This was the second year in a row that I attended the Charlotte, North Carolina user group’s PowerBuilder Conference. A big “hats off” to Matt Balent and the NCPBUG Team for a job well done!
As a presenter both last year and in this years event, I was very impressed with the University of North Carolina downtown campus facilities! The university campus was the home for the three day PowerBuilder 2015 Conference. The building is a little weird from the outside as it looks like each floor was built offsite and then assembled (stacked) one floor at a time improperly as each level is offset. This gives the weird impression I was mentioning when you walk up to the university building. Don’t let that fool you though as the meeting, classroom, presentation equipment, etc are quite impressive. As the former president of the Ottawa Sybase User Group, the University was also a great choice from the perspective of keeping the attendance costs extremely reasonable for the attendees.
Speaking of the attendees, this years event drew people from various parts of Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and North & South America! Charlotte even now has direct air flights from Paris and many other international destinations – so the task of getting to the conference is quite easy as a location. For myself, I drove down to the conference from Ottawa, Canada and was able to comfortably drive the 1,490km in two days staying over in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. For those attendees along the US eastern sea board, the location was certainly drivable – another bonus about the Charlotte location.
As the attendees arrived at the conference, each person received some nice “swag” from the NCPNUG team – including a very nicely made conference T-shirt. The light blue shirt had the conference logo and sponsors logo tastefully located on the shirt. This makes it a keeper for show around the office on dress down Friday’s in my book!
The hotels around the conference are also very conveniently located close to the university downtown campus. I stayed at the Hyatt House and was easily able to walk a few blocks to the conference each day. The weather was generally very pleasant at a sunny 27C. The Hyatt House is also centrally located in the Charlotte downtown area, so after the conference each evening we were able to enjoy the varied and robust restaurants and pubs within a few blocks of the hotel.
Along with the great places to eat, you can also find shopping and very interesting architecture to look at or visit the Ritz Carleton cafe or night club for some nice entertainment and dining cuisine. Each evening, I was able to walk the downtown area and discover something new about the City of Charlotte. This was also a great time to meet other conference attendees and reminisce about the days presentations and the good old days of PowerSoft. 😉
There was a plethora of presentations this year at the conference! Along with myself, the other main presenters were Yakov Werde, Bruce Armstrong, Brian Le Suer, Christophe Dufourmantelle, Armeen Mazda, Matt Balent and John Strano! Unfortunately, Ronnie Po was not able to make the conference at the last minute but sent Don Clayton who was able to “pinch hit” a presentation in his place. We also had presentations from Heino Hellmers, Franck Fasolin, Mike Searer, Kyle Griffis, Ryan Story, Kay Jenkins, Song Li, and Fili Sosa.
The classrooms in the university are all setup in a tiered lecture style setting with the presenter up front able to control lighting, audio, video, etc from a touch pad built into the presenter’s podium. The rooms are also exceptionally well acoustically designed. This allows the presenter and questions to be heard from the audience very easily among all the other attendees. The university as a whole also had free WiFi for the conference attendees and presenters as well, which also enhanced the experience.
Of course the big news and highly anticipated event at the conference was the Friday session on the Future of PowerBuilder given by Senior SAP Vice President Dirk Boessmann. This was presentation was done in a theater style room and filled with attendees wanting to know what SAP had decided about PowerBuilder after four years since acquiring Sybase and its various products.
To the audiences great delight (after much clapping and WhooWhooo’s) … Dirk gave a great speech on how he came to the recommendation to the SAP Board of Directors that they turn over the future development of the PowerBuilder product to Appeon Corporation!
At that time in the the presentation, Dirk asked Appeon CEO Armeen Mazda to join him on stage as he outlined that an OEM agreement was being ironed out by the lawyers at that moment to have the PowerBuilder product officially placed into the hands of Appeon for further development. Dirk stated that this decision was the best one he could come up with to the SAP management that would expedite the PB product into the capable hands of Appeon. Dirk also mentioned that he already had a “team” in place to make the transition happen ASAP. Dirk emphasized that there was already a signed Letter of Understanding in place between the two companies and that the SAP and Appeon engineering teams were already meeting to discuss a transfer of knowledge and technology.
All in all, this was great conference that was well focused on the PowerBuilder product from both the software development , use, education, tips, techniques, etc along with a very affordable pricing and super nice facilities. I would also like to thank the various sponsors of the event as well, that were key to making this event happen: Appeon, Novalys and Zeenyx.
I am confident that Matt and the NCPBUG team are already thinking about next years event in light of the SAP/Appeon announcement. On the Friday night, Appeon held a presenters presentation dinner to thank all the people who worked so hard in making this event another success!
Personally, I have received a “ton” of emails thanking me for various information disseminated across the nine presentations that I delivered. A big thank you to all the attendees who took the time to join us in Charlotte!
For those who did not make the event, please take the time though to send your thoughts about the PowerBuilder product to the Appeon team. They now need this information to create a feasible road-map for the PowerBuilder product. You can fill out the questionnaire and give your ideas here!
Regards … Chris