Reflections on Sage Summit 2016
As I made my journey to Chicago on July 23, 2016, the long trip included a 2 hour airline delay. Yet even with this exhausting and lengthy amount of travel, I was still able to feel a sense of anticipation and excitement in the air. Why was I feeling a sense of eagerness in the midst of airline delays? Because it was time for Sage Summit 2016. Sage Summit is a time to showcase our company’s new Sage 100 development products, while also being a time to see colleagues that haven’t been in the same spot together since last year.
Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center was chosen by Sage to host the 2016 event. It managed to handle the large crowd and was much more efficient than other venues in the past. The food was tasty and was served in a creative way at stations rather than the standard conference buffet. Sage even added a nice touch of including Chicago hot dog stands, spread around the convention hall, for a sample of local cuisine.
Sage had been working tirelessly on improving the offerings, the flow and the venue at Sage Summit and they succeeded! Not only did Sage manage to more than double the attendance from the prior year, they also kept an upbeat yet professional environment by having many small theatres setup in the exhibition hall where the attendees spent the day.
Sage Summit Partner Day
Sage Summit kicked off the event with a Partner Day and Keynote by Sage CEO, Stephen Kelly. There was even an appearance by Chicago’s own Mike Ditka, who hyped up the Sage team on stage and the Sage partners in the audience. Partner Day was meant for the companies that are responsible for selling Sage’s portfolio of products, also called the Sage reseller channel. This day was welcomed, as it had been eliminated at Sage Summit events in the past. Day 1 concluded with a celebration for the Partner Channel, with a great band and continuation of great food.
Sage Summit Day 2 & 3
Day 2 was for Sage partners and customers and it kicked off with a keynote that included Sir Richard Branson. Following the keynote each morning, the small theatres, located in the exhibit hall, was filled with speakers, allowing attendees to move from presentation to presentation with ease. The quality of the small theatre presentations was outstanding and I heard from many attendees that any business person could gain a great deal of insight from various business topics presented by experts in the field. Day 2 ended with a reception in the exhibit hall that brought partners and customers together.
On Day 3, there were further engaging keynotes, with a special afternoon keynote called Sink or Swim, presented by Robert Herjavec and Daymond John, who are featured on the hit show Shark Tank. This was especially enjoyed by all attendees and turned a sometimes tough afternoon lull on Day 3 into a ‘do not miss’ conversation. Sage picked a great concert for the celebration closing party, with The Killer’s on Northerly Island in an outdoor venue.
Of course, the last day of Sage Summit is intended for viewing final sessions and saying good-byes to colleagues, clients and the new connections made throughout the conference. Too bad the conference ended with the same airport delays and frustrations on the tarmac. As Garth Brooks would say, “I could have missed the pain but I’d have had to miss the dance”.
Written by Kayley Bell, Chief Operating Officer at DSD Business Systems