I thought I'd give you a heads-up on new initiatives underway for the community, including introduction of a Membership option for Customer Reference Forum, a new Vendor Match Service to help you keep abreast of vendor solutions, an initiative to make the incredible content from the upcoming 2009 Customer Reference Forum available to those who can't attend, a possible 2nd conference this year on the East Coast, and more.
New Initiatives for Customer Reference Forum
We'll be moving Customer Reference Forum to a Membership Model soon. Membership will be entirely optional of course, but we'll structure it so that the Membership fee will more than pay for itself by including valuable reports and surveys, discounts on the yearly conference, access to our vendor service, an expanded jobs service, and more. Plus, it will raise the visibility and the profile of our organization, its members, and our profession as a whole.
We'll be kicking off a Vendor Service for reference managers in the next couple of months. This is at the request of a couple of our Advisory Board members, who'd like to have one location where they can keep abreast of which vendors provide what solutions and services, as well as info about emerging vendors in this space. Details are being worked out as I write this, but some obvious things we'll want to include would be educational materials to help you understand new solutions coming along; vendor reference information and perhaps other due diligence information, help to save you time in sorting through vendor options, and the like.
2nd Event This Year?
I've had many people, particularly on the East Coast and in Europe, ask if we'll be holding an event on the East Coast. We'll be sending out a survey to gauge interest in that soon.
Access to Content from the 2009 Forum
Also, for folks who can't make it to upcoming 2009 Forum, we're looking for practical ways to get the content to you, perhaps in a series of Webinars from some of our presenters. Of course, nothing replaces being there in person to exchange ideas and nurture your professional relationships with your peers. But the content at this year's Forum is too strong to miss - from Forrester Research's take on the importance of References; to our hands-on Web 2.0 workshop; to insights from high-profile CIO Patty Morrison; to new ways to establish the value of your program; strategies for dealing with the economic downturn, and more. I'm constantly amazed at how dynamic our profession is.