Connect 2015 – a round-up of highlights from the premier event for Sage users
Connect 2015 - a round-up of highlights from the premier event for Sage users
Meet and mingle
The first thing to strike anyone entering the Datel conference at the Hinckley Island Hotel was the buzz and excitement.
Datel's people offered a warm welcome (while handing out goodie bags!), partners exhibited their complementary products, and over two hundred delegates were grabbing a coffee and striking up the first of many conversations with fellow delegates.
Some had got up at first light to travel hundreds of miles across country – Datel customers for the most part, but also people interested in exploring what Datel and Sage might be able to offer their business.
Something for everyone
The formal proceedings were opened by Alan Simpson, Datel’s Executive Chairman, followed by contributions from Sage in the form of video addresses by new Sage Group Chief Executive, Stephen Kelly, and Klaus-Michael Vogelberg, Sage Group Chief Technology Officer. Delegates were given a non-Sage perspective, too, from KPMG’s Andrew Brown.
Datel’s Tim Purcell showed how Datel is ‘living’ the event theme – Expanding the world of Sage – with its growing range of Fusion products; while Richard King of V1 demonstrated the power of electronic documents.
You can learn a lot by listening to other businesses, and Paul Shore of Ralawise had a real success story to tell.
The company’s turnover has risen from £24 million to £103 million over the past ten years. Paul explained how Ralawise has expanded its Sage solution with Datel’s help during their impressively long partnership (18 years).
Spoilt for choice
By now, everyone was ready for lunch! Many delegates made the most of the glorious weather and moved out onto the hotel terrace: the perfect setting for comparing notes about their businesses, and experiences of using Sage.
This was only one of several enjoyable intervals during the day that created space to network with like-minded businesses. Datel and Sage were also out in force, so it was a golden opportunity to talk through any issues and queries.
In the afternoon, there were 27 breakout sessions in total, and we were faced with the difficult decision of choosing just three to attend! Topics ranged from first principles, such as choosing an ERP solution, to more advanced subjects such as updates on the latest Sage and Datel Fusion suite releases, with technology trends such as virtualisation and hosting also being expertly covered.
It was, as one presenter put it, a roller-coaster ride with just a short half-hour for each session. Still, they all made excellent use of the time available, highlighting areas for efficiency savings along the way.
Many delegates were able to stay on for the drinks reception, catching the evening sunshine, before moving onto the gala dinner. Datel had thoughtfully planned the seating arrangements so that guests were grouped with others sharing similar businesses interests. With such congenial company, a relaxed atmosphere and a magician on-hand to entertain, one delegate commented that it felt more like a wedding than your traditional business dinner.
And those long-distance delegates, who had travelled from as far away as the Shetland Islands and Dorset? I think it’s safe to say that their journey was worth it, and a good time was had by all.
See you at the next Datel event?
"The feedback we have received has been gratifying. Connect 2015 seems to have hit the spot and, even though we had a wide-ranging audience in terms of objectives and interests, delegates overwhelmingly found the day was a rewarding use of their time.
"We certainly did our best to bring together expertise from across the world of Sage and beyond and we know that everyone made the most of the opportunities to network during the breaks and to visit the exhibition of complementary solutions.
"For our part, it provided an excellent opportunity to engage with our customers, assess where their interests lie and discuss forthcoming developments with them.”