they gained from the conference home to report to their regional user groups and to inspire local activities.