Things are different
2020 has made many things different. A big part of the developer program’s focus every year is helping ensure high-quality content is available for developers at the Knowledge conference. We create our talks and workshops and review others in service to that effort. Since the digital experience was so different this year, we thought each of us would share a little bit about how it was unusual. Feel free to share your thoughts in the community link below - or create a blog post on the community.
The ServiceNow Knowledge conference is the work event that I plan my whole year around. 2020 was to be my 7th in a row attendance at the conference. The switch to virtual had some substantial differences but some surprising similarities to prior years. The reviewing process was mostly the same as years past. Talks were submitted, tweaked, and curated the same as usual. Typically there is a lull between content being all buttoned up and the start of the event. Not so this year, as we were recording and editing the recordings even after the launch of the experience.
A six-week span of delivery took some adjusting to. Throw in some zoom, a different chat system, and doing this from home, and you start to understand its not a conference but an experience. I enjoyed the ability to have the workshops and talks on-demand to reach a broader audience where and when they are. Not seeing the crew of folks that get together only at the conference made me sad, so a virtual social session will have to be set up to fill that gap.
Altogether, it was a ton of work from many folks to switch from a physical event to a virtual event in short order. The Knowledge staff, speakers, and participants did a great job adjusting on the fly, staying positive, and making it a lovely experience.
Bottom line up front - it exceeded all expectations. At first, I was disappointed at the news that it wouldn’t be in person; that I wouldn’t get to meet face-to-face with customers, partners, and co-workers. Knowledge has been the highlight of my work life for a decade. However, with change comes new opportunities. We had the chance to interact with people around the world who usually would not have made it in person. It was easier to “attend” sessions (on-demand) that would generally be unavailable to employees. I was extremely honored to be the CreatorCon host, interview Pat Casey, and announce the winner of the Hackathon. It truly was a team effort. Now we get to review the result, figure out what worked and what didn’t, and tweak it for the next event. Thank you to everyone who helped make Knowledge 2020 Digital Experience special!
This year’s knowledge conference was my 11th and by far the most unique being the only one where I didn’t fly somewhere to attend. There were some things that I liked about this year’s event and some things that I missed from past events (and in-person events in general).
Having been involved in the lead-up to the event a few years now, this Knowledge was an impressive effort by our events and marketing teams. They dropped everything and pivoted to a digital event during a global pandemic that changed their circumstances and the event requirements daily. The event that they pulled off was remarkable. My favorite part of this event is the amount, accessibility, and quality of the content. Anyone with an internet connection able to stream video could access this event, and almost all of the content is available on-demand. I have written quite a few CreatorCon workshops in the past and it’s always a challenge to write them in a way so they can be completed in a developer instance after the conference. This year that’s not necessary since most of the workshops and labs are available in NowLearning along with a preconfigured lab instance spun up for FREE, which is awesome.
I also really enjoyed that the sessions were shorter than they typically are, making the presenters focus on what they wanted to communicate and make them more easily consumable. Lastly, having all of this content available through at least the end of June gives everyone time to consume much more free content than they normally would have.
All that being said, there were things I missed from this year’s conference primarily due to it not being held in-person. I missed not being able to see people that I see once a year at knowledge events, not being able to sit down at a random lunch table and meet new people who are using ServiceNow in different ways, and a bunch of other things that are difficult to do at a virtual conference.
Thank you to the speakers, knowledge team, and participants for making this year possible, given the short timeframe and pandemic. The knowledge conference is always a chance to share and collaborate with ServiceNow interested folks from all over the world. The digital experience was no different in that respect. Hundreds of sessions were given, stories were told, woes and victories shared. We are glad to have been able to participate and would love to hear from you, our community, on how the change affected you. Please add a comment to this community blog post and let us know.