MicroPact Blog

Keeping IT Real at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2012

October 30, 2012 | EventsOpen Architecture

When my daughter learned to talk I taught her how to say “keep it real” when saying goodbye to people.  My main reasons for teaching her this was because I thought it was cute and it made people (ok, mostly me) laugh.  As she is approaching her fourth birthday she still occasionally parts with a “keep it real”.  It still makes me laugh and at times is a simple reminder to do just that.

I spent last week in sunny Orlando, Florida at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2012.   Most of my week was spent on the floor of the exhibitor’s hall talking with other passionate IT professionals about technology and the challenges they are trying to solve.  A majority of the time was spent hands-on building applications with our entellitrak platform to demonstrate how it could help solve many of these challenges.  However, I also spent a lot of time just talking with conference attendees about technologies and solutions other than entellitrak that could potential help solve some of their technical challenges.  You may be wondering why, as a vendor at an IT conference, would I be talking about technologies and products other than ours?  Basically I was “keeping IT real”, let me explain.

While Case Management and BPM platforms can solve a large number of complex business challenges, help automate manual processes and facilitate knowledge work right out of the box, it’s not the silver bullet for every IT challenge.  Don’t get me wrong, technology is moving at a blistering pace and there a number of amazing technologies that, when combined with these platforms, can solve almost any challenge.  

Additionally most of the people at the Symposium are attendees. They are there because they want to learn what is going on in the IT industry, talk with analyst, collaborate with other IT professionals about the challenges they are trying to solve and to discover new products and solutions.  They are not there to be sold.  So when I was asked whether or not our platform entellitrak did XYZ out of the box, and I know it didn’t, I said it … no. 

If you are a sales or marketing professionals you may be cringing right now with images of me killing the deal by saying no to a potential customer.  Remove your hands from your eyes and keep reading because you may be surprised by the result. 

Most people thanked me for saying no and expressed gratitude for being honest. I can’t tell you how many people I talked to last week that told me how frustrated they get when talking with some vendors who answer yes to every question and tell them “don’t worry, it will do everything for you”.  Not only is this frustration for the IT consumer, it’s just bad, bad for the industry, bad for technology and bad for your soul.  Of course it was a little nice to hear that some of these other vendors were our competitors wink … but it’s still bad.

For me, it was actually pretty simple and enjoyable.  As Gartner says it’s “The World’s Most Important Gathering of CIOs and Senior IT Executives”.  Instead of trying to find a way to say yes to every question, I just kept IT real and talked with these other professionals about technology that can help solve their problems.  I would have discussions about the value of an open architecture and how that serves as the foundation for any long term solution.  That would lead to more discussions on things such as open standards, platform independence and the power of metadata. I’ll save those topics for other blog posts as I really did have some great discussions on these topics and got to learn a few new things myself.    

The Symposium is really a great event for people who are passionate about technology so I highly recommended it. Next year I may bring my daughter with me to the Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2013.  Not because it’s at Disney and she would love to see the giraffes at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, but to have her spread the message to keep IT real.