For the uninitiated, COFES stands for the Congress on the Future of Engineering Software. It attracts industry leaders for a series of sessions and discussions that include thought leaders and industry movers. The name sort of makes it sounds like these “industry leaders” will all get in a room and jointly determine, with all the force of legislation, what the future of engineering software will be, and so shall be.
It’s much more chaotic than that, but in an odd way, the future does get shaped at COFES nonetheless.
At COFES, no decisions are made, though on occasion there are bold proclamations. (In fact, Yanick made one this year when he waxed on about the Twilight of the Desktop.)
COFES is far more about conversations – some topics prescribed and discussed in breakout rooms, and some unscripted in the hallways or at a poolside reception. Conversations are about sharing. They're about arguing. And they’re about thinking. I find myself still thinking about conversations that may have lasted 5 minutes several days after the event. This year I would say that the top two topics in those conversations were Model Based Engineering (MBE), and the role of Cloud Computing in engineering.
Our annual HOOPSapalooza customer gathering again attracted nearly 60 attendees prior to the start of the full COFES agenda. We introduced some of what we’ve been doing in the Cloud and Mobile spaces. We think it’s cool stuff and we’re confident that it has value for our customers. With that said, this technology is rather new, so we don’t pretend to have all of the answers. We’re in listening and learning mode, so we needed a conversation with our customers. What about what we’re doing resonated most with them? What are some crucial insights we might be overlooking at this stage? Were we looking at the problem the right way?
In another setting, I think we would have been “presenting” and trying to convince the room that our solutions could clearly solve problems A, B and C. At COFES, however, it seems entirely appropriate to open the dialogue, start a conversation and be willing to share, argue and learn. Rising to the challenge, those at HOOPSa-palooza dove in and discussed issues related to Cloud-based solutions, debated what users care about most, and revealed information about relevant technologies. They also enjoyed the special Tech Soft 3D beer brewed special for the occasion. (Thanks, Zach, of our Business Development team. His recipe will appear in a follow-up entry.)
The conversation didn’t end at the close of our two-hour session, either. Phil, Yanick and I had a number of follow-up conversations throughout the rest of the weekend. We learned, we shared, we thought – we conversed.
So maybe my friends at Cyon Research should consider a new meaning for the COFES acronym:
Conversations on the Future of Engineering Software.
What do you say, Brad?