My Trip to CamundaCon 2023 in New York: Impressions and Key Takeaways
Hi. My name is Vsevolod Martyniuk. I am the managing partner of the company Reunico. Over five years ago, our team started working with Camunda BPM, and since then, we have actively developed our collaboration with Camunda Services GmbH.
With Jacob Freund and Marian Grala at Camunda office in Berlin, 2019 year
In 2022, we opened a company in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and became an official partner of Camunda in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It's been a year since then. I was aware that companies in Kazakhstan had been using Camunda in their projects for a while (I had previous experience working with colleagues from Astana), and the solution was quite popular. So, we decided to establish an official Camunda community in Almaty that would bring together experts in business process management automation.
Camunda Conference in Almaty, June 2023
In December 2022, the first Camunda Meet-up took place in Almaty, with more than 60 participants from different companies and industries. It was a great event. We will continue to nurture the Camunda community in Kazakhstan, assist colleagues in implementing the solution, and build a strong partnership with the vendor.
Camunda Conference in Almaty, June 2023
But, getting back to the point, most likely, everyone already knows that Camunda holds its annual conferences in Berlin, gathering experts from different countries. I had the opportunity to attend one such event in 2019 and was pleasantly surprised to see many colleagues from Kazakhstan. Then, the pandemic arrived, and everything moved online. Finally, this year, colleagues decided to hold CamundaCon in New York in September 2023 for the first time.
This decision was not random, as approximately a third of Camunda's employees and clients are located in the USA. America is an important market for Camunda in terms of potential, despite the fact that many of their competitors seem to be based in America.
So I was delighted to receive an invitation to attend the conference, meet my colleagues in person (the company has grown approximately two to three times since my last trip to Berlin four years ago), engage with partners and event speakers. I had some questions I wanted to ask my colleagues from Camunda directly, getting first-hand answers. It was also an excellent opportunity to personally thank the colleagues who have helped and continue to help develop the Camunda community and organize meet-ups in Kazakhstan. One of these outstanding colleagues is Maria Alcantara, a community manager at Camunda.
With Maria at CamundaCon 2023, New York
So, after a long flight from Almaty to New York via Istanbul (approximately a day in total, thanks to Turkish Airlines, everything went as comfortably as possible), I arrived. The city welcomed me with rainy weather, but surprisingly, during the conference days, it was sunny. However, just two days later, the city experienced almost two months' worth of rainfall, leading to many homes being flooded, and the subway was temporarily closed. I consider myself lucky regarding the weather. :)
Williamsburg Bridge, New York
Nevertheless, everything went according to plan for Camunda. On Tuesday, September 26th, we gathered for an informal dinner, where there were people from Camunda, company partners, Camunda champions, chapter leaders, and event speakers. In general, there were many people, and it was noisy and lively. I had the pleasure of meeting many interesting people and seeing old acquaintances. Hopefully, Niall won't mind me sharing this photo (Bernd Rücher is engrossed in conversation behind us). The coolest Developer Advocate, Niall, really wants to visit Kazakhstan; he spoke online at a meet-up in Almaty in December 2022. I think we will definitely organize his visit and introduce him to the community.
With Niall Deehan at CamundaCon PreParty, NYC
The next two days were quite productive. On September 27, the first day of the conference, Jacob Freund, the co-founder and CEO of the company, gave the opening speech, talking about what has already been achieved and the future plans for product development.
Jacob Freund (Camunda CEO) CamundaCon opening session
At CamundaCon, numerous presentations and talks were given, and I will touch on just a few, leaving the opportunity for the reader to explore the rest in detail.
Konnector Kitchen: Joe Pappas from Camunda discussed connectors and the new Camunda marketplace. You will learn what this is, how to create connectors on your own, and which ones are already available "out-of-box."
Kiwi.com’s Epic Journey From Legacy System to Camunda: Milan Lesnek (by the way, a great guy who later shared a lot of interesting things about the Czech Republic, culinary culture, and drinking traditions) from Kiwi.com (a leading platform and aggregator for finding optimal ticket routes worldwide) talked about a unique case where colleagues migrated a seven-year-old service with 26,000 possible user scenarios to Camunda. All of this went into production without a single incident or error.
Camunda for Common Good: Automating the Application and Onboarding Processes for Students, Mentors, and Volunteers: Danny DeJesus from a non-profit organization that helps teenagers access education talked about how they used Camunda to automate the interaction process. What makes this example interesting is that within just a few months, colleagues were able to learn the solution and independently implement Camunda. And yes, these folks are excellent at presenting.
The Urban Tech Hero Team
"Camunda at the Heart of CERN’s Electronic Document Handling System." You might be surprised, but at CERN (the place where you've probably heard about the Large Hadron Collider), they use Camunda and have successfully migrated to it from Activity. Dmitry Kekelidze (a former graduate of Moscow State University) shared his experience: the challenges the team faced (frequent changes in the development team and legacy code) and how they managed to overcome them. Overall, it was a very interesting talk and speaker.
Dmitry Kekelidze presenting
Day 2kicked off with Bernd Rücker and Daniel Meyer, two of Camunda's top tech geniuses. Bernd Rücker even organized a run for people at 6:30 in the morning that day (which I really wanted to join but overslept)
"Sustainability, the Circular Economy and Digitalization – How To Realize a Use Case for a Digital Product Data Passport With Camunda." Christine Brautsch and Tina Wiegand from Hof University, Bavaria, presented a very interesting project. According to the European Union's strategy, they plan to gradually introduce a digital product passport that allows consumers to access all information about a product: where it was made, what it's made of, how much material was used in its production, how much carbon dioxide was generated during production, and so on. The colleagues looked at a case study in the textile industry.
You might ask, what does Camunda have to do with it? With Camunda's help, the colleagues visualized this complex process that was previously a black box and attempted to automate it. It's heartening to see that Camunda is being used in educational institutions to tackle such complex challenges. The topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important in many countries, including Kazakhstan, with which Hof University has a partnership, particularly with Suleyman Demirel University in Almaty.
Christine Brautsch and Tina Wiegand from Hof University
"GPT Meets BPM: AI-Driven Workflows in Camunda 8." Bennet Krause from Holisticon AG (a Camunda partner) discussed how his team turned a pet project into a full-fledged service for a client – an insurance company. By the way, Bennet has only been working with Camunda for 2-3 years. Interestingly, the company allocates 20% of employee working time to pet projects, working on ideas, and validating concepts. Bennet talked about such a case. The team created a connector, integrating ChatGPT4 with Camunda. AI helps in sorting customer emails, identifying the type of request from the email's context, and making decisions (for certain cases) on what response to send to the customer or whom to assign the request to and send it through the Camunda business process.
Bennet Krause from Holisticon AG is presenting
"Revolutionizing Operational Decisions: A Medical Liability Insurance Case Study with Camunda." Tom Wilger and Tracy Hires from BP3 (an American Camunda partner) discussed the use of Camunda 8 DMN in a medical insurance case study. In my opinion, this was one of the few presentations about DMN, which, in my view, is undeserved. The colleagues talked about the challenges they faced in the project and the benefits they achieved using DMN. By the way, they significantly contributed to the development of the Camunda DMN-Scala open-source project.
These are just a few presentations out of probably a dozens. I recommend exploring the other presentations. Among the other speakers, there were representatives from major companies like Walmart, EY, Raiffeisen, Cisco, and more.
I hope you found it as interesting as I did. Two conferences are already planned for next year: May in Berlin (you can already submit your presentation to participate), and October in North America (colleagues are keeping it a secret, but it's likely not in New York). I would love to see colleagues from our region and Kazakhstan in particular at the next CamundaCon, presenting their Camunda use cases. If you have any questions about participation, tickets, or Camunda in general, I'd be happy to help.