This is part three of a series of posts based on what I learned at the IAMPHENOM conference.
In March 2020, the IAMPHENOM Conference was the last significant in-person HR Conference before the COVID shutdown. Three years later, the return of IAMPHENOM in 2023 is a key milestone in the return to normalcy and a reminder of how important the human connection can be.
During the conference, I ran into a client who had recently been promoted into a new role responsible for the management of the Phenom TXM platform. We saw each other on Day 2, and he had already participated in several training sessions and workshops with other companies using the platform. When I asked him “How’s it going?” his response was something like this:
“Oh my god, I am so glad I came here, there are so many things we didn’t do right, I cannot wait to get back and fix everything!”
If heads could spin, his would have been. It also struck me that I’d had a similar experience about 30 years ago…
Circa 1992 and I had just inherited the responsibility for a very expensive applicant tracking system (Resumix, if anyone reading is old enough to remember), and it was about as useful to us as a boat anchor. I went to Resumix’ annual user group meeting in Silicon Valley and was ready to get our money back. After listening to several presentations from other practitioners who shared how they were killing it with the same tech as us, I quickly realized we must be doing something wrong. It was an epiphany that made it clear to me that technology alone does not solve problems. It is what you do with the technology that can solve problems and drive a return on investment. Shortly after this experience, we became a showcase client and I was delivering presentations at the next user group.
Making peer-to-peer connections in a software user community is by far one of the best ways to elevate your results and it can also bolster your career.
Here are 4 key benefits that can be derived from peer-to-peer networking:
- Knowledge sharing: This is table stakes. When users from different companies connect, they can share their knowledge, experiences, best practices, and lessons learned which results in a wealth of information and insights that you may not get from the software company.
- Collaborative problem solving: Sometimes when you are facing a challenge within your organization, you are too close to it to understand the full scope and reach a solution. You can’t see the forest from the trees. Sharing these problems with peers can lead to creative solutions from diverse perspectives and different industries which you might not have identified on your own.
- Professional networking and relationship building: Peer-to-peer connections in a software user community can become the foundation of your professional network and facilitate knowledge exchange beyond the software itself, including industry trends, market insights, and career opportunities.
- Feedback and influence: By connecting with peers at other companies in the user community you can become a unifying voice to help influence the development and evolution of the software products in a way that aligns with everyone’s collective interests.
If you ever find yourself challenged with your technology solutions, remember that you are not alone. Someone else may have already blazed the same trail. Reach out and connect, and when you do find solutions be sure to share them and pay it forward. The stronger the community, the better our collective results.