Things are starting to get back to normal after last week's landmark arc|twenty conference in Düsseldorf, Germany. I can finally catch my breath and think back on the awesome event we just held and all the customers and partners we learned from.
We normally call our annual conference arc|planet, but with it being arcplan's 20th anniversary we decided to mix it up a bit and call it arc|twenty. On October 1st and 2nd, we hosted 250 international participants at the Hyatt Regency Düsseldorf, where everyone gathered for "Information & Celebration" – an apt theme this year as we soaked up information from BI industry experts as much as we celebrated our birthday and the launch of our newest platform release, arcplan 8.
Keynotes and Customer Presentations
Paul Warren from Mars kicked things off on Day 1. He covered the challenges Mars faced when trying to provide centralized, flexible reporting on their complex infrastructure, and how arcplan helped solve the problem.
Our CEO Roland Hölscher then gave a keynote called "Driving Business Analytics – Past, Present, Future," a look back at BI 20 years ago when arcplan was founded as a bridge between IT and business leaders. From my perspective, seeing arcplan's original product "inSight" on a floppy disk was pretty mind-blowing. He covered our history of innovation and really surprised some of the attendees who didn't know that way back in 1994, arcplan was the first vendor to offer real-time access to many data sources and the first vendor with a visual designer for creating reports and other BI content.
Our CTO Hans Peter Wolff gave everyone an exclusive look at the new features of arcplan 8, particularly Responsive Design with HTML5, or what we call DORA (Design Once, Run Anywhere). He was followed over the next 2 days by more than 30 top-notch presentations by business intelligence experts, arcplan customers and partners, and the arcplan development team. A few highlights included:
- Jan Ackermann, the Director of IT - Business Intelligence Solutions at Outokumpu (formerly ThyssenKrupp), covered how arcplan accelerates decision-making in their post-merger situation. He demonstrated their arcplan 8/SAP HANA spend reporting solution, a one stop shop for all purchasing data that gathers information from 13 different source systems.
- Claudia Watermann from the Information Management team at Lufthansa, the largest airline in Europe, chronicled the company's use of arcplan since 1997 – first as a standard reporting tool, then eventually taking over as an executive management system with intranet integration, self-service, and mobile capabilities. She demonstrated their arcplan system on an iPad for the audience.
- Ulrich Schifferings, Group Leader of the Controlling Information Systems team at OBI, the largest DIY retailer in Europe and third largest in the world, spoke about the company's experience with arcplan Edge, our budgeting, planning and forecasting solution. With a tight schedule – just 5 months – their insufficient Excel-based planning process transformed to one that enables faster, more frequent planning in multiple languages (they are in 13 European countries after all), with integrated reporting, ad-hoc analysis, and workflow.
I'll cut myself off here, but the customer speakers were some of the best we've ever had. Thank you for openly sharing your arcplan stories and best practices!
Closing keynotes were given by representatives from BARC and Teradata. Tobias Riedner from BARC, the Business Application Research Center (you may know them as the group that runs The BI Survey) covered the megatrends in BI, including mobile, social and self-service. Michael Ingemann from Teradata spoke about "The Visionary CFO" – one who is data-driven and uses analytical systems to achieve transparency and efficiency.
Our partners made a huge splash at arc|twenty as well. Braincourt presented arcplan and SAP reporting best practices, addedo covered a best-of-breed approach to achieving interactive, mobile BI with arcplan and IBM Cognos TM1, and Partake Consulting took on arcplan Edge best practices, to name a few highlights.
The Partner Awards Ceremony took place on Day 2. Oliver Deistler, arcplan's Senior VP of Channels, presented the Business Development award to Sapindigo from the Netherlands, particularly for their work in Indonesia, Russia and Brazil. Zalesia (Korea) won the award for Innovation for their cutting-edge graphical dashboard and cockpit solutions. Partake Consulting (Germany) won the Budgeting and Planning Award for their great expertise in this area, which has influenced the development of arcplan Edge.
We must thank our arc|twenty partner sponsors for supporting this conference – most especially KPMG as our platinum sponsor, BDO, Ernst & Young and Teradata as our gold sponsors, and addedo, antares, b.telligent, Braincourt, Partake, Selbach and Synaxus as our silver sponsors!
On the first evening, we shuttled our guests to the "arcplan fair." Welcomed by a fortune teller and her snake and surrounded by booths offering attractions, games and fair food, everyone rediscovered their inner child. They also had a chance to network in an informal atmosphere and discuss what they had learned that day. Our surprise guest was Marilyn Monroe, who whispered "Happy Birthday" to arcplan and helped Roland Hölscher cut the birthday cake.
Sincere thanks to all our presenters and attendees for participating in arc|twenty!
Additional photos (click to enlarge):
Photo credits: Heise Resale & Frederik Muenzer, arcplan Information Services GmbH