Over the Moon
IBM Analytics Sales Academy 2015 was held at the Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai, from August 4 to 7, 2015, with 1,202 delegates from Asia-Pacific, Greater China, the Middle East, Africa and Japan. The event began with a reception.
Over the next few days, delegates attended theatre-style Main Tent sessions. Technology breakout sessions were held throughout, and speakers were invited to give talks on the final day.
The four-day event was designed for sales, technical sales and business partners of IBM Analytics, a unit formed last year, to develop and refine their industry acumen and consultative selling skills.
Challenges and measures
For the event organiser, finding a destination with a venue large enough to accommodate 1,200 people was the main challenge. "We chose Macau because there are only a few locations that could actually handle the size of our audience and the complexity of getting 1,200 people into a Main Tent, and then 30 to 40 people in meetings of different configurations. That really narrows the number of locations that can handle that, and Macau really met our needs," says Terry Bird from IBM Analytics, organiser of the IBM event.
Nathan Nyvall, also from IBM Analytics, says Sheraton Grand Macao was chosen because it was big enough to accommodate the group, while the meeting space was nicely laid out and compact enough so that it was easy to find the rooms. "The digital signage has also been a great way to help us navigate our way around the property," he adds.
Communication among the 1,200 delegates was another challenge. IBM designed a mobile app in partnership with Gather Digital for this event, so that delegates could access all the agenda information, maps, real-time messaging, conduct live polling, receive instant feedback, and submit questions from their handheld devices.
The organiser was happy with the services provided by the hotel, and praised the venue's Wi-fi network. "The staff here - from the housing to the food and beverage, to the meeting space management - have all been incredible and so attentive. They are very responsive, very agile and willing to work with our needs," Bird says.
"Technology is key for us, and the Wi-fi at the Sheraton made it possible for our apps to function very well. The Wi-fi in my hotel room and on the conference floor was exceptionally strong, which made the app work well," Nyvall says.
Caption: IBM event at Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai; Delegates enjoy themselves during one of the functions.