How to Write a Great Abstract and Increase Your Chances of Making It to Kscope16

Kscope is the one opportunity every year to soak up as much EPM knowledge as our brains can handle. It’s amazing how much work people put into their presentations so they can share their insight with everyone. If you’re anything like me, the Kscope experience might inspire you to do the same and submit an abstract for next year’s conference. It’s not enough just to have a great idea for a topic.

Each year, hundreds of abstracts are submitted for evaluation by teams of industry experts whose objective is to select the best topics for each technology track. These volunteers spend countless hours reviewing and analyzing every abstract that comes in. So, what are they looking for? How do I create an abstract that will stand above the rest and increase my chances of being selected?

There are three primary elements that can make your abstract stand out:

  • A unique and compelling subject
  • A clearly written abstract
  • Your reputation as a speaker

Unique and compelling subject

Consider what everyone is talking about, webinars being offered, new modules, current trends. For example:

  • Leading edge – New features, new modules, and how are they being used.
  • Case studies – Tell a story about how you or a client have created a great solution to solve a business problem.
  • Teach – Offer a basics session or lessons on how to accomplish something most people don’t know how to do.

Clearly written abstract

It’s important to be as clear and descriptive as possible, make your abstract easy to read, and understand what you’ll be presenting. Here are some pointers:

A well-written abstract answers the following:

  • Who is the audience?
    What exactly will they learn from the presentation?
    Why is this information important?
    How can this knowledge be used on the job?
    What can be learned here that they won’t learn elsewhere?
  • Choose a topic that is broad enough to be of interest to many.
    Don’t make it too narrow or vague.
    Don’t make it so technical that most people won’t understand.
    Do make it specific enough so the topic and the knowledge to be gained are clear.
    Do make coverage of the topic broad enough to appeal to multiple levels of audience members; for example, can it be useful for both functional and technical, or if it’s technical, can it be useful for beginners and advanced audience members?
  • Keep it current.
    The technology or topic presented should be current – recent or latest software release, etc.
  • Sell your topic.
    Think about how you select which sessions you’ll attend. Does your abstract get you excited?
    Remember, you’re pitching the idea to the evaluation committee – get their attention!
    It might seem challenging, but make your abstract original, and full of energy and enthusiasm. You want them to think, “What a cool idea!”
  • Review last year's abstracts.
    This is the best place to get ideas and to see examples of what works.
    Some examples are provided at the bottom of this article.

Case studies

The most popular sessions are case studies. Everyone loves to hear a success story for how to solve a problem they’ve been struggling with. For example:

  • A well-run, successful project using current technology and/or business practices
  • A unique way to solve a common problem
  • Early adopter of new technology

Your reputation as a speaker

If your abstract passes muster, the evaluation committee will look at a number of factors:

  • Have you spoken at past Kscopes or other conferences and presented well
  • New speakers are also strongly considered. Your communication quality and style are present in the way your abstract is written and any other public communication that you do such as blogs, Twitter, OTN forums, and networking within the EPM community.

A few other things to keep in mind

  • The content reviewers are volunteers and doing this in their spare time. They also have many more abstracts than available slots. Make their job easier by following the abstract submission instructions. Also, it’s a good idea to reread the instructions after you’ve completed the online form to make sure you’ve filled everything out correctly.
  • Proofread your submission. Make sure the title is correct and that there are no typos or grammatical errors. Your abstract is the first impression and it does affect perception, so make sure it’s a good one.
  • The summary is the text attendees will see in the conference app and on the schedule. It should give them a reason to want to attend your session.
  •  The abstract is primarily for the benefit of the evaluation team. They are (mostly) experts in the same field as you, so be more expansive and specific about the content and learning objectives. Don’t just copy the summary into the abstract section.
  • Don’t worry about categorizing your session as beginner, intermediate, or advanced; this doesn’t impact the selection process.
  • Do carefully consider the track/subtrack for your submission. There may be gray areas or overlap, but it’s important to get it in the right track. This will avoid confusion for the evaluation committee and the need to recategorize.
  • Be straightforward about identifying the presenter and co-presenter (if there is one). If something changes after selection, let ODTUG know – they are very understanding about things changing in the many months between selection and the conference.
  • Make sure your ODTUG bio is up to date and fill out all the other biographic information requested. It's useful for content reviewers to know a little about who you are and, in some cases, to be able to contact you with any specific questions on your submission.
  • Don’t be reluctant to submit even if you have never presented before or if you haven’t been selected in the past. There are always so many more abstracts than slots at the conference and it’s painful for the evaluation committee to have to pass on a great presentation because there isn’t room.
  • Don’t be afraid. If you have something to say but have never presented, consider asking a colleague to present jointly. Having someone you trust up there with you can give you all the confidence in the world!!

Many thanks to Opal Alapat, Sarah Zumbrum, Tim German, and Jennifer Anderson for their input to this article.

Abstract Examples:

EPM Business Content: Gary Crisci, General Electric
Delivering an Enterprise-Wide Standard Chart of Accounts with Oracle DRM

Come learn how General Electric, one of the largest and most complex companies in the world, is using Oracle DRM to simplify and standardize an enterprise-wide chart of accounts.

EPM Foundations & Data Management: Steven Davis, TopDown Consulting
JavaScript Property Formulas Within DRM

Data Relationship Management (DRM) v11.1.2.3 includes a cool new feature that changes the way to write dynamic scripting using JavaScript for your custom derived property and validations. JavaScript has been around for over a decade, but it hasn't been available to use within DRM until last year. What this means to users is that they now have the option to use JavaScript instead of the legacy formula language within the property formulas. You can use it to loop through your code and create functions that can be called by the main routine. Sounds great, right? Well there's a catch: Although robust, using the JavaScript language has a learning curve. In this session, learn how to create a simple JavaScript property, convert a current formula to JavaScript, and create more complex property formulas. The session will include best practices, tips and tricks, a live demo of real-world scenarios, and more.

Essbase: Glenn Schwartzberg, interRel Consulting
Why Didn’t I Think of That? How Can I Do It in Essbase?

Have you ever thought, "I wish I knew how to do that in Essbase"? There are tips and tricks that have been learned over the years to make an administrator's and developer's life easier. For example, I need to do a mass change of aliases and don't want to have to change thousands of user spreadsheets that use those aliases. How do I do it? This session looks at this type of issue and other features you wish you knew about.

Planning: Brian Marshall, US-Analytics
Voiding Your Warranty: The Planning Repository Exposed

Hyperion Planning provides an excellent platform for deploying enterprise-scale budgeting and forecasting solutions. Let's take that world-class solution and peel the warranty label off so we can have some real fun. Learn how to delete years from the past, remove dimensions you no longer use or need, and report on secured objects and who is doing what on your applications. This session will also provide a primer to the Planning Repository and a variety of queries for attendees to take home and leave Oracle with an uneasy feeling that more support tickets could result from this session.

Financial Close: Christopher Barbieri, Finit Solutions
Where Did That Come From? Techniques for Debugging HFM Rules

Where did that error come from? Why is this number multiplied 12 times? The calculation is correct, but I'm not getting any results. This calculation is incorrectly running on Revenue accounts? Learn techniques for setting up both classic VBScript rules and Calc Manager rules to capture debugging information and correct these common problems.

Reporting: Tiffany Ma, University of California, Berkeley
Reporting with Public Sector Planning and Budgeting at UC Berkeley: What We’ve Done and Why It Is So Important to our Success

Public Sector Planning and its related reporting have been important factors in supporting Berkeley's financial strategy, focused on financial reporting transparency and ultimately accountability for campus goals of remaining a center of innovation, discovery, growth, and sustainability. UC Berkeley is a pioneer among public universities in a national effort to make a college education more affordable for a wider group of middle-income families, despite facing unprecedented financial challenges. Join this discussion of how the university has used this important technology to further its goals.

1 Comment
1 Like

These tips works for all the tracks

October 15, 2015 07:01 PM by Anderson Rodrigues Ferreira

Congratulations! Very good article, but I suggest to remove the "EPM" of the text, because it works for all the Kscope tracks...

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