Flash forward 10 years to this, our 10th Partner Conference held here at the Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. While my role has changed dramatically from a "behind the scenes" type to playing a more active role in delivering presentations and facilitating conversations, I find myself amazed at how this conference has grown. Back then, we had perhaps 100 people attending the conference. This year, over 500. Back then, the partners in attendance were from around the US. This year, we have attendance from around the globe. Back then, we were considered a "niche" player in the contact center market with just over a handful of customers. This year, we are considered a major vendor in the contact center, enterprise telephony, and unified communications markets with around 3,500 customers.
As I mingle through the halls and sit in various sessions, I see familiar faces that have grown with us over the years – partners, employees and even former employees who are now with partners. It is quite a family environment. Adding to the mix is an even more powerful indicator that we as a company are growing – a large number of consultants and analysts have joined us this year — almost 60 of them. And all of them learning more and more about our solutions and validating our position within the market as a company on the rise.
During many of today’s sessions, those in attendance continued to see those reasons why this is true:
- At this morning’s main session, a panel consisting of customers, a partner and an industry analyst learned about what they see as the main drivers in the market place.
- Afterwards, CEO Don Brown unveiled the latest demonstration of our soon-to-be-released Interaction Process Automation (IPA) to a crowd eager to get their hands on it.
- Later in one of the break-out sessions that was packed with standing-room only, analyst Sheila McGee-Smith validated that IPA is the right solution for the right time in the Unified Communications market.
- The hands-on-labs are always a big hit at these events and even more so this year as all seem to want to get their hands on IPA and our other solutions. Just a quick walk by the lab rooms show full seats with people waiting outside the doors in anticipation for the next session to begin.
- Another room that is also busy no matter what time you walk buy is the "Developers on Demand." This is the room where the Interactive Intelligence developers meet to talk with anyone who has a question, enhancement, feature requirement or just to find out what’s in the latest SU.
- The level of networking that is going on in the hallways in between sessions is amazing, too. There is a constant buzz of conversation talking about products, prospects, marketing activities, support and services.
As I type this, I’m reminded about the old saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." While this conference has grown, while our customer base has grown, while our product portfolio has grown, one thing has continued to stay the same — Interactive Intelligence remains as an innovative company built by solid people on core mid-western values that make our partners and customers come back again and again.
Until tomorrow – I’m on to this evening’s activities and a hope to get to bed at a decent hour!