/ Sometimes, it’s OK to let `em see you sweat

Dreamforce `11 has been a phenomenal experience so far. The expo hall is streaming with people looking for solutions that integrate with Salesforce.com. The hundreds (yes, hundreds) of people I’ve spoken with at our booth are excited about how Domo combines data from Salesforce.com with a variety of other sources to provide visually stunning, at-your-fingertips, up-to-the-minute access to information.

As a frequent attendee of large software conventions, I think Salesforce.com is one of the best at making the attendee experience one that is pleasurable, informative and relatively hassle-free. I’ve been to conferences sponsored by other companies that haven’t been as well-executed. Those shows have demonstrated that, without proper planning, glitches happen. Factor in good ol’ human behavior and it’s a virtual certainty that things can go wrong. For example, earlier this year I attended a conference where folks who left the keynote speech early had to wait in the expo lobby, and the ever-growing crowd ended up inadvertently blocking exits and paths to the escalators. Good thing it wasn’t a FireMarshall.com convention. Had the planning folks at that show spent some more time accounting for this possibility, the experience in the expo hall lobby could have been much better.

The same attention to detail that goes into planning a major event applies to business intelligence implementations. Of course you need to start with a vision of the end result and a high-level plan of the path to achieve your goals. But the devil is in the details. You need to anticipate – and plan for – the smallest of details to ensure that your deployment is a success and not marred by glitches. This planning takes time, effort and experience. The “little things” that may seem insignificant during the planning phase can negatively impact the user experience. If enough of those little things happen together, they can turn what would have been an incredible event into a failed one.

In most facets of life, I agree with author Richard Carlson that we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. But when it comes to rolling out a BI solution – not to mention coordinating a conference for tens of thousands of users – the small stuff can sneak up on you. In times like these, go ahead and sweat a little. It’s OK.

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