Like almost every other industry trade show and conference this year, Hyland Software held its annual conference as a virtual event, hosting Community Live 2020 online October 7-9. Almost 4,000 outside attendees from 43 different countries joined the event. In his kickoff keynote address, Hyland President and CEO Bill Priemer said that is record attendance for a Community Live event and represents a 70% increase in attendance from last year. He also noted that 60% of the conference attendees were first-time attendees.
Before the Wednesday start of Community Live 2020, there were self-paced labs available for customers and others to take advantage of and learn more about using Hyland products. The conference itself offered more than 240 different sessions for attendees to choose from, ranging from keynotes to product and industry-specific topics, to virtual networking sessions. A Community Central page let attendees explore Hyland products and have live chats with Hyland experts on those products.
The welcome keynote on Wednesday included Priemer and Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Ed McQuiston. Both acknowledged the essential workers on the front lines of dealing with COVID-19, the new “work from home normal”, and the social justice concerns faced this year. Priemer talked about the modernization of the Hyland platform, the introduction of RPA, and how Hyland is accommodating the speed of business. He spotlighted how Hyland’s workforce was able to adapt quickly to the work-from-home model and how effective Hyland has been in helping other businesses cope with that same challenge. Commenting on how Hyland employees have coped during these unprecedented and stressful times he spoke to the “resourcefulness, creativity, and care” they have shown during this year of never imagined challenges. McQuiston focused on “the art of the possible” discussing how Hyland is helping customers adapt to the “new normal” and used customer case studies as examples.
Thursday’s keynote started with guest speaker Juliet Funt, founder and CEO of WhiteSpace at Work. Funt’s company has become a trusted advisor to Fortune 500 companies on how to thrive in the “Age of Overload” and she shared practices and tools that attendees could use while working from home or in the office to become more organized, less stressed, and more productive. She also reviewed data from a study that showed meetings can annually waste up to $1 million for every 50 employees. Funt was followed by John Phelan, Hyland’s Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer. Phelan looked at Hyland product advancements and their fit into the tech themes of today.
Friday keynotes were a treat. The morning keynote presented an interview with actress America Ferrera, who provided insight into how she is handling the challenges of parenthood, professional life, leadership, and innovation in meeting the new challenges brought on this year. The afternoon and closing keynote delivered a virtual concert by Darius Rucker sponsored by Fujitsu.
An attendees’ lounge and a user group lounge let attendees do virtual networking, make announcements, and schedule group meetings via chat. The user group lounge continues to have virtual sessions scheduled for Atlanta and Toronto later in October with virtual lounges scheduled for Pittsburgh and Chicago in November. There were also “virtual breaks for fitness and fun,” that covered fitness tips with yoga sessions, cook from home during work from home, mocktail recipes, and even magic acts.
What would a conference be without vendor sponsors and a showcase area to view the newest products and services from those vendors? Community Live 2020 included 19 sponsors with virtual booths in which attendees could see demonstrations, and download resources such as brochures, presentations, whitepapers, case studies, and videos. The sponsor booths had a chat function for attendees and booth sponsors to ask questions, get answers, and have conversations. Hyland itself delivered Hyland Resource virtual booths focusing on industry solutions for verticals such as financial, higher education, insurance, healthcare, and government along with general business process automation solutions. There was a virtual exhibit focused on Hyland’s flagship OnBase covering OnBase fundamentals, integration tools, reporting, OnBase video, low-code app building, and OnBase governance. Like a virtual event, a virtual showcase doesn’t replace the face to face personal contact normally experienced at a conference like this, but Hyland and its sponsors did a great job in creating very workable alternatives.
Two major product announcements were made during the conference. Bill Priemer announced during his Welcome Keynote address, Hyland Experience Capture (HxC) the first application built on the Hyland Experience Platform (HxP) Hyland’s cloud-based platform for delivering SaaS applications. HxC is a cloud-native capture solution combining intelligent capture and machine learning to speed information capture and improve accuracy over time. Also announced was Hyland RPA, an end-to-end robotic process automation suite that is the culmination of Hyland’s acquisition of Another Monday. During the conference and in an executive/analyst briefing on Thursday Priemer also mentioned that Hyland has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Alfresco.
In his Thursday keynote, Phelan announced two personnel appointments. Sam Babic has been named Chief Innovation Officer and Derek Walker was appointed Senior Vice President of Engineering. Babic, a long time Hyland employee will be responsible for “enterprise innovation strategies that promote growth and accelerate modernization in alignment with Hyland’s business goals.” Walker has been with Hyland since 2018 and will be involved in evolving “Hyland’s technology vision, strategies, and plans to support the continued growth of its content services platform.”
This year’s Community Live 2020 conference was well thought out, planned, and designed. The professional production qualities of the keynote videos, sessions, and virtual showcases made the event easy to attend and captivating. Our hats are off to Hyland. While most everyone is looking forward to the opportunity to meet in person next year, Hyland proved that they can create and execute a successful, informative, and entertaining virtual Community Live 2021 if they need to.