With SuccessConnect less than a week away, attendees should be thinking about how they are going to maximize their time in Las Vegas. To help you get prepared while you pack your bags, we reached out to a couple experienced SuccessConnect attendees: Cathy Parry, Director, People and Culture | HR operations at TELUS, and Jennifer Henderson, Senior HRIS Analyst at a North American energy company.
Both will be attending SuccessConnect this year and have provided some valuable insight on how to ensure you make the most out of your opportunity to learn, network, and have fun.
How many times have you attended a SuccessConnect conference? What was the most memorable event and why?
Cathy: This will be my fourth time attending. The most memorable event for me is typically the keynote speaker(s) – they impact you both personally and professionally and stretch you to think and act outside of your day-to-day.
Jennifer: This will be my third year attending the conference. I would say the keynote speakers are usually the most memorable as they add a lot of energy to the room.
What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s conference?
Cathy: I’m looking forward to experiencing the redesign of the tracks and my ability to focus on both the team member and HR operational team member experiences.
Jennifer: I have not been for a couple of years, so I am looking forward to the road map sessions and the future of SuccessFactors.
For those that can’t attend, how can they catch up on the education and announcements you might miss?
Cathy: You can always catch up online and through your network with other colleagues following the conference.
Jennifer: Keep an eye out online to see the summary of the conference if you were unable to attend.
What are your best lessons learned in terms of navigating this event? What surprised you the most the first time you attended?
Cathy: Leverage the agenda builder—it is key to making the most of your time. Also leverage your SAP SuccessFactors account support team, they are expert at this. They can recommend sessions for you to attend and people for you to meet/network with.
Wear comfortable shoes! There is a ton of walking involved.
Jennifer: How many over lapping sessions there are was surprising. Some breakout sessions are very popular so getting in early is sometimes key to getting a good seat, or a seat at all! Expert session times fill up quickly. If you are planning to speak with an expert, book your time slot well in advance.
Where do you get the most business value? Keynotes, customer presentations, networking events, dinners, or show floor?
Cathy: Customer presentations and networking/meeting with key contacts while you’re there are best; you want to hear from other customers. This is a customer conference.
Jennifer: I believe it depends on what part of the technology life cycle you are in and what your company’s road map for technology is. If you are in the implementation stage, networking and specific breakout sessions can be very helpful. The show floor can be great in finding those niche partners that may be able to help solve a specific business problem.
How do you tackle the expo hall?
Cathy: One aisle at a time! Focus on your immediate needs first; it’s totally doable.
Jennifer: Start with a general sweep of the hall to get the lay of the land and highlight which areas support your companies’ goals. Start with these ones as a first focus.
Do you have any post-conference tips? How do you make sure you don’t forget what you’ve learned? How do you implement some of the best practices in your organization?
Cathy: Make a formal commitment to your team back at the office that you will bring your learnings back with you—that will hold you accountable to remember. Take out your roadmap and see what needs adjusting based on what you learned, while it’s top of mind.
Make next year’s conference participation decision based on the value you received this year.
Jennifer: We have a post conference debrief that we present to the rest of the department. Knowing that you have a presentation at the end with the team that did not attend keeps you on track of taking key notes and the highlights of the sessions.
Sometimes it is about making a note for yourself to circle back on specific items. While networking, did you meet a SuccessFactors client that has had a similar problem? Jot down on the back of their business card what it was and make a note in your calendar, after the conference, to reach out. Sometimes the conference is a bit like drinking from a firehose. Setting up glasses of water, post conference, can make consuming it all that much easier.
Do you have any tips for first-time participants?
Cathy: Again, wear comfortable shoes, and dress in layers. Leverage your SAP SuccessFactors account team for their expertise in building your agenda. Put everything you want to attend in your agenda builder, then deselect those less important. You will not be able to do it all—focus on one or two tracks.
Network, network, network. You want to be able to leverage your new network post-conference. Finally, have fun, but just remember your early morning sessions you signed up for!
Jennifer: Build out a learning plan. Start with outlining the goals/strategy of your company and align the options at SuccessConnect that tie to those goals. This will ensure you are touching on the topics that are the most relevant for your company.
If there are a few of you from the same company attending, try to divide and conquer different items at the conference. It will also help you network with other clients. It is easier to meet other clients when you don’t have your “comfort zone” around you.
Download the app. It is helpful to keep you on track with your schedule and to connect with other SAP clients. If you are exchanging business cards, write down how you connected with that person, so you don’t have to keep track in your mind, which card goes with which conversation.
If you are working with a third-party company, check to see if they will be attending the conference. They may have client only sessions that you can attend.
Enjoy the fun parts of the conference. Dinners and evening events after the conference are an enjoyable way to decompress and network in an informal way. Stay on site, if you can, and wear comfortable shoes. Everything looks closer than it is in Vegas, and this it certainly true for how large the conference centers are.
SuccessConnect Resources and Recommendations
For more on the best sessions, keynotes, networking opportunities, and parties to attend, check out our Ultimate Guide to SuccessConnect. Also, check out what partners and customers who took our SuccessConnect Wish List survey are hoping to see at SuccessConnect. Finally, if you are joining us in Vegas, make time to stop by and chat with Rizing HCM on the show floor. We’ll be in Booth P1, and you can book a meeting with us ahead of time.