Microsoft FASTforward’09 started with a pre-session for the company’s European partners, gathering more than a 100 people a couple of hours before the official start of FAST’s yearly conference. It was a good opportunity for an interactive session with the FAST management team, and for listening to the stories of some of the European customers.
The pre-session event was hosted by Øyvind Lundgreen, VP Europe, with a presentation by Bjørn Olstad, CTO at FAST, and Kirk Koenigsbauer, General Manager at Microsoft. Bjørn promised “thunder”, and was very excited about the announcements to be made the following days. But neither he or Kirk could give too much away since the “thunder” will be revealed tomorrow.
Members of the audience were eager to ask questions, especially around the roadmap, the past year of collaboration and integration between FAST and Microsoft, and the outlook with regards to the global financial crisis. It’s easy to get a feeling of excitement, but of course, no details were yet revealed. Bjørn Olstad had very positive things to say about the integration of the two companies, and he was especially excited about the people he had met during his last year at Microsoft.
Two talks were given at the pre-session. Bjørn Fjeldstad, CTO of the Norwegian Police, showed how search has been a critical success factor in their fight against money laundering. Two great takeaways were; CSI is nothing compared to what the police can actually do, and “if you can’t retrieve it, it doesn’t exist”. Bhupesh Pattni, News International, showed how search has enabled News International to enhance their revenue model, in the process of make one of the oldest news archives in the world available to everyone connected to the Internet.
The main opening event is covered on FAST’s own conference blog. As a side note, the opening speaker Don Tapscott, Chairman of nGenera Innovation Network, did a fabulous presentation of the next generation driving force – Engaged People. “When does a next generation person use email?”, someone asked from the audience (email is apparently a form of communication now comparable to stone tablets). Don’s quick reply was: “Well, I suppose you could use email to thank your friends parents formally for something they’ve done”!!! Just shows you how old I’m getting… Check him out online at grownupdigital.com.