Collaborating with IBM, Tridant was tasked with delivering the ‘Demo to Win’ roadshow. We knew the standard conference format wouldn’t meet the needs of all our user community, so we came up with smaller-sized meet ups: from a targeted breakfast presentation to a more intimate evening community building exercise. This format was taken to Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.
Here are my five key takeaways from the events:
1. Get in Early: morning events
We knew we had to get some fresh heads around a table, and the morning start worked well for our “Art of the Possible with Data Analytics” presentation – of course, strong coffee was a given. We invited 60 Tridant customer C-level Executives and GMs to listen, learn, chat and network. The aim was to talk directly to our user base, to catch them at a prime time and to keep their attention.
The 90-minute high-level presentation from a key note speaker Deborah Leff from IBM, which also included a ‘visionary’ analytics demonstration, was the hook for our audience.
Lesson: Audience liked the 8am kick off; it was late enough to catch up on urgent emails beforehand and got them back to the office by mid-morning.
2. Focus the Community Around a Core Message
We opened up our evening event to the whole analytics community. We had customers, respected fellow partners, and software vendors all in attendance. The key here was to create dialogue between attendees. We ran the event from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The session was well structured but also designed to be as interactive as possible with lots of questions and discussions from the audience.
Lesson: This had to be Tridant hands off! If we were serious about creating a community, we couldn’t be ‘owning’ the show. First and foremost, the focus was on IBM and then how data and analytics can be developed within our niche community. In effect, this was a seed event to help grow the culture and community around data and analytics.
3. Align Presentation Styles
After seeing Deborah Leff from IBM last August at the Business Partner Summit in Bangkok, we knew she could adapt easily to both the morning and the evening formats. She had a very clear, upbeat and precise message to deliver on the importance of increasing capability with an integrated analytics platform, which we needed to quickly familiarise ourselves with.
Using video rather than a live demo at first didn’t feel like the natural cultural fit for the Australian market, but it was well received and allowed for the product demonstrations to flow much better. Personally, the lesson for me was to follow Deborah's lead and stay true to the overall message. I spent some time preparing a presentation on a visualisation of the French Invasion of Russia in 1812 showing the cost of life in war. Deborah's guidance was that this topic was perhaps a little inappropriate, as talking about war would create a gloomy tone when our overall message was bright and positive. She was absolutely right.
Lesson: This was the clincher in terms of roll-out success. With data-heavy presentations, the delivery needed to be strong and informative, but with a relatable style.
4. Be Newsworthy
Our audience are busy people. We also know we’re adding something else to their day and fighting with their handheld devices for attention. So content was key. We worked on the hook of shining a light on the 10-year-old analytics maturity curve concept and focusing on items which have been ‘off the curve’. It was a matter of raising awareness on the impact of missing data, incorrect data, misleading and misrepresented information and the financial impact of this on business, which was eye opening to our audience but at the same time familiar to them.
We rolled out relevant case studies, such as United Airlines losing major market share after being smashed about on social media for eight hours as a result of having missing data – ouch!
Lesson: Have a powerful message with relatable stories to keep an audience engaged.
5. Go Back to the Future
The predictable presentation would have been a demonstration on Cognos Analytics and its well-known descriptive dashboarding. But we showcased to both events’ audiences an achievable integrated solution seamlessly moving from descriptive dashboarding to diagnostic reporting, straight into data science and predictive analytics, to the holy grail of analytics; prescriptive insights through machine learning and Cognitive extensions.
Lesson: Don’t go with what’s been shown before. Your audience wants an achievable vision and they want to know how to get there with risk mitigation.
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