Hopping on a flight from Kingston to Los Angeles, I thought I was just swapping sunshine and warmth from one city to the next. I was right about the sunshine, but Huntington Beach California was a little cold when I touched down for BI+A conference on February 19 – 21 at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa. However things began to warm up quickly, when we kicked off with the speaker reception and learnt who was the “most interesting person” in the room. By the time the conference officially started, the energy was high with opening Keynote by David Roberts from Under Armour. He delivered a fantastic high energy speech about catering to an audience of one. By this time, I had forgotten about the cold air that greeted me as I made my way over to the conference that morning and I was fully engaged and charged up for what turned out to be an awesome event. The following are my 5 reasons why you should be heading to BI+A in 2019.
BI+A had an interesting group of experts who were not only knowledgeable, but approachable. Speakers delivered a mixture of presentations and hands-on workshops throughout the 3-day conference. Monday (Day 1) had some outstanding Keynotes from David Roberts, Under Armour to Timo Elliot, SAP and closing the day with Matthew Luhn, Pixar who spoke of his amazing journey to Pixar and the power of data and storytelling. On Tuesday (Day 2), Jack Levis, UPS delivered a great story of how UPS combined predictive analytics and logistics to build ORION that has transformed their operations over the last decade.
“Stories are meaningful because they are memorable, impactful and personal” – Matthew Luhn, Pixar
With multiple track sessions on BICC, Dashboards, Reporting and so on, attendees had a host of rich content to choose from, which sometimes made it challenging to decide which overlapping session to attend. I saw attendees running from one track session to the another to ensure they did not miss anything. The Keynotes delivered the high-level skeleton content framework, while attending track sessions with different speakers, allowed attendees to add meat to the bones.
BI+A was held last year in Nashville, TN and this year in sunny Huntington Beach California. If you are looking for an escape from the typical conference locations, then you will want to pay attention as the organizers for BI+A are currently running a poll to find out where they should be hosting the event next year, you should join in!
Edit: Where should #BIAconf be located in 2019*?
— BI+Analytics (@BIAconference) March 1, 2018
BI+A saw a broad cross-section of BI and Analytics professionals from different parts of the world. I was lucky enough to meet and connect with some wonderful professionals who are doing some amazing things in their respective careers. I had so much fun connecting with my fellow SAP Mentors, Heather, MobileMini, Tosin, SAP Ariba and Kwame, Organic Valley. While great speakers and content make a conference valuable, it’s the connections we make that transforms it into a truly remarkable experience.
You may be wondering, what does food have to do with a conference, but if you have been to some of the larger conferences, you tend to skip lunch because the food is nothing spectacular. I find this area to be overlooked and undervalued, but food is our fuel throughout the conference, running from one session to another, therefore it is very important. The producers for BI+A did not overlook this, in fact they made it a priority and I am truly thankful to them for that.
If you are currently working through your training and conference budget, I encourage you to consider BI+A if you have not already done so. The event is intimate and well organised, so you get to connect easily with speakers and attendees while feasting on great content. Hope to see you in 2019!