Why we present events, workshops and seminars
Why do we put ourselves through it? The effort is very great and the costs and risks are high. Is this event going to interest enough people and is it something they want rather than what the market is pushing out at any time? As consultants our purpose in life is to offer the very best up to date advice, but what is that?
We do pole right across leading global manufacturers and a high number of innovative smaller ones, because we have all seen most unexpected and unpredicted technologies being made standard over the last thirty years at least. In some respects, we are fortunate that we are seen by our industry as a means of disseminating ideas and technologies to end-users so we are constantly presented with a beauty contest of the great – and also the bad.
Events are still a very reliable source of interaction with our existing client base and newcomers. They give us and our market base a grand opportunity to try to understand what each other is about. That means listening very carefully indeed to business requirements and how they are, or are not, being met by current technology and practices.
Who speaks is always a challenge as well? Yes, you want the best of the technologists but are they the best advocates and do they explain it well, even if they personally understand it better than everyone else in the room. It’s like being in the presence of an exotic art critic. You know what you like and you don’t even mind being told you have a lot to learn about art and artists; you just want an honest and simple explanation so that perhaps you too might grasp the mystery.
Which technologies do you choose to present? These events are always expensive and usually require sponsorship. That means the sponsor worries about their share of the spotlight. Unfortunately, the lives of the delegates are more complex than that. They sometimes do have a keen interest in a spot solution, but they invariably lead lives needing holistic and integrated solutions across their overall investment. That usually now necessitates collaborative and holistic solution themes. In other words what the customer needs as part of their overall requirement and not just something someone wants to foist upon them.
What are the required outcomes? Well of course there are always the vested interests which just measure events by the amount of sales leads they generate. There is an old expression however that it is better to feed the pig than to weigh it constantly. In short if you don’t take a serious interest in peoples needs then you can hardly blame them if they become unhappy with your self-interested ambitions around them. Far better to make your living by successful outcomes than any short-lived personal gains.
Our recent data governance seminar happily got everything right recently. The advice was largely agnostic; you can’t blame a Microsoft speaker for mentioning O365 when most of the audience is looking to govern data from within the latter’s deployment and use. Good advice, open to a wide critique from a diverse and experienced audience, is as good as it gets. Responses to this specific event have been wonderful, with a huge follow-up on what people want to do from here on in.
For ourselves we aim for a growth in our constituency because our events involve, reflect and understand why our clients want to participate. We need them to feel comfortable amongst their peer group from whom they might draw opinion and advice; so no room for any kind of deception.
As to the future it is probably a reflection of the past. Whatever decisions we make in life, they have to be measured and considered carefully; especially those that will certainly have expensive and significant outcomes. That principle cannot have changed in millennia. The digital age brings its’ own characteristics of engagement from slides, webinars, emails, social media etc but it cannot escape from such first principles however hard it tries.