The 2018 DocuWare User Conference, held the first week of December in Philadelphia, was a highlight of the year for both DocuWare users and the DocuWare team. More than 200 users from around the US and beyond returned to their organizations with fresh know-how that included best practices and shortcuts, along with plans for expanding their use of DocuWare.Anna Franklin, Finance Director at Icon Relocation, Ltd. traveled to the conference from the U.K. Icon provides relocation services to blue chip companies including Sotheby’s, Pizza Hut, Sapient and Tesco Stores Ltd. “What I learned about web forms is definitely coming back to my company. I had heard about web forms before, but I didn’t understand how they work, how they could be put together,” she said. “I will probably start by reinventing our onboarding process. Our operations area uses a homegrown solution. DocuWare Forms could complement it. DocuWare would enable better data flow. The data would also be centralized rather than stored in multiple locations.”
Thought-provoking keynote and interactive pollingAttendees gathered on Tuesday, the first full day of the conference for an overview of DocuWare’s strategy and vision presented by Chief Technology Officer Dr. Michael Berger. He discussed the company‘s cloud-first strategy and how it is built on 30 years of positive, organic yearly growth and continual innvoation. He explained why DocuWare uses the public cloud with Microsoft Azure data centers in the U.S. and Europe. Use of the public cloud enables DocuWare to offer DocuWare Cloud at a more competive price point. Another distinctive feature of DocuWare Cloud is feature parity with the on-premises solution. This makes it possible for customers to migrate seamlessly from on-premises DocuWare to the cloud. The solution is highly secure and meets the rigorous standards required for both ISO 27001 and SOC2-1 certification.
Steve Behm, VP of Sales, Americas, conducted interactive live polling after the keynote. The goal of the polling was to collect information on how customers are using DocuWare and the company’s communication and support tools, as well as what DocuWare products they wanted to learn more about. Attendees accessed the User Conference app on their mobile phones to answer questions and the results were projected onto the main screens in real-time. We learned that 40% of respondents use DocuWare all day long while the remaining use it a few hours per day or weekly. A resounding 80% of respondents plan on expanding their DocuWare usage within the next 3-12 months. They are also the most eager to learn more about the two productivity-driven modules, DocuWare Forms and DocuWare Workflow Manager.
Lively discussion at the lunchtime round tables
Attendees took advantage of more structured networking and knowledge sharing at the round table discussions on Tuesday. While the round tables featured specific roles as well as vertical focuses, discussions often ranged beyond the suggested topics.
At the Finance and Accounting round table, attendees spent most of the session discussing the advantages of cloud versus on-premises solutions. They were interested in exploring the combination of cost savings, control and policies from a financial perspective.
DocuWare Support Manager Maria Holden moderated the IT Operations and Network Administrators’ table. “It was unanimous that they wanted to find more ways to use DocuWare to get rid of paper,” Maria said. “At that point, they hadn’t all decided which sessions to attend. I encouraged them to attend my web forms class.”
DocuWare Communications Director Samina Sabir moderated the HR round table where the group was a mix of new and experienced users. “The seasoned users gave advice to the new users which was great to see,” Samina said. “It just so happened that the Vice President of Solution Management at DocuWare, Stefan Schindler, who was answering questions at the Ask the Expert booth, was free. I asked him to join our table as users had technical questions for him. Having him there and available to answer their questions led to a very productive lunchtime discussion.”
A glimpse of what attendees learned
DocuWare Director of Research and Development Erik Blair taught a course on integrating DocuWare into line-of-business systems. He explained how to use standard DocuWare modules and features to link documents and data to the systems customers already use
“Users were very impressed with the flexibility of Smart Connect and its ability to work with virtually any application they use,” Erik said. “I showed how to configure Smart Search and multiple users said it seemed very easy to do that they were going to look into adding it to their DocuWare installation.”
Erik also led a session on best practices in scaling DocuWare for business growth. He covered required server specifications, failover guidelines and load-balancing architecture. “Folks thought it was helpful that we presented an array of scaling options that they can choose from, rather than a one size fits all recommendation,” he said. “One customer told me his takeaway was that the scaling information was very helpful because, while it was work his IT group could do, it was complicated. The session helped him decide to investigate migrating his on-premises installation to the cloud – where DocuWare could manage that complexity for him.”
Attendees were also able to spend one-on-one time with the Product and Support teams to get their vital questions answered. The Product team received valuable user feedback with the goal of product improvement and input into the development of new features. Additionally, attendees spent time learning about complementary solutions from our sponsors including our High Gear sponsor, Objective Lune. Other sponsors attending were J&H, Inc, Toshiba America Business Solutions, Panasonic, Fujitsu, ancora Software, Inc. and Kyocera.
The conference was a win-win all around. Users learned how to maximize the value of their DocuWare solution and enjoyed exploring the historic city of Philadelphia. The DocuWare team members who attended the conference came back to the office with a deeper understanding of customer needs. The DocuWare team looks forward to meeting new and returning attendees at the next DocuWare User Conference.
Joan Honig is the Content Marketing Manager at DocuWare.