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The Unexpected Benefits of a Virtual Conference

(And Considerations when Adapting Your Event to a Virtual Experience)
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When the rumblings of COVID-19 started as early as December 2019, no one outside of a medical lab had any idea it was going to have this big of an impact on the world. I don`t think anyone was at the ball drop ceremony or lighting fireworks on New Year's and thought to themselves `You know what I need? A Zoom account.’

As it became clear that there was new level of physical distancing needed at gatherings and events, this meant that conferences including IIBA’s biggest gathering of business analysis professionals – BBC 2020 – would need to adjust and fast. So, why did we opt for a fully virtual experience versus a hybrid event (virtual and in-person)? We quickly found our answer in our own community.


The Unexpected Benefits of a Virtual Conference-header


International audiences thrive online.

  • Although BBC takes place in the United States, BBC 2020 has many international speakers. With over 120 Chapters around the world, an online conference assists in the global representation of our business analysis community that we need.
  • If it is not in your time zone, you can attend using the recorded sessions at your own pace.

An all-virtual conference reduces the price for your company.

  • Unlike a hybrid conference or an onsite conference, there are no travel or accommodations fees like flights and hotels.
  • The reduced cost and zero travel make it much-easier request to your boss to attend from your (home) office.

A virtual conference is committed to engaging online instead of splitting the difference.

Many hybrid conferences in the past few months have failed because they underestimated the time commitments of hybrid conferences, treating the virtual aspect as a ‘bonus’ that inevitably overwhelms the event organizer’s resources. The results were usually messy and low engagement online. For IIBA’s BBC 2020, we are fully committed to an event that will be engaged online with complete dedication to our platform.

BBC 2020 uses it as an opportunity to expand its online offerings.

The biggest challenge is always how can you network in a virtual environment? Where does the virtual world excel? BBC 2020 has created a series of all-new segments that take advantage of the tools available. Some examples of new innovations include:

  • BBC Conference Extra – an engaged TV show like conference with guests, prizes, and competitions.
  • Practitioner’s Chats – Designed for attendees to share experiences, questions and solutions with peers and leaders in the industry.
  • BBC Beyond – The lack of a physical location means that the event has expanded offerings over the two weeks after the conference to respond to the business analysis community.

Last year, it was hard for participants to choose which session and tutorials to attend, as my friend Frouz said:...

Frouz Quote

...this year, with a recorded registration pass, you don’t have to choose which sessions and tracks to pick! Attend live for the engagement, but relax knowing you can view any missed sessions on-demand later.

We want to use the opportunity of a virtual BBC to expand the international audience of the conference and help reach those people who couldn’t attend in previous years. Last year’s conference had so much energy and the engagement with each session and tutorial: we want this year’s virtual experience to provide that same informative and inspiring feeling that attendees were able to bring back with them to their work.

2020 is certainly a year for the history books. Let’s make BBC 2020 a transformative event to help you foster and support better business outcomes.

This blog is the first in our series covering our challenges, successes, and general findings of hosting virtual events and conferences with our local and international events as our case studies.

Follow us weekly as we countdown to BBC 2020, October 19- 23, 2020.



About the Author:

Jared loves being a Business Analyst and has done so in title for over 15 years with over 25 years of business leadership experience in both the retail and energy sectors. He is a strong advocate for IIBA, having served in various capacities with the Calgary IIBA Chapter as well as chairing the Volunteer Chapter Network. He brings his passion for business analysis and experience as a Chapter Leader to the role of Director of Chapter and Membership Engagement of IIBA.

He holds his Bachelor of Arts degree in French from the University of Calgary and the Certified Business Analysis Professional™ (CBAP®) designation. He will take any chance possible to evangelize business analysis and will talk your ear off about the role and the profession should you allow him to do so.

* Based on $315 IIBA Member savings on ‘Passport + 2 Days Tutorials (Livestream and Recordings)’ full value of $1,577. Please note 20% $$ value varies by registration type. Minimum Member savings of $183 for ‘Passport (Livestream Only)’ registration type.