With another successful IQMS User Group growing smaller in my mental rearview mirror, I wanted to take some time and reflect on that week with fresh, post-holiday eyes. If you've already read some of the other recent blogs, then you've heard what a truly epic event this User Group was on so many levels. There was a full gamut of emotions that will stick with all of us for a long time to come. However, two months later, what truly sticks with me the most is the feeling of "family" that I share with not only my co-workers, but with so many of our IQMS customers as well.
The tragedy of losing Dustin brought with it great sadness. Being away from home, in a strange environment, and without loved ones to talk to and share with added a bit of fear and anxiety as well. What I think kept those emotions in check and what allowed me to go on when I really wanted to just go home, was our customers. When I got the news on Tuesday afternoon, I had less than an hour before the welcome reception where I had the pleasure of presenting the "Support Choice Award" to a well deserving customer. She and all of her co-workers were so excited. I got to explain many times what a pleasure this customer is to work with and why the IQMS Technical Support Staff chose her for the award. Their enthusiasm was contagious. I also got to give away some free Internet Based Training Sessions to four lucky recipients, which was fun too. Mingling and catching up with long-time customers and meeting newer customers that were attending User Group for the first time was a great experience and although they didn't realize it, those customers were helping me and supporting me at a time I needed it most.
Of course, Tuesday night's dinner was great as well. Diane Ramaglia (Manager of IQMS Professional Services) and I got to dine with three wonderful customer groups. We laughed over old "puppy pen" stories and told new stories while eating some incredible food. And, of course, they put my brain to work to help with some questions about how they could better use the EnterpriseIQ manufacturing ERP software in some of their facilities. I enjoy the challenge of devising solutions and educating people on the many things our software can do; so this too was very therapeutic.
I conducted and assisted in many sessions over the three days at User Group and, as usual, they were all enlightening and productive meetings. I have been with IQMS for 17 years now and it amazes me each year how our customers come up with new ideas to improve and build upon the EnterpriseIQ software. Over the years, we have offered many methods to submit Software Change Requests. Until recently, none of these methods could compare with the effectiveness of a User Group meeting. However, I can testify first hand that the addition of the IQMS Community Server has changed that. I won't bother speculating whether or not it will ever replace the User Group meeting entirely, but I can say that it has changed it forever in a very positive way. The Community Server has become a place for users to collaborate their ideas, share them with IQMS, and for IQMS to respond quicker than ever; and not for three days, but for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
And finally, I would have to say that my favorite part of this year's User Group meeting was having the opportunity to share some of the new changes that I knew our customers were going to love. This year, there were a couple of items that got a lot of applause. First was the announcement of the new, more granular naming of Service Packs (and corresponding documentation). I knew they would love that one! And, of course, the "coming soon" change to Community Server that will allow users to view their support issues on-line. A room full of happy customers is a most pleasant sound. I can't wait to hear it again next time.