The world of the technical professional is complex. The demands on technology in today’s business are greater than ever, the landscape is more complex, the options are seemingly endless, and the trends are moving at a breakneck pace. How do we keep up and ensure that we’re making the most of the technology we have invested in and the opportunities it presents?
There are many ways to gather information: self-study, classes, talking to peers, the technical press, blog posts, podcasts, and lots more. All are valid and useful. But perhaps the most valuable tool I’ve found in my career is the technical conference. Whether it’s a small local gathering or a large vendor event, technical conferences are a very effective way of gaining insight into the technology industry and learning how to take advantage of what is available to us.
Conferences bundle strategic presentations and education with the chance to meet our peers and build relationships with technology vendors—all in one place, in a short amount of time.
In my opinion, the tech conference is invaluable. But not everyone shares my view. 2020 promises to be another busy year for tech conferences, kicking off with our own local NetApp INSIGHT® events across EMEA and Asia. NetApp is a key technology partner and supplier to my business and our customers, making NetApp INSIGHT a prime resource.
But many partners and customers won’t be attending and taking advantage of this opportunity to make the most of their NetApp relationship. Why is that?
The reasons I’ve heard fall mostly into three categories, which I’d like to share, and also to offer some reasons about why you may want to reconsider.
I can’t afford it (lack of time or money)
This is perhaps the easiest and most misguided justification, even if it’s not a trivial concern. Often conference attendance isn’t budgeted for, and heading off for a few days is not a small commitment.
However, if NetApp is a core part of your infrastructure, this investment is tiny compared to the benefits gained. I’ve talked with many people who attended NetApp INSIGHT and had problems solved, learned a new technology approach, or developed a relationship with a valuable contact, all of which were priceless to them.
Couple these benefits with the information and training available in a relatively short time, and the return on your investment is significant. If you’re worried about the time commitment, NetApp INSIGHT London is a compact one-day event!
Top Tip: Consider building conferences into your IT training budget.
It’s just not a priority
It’s easy to consider even a one-day conference a poor use of time. But if you’ve invested in a vendor’s technology, especially one that you entrust with your most important business asset, your data, it has to be a priority.
In IT today, when every part of your budget is scrutinised, how can it not be a priority to understand your technology partners better? Learning the technology, understanding strategy, building a better relationship—all are crucial to getting the most from your technology investment, and events like NetApp INSIGHT are the perfect way to do it.
Top Tip: Be willing to learn and understand how you can best exploit your technology investment.
What’s in it for me?
Is it worth it? Does it help me in my job or career? Like anything else, a conference is only as valuable as you make it. When I attend a conference, I make it my personal goal to ensure that I learn something valuable and make the most of my time there. I find the people I want to talk to, plan the breakouts to attend, visit the event expo, and find time to chat with other attendees and understand why they are there. All of these goals mean that I gain something from my time at the event, and all have proved invaluable to my career development.
Top Tip: Make a plan for what you want from the event and follow it.
Go gain some insight
I’ve been working in the tech industry for more than 20 years, and staying on top of trends and understanding what leading vendors are doing has been crucial in forging a successful IT career. Technical conferences are an important part of this strategy. Attending conferences has also helped me make lasting friendships and presented me with some wonderful opportunities. I’m always pleased with the time I take to attend.
If you’re not sure whether NetApp INSIGHT is for you, I hope these thoughts may convince you to give it a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it.
See you at NetApp INSIGHT.