Birst FORWARD 2014, our third annual user conference, wrapped up last week, and I was pleased to see so many familiar—and new—faces this year. With more than 250 in attendance, this was our largest and most successful user conference to date. Birst prides itself on being very much a customer-centric and partner-centric organization, and I could really feel the camaraderie among the Birst community over the course of the three days.

In addition to our familiar lineup of information-packed best practices and how-to sessions, we also introduced a few new activities that hopefully inspired Birst users to try new BI strategies and tactics. One event in particular that was popular was the “Brews and Views Design-a-Thon,” which featured hands-on building of visualizations usingBirst Visualizer, our newest product release designed to empower business users with visual discovery, while attendees enjoyed beer and pizza with our development team.

We also celebrated our customers’ and partners’ successes using Birst, many of whom also shared their experiences with other attendees through presentations and workshops. I’d like to offer my congratulations to our Birst FORWARD 2014 Partner of the Year, CorSource Technology Group, as well as to all of our Birst customer award winners, including:

  • Most Innovative Award: Adam Weinstein, athenahealth
  • Most Innovative – Honorable Mentions: Nalini Pillay, Financial Times; Anna Khasanova & Iulia Stefan, DiamondStream
  • Business User of the Year: Jeff Kurth, Kellogg’s
  • Business User – Honorable Mentions: Deb Judy, Musco; Ken Hahr, Hajoca
  • Birst Administrator of the Year: John Gordos, Sunny D
  • Birst Administrator – Honorable Mentions: Jian Shi, Veracode; Brandt Kinzie, Valen Analytics

Of course, after intense days of sessions, we kicked back, relaxed, and had a lot of fun too. For the ever-popular “Birst After Dark” evening event, we ‘slid’ back into the 1920’s at Slide, San Francisco’s original speakeasy in downtown’s historic Theater District. Everyone enjoyed the Prohibition Era-atmosphere, including the gangsters, flappers, and spirits!

I always look forward to our annual user conference and come away with a renewed appreciation for our Birst community. Our customers’ and partners’ needle-moving accomplishments with Birst are what is making our company successful, and we’re fortunate to be surrounded by so much talent. If you weren’t able to join us this year, I hope to see you at the next Birst FORWARD in 2015! Cheers!

Check out the event video, and if you really want to have some fun, see our very own Chief Customer Officer, Paul Staelin, Birst a move.