Over the past few days I had the good fortune to attend my first HDI and itSMF USA sponsored event, Fusion15. This year the event was in New Orleans which was a city that I hadn’t been to before so it was another first.
Like other larger conferences I found that there was a large cross section of attendees from many geographic areas, in addition to this variety these practitioners supported an equally diverse sample of lines of business. The attendees may have come for the content that they saw in the brochure or on the Fusion website, but I found in many cases that through discussion that they were also able to gain some insights into common issues and solutions from each other in many cases.
On a personal note I found that I was able to network on two levels:
I was able to connect with people in the ITSM community that I might not have otherwise been able to speak with ‘in person’. Previous to the conference my level of interaction was limited to 140 characters on twitter or ‘likes’ on Facebook or LinkedIn. Being able to have face to face dialog expands that level of networking.
Secondly, as I mentioned above, I was able to connect with people who were experiencing similar operational challenges as well as where they had insights into areas of improvement which I may have not even considered. The trick to this is to listen to people and have an open mind to what their experiences are. In some cases what they are doing in their own organization to address specific challenges or requirements may not translate to what we are currently able to do , but will plant a seed to get your thought process generating some solutions that may have not been previously considered.
An important part of these conferences, in my opinion, is to have access to vendors but in a way that is not intrusive to the learning and sharing experience. This conference had that sewn up. There was plenty of time to meet with vendors and in some cases you were able to block off one on one sessions to discuss your needs. Even in attending the sessions I was not able to tell which of the presenters were with a particular vendor.
The staff that managed the event were excellent. Always available to answer questions as well as point me in the right direction for an additional source of coffee when I needed it. The ‘app’ that was used to manage things like agenda, events and networking also had a flavor of gamification for content shared. The scoring was intense and despite my best efforts I didn’t quite land in the top ten. For me there was only two things that I mentioned in my survey that might be areas for improvement, and they were pretty minor. The first was that in the event app points were awarded based on levels of sharing, for example pictures versus attendee updates and so on. What they should add is that points are awarded for filing out the post session surveys. The second was that there should be a conference branded Snuggie for all those who found the air conditioning too much in some rooms.
Overall I would recommend this conference to anyone who was looking to broaden their horizons and network with the greater service management community. If you have any questions feel free to ask and connect with me: