Last week I attended and presented at Liaison’s annual user/partner conference in Atlanta, GA. For me, it wasn’t about all of the technology or solutions that Liaison is rolling out for its partners and customers. It wasn’t about all of the wonderful insights that many of the speakers had – whether it was Dr. Jeff Norris from NASA talking about mission-critical agility (for whom I enjoyed thoroughly), or Daryl Plummer’s’ incredible insight into why cloud service brokers are necessary (also very enlightening).

It was about the people. Specifically about bringing people together, and listening to their thoughts and ideas – getting a much more intimate view of their projects, problems and environments. I find the most value in the hallway having an open discussion with multiple partners, customers and fellow colleagues. Converge is truly an opportunity to bring many people together who may otherwise never get to share with one another.

When we talk about data translation and integration, we are usually solving problems of converting disparate data formats and structures so they can be more easily integrated into their intended targets. The very foundation for solving such problems is in how we communicate and comprehend. Think of two people talking – the back and forth of a discussion. We quickly find a common language to use so that we can communicate ideas (syntax). We speak to each other in slightly different ways, but we adjust and reinforce so that we can understand the meaning (semantics). We have the innate and unique ability to do this, and solve problems regardless of where we are. Sometimes, the integration of people and ideas happen in the most unexpected places.

Here are a few personal examples from last week’s event:

  • At the rooftop bar at the “W” hotel in Buckhead, helping a customer who’s business is growing rapidly to discuss and design how to improve their integration architecture – namely in terms of setting up a regression/UAT environment, as well as how to scale out , add redundancy and a second active-active data center. All while drinking some good local Georgia beer (hint: Sweetwater IPA)
  • At an Atlanta Braves baseball game (Braves vs. Mets) – got two very high profile customers to sit together and talk business, baseball and beer. I can’t think of a better setting. (Hint: more Sweetwater IPA)
  • Helping a customer navigate a path through their current integration strategy that involves multiple products by way of acquisition, all while eating lunch sponsored by Liaison (ok, no Sweetwater IPA)
  • Exchanging ideas with many of Liaison’s ASI partners during an Atlanta Hawks basketball game. Specifically discussing how Liaison and the partner community can utilize one another’s expertise to help each other. We have a wealth of knowledge to tap into and utilize as we grow our core offerings.
  • During the hands-on session I was demoing Liaison Delta and ECS to multiple attendees, which was unique to see different customers with different integration use cases bounce ideas off of each other, which in turn helped to fuel the demo and take it to places I never would have expected.

These are just a few highlights for me. Integrating people and coming out with solutions, ideas and an overall refreshed look at our industry is an invaluable experience. Drinking good beer – also a plus.

If you missed Converge this year, I invite you to come next year (or attend in the UK in September). As you are looking over the agenda and the many speakers and topics – remember, you too are a part of the integration of people that can take place. Your experience will encompass so much more than simply sitting in a room listening to a speaker, as did mine.