xChange: in review

Well it has been a wonderful three days here at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The customers are happy and that means I am happy.

xChange is well and truly back!

We started planning xChange 2011 in November 2010 and thousands of hours have gone in to making it such a success. A massive amount of credit goes to the xChange team led by Jen Melvin, Serenity Thompson, Shirley Miller, Vickie Schira, Kath McKeever and Renee Scullin whose tireless efforts delivered up one of the most intensive, content rich, solution focused and fun events I have ever seen.

Attendee reactions were positive, upbeat and excited with many customers ready to sign up for next year’s conference. We haven’t picked a location yet, but will soon, so let me have your suggestions for xChange 2012.

I estimate that the 95 hours of conference content over three days came from 20,000 hours of preparation over 10 months by more than 100 people.

To that list of 100+ Serena staff, partners and support organizations, and on behalf of a very happy customer base, I say a heartfelt ‘Thank you.”

The best of the best

Of course it was all great but for me the top five highlights were:

  • John Nugent describing the new corporate vision of “Orchestrated Apps + Orchestrated Ops = Orchestrated IT”
  • Ali Kheirolomoom and Steve Brodie demonstrating how the vision is now a reality
  • The customer Rapid-Fire Comment Round with lively and interesting debate told with great humor and experience
  • The packed breakout sessions, especially for the newly launched Serena Service Manager
  • And the unforgettable Bella Electric Strings who got us off to a great start and rocked the house during the partner party

Magic Moments

There are always the unexpected magic moments in any conference and they came in surprising ways and surprising places at this year’s xChange.

A breathless customer sought me out after one session to tell me “I know exactly what to do when I get home: upgrade to SBM … that stuff is cool!”

The Serena Account Manager who told me that three of her customers had told her that they had got answers to problems they had been wresting with in the AnswerZone that more than paid for the their trip to Las Vegas.

The customer who told me that that after his presentation another customer came up to him and said “We use your service, we were thinking of moving off it. Now I know how you develop applications I am going to recommend we stick with you.”

The Serena “geek” who told me that she’d been demoing her solution constantly since early in the morning, had had a crowd 4-deep at lunchtime and 6-deep in the evening session and had not done the demo the same way twice because of all the questions she was getting.

The mainframe customer who told me that he only gets to go to one conference a year and he was so happy he chose xChange.

And most poignant of all: the wife of a customer who told me she had never seen her husband so animated about anything as when he came back from the first day’s sessions. She told me he was getting ready to retire: now he has a whole new list of fun things he wants to do and retirement is the last thing on his mind. She seemed relieved about that!

Where next?

If you were there: you know what a great event it was. If you weren’t: you won’t want to miss the next one.

xChange 2012 will most likely be in September but we have not chosen the venue. We need your help. Please comment on this blog with your ideas and your reasons for wanting your favorite city.

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