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

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments