Next Steps 2013

October, what a month!! We just wrapped up Next Steps 2013 (#nextsteps13), our global user conference, and it was quite a cross-continent run.  We gathered with our clients in three locations – Chicago, Shanghai & London – with more participants than ever before representing over 120 organizations worldwide.

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Next Steps is focused on creating value for our clients, but it’s always a tremendous learning experience for us too.  Year after year, I come out of Next Steps inspired by the level of innovation our clients are demonstrating on how they use our software in demanding, results-driven environments.

This year was no different …

In Chicago, one of our healthcare clients showcased how they are enabling their managers to create and personalize reports via the NetDimensions Talent Suite report wizard, thereby increasing the impact of their system across the hospital.  A very large non-profit organization demonstrated how they are connecting their members via training and increasing capacity for environmental causes.  A big construction engineering company that had just launched their first LMS with us shared their plan for a successful rollout and user adoption.

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In Shanghai, there was a lot of discussion around the role of learning within talent development.  Some of our big multi-national clients shared their experiences around managing talent remotely within China as well as globally.  The level of maturity around human capital management and leadership development in a growing economy like the one in China is impressive.

In London, we were very excited to have Stacey Harris (see Stacey’s relevant blog post here) of the Brandon Hall Group with us. Stacey offered some great insights on being global vs. local in today’s changing landscape, and she participated in some of our panel discussions on tying learning & performance.  One of our marquee clients, an international bank with very forward thinking when it comes to HR, presented their experiences rolling out analytics and tracking business metrics around compliance and workforce readiness at all levels of the organization.

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But Next Steps is also fun.  There is a powerful sense of community among our clients and the sharing of experiences, ideas and best practices from long-time users and new users is always exciting.  And there are always more than a few social networking opportunities at Next Steps. This year, with a boat cruise in lake Michigan, a private reception in the center of Shanghai, and a ride on the London Eye, everyone walked away with some good stories and friendships.

There was another important step in this year’s Next Steps.  We were delighted to launch our client excellence awards to recognize exemplary leadership and innovation in using the NetDimensions Talent Suite in learning, performance, mobile, or compliance, solutions; enterprise-wide and extended enterprise deployments; and specific verticals from banking to manufacturing to pharma.

My top 3 insights from Next Steps 2013:

  1. Talent management has an increasingly global role in today’s economy.
  2. Mobile learning is happening, now – technologies, processes & content should be there to support it.
  3. Analytics means a lot of different things to different people, but every organization can start leveraging their data to drive decision making.

Looking forward to Next Steps 2014.

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