The ‘Must Attend’ SaaS Conference List

As the SaaS tsunami continues to roll out at a dizzying pace, staying current on developments is a considerable challenge for people in all sectors of the SaaS/Cloud community.  One of the best sources I’ve found for vision, information and ideas throughout my career has been the conversations that happen at well-run industry conferences.  Yes, travel budgets are tight and the time is a concern — but you hear things at those events long before they appear on the web or in other news outlets.  For the past several years, there have been a handful of such gatherings on my personal “must attend” list.

Design and Value

There are several aspects that make for good value in a professional conference.  One is the design of presentations and panel discussions, especially if they are carefully crafted for the audience and not merely done as marketing or advertising exercises for some vendor.  Another is the array of pre and post conference workshops or seminars that may be offered.  The content of the formal sessions can do a great deal to set the tone of the event and to suggest strategic and tactical concepts, ideas, approaches and possibilities.

The most important source of value, to me, however, is in the attendees of the conference.  The content of the presentations is only a beginning.  The real impact comes from interacting one on one or in small groups gathered informally around the table or bar during the day or after hours, and conference organizers should keep this firmly in mind.  Networking breaks should be frequent.  Receptions need to be held in rooms where you can hear what others are saying without having to shout.

The CSA Recommends:

The Cloud Innovators Summits

Noted SaaS/Cloud analyst & consultant Jeff Kaplan of THINKstrategies has produced a stellar executive forum series aimed at helping corporate decision-makers better understand how they can leverage the latest Cloud innovations to satisfy their business requirements and achieve their business objectives.  Members of The Customer Success Association may receive a 10% discount for any of these Cloud Innovators conferences.

The Cloud Channel Summit:  The CCS is a unique opportunity to interact with a wide range of senior executives, managers, and partners in and around one of the most challenging areas of the Cloud: creating and managing an effective network of alliances.  What does it mean to share ownership of the customer relationship?  What do the roles look like?  What technologies are needed?

Here is the link to the conference site:  [ http://cloudchannelsummit.com ]

The Cloud Analytics Summit provides a forum for CIOs and other corporate decision-makers to learn about the latest innovations and share best practices regarding Cloud BI, Big Data and Data Integration to satisfy their escalating business requirements.  In the Cloud, Analytics and Business Intelligence tools are not optional technology — it’s a basic business requirement.  To keep your customers, you have to know as much as possible about them in real time.  (Registration information for the next Cloud Analytics Summit will be announced later.)

Dreamforce

The annual event for the Salesforce.com community is the largest conference in the SaaS/Cloud sector, and offers a tremendous value in its sessions and presentations.