DiData withdraws Coolum challenge 2004

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It seems that Dimension Data may have taken last year’s central Forum theme of cost-cutting to heart, announcing that what is arguably Australia’s biggest IT conference won’t return until 2005.

It seems that Dimension Data may have taken last year's central Forum theme of cost-cutting to heart, announcing that what is arguably Australia's biggest IT conference won't return until 2005.

Industry rumours about the annual conference were laid to rest Thursday, 25 March, when the Australian arm of the South African integrator officially announced that Forum 13 won't be held until 12-16 May 2005.

Forum 12 was held in July 2003.

However, marketing and communications staff at DiData denied the change in schedule was about costs or other financial issues. And all major sponsors were so far staying on, they argued.

Martin Aungle, communications director at DiData, said that the event merely needed a tune-up. The re-scheduling was definitely not about money issues, he said.

'We just had the realisation that we needed to look at it. We hadn't changed the format for a long time,' Aungle said.

Previous sponsors had been informed and were 'very disappointed', he said.

It wasn't the first year that a Forum had been missed, Aungle pointed out. A DiData Forum was not held in 2001 either.

Merle Singer, marketing director at DiData, said in a statement that last year's Forum 12, at at the Hyatt Regency resort in Coolum, Queensland, had been the best-ever in terms of attendee feedback, vendor involvement, technical achievement and overall attendance.

About 300 executives, analysts and news media attended last year's Forum 12, which counted several vendor-sponsored gala dinners and performances from Australian popular musicians Jimmy Barnes and Vanessa Amorosi among the entertainment.

'However, we feel it has reached that stage where our goal of continuous improvement for the event requires us to re-evaluate the Forum's format,' she said.

Singer said that each DiData Forum took a full year to plan – so the re-evaluation meant the next wouldn't take place until May 2005.

The integrator is seeking past-Forum feedback from clients and partners over the next three months to add to the evaluation mix.

The event, initially under the ComTech sobriquet, was first held in 1991.

Dimension Data, founded in 1983, reported revenues of US$2.1 billion in 2002. The integrator operates in around 30 countries with over 9,000 employees.

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