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Transitioning ConnectLive 2020 into a single, virtual event

Laura Whitehead

ConnectLive is the biggest education and gathering opportunity for iManage customers, partners, product experts, and users.

Last year, these events in the UK and US brought together over 1,500 attendees across two continents for knowledge sharing, training, networking and collaboration.

As we started planning for the 2020 event toward the end of last year, we were already considering how we could create some kind of additional digital format for ConnectLive to engage even more of our community although we already had committed to hosting physical events at two different venues.

So, for us, initiating a complete transition to a digital event to comply with government regulations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been a major upheaval from a planning perspective, but rather an additional impetus.  So, over the past two months, we’ve been diligently working to ensure we provide the entire iManage community all the traditional benefits of an in-person ConnectLive via a new type of virtual event.

We’re excited to announced that the new ConnectLive 2020 – Virtual is now scheduled for June 23–24. The new event will be jam packed with an agenda of four to six live, interactive keynote sessions, an interactive partner pavilion, and over 70 on-demand sessions available for viewing at any time. Our partners will have their own virtual booths, complete with branding, content, and chat functionality.

What we gain with this digital format is a new kind of venue that enables us to simultaneously offer content to a wider audience across multiple geographies, as well as allow our community to engage with the education for a longer length of time both pre and post event.

ConnectLive 2020 – Virtual offers new networking opportunities

There are, however, are some new challenges involved with putting on a digital event of this size that we are striving to overcome.

For example, we want to ensure a similar level of interaction throughout our new virtual format that is normally facilitated by a physical event. While ConnectLive 2020 – Virtual will offer Lounge and Exhibit Hall areas for virtual networking, we understand that our customers and partners may want other types of communication vehicles as well.

To facilitate this need, we have already launched ‘iMCommunity’, an online social community comprising multiple groups of like-minded iManage users – technical professionals, legal innovators, security experts, and others. These groups will help to shape the content for the ConnectLive 2020 – Virtual sessions as well as strengthen our community connections as we build up to the event. Our partners also are able to join these conversations.

We also have roped in our Chief Customer Success Officer, Dean Leung, and our customer support teams to help ensure we provide an engaging event experience for every attendee. We are investing a great deal of time thinking about the journey our users will have during the digital event, the streams of content we provide for all our audiences and their timing, the opportunities our partners will have to interact and engage with customers and prospects in the online environment, and so much more.

Essentially, we are trying to replicate all the elements that make our physical ConnectLive event so successful – plus taking advantage of all the additional benefits that hosting a digital environment offers.

We still have many areas to work through.

For example, coffee breaks and socialising spaces serve as great networking opportunities in physical events – not to mention the evening social event that is always a roaring success at the close of ConnectLive. A lot of thinking and energy is going into how we can compensate for these social events in the virtual environment.

We are still knitting all the elements together in our new the virtual environment, but we are getting there. As it’s our first virtual ConnectLive, we are optimistic, excited, and nervous in equal measure!

It will be a very different experience for us all–internal and external audiences included. While there is little doubt that virtual events are likely to be the way forward for the coming months and beyond, we hope to take lessons from our first virtual ConnectLive into creating even more engaging future events for our entire community.

About the author

Laura Whitehead

Laura is an experienced, results-driven B2B marketing leader. Passionate and collaborative, Laura creates and empowers high-performing teams that deliver data-smart strategies, build brands, create resonance, and drive a positive customer experience.

Previously, she led marketing for other IT companies, including ClusterSeven, LexisNexis and InterAction.