Monday, December 18, 2006
Increasing Enterprise Transparency
In thinking about Industry Conferences I have noticed a pattern emerge in that I tend to come across folks from the same enterprises on a pretty frequent basis. For example, the last two conferences I attended featured Chris Swan of Credit Suisse who always has something wonderful to share. I have been asking myself, how come other enterprises aren't participating in becoming more transparent.
Some of this comes down to the personalities of IT folks as most of us are introverted by nature and in all honesty are too busy focused on solving for internal issues without acknowledging that maybe someone outside the enterprise may have the solution you seek. I guess this is a form of not seeing the forest for all of those damn trees.
One way that transparency can be increased is for industry analysts to stop inferring that we are the problem and realize that they are the sole, solitary reason for us not participating. They need to ask themselves when they sponsor their own conferences do we really need for their own analysts to hog all the speaking slots presenting us with uber high-level chock-a-block eye candy Powerpoint presentations that lack substance or are they and their attendees better served by engaging us in a conversation in panel form.
As an attendee would I rather hear about an international financial services firm that focuses in on investment banking, private banking and asset management second-hand or would I rather hear Chris Swan of Credit Suisse talk 100% on the record and hear insight from the horses mouth?
Credit Suisse is by no means unique in terms of conference participation. You can find folks from Pfizer, Merck, J&J, Citigroup, Fedex, Boeing, GE, Boeing, State Street, Fidelity, Bank of America, UPS and other respectable large enterprises willing to share insights at a moment's notice. The real question is whether you have asked them or not.
Even for those industry analysts who don't have their own conferences, they could still help increase transparency by suggesting to conference chairs in their network that they stop focusing on vendors and their thinly veiled sales pitches (which are resulting in a decline in conference attendance) and instead consider asking folks from large enterprises to participate.
In thinking about James Governor comment, I can say with passion that not only have my peers spoken at industry conferences but we are game to further increase our transparency in this regard. If you want to know what we are up to, simply invite us to speak and we will share pretty much whatever you want to know. In fact, I have taken it on as a personal goal to not double but triple the amount of my peers who speak at industry conferences in 2007.
If folks from Gartner, Forrester and the Burton Group are interested, you know how to reach me. As for everyone else, I hope you believe that this is a good first step. Anyone want to walk along side me?
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