How IDUG Pivoted to a Virtual Model and Doubled Its Reach

By Angelina Baynes posted Sep 01, 2020 07:44 AM


When the IDUG team decided to shift its marquee North America event to a virtual platform, it meant reimagining the whole conference experience for attendees, speakers, and vendors. As we changed plans, we kept the IDUG mission at the forefront of our thoughts. We wanted to deliver the quality technical education IDUG is known for without sacrificing the sense of community. We wanted to make space for deep exploration into complex topics while giving attendees a chance to interact with expert speakers and our industry partners. Luckily, the shift to a virtual model gave us the chance to do all of this for a record number of attendees. Over 1,100 people joined us for this event—more than double years past. In fact, a third of this year’s participants were first-time attendees. We’re excited to welcome so many new members into the fold.

Although a virtual event wasn’t the original plan, the Conference Planning Committee, led by Dustin Ratliff, looked for silver linings. For instance, instead of being limited to the usual five-day span, the virtual conference could be stretched out to allow attendees more opportunities to engage. The committee settled on a three-day live kickoff event followed by three additional weeks of live and pre-recorded conference content.

The live kickoff event started on July 20 and featured keynote sessions by industry experts from IBM, Broadcom, Rocket Software, and more. Speakers explored the Db2 landscape, taking a granular approach with the technology itself while looking more broadly toward the future. We also hosted our first-ever Women in Technology session, which gave panelists the chance to share both their technical and personal journeys in the Db2 sphere. Over 300 people tuned in, showing just how important the conversation is. Keep an eye out for more on our WIT initiative.

With over 60 technical sessions covering Db2 LUW, Db2 for z/OS, and cross-platform topics, the conference provided attendees the chance to learn about the latest developments in the industry. Each session had its own designated live Q&A so that speakers could answer questions directly. The event also featured hands-on labs, expert panels, a Db2 migration planning workshop, and a virtual exhibition hall to connect with vendors.

Utilizing Adobe Connect, we were able to bring the conference experience seamlessly into our members’ homes and offices. Following the event, session recordings were made available to all premium IDUG members. Having ongoing access to the materials gives participants the chance to revisit sessions they found valuable or view anything they might have missed. They can share takeaways with their teams, implement solutions they learned about during the conference, and use IDUG’s vast knowledge base as a resource all year long.

Thank you to all the members of our North America CPC. It’s their enthusiasm and dedication that made this conference possible. Thank you to our 2020 chair Dustin Ratliff; our past chair Mike Inman; our chair-elect Pavan Kristipati; our presentations team lead Ryan Mullaney; our core members Smike Toppins, Saghi Amirsoleymani, Steve Mazer, Chris Muncan, Aish Khare, and Mike Winer; our board liaison Celia Gahagan; and our vendor liaisons Jim Reed, Steen Rasmussen, Jim Kurtz, and Les King.

After the success of this event, we’re pleased to announce three more virtual events on the horizon for IDUG. We’ll be hosting a conference for our EMEA region later this year as well as virtual events for Brazil, Mexico, and Australia. We can’t wait to bring the global IDUG community together again.