Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Look Back at Ektron’s Synergy 2012 Conference

Wow. I have to admit -- I was a bit of a skeptic when I learned we were hosting our annual conference in Washington, D.C., the day after the election. I thought people would be distracted, flights would be too expensive, or maybe people just wouldn’t want to travel this close to Thanksgiving. And with sessions running until almost 5 pm on Friday, I expected it to be a ghost town on Friday after lunch (indeed it was quite the opposite).

But wow, that was a great experience for the Ektron community.

I have the privilege of being one of the few folks that have had the opportunity to attend every Ektron Synergy conference over the past six years. This includes two trips to Boston, two to Orlando, last year’s craziness in Las Vegas, and this year’s patriotic version in the capital. This means that I’m more than capable to share what made this year’s conference one of the best (at least in the top 5!).

The Keynotes

Synergy has always featured excellent keynote presentations from industry leaders and experts like Lisa Welchman, Microsoft, and others. However, this year’s group was pretty ridiculous. Not only were they talking about hot topics like Responsive Web Design and Mobile First, they focused on the most important takeaways from Synergy and were engaging, energetic speakers. I highly encourage you to check out the webcasts of them if you have the time (available here:


More Networking Focused After Hours Events

While most conference attendee’s primary focus is to learn about the latest technology enhancements and industry trends, I can make an argument that the most valuable part of attending the Ektron Synergy conference is the opportunity to network with other users, partners, and the Ektron team. For me, it’s a chance to connect old friends, long-time customers, and colleagues with new friends, prospective users, and new customers. The community that Ektron fosters is really a strong advantage that allows us to engage our community members at a much more personal level than the standard vendor/client relationship. If you don’t believe me, join the Ektron Inner Circle ( to see for yourself.


More Customer and Partner Led Sessions

In many of the conferences that I attend, the majority of the sessions (outside of the keynotes) are led by the technology vendor or primary sponsor. With Ektron Synergy, that’s not the case. While there are Ektron-led sessions around new functionality and complex technical elements, many of this year’s sessions were led by Ektron clients and partners. The story changes dramatically when that’s the case because they’re not up there just telling you only about all the positives of their experience with Ektron – they’re up there relating their honest experience. This is very powerful, and one reason that I think we’ll see even more client and partner presentations at the next Synergy conference.


True Social Participation, Online and Offline

I come back to my point earlier about Ektron’s community, but go back and check the tweet stream for the hash tags #ektron, #EktronSynergy, and my personal favorite, #ektronbacon. Not only will they be wildly entertaining, but it will help paint a picture as to what the event really brought to the table. The connections people made; the key information pulled from each session; really, the true value that attending an Ektron event has to offer. I've embedded some of the best for you throughout this post.


More Access to the Roadmap

Every conference aims to leave you with one or two things to look for in the near future. In year’s past, Synergy has focused on the big Version 8 release or the Digital Experience Hub. However, this year, more sessions included information not just about how Ektron got here, but where Ektron’s going.

Highlights from the forthcoming Phoenix release talk about the Awesomizer and other user experience enhancements that are sure to make any content author or business user jump out of their seat. And it’s not that Ektron has ever lacked innovation, it's just that we’ve always held it a tad closer to our chest. We’re proud of how we got here and even more excited about where we’re heading.

It was a fun event and if you had the opportunity to attend, I want to extend a sincere Thank You. We love to get our customers and partners together as much as possible and that’s why you’ll see even more events including regional user groups, developer meet-ups, and more in 2013. We hope that you had a great time, I know I did.

Special thanks to Brian Browning for taking so many great photos and for allowing me to use them here.

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