Just before taking up my new role here as an Analyst for The ITSM Review, I was lucky enough to be given the chance to come to this show as preparation for the task ahead.
Certainly on the second day, in our London “drought”, the shelter from the torrential rain provided by exhibitors was interesting, perplexing, and at times irritating, thankfully not in equal measure.
A Commercial Success
The two-day show drew 4,495 ITSM and IT support professionals from thousands of leading UK and European business organisations, over 24 and 25 April 2012.
“The reaction to the show this year has been incredible,” said event manager Laura Venables.
From visitors to exhibitors, from sponsors to speakers, everybody gained real value from being involved and we’re delighted that it was a complete success.”
The Foot-soldier’s view
It was an interesting two days for me, leading into my new role as an Analyst for The ITSM review mainly because it has been a while since I have been to any technical conference shows like this.
Back in my early days we graduates would all gallop gleefully around the big exhibitions at the NEC, and we were allowed, as it gave us a good chance to learn those all important networking skills.
Also, we weren’t ‘useful’ yet; once you get established in client projects, these jaunts soon disappear from the diary.
It is not as easy as it looks to just launch into conversations with people, even if they ARE trying to sell you something.
For this role in particular, I have to strike a balance between getting information, and giving some kind of perception that they will get anything other than an independent review, should we ever choose to do one.
Of course, it has been amazing for putting faces to some of the great-and-the-good names of Linked In group leaders, providing me with hopefully some good material for my ITSM Review articles.
It would be unfair to base my review on my tired legs, and worn out stand-staffers fed up of smiling, so it’s best to round up my experiences based on the second morning.
- For the most part, exhibitors are keen to greet with the words “are you looking to invest in a new [insert offering here],” and some seem a little disappointed if they find out you are Press.
- Others see it as an opportunity to find out if they can send you more stuff.
There have been a couple of disappointments though.
- One vendor seemed uninterested to the point of: “here’s our literature, email if you have questions.”
- One key ‘Best Practice’ organisation was not really capable of giving me their three minute elevator pitch and finally just resorted to suggesting I read their website, or maybe come to an event.
- My pet peeve is where you are having a conversation with someone and suddenly they spy a more established customer and bellow across at them in the “old pals” style with delightful in-jokes and joshery – plain rude, in my opinion.
Conspicuous by their absence
Perhaps more confusingly, some of the biggest players in the ITSM field were not here.
IBM, for example, have a SaaS ready model for their IBM Tivoli Service Request Manager suite, yet they were at Infosec show next door, but not here, with a product that focuses on Service Desk, Incident, Problem and Change Management etc.
Meanwhile in one of the larger displays, BMC are proudly announcing to anyone and everyone about their ability to appeal to any size of market.
The giveaway chart
Now, young or old, a vital part of any conference is the amount of freebies you can get!
Herewith, my run down of what I got!
- The boys from Service Now won my heart with coffee, jellybeans, a metal pen and an iPad stylus.
- Followed by the ITIL Training Zone with a nifty plastic card holder (handy for hassled commuter travel cards especially!).
- Pink Elephant were promoting their latest facilitation offering, looking at Attitude, Behaviour, Culture (ABC) and bravely gave away their ABC decks of cards. I say bravely, because the cards on their own are amusing, but the value is the workshop that fits around it, and it’s a subject I intend to dig into for The ITSM Review.
- BMC had a little plastic dancing/boxing man, which was cute but really served no purpose other than to set up to two of them and watch them fight to their plastic death.
- Axios gave away the smelliest plastic bags but maybe I should thank them as it meant no-one was keen to stand too close in the rush hour tube journey.
Best Value Add
Some stands gave away content on USB memory sticks – especially vital if you want to demo ITSM up in the clouds.
Looking at these purely in the context of my new role, these were the best prizes of the lot.
Will I do this all again next year?
All in all, for me anyway, it was a good two days, and something I see myself doing more and more.
Having worked largely in the enterprise solution space, and rarely having implemented in small-scale projects, it was especially interesting to stop in on some of the less ostentatious stands.
I look forward to testing out a number of demos, getting started with a cycle of Operational Assessments and Product Reviews.
But right now, I would settle for a comfy pair of slippers to rest my tired feet.