Last week, we held our annual client symposium – three days of talking about where the industry is headed, the successes our clients have experienced this past year, and what’s new with our products and services. It’s always a whirlwind to put on an event like this, but based on what I heard from clients (both in person and through their evaluations), I’d rate this year’s event an overwhelming success.
Our clients enjoy meeting all of the Geonetric team face-to-face, touring our offices, learning from us, and sharing with each other. But my top three takeaways from this year’s event aren’t what you might expect…
It’s not a symposium without lots of great food.
The first evening we hosted a barbeque at our offices in Cedar Rapids. The barbeque served up by Geonetric’s grill master (a.k.a., Jason, our Senior SQL Developer) was amazing. The second evening, we held a progressive dinner at local museums and the wine was poured by Geonetric’s executive team – gives a whole new meaning to “serving” our clients! And the breakfasts, lunches, and snacks were plentiful and delicious. I don’t know many software companies that have an event coordinator on staff, but I’m grateful that we do!
Our “community of clients” isn’t just a slogan.
Over barbeque and root beer floats, I overheard several discussions about families and vacations interspersed with discussions about solutions to common industry challenges. Clients at one table were comparing Web governance structures while a group at another table discussed the difficulties of extending and controlling brand on the Web. A couple of clients who are just starting to work on their Intranets were quizzing the clients whose employees have happily embraced their new employee sites. What worked? How did you get buy-in? How did you launch? Now that’s a community.
Nothing takes the place of hands-on learning.
The second day was filled with updates on our product roadmap, hands-on working demonstrations of VitalSite 5, and an overview of the many support and strategy services we offer. Our third day was a series of rapid-fire presentations of ideas that can be immediately implemented, followed by workshops with the project management team. The presenters were all Geo employees that I work with every day – and still I’m amazed and energized by how smart and passionate they are about what they do. The clients were equally impressed. “I can’t wait to upgrade,” and, “I need to be doing that on my site,” were common themes.
It was a great week, and I’m so glad we get to host this event every year. And you know our clients think it’s a success when year after year, we get more than three-quarters of them to travel across the country (from both coasts!) to Cedar Rapids, IA for this event. Kudos and thanks to them for taking the time out of their busy schedule to participate.
This week, I’m off to the SHSMD conference in San Francisco. I can’t wait to talk to hospitals who want to partner with us to do amazing work on their Web sites and tell them about the remarkable community they’d be joining. When I’m talking to potential clients it’s easy to focus on VitalSite and the team of experts we’ve built, but I’ll be sure to mention some of the other perks that come along with a Geonetric partnership – namely an invitation to next year’s symposium.