Way back in 2008, I took a chance and attended the international academic research conference on business process management in Milan. I was hooked, as you might have gathered from the 1000s of words that I blogged that week. Since then, I’ve attended a few more: Ulm, Germany in 2009; Hoboken, US in 2010; Clermont-Ferrand, France in 2011 (where I had the honour of delivering a keynote); Tallinn, Estonia in 2012; and Vienna, Austria in 2019 (where I gave a talk at a workshop). They are always hosted by a university that has a BPM research program, and often the sessions are held in the university lecture rooms which gives it a more relaxed atmosphere than your usual industry conference.
I’m fascinated by the research topics, and one common theme of my blogging from these conferences is that software vendors need to send their product owners/developers here, both to hear about and present ideas on research in BPM and related fields. There’s so many good ideas and smart people, you can’t help but come away having learned something of value. Starting in 2010, the conference started to include an industry track to be more inclusive of people who were not in academia or research environments. At some point, they also started offering companies the opportunity to sponsor the conference: I believe that some vendors sponsored coffee breaks and meals, or had booths at parts of the event. A good way to raise their profile with the attendees, which include not only academics but a lot of people from industry as well. And, as I’ve pointed out, it’s a great place for companies to meet promising young researchers who might be looking for a job in the future.
This year, the conference is in Utrecht, The Netherlands, on September 11-15, 2023. I’m hoping to attend after three years of hiatus due to that pesky little virus; I did attend some of the sessions virtually in the past couple of years but it’s just not the same as being there. If you want to submit a paper or give a presentation, you can see the important dates here – note that the abstracts for research papers are due next week, with other deadlines coming up shortly. If you just want to attend, they have an early bird registration price until July 18. If your company wants to sponsor the event in any way, there’s some information here along with contact information.
I’m really looking forward to getting back to this, and to other conferences this year, after dipping my toe back in the in-person conference pool with speaking slots last September (Hyland CommunityLIVE) and October (CamundaCon). I’ll also still be participating in virtual conferences, which allows me to attend more than I would normally have time or budget for, including speaking on a Voices in Tech panel next week. There is no question that the way we attend conferences has changed in the past three years. Some conferences are staying completely virtual, some are making a hard shift back to in-person only, while some are going the hybrid route. Meanwhile, companies that slashed their conference budget for attendees and sponsorships are reconsidering their spending in the light of increased attendance at in-person conferences. It’s going to take another year or two to see whether people will flock back to in-person conferences, or prefer to stick with the virtual style.