Menu
Examining all the vendor conferences, great and small

Examining all the vendor conferences, great and small

Gartner analyst Craig Roth assesses whether large or small conferences hit the mark

Credit: Dreamstime

I just returned from my final technology vendor conference of 2018 and have been thinking about how the size of the conference changes the experience.

My conferences this year ranged from as many as 50,000+ attendees down to 25, with most in the 200-300 range.

So what are the advantages of really big conferences (let’s say, more than 10,000 attendees)? They are usually your best chance to see the biggest, celebrity-level tech executives.

That means direct insight from the top as well as social media bragging rights to your friends back home.

Through breakouts, large conferences can also provide the ability to assemble a customised and detailed agenda. They tend to attract an interesting show floor. And there’s no doubt that the big name musical guests are only at the mega-conferences.

Of course, big conferences also mean crowded hotels, lunches at huge buffets worthy of a cattle call, and worn holes in your shoes from all the walking.

So maybe smaller conferences are for you? They are usually more targeted at your direct area of interest.

You get a more boutique experience, from the hotel options to lunch to finding good restaurants that aren’t all booked up for dinner. And you can expect more direct interaction with the product teams and executives.

The keynotes tend to be more substantial and less positioning and bombast. And while you’re not going to see Cirque de Soliel or Aerosmith you can still have a good time.

Actually, music is a good analogy as my tastes there have changed in a similar fashion. I’ve gone from seeing bands with the volume, bombast, and energy of an arena tour to now preferring them in more intimate fashion in venues of 50-500.

Of course, it’s not like I have a choice. If I want to go to the conference for a specific vendor conference in a specific region then, large or small, that’s where I have to go.

It was great to see more non-IT attendees at the technology conferences I attended this year. That shows IT is “growing up” and being taken seriously by the business.

What I’d really like to see is a conference that blends roles across organisations and helps facilitate the level setting and subsequent meeting of the minds between IT, execs, business units, HR, legal, and security across an organisation.

The topics I cover (digital workplace, collaboration, productivity, future of work, digital dexterity) require a unified effort across the business to work.

If each constituency goes to separate conferences at different times of the year and hears different messages, this common foundation is difficult to build.

Whoever can get all those stakeholders in the room at the same table for a week will achieve a new, higher level of success than we’ve seen from traditional conferences.

I might even prefer that to Aerosmith.

By Craig Roth, a research vice president at Gartner, focused on cloud office suites, collaboration tools, content management, and how they are being impacted by digital workplace and digital business trends


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Gartner

Featured

Slideshows

Leading female front runners of the Kiwi ICT industry honoured at 2019 WIICTA

Leading female front runners of the Kiwi ICT industry honoured at 2019 WIICTA

Reseller News has honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry at the 2019 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards recognised standout individuals across six categories, spanning Entrepreneur, Rising Star, Shining Star, Community, Technical and Achievement. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Leading female front runners of the Kiwi ICT industry honoured at 2019 WIICTA
Reseller News kicks off awards season in 2019 with Judges' Lunch

Reseller News kicks off awards season in 2019 with Judges' Lunch

The 2019 Reseller News Innovation Awards has kicked off with the Judges Lunch in Auckland with 70 judges in the voting panel. The awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors. Photos by Christine Wong.

Reseller News kicks off awards season in 2019 with Judges' Lunch
Reseller News welcomes industry figures for 2019 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures for 2019 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2018 inductees - Chris Simpson, Kendra Ross and Phill Patton - to the third running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing landscape of the technology industry in New Zealand, while outlining ways to attract a new breed of players to the ecosystem. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures for 2019 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments