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Journey To An Enchanted Castle

September 23, 2011
by Bobbie Byrne
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a.k.a., my Epic user group meeting

I apologize in advance for this post being a little over the top. After just one day at the Epic UGM, themed “Once Upon a Time, an Epic Tale,” it was impossible not to slip into the genre.

Once Upon a Time, a CIO wandered into the enchanted gathering of the Citizens of the Realm (otherwise known as a User Group Meeting). She knew this was a magical gathering, because even though this CIO had been to many other user group meetings over the years, this one was unlike any other.

Because of her late registration, the CIO had to obtain lodging in a land far, far away (the only available hotel on the other side of Madison, Wisconsin) and travel a great distance to the magical meadow (Epic’s campus). This meadow had smiling elves (developers) directing traffic with their magic wands (orange traffic flags) into the environmentally friendly underground carriage storage (parking garage). Never before had such perky traffic-directors been seen in all the land, with waves and thumbs-up for all the visitors.

Upon entry into the castle, the CIO saw an abundance of morning potion (coffee) for all to partake. The rows of potion containers stretched as far as the eye could see, so there impressively were no lines. The grand ballroom of this castle held thousands and was full of merry-makers (customers). The court jesters were all young and smiley (trainers and product mangers) and quite skilled in singing and dancing. (Yes: actual singing and dancing; the skits are impressive if a little kitschy…)

This enchanted meeting was led by a motorcycle-riding Mother Goose (Judy Faulkner). In addition to the tales of the kingdom’s new enchantments (software development) and new cottages (including an auditorium to hold at least 10,000) in the kingdom, she shared the story of the incredible growth of the Citizens of the Realm. If the Citizens were a country instead of a magical kingdom, that country would have the 60th largest GDP in the world (above Slovakia but below Morocco), based on its $92 billion in cumulative claims processed.

There were so many brave new knights and ladies (newly signed customers) that their presentation to the court (public announcements with personalized music) had to be divided into batches as to not seem so completely overwhelming. A few of the knights were from the biggest kingdoms, but the majority were from kingdoms only known in their own lands. It is a wonder that the Mother Goose has any time to rule the realm with all the contract-signing going on.

After the grand opening ball, the CIO wandered into the great hall of the princes and princesses (the Executive Forum) while her boss wandered into the privy chamber of the Kings and Queens (the CEO forum). There were so many royals (attendees) in these meetings that it was a wonder there were any royal family members left minding the castles back home.

Once inside these meetings, the crown jewels came off. These royals were hard-working monarchs, with tales of rebellious complaints among the serfs (over-worked clinicians) over delays in the distribution of grain (enhancement requests). The wondrous head woodsman (Carl Dvorak) encouraged all the princes and princesses to give their serfs as much grain as possible and to make sure to stay in close contact with the main castle to meet their serfs’ needs. The wondrous woodsman pledged to further help all the royals with optimizing the happiness of the serfs through improved support of the grain distribution (upgrades).

The CIO’s working companions included so many lords and ladies known from her previous kingdom that she felt right at home in the new land. Full of new learning, that night, the CIO fell under a magic sleeping spell (passed out from exhaustion) with dreams of happily ever IT-after.