Proforma conference Day 1 quick look

There’s wifi in the conference room, but you have to sign up at the business centre for it ahead of time, which was just too much logistics for me to blog live. However, it’s 5am on Day 2 and my brain is still on Eastern time, so time for a few updates. I’ll do a more complete review of the sessions after it’s all over. First, let’s start with the other conferences that were running in the same conference centre,which you can see in the photo on the left.

Best quote of the conference so far: “I can DODAF FEMA!”, from Tony Devino, an engineer with the Navy, in his presentation about creating a process for quality control on temporary housing installations in New Orleans following Katrina. First time that I’ve heard “DODAF” used as a verb, and a bit funny (well, to EA geeks), especially when you consider that they use DODAF for weapons systems.

Best dance (not usually a category that I assign at conferences): Judson Laipply, a motivational speaker who gave a keynote, also happens to be the originator of the Evolution of Dance, the most-viewed clip ever on YouTube. He talked about change, which is the theme of the conference, then did a live, extended-play version of the Evolution of Dance for us at the end of his talk. I really would have hated to follow him on stage as a speaker!

Dr. Geary Rummler spoke at the afternoon keynote (yes, that Rummler), which was pretty exciting for those of us who have been around in process modelling and management long enough to have a view of his part in its history.

There was a bit of discussion about Proforma’s leading position in the new Forrester report, which is an amazing coup for Proforma when they’re up against a company that’s many times their size.

I’m left with a great impression of Proforma as a company. Although considerably smaller than IDS Scheer, their major competitor, they have an enthusiastic customer base, judging by both the customer presenters and the attendees who I’ve met, and a really nice corporate culture. I sat at the dinner last night with Dave Ritter, one of the founders and currently VP of Enterprise Solutions; we had a lengthy chat before we realized that we had (sort of) met on a Proforma webinar where he spoke several months back, and in some follow-up emails to that webinar. Michelle Bretscher, their PR Director, has given me completely red-carpet treatment, offering to set up meetings with any of the executives, and making sure that I have whatever I need. I don’t think that a lot of press shows up to their user conferences, but when you’re a one-person consultant/analyst/blogger organization, it’s nice to be treated with that level of respect, something that larger vendors could take a lesson from. I also had the most pleasant surprise when I turned to page 6 of the program and saw the watermarked graphic behind the print.

Sessions today include a lot of material from Proforma on their upcoming Series 6, and I’ve very eager to hear about their advances in zero-footprint clients and other Web 2.0-like features, considering my recent focus on Web 2.0 and BPM.

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