IDC’s European forum in Berlin

Around 150 executives were here with me for the start of IDC’s ICT Forum in Berlin, and the numbers are now probably closer to twice that. There are a number of AR professionals here, and it’s a good opportunity for them to see how large events like this can run well, and be improved.

IDC has a number of cool touches:

  • the speakers are clearly well prepared and, most importantly, there is little duplication between their comments;
  • there’s a telephone number to which you can text your questions, and which they’ll use for polls;
  • of course they give you a huge bag (quite a nice one, from T-Systems) with lots of vendors’ stuff in it (including a Siemens branded DJ Hell CD), but they also have a cloakroom so you can take the agenda out of the bag and not have to carry the rest around;
  • and there are eight different soft drinks on the table.

However, there’s always something to learn. We’re now onto our fourth speaker of the morning, the ever-modest Don Tapscott, and that means we’re on our fourth North American man. There will be Europeans speaking later, of course, but there first impression is self-evident.

Frank Gens made a good introduction on business adoption of Web 2.o techniques, and I think he missed a trick. He presented some data from a recent survey of Line of Business managers. His footnote didn’t say if it was data from their European survey, but it would be interesting to see an IDC comparison between Europe and North America.

I see some similar trends when North American vendors organise large events aimed at European analysts. The opening hours of many of these events are often also dominated by North American executives; many of these firms reason that it shows commitment to stakeholders outside the US. Of course, there’s a double-edge: the audience gets insights on what’s happening on a global basis, but often there’s little of the local data that local people need to be able to understand the pace and dynamics of change in their own region. Most people here won’t get Don’s Tar-zhay joke, and not all will know what Target is. And, of course, local spokespeople show the ability of the firm to invest in regional leaders who follow the big picture.

Another point in common with many vendors’ analysts events: it’s also not the best place for people with laptops: walking around before the start I saw no seats close to the power sockets, and the wifi isn’t free (indeed, this hotel really knows its customers since it’s cheaper for me to buy 30 days of wifi than two lots of three hours).

If you want to meet up here at the forum, email me.

P.S. Another observation: according to the agenda, every speaker at this event is a man! It’s been a long time since I attended an event with that composition.

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