Pre-event planning: Technology company Cisco Systems devised The One Africa Partner Summit as a platform to bring partners together, discuss recent developments and encourage loyalty and networking.
Cape Town was chosen for its relaxed atmosphere, great food, facilities and accessibility. According to Cisco's regional marketing manager and event organiser Jade Penfold, the venue was chosen on recommendation from a South African colleague. "I wanted a hotel in the business district that was a short drive from the Waterfront for evening entertainment," she explains. Meanwhile, the event's theme and content was influenced by delegates, who contributed ideas via blogs and webinars.
Challenges: Technology infrastructure was the primary concern prior to the event.
Live video footage is regularly used at Cisco's events, which can be problematic to manage.
Solution: The Cisco team worked closely with event sponsor Vodacom to ensure all modes of communication were thoroughly tested.
The event included a welcome plenary session, keynote presentations from internal experts and a live demonstration by Den Sullivan, head of architectures and enterprise, who was linked from a regional office to the main audience for a two-way live video stream. The programme also included an awards dinner at Restaurant 221 in the harbour area.
Post-event analysis: Cisco was satisfied that the event met its objectives, cementing relationships between partners, colleagues and vendors.
Penfold says the conference ran smoothly due to careful planning, helpful hotel staff and efficient transport links.
"All of our British delegates flew in from London with South African Airlines or BA," he says. Using Phillips methodology, which focuses on satisfaction, learning, behaviour and results, the company was able to gather comprehensive feedback on the event.
"Three months post-conference we are measuring learning application and business impact as well as the ROI," says Penfold.
Company: Cisco Systems
Event: One Africa Partner Summit
Group size: 260
Date: 21-23 June 2011
Venue: Crystal Towers Hotel, Cape Town