I ran into Don Tapscott, the best selling author, in the hallways. He had just finished a presentation at the Community event in Orlando yesterday. I shared power outlets and exchanged small talk with someone who turned out to be CIO of a major healthcare company. I sat at a dinner table with IT leadership of a major pharma – and the conversation varied from SAP HANA to global HR strategies to what “innovation” means in their culture. I moderated a panel on next-gen BPO with executives from a large telco, a large financial services company, a specialty pharma and a healthcare organization. The discussion covered everything from the “future of work” to the utility/futility of SLAs in outsourcing.
The event agenda included presentations on emerging technology – Douglas Merrill talking about the Google culture, Pranav Mistry talking about SixthSense and gestural UIs- and more traditional technology: Charlie Feld about IT leadership for the future, Bruce Rogow talking about various CIO surveys and interviews he continually conducts. Various industry breakouts most with customer panels. Non-technology, exhilarating exploration perspectives from David Hempleman-Adams.
See the pattern here? Very few Cognizant sales pitches. But a very wide agenda and a relaxed atmosphere for its clients to learn and mingle with peers. I have been fortunate to be invited to the event for a few years now, and the agenda and mood has been similar, so this year is not an aberration.
It’s so different from the average user conference/customer event which is usually filled with demos, vendor executive pitches, plenty of salespeople and partner parties.
I wish more user conferences followed this pattern. There is plenty of time rest of year to sell. Have confidence in your customers. Give them a couple of days to sit and think – yes even about the North Pole.