Alfresco DevCon evolves to incorporate business tracks; will be known as Alfresco Summit in 2013

We have done six Alfresco DevCon events so far–one in EMEA and one in the Americas for each of the last three years. The general feeling from people who have attended is that it has improved year after year. Attendees come from all over the globe and are usually a good mix of Enterprise Edition users, Community Edition users, partners, Alfresco employees, and other community members.

Each year we try to do something new to make the event better. Last year we added things like the DevCon web site, Lightning Talks, the Hack-a-Thon, and recordings of each session. These were all hugely popular, but they were all relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. This year, we’re going to shake things up a bit and I wanted to share our plans with you first.

There’s something that’s been bothering us about DevCon: The event isn’t inclusive of our entire community. We want an annual conference to be the go-to event for everyone in the ecosystem, not just developers. Shouldn’t it be possible to have one event with content that is laser focused on each audience?

We think so.

So this year, we are expanding DevCon into what we hope will be a must-attend event for anyone working on an Alfresco project, regardless of their job title. The first change you’ll notice is the name. We’re going to call it Alfresco Summit.

New name, same great technical content, and then some

So the name changes. What else? First, content. Alfresco Summit will include the same great DevCon tracks that you are used to plus a whole new set of non-technical content aimed at the business end of Enterprise Content Management. What might you find in such a business track? Things like non-technical customer case studies, panel discussions with industry analysts, best practices around compliance, going paperless, or case management. Basically, talks that help you be successful in your implementation that focus on everything but code and configuration.

The next change you’ll notice is that we’re adding a half-day to the event. We’ll still have the optional training day, but we want to have some room in the agenda for some high profile speakers, product demos, and other types of general sessions. In addition, the extra time gives us more opportunity to have repeats of popular sessions to help alleviate inevitable schedule conflicts.

Finally, you may notice a bit more production value or “sizzle” to the event. It’s hard to quantify what that really means. Really this is about putting on an event that appears to you, the attendee, as if it were that of a company 100 times our size in terms of organization, branding, quality, and execution.

Help me spread the DevCon magic to our non-technical brothers and sisters

I continue to chair the event. If you’ve enjoyed DevCon the last two years, this should be good news to you. (If you haven’t enjoyed it, make sure I’ve heard your feedback so I can try to make it better). I will also own the DevCon tracks so we’ll have the same high bar for technical content we’ve had in the past. I will work to keep the things that you love about DevCon (the content, the access to engineers, the fun) in place as we expand to an event the entire community can enjoy.

The general format of the conference stays the same:

  • Day 0: An optional day for training, hack-a-thon, and partner meetings.
  • Day 1: The first day of the main conference starts out with some general sessions and then moves to breakouts with a fun party that night.
  • Day 2: Another full day, again starting with some general sessions and product demos before moving to breakouts. Another party that night (this is new).
  • Day 3: New for 2013, this is a half-day of breakouts with a closing panel of Engineering leads and senior management.

Of course, we’ll have the exhibition hall, engineering office hours, lightning talks, purposeful lunches, etc.

Where and When?

The save-the-date will be coming soon. The timing will be similar to last year (November) for both EMEA and Americas. EMEA should be thinking southern Europe and we’ll be on the East Coast of the US for the Americas.

Here’s what I need from you:

  • In last year’s DevCon survey, we asked if there were people who would attend if we had a business track. Roughly half of you said yes. I need you to show up this year with those people at your side.
  • Consider speaking. Especially if you are a current customer. Business or technical track, it doesn’t matter. The key is that the community wants to hear what you’re doing with Alfresco. This is the best place to share your story. The call for papers will be open by the end of April. Watch this blog, twitter, etc. for more info on that.
  • Tell me what kind of content you’d like to see at Alfresco Summit. A good way to do that is to propose session titles. You can do that here in the comments for now. If enough people have enough feedback we can look at doing something fancier.
  • If you haven’t attended in the past, make this the year you find a way to get to the conference. This is the quintessential gathering of the Alfresco community. You won’t want to miss it.

You can trust me to not screw up a good thing, but I need your help to make it awesome. If you have thoughts or comments as we continue to evolve our annual conference, share those here or by emailing me directly at jeff dot potts at alfresco dot com.