On the surface it may seem easy to write off vendor-organized events as one big sales ploy, but by doing so, you may miss out on valuable professional development and experiences. While admittedly vendors put on events to drive sales, these events are not just a long sales pitch. Instead, they are designed to educate the audience on solutions to the challenges they are facing day in and day out. And yes, that vendor's solution may "just so happen" to provide the technology and functionality being discussed, but that does not mean there is nothing to gain by attending.[Tweet "While vendors put on events to drive sales, they are not just long sales pitches. #GovEventsBlog"]
Here are several reasons to add vendor-driven events to your 2018 calendar:
- No one does it alone. The reality is in today's complex IT and data environment there is a wide variety of solutions that have to work together to get business done. Organizations need to understand how different technologies work together. Vendor-driven events provide an opportunity for discussion and hands-on demos. Take a glance at the agenda for vendor-led events and you'll typically see speakers and presenters from several different companies. Shows that do offer multiple presenters are more likely to be well-rounded and offer numerous ways to approach key challenges.
- Government speaks. You'll often see government professionals discussing their successes (and failures) at most vendor-driven shows. What we hear again and again from our vendor partners is that government representatives are hungry to talk about what's working and to collaborate with peers. You won't hear endorsements from these government speakers, only the straight facts about what they implemented and how it worked.
- Find your ROI. The reality is that government agencies at all levels are invested in technology brands. Knowing everything you can about what that technology offers helps you to get the most out of that investment. The chance to get hands-on with solutions under the guidance of the people who designed it is an incredible opportunity that you cannot get in your day-to-day work.[Tweet "Several reasons to add vendor-driven events to your 2018 calendar. #GovEventsBlog"]
Just as there are many vendors to choose from, there are also a multitude of event options. We've pulled together a list of some of them. These events are versatile, educational forums that provide networking among government and industry, as well as real-world demos and cases.
- ServiceNow Federal Forum (February 7, 2018; Washington, DC) - With a timely focus on modernizing government, this event brings together digital transformation leaders to discuss how to deliver digital services faster and more securely to improve service to citizens.
- Dell EMC World (April 30-May 3, 2018; Las Vegas, NV) - This year's event marks the first time Dell Technologies' family of brands will be all in one place. Dell technology experts, and over 12,000 IT practitioners making Digital Transformation a reality, will gather at this event. There are numerous hands-on opportunities as well as many discussions on the role of the technologies in the larger IT ecosystem.
- AWS Public Sector Summit (June 19-21, 2018; Washington, DC)- We've shared the story behind Amazon's annual conference for government here on the blog. Providing a wide look at the use of cloud in government, this annual event is unique in that it evolves alongside cloud adoption from the public sector. The summit features speakers from Amazon's commercial business sharing the latest innovations happening across the company. These innovations are brought into government context by public sector Amazon execs, government users, and technology partners involved in building the cloud ecosystem for government.
- Salesforce Dreamforce (September 25-28, 2018; San Francisco, CA) - Improving citizen service has been a priority for agencies across government. With this goal, many agencies have begun using Salesforce (or similar) technology to automate the response to citizen requests. This annual event is an opportunity to hear directly from the Salesforce team and get hands-on with the latest functionalities of the software suite.[Tweet "Vendor-led events are versatile forums providing networking, real-world demos and more. #GovEventsBlog"]
- Adobe Digital Government Technology Conference (2018 date to be announced; Washington, DC) - With Adobe technology so prevalent in the government community, this annual event provides an opportunity to get up to speed on what all of the Adobe product suites have to offer, ensuring agencies are getting the most out of their licenses. In addition to product-specific demos, there is a lot of general conversation around the digitization of government with insights from government leaders.
- Symantec Government Symposium (2018 date to be announced; Washington, DC) - The symposium just wrapped in early December. This annual event has a focus on securing systems and data. Speakers include government officials as well as IT security luminaries. It is a great opportunity to hear from the people in the trenches protecting our nation's critical data.
We'd love to hear your thoughts. Which vendors do a great job providing unbiased education? What events have you found particularly worthwhile? Let us know in the comments.