The New York-New York Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada was the site of the 2011 Advantage User Group conference and it was a hit! Attendance was up this year, with 53 people (8 from overseas) representing 26 different clients. In traditional AUG style, there were major travel woes on the east coast that caused delays, but most everyone made it safe and sound.
The two hot topics were AMB (access management and billing) and BI (business intelligence). Most clients are either on AMB, implementing AMB, or planning to implement it. There were ACS presentations by Phil Montgomery and me (Mona Hidayet) regarding the new AMB features coming in 2011, as well as two break-out round table discussions on implementing AMB and reporting on AMB. The popularity of the topics was evident, as the conversation flowed fast and strong. In fact, the last set of roundtables kept going well after ending time, as it seemed that networking really took off.
Corey Mantel presented on BI, another very hot new topic. AUG attendees showed a lot of interest in the new tool ACS has introduced. BI takes the world of reporting to a whole new level. Currently implementing BI are Kalmbach and the AMA. Kristie Fischer (KPC) and Sue Bukovsky (AMA) did an excellent job of presenting what each of their organizations are doing with BI, illustrating to the attendees some of the possibilities opened to them when using BI.
The keynote address was delivered by Ted Blizzard from the Massachusetts Medical Society, who delivered a spot-on, informative talk that got glowing reviews from the attendees. There were two sponsor companies, BillTrust and Silverchair, both of whom gave very informative presentations on what they offer and how they have partnered with our clients.
Dick Hile, Vice President Software Development at ACS, showed a sneak peek of the new interface design and turned his session into an open forum, passing out evaluation sheets to get the most important element of all: user input. "It was a lot of fun to show the latest prototype of our user interface to the AUG crowd," Dick said. "And it is proving tremendously valuable to hear their feedback at this stage of development. We have already implemented many of the suggestions we received." It seemed the attendees agreed, as they were as eager to give the feedback as we were to receive it, showing the true partnership between ACS and our clients.
The conference wasn't all business, though, it was Vegas after all! The fun started in the very first session of the conference, when I passed out actual casino chips to those who answered either Vegas or Advantage trivia correctly (did you know that ~ 230 couples get married each day in Vegas?). The group headed over to Planet Hollywood one evening for a variety show that got two of our own up on the stage (see photo) providing another great story for the AUG annals. Levi Hyssong of ACS is on the far left, and seated next to him, in the clown mask, is Clarence Adams from Wolters Kluwer Health.
Plan to attend next year's AUG and who knows? you might be in the featured photo.