I spent three days working the event as a blogger, covering all the different sessions, talking with Kronites (the term used for those that work for Kronos--think "IBMers" for those that affiliate themselves with IBM), customers of their products and services, as well as other event participants. I also got plenty of exercise (Rosen Shingle Creek is a huge resort. I must have walked several miles during my time there!), made new connections, and have a few thoughts about the event.
In no particular order:
- Professionalism. Ever since I've been invited to participate in conference events (HR Florida, ILSHRM, and others) I've taken an interest in observing how conference planners execute their respective events. Taking a peek behind the curtain, so to speak, can be very revealing. I think most participants don't understand the amount of planning, resource allocation, and stress that goes into making a successful conference. With that, KronosWorks 2013 was one of the best executed large scale conferences (over 1500 attendees this year) I've been a part of. Kudos to the entire team (and for me, a special thanks to Jenna Maver, Social Media Communications Manager for Kronos) for all the work they did.
|Jenna Maver at the KronosWorks 2013 Social Media Lounge|
- Access. As a blogger I expected to have access to people and events. During the course of my time at KronosWorks 2013, it became apparent that access (for example, to subject matter experts or leaders of the various verticals Kronos provides services to) was designed into the conference experience for all participants. This was best exemplified through the actions of the CEO, Aron Ain. During one breakfast event, he solicited questions from the crowd and took the time to answer as many as he could. This was not uncommon, as far as I could see. Kronites made themselves available to those that needed their time and expertise. This leads to my next point which is...
- Relationships. While it seems only logical to thank your customers, Kronos members spent a lot of time doing just that. Again, Aron Ain set the tone and it was something repeated by almost everyone I encountered. And they were receptive to complaints, including the ever present one regarding Java.
- Innovation. Early on in the conference Kronos emphasized a number of key arenas in which they were beginning, or were actively involved with, outside of their core competencies. Specifically, they discussed social collaboration, wearable technology, gamification, and cloud computing. This is intentional, as Kronos doesn't want to turn into the next Smith-Corona.
CEO @AronAin talks about 25 person team, separate from corporate office, who work on projects to "put Kronos out of business." #KW2013
— Victorio Milian (@Victorio_M) November 12, 2013
With that, I thought that it would be interesting to see if Kronos would explore the idea of revamping the conference format they're currently engaged in. While its social media efforts (having bloggers like myself; inviting experts such as Crystal Washington and Curtis Midkiff to discuss the potential and pitfalls of SoMe) were a great idea, there's an opportunity for Kronos to really stretch the boundaries. For example, does every session have to be configured according to the traditional speaker/audience arrangement? How can the Kronos organization (and its partnership with customers, analysts, competitors, and the like) use the conference as a way to create even more value than currently realized?
Overall, I enjoyed the conference. It seems that KronosWorks 2013 accomplished what it was designed to do--provide an event in which to show off a little, engage with its customers, and articulate a clear vision of its present and potential future. Now if they can get that Java issue fixed, that would make a lot of people very happy!
RT @shaneheule: "Working quickly to get Java out of the code base... Moving to HTML5, pixel by pixel". Aaron Ain Kronos CEO #KW2013
— Ellin McHarg (@EllinMcHarg) November 10, 2013
Full disclosure: I am a paid independent contractor hired by Kronos to attend the KronosWorks 2013 conference. All opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Kronos.