Earlier this week I participated in the 2011 Progress Global Partner Conference which was held in Florida.
This is only the second time the partner conference has been global – previously it was held regionally – and I’m delighted to say that hundreds of representatives from business partners attended from all over the world.
Most of the partners present were what Progress terms application partners – those that have used Progress products to build applications that are then sold to end-users. As always, the sheer diversity of the applications partners create and sell is mind-boggling – from healthcare apps specialising in kidney treatment to point-of-sale retail systems deployed in 25,000 outlets worldwide to location-based content delivery platforms. Progress recognises the many varied achievements of its partners with its very own awards ceremony. The winners can be found here. And, yes, it is a tiny bit like the Golden Globes, although without the acerbic wit of Ricky Gervais.
These partners continue to be incredibly important to Progress Software. Supporting them with product innovation as well as facilitating new ways for them to deploy their applications (for example by testing out their applications in the cloud with Progress Arcade) is a key pillar of Progress’ strategy. Another strategic pillar is Responsive Process Management (RPM), launched by Progress to the market in 2010, and several sessions in the conference were dedicated to explaining how RPM fitted into the partners’ world. Adoption of RPM in the partner community is happening. An example of this is Skyward, school management software supplier, recently announcing their use of Progress’ OpenEdge BPM platform. This puts them on the first step to full RPM adoption.
John Rymer from Forrester Research, the software analysts, also addressed the conference. Amongst other topics, he talked about four big “on-ramps” of new functionality – business process management, analytics, business events, and collaboration. These, he believed, were the most effective ways for software vendors (Progress’ partners in this case) to deliver new functionality fast and will be the key technologies behind many of the next generation software platforms. Forrester’s presence at a Progress partner conference was timely. Recently one of their analysts, Mike Gaultieri, blogged about Java, despite being more popular than ever, being a “dead end” for enterprise application development. He encouraged developers to consider alternatives, including Progress OpenEdge, that offer substantially higher productivity. It was a reminder that OpenEdge remains as relevant as ever and is a great aid in application modernization. Further output on this topic from Forrester is imminent.
All in all, it was a successful, high-energy conference. Many thanks to all the partners who came, and to those that didn’t, please try and make it in 2012!
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