I recently attended the Gartner IT Financial, Procurement and Asset Management Summit that was held in Nashville, Tennessee from September 11th-13th. I have been attending this event since 2005 and have never been disappointed. In this post, I will describe this summit and then provide my perspective on why it is one of the premier events for IT and Software Asset Management professionals. 

The Gartner Summit is a 2.5-day event that consists of keynotes, session tracks on IT procurement, finance and asset management, workshops, tutorials, customer case study presentations, a solution showcase of vendors, hospitality suites and Analyst One-on-One meetings. The keynotes consist of Gartner Senior Executive Analysts as well as external inspirational speakers. The summit is packed with valuable, current content that describes the most common challenges, trends and strategies in the industry today. Topics include audit preparation, negotiating with the mega vendors, ITAM tools in a digital age, building a vendor management program and IT financial management best practices, to name a few. While most of the presenters are Gartner analysts, there are some end-user presentations in which companies share a problem they had and how they solved it, typically with the assistance of one of the vendor sponsors. One of these presentations focused on getting the most ROI from your ITAM program.

This year boasted 900 attendees representing end-user organizations and vendors. Many of the attendees were decision-makers in leadership roles representing mid to large organizations. The attendees consisted of IT procurement and sourcing leaders, contracts managers, IT directors, finance managers, IT Asset Managers and Software Asset Managers.

As a Gartner client and attendee, I was able to meet with two analysts for 30-minute, one-on-ones. I had spoken with these analysts before, but meeting them in person gave each of us the opportunity to put a name with a face and personalize the business relationship. I gleaned valuable information from the insights they offered from their experiences handling 800 client inquiries each year. The analysts acquire a unique view into client and industry trends from this exposure, and are able to share their perspectives with clients.

For me, there are two main reasons why I find this event so productive. First, it is important to stay up-to-date on industry trends such as the major challenges that end-user organizations are facing, top auditors, product directions of the SAM tools providers and mergers and acquisitions that will have an impact. Second, the opportunity to network is excellent. When I attend this conference, I am able to meet with each of our partners, clients and potential clients, all in one venue. This creates a very busy schedule, but it is time well-spent. As a result of the opportunity to meet with people face-to-face, I feel much more productive and tuned-in to the industry. If you think about it, technology keeps us connected but also leads people to rely on phone and web conferences rather than meeting with people in person…and it’s the in-person meetings that help develop deeper, more productive relationships and peer networks.

So, if you’re thinking about attending a conference and are looking for high-quality presentations and the ability to build relationships with your peers and vendors, consider the Gartner IT Financial, Procurement and Asset Management Summit in 2018.