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Insider Information on the IIUG Informix Conference

The reasons why Kansas is key to the annual gathering’s ongoing success

During the 2009 IIUG Informix Conference in April, I was repeatedly asked two questions:

  1. Why is the conference so successful, even in these tough economic times?
  2. Why is it in the Kansas City area two years in a row—and where will it be next year?

Okay, that’s three questions, but the answers are related. The conference is so successful for one major reason: It is in Kansas City (actually Overland Park, Kansas), the hometown of the largest group of developers and support staff from the IBM Informix development center located in Lenexa, Kansas. That means the conference can draw on those folks as speakers and invite them to socialize with users and other event attendees. We have all heard the saying “direct from the horse’s mouth”; well, because the conference is in Overland Park, the users and attendees can meet and talk directly with the actual Informix developers and support staff and vice versa.

See, a few years ago I was at the Lenexa development lab for an afternoon pizza party sponsored by the IIUG for the staff when they started asking me questions. The first question was “How do our users utilize Informix?” The second question was “What are our users like?” That was when I realized that bringing the developers and users together would be invaluable for both sides. We all know that Informix users run 8 of the 10 largest retailers, 20 of the 25 top supermarkets, the 911 telephone system, and the famous soccer ball. But the IBM developers have never seen these applications, nor have they met the users who created them. The IIUG conference allows the two groups to meet and create a better, more useful, and truly user-driven product.

Let me tell you another secret about why we have gone to Overland Park two years in a row and will more than likely return in 2010: economics! It is much less expensive to hold an event in Overland Park than it is in Boston, New York, Las Vegas, or even San Jose, and it is a less expensive place for attendees to visit. Combine that with the proximity to the Lenexa development center, and the IIUG conference becomes an easy trip for your boss to approve: You get to meet the developers and support staff of the product that your company uses every day, and the trip doesn’t cost too much.

So if you are asked why the IIUG conference is in Overland Park, Kansas, now you know: It is both technically and financially beneficial to everyone, and it is why—even this past year, when other user groups, events, and conferences were struggling—the IIUG 2009 conference was successful.

This year’s conference attendees came from more than 30 different countries. Some came from as far away as Cameroon and Croatia; we had attendees from Europe, Asia, and South America. Whenever I asked, “Will you come back next year?” the answer was always, “As long as the boss lets me.”

Special thanks to the entire IIUG conference team; to Dr. Arvind Krishna and Dr. Anant Jhingran, for their outstanding keynotes; and to all the sponsors for making this such a great event. And congratulations to IIUG 2009 Directors Award winners Alan Grady and Peter Perez.

If you missed the 2009 conference and would like to get a copy of many of the presentations, check out the IIUG Web site member area at www.iiug.org/members and log on to download the presentations available to any IIUG member (remember, membership is free). In the meantime, get ready to mark your calendar: we will announce next year’s conference location and dates in the next few weeks, and we would love to have as many user speakers and attendees as possible.

What’s new in the Informix world? Did you know that Informix Dynamic Server 11.50 now features compression capability? Or have you heard about the new Informix Warehouse product? Or the ability to check out Informix Dynamic Server on the Amazon Cloud? If you missed any of these new features, you’re not reading the IIUG Newsletter at www.iiug.org/insider.