March 10, 2017 | Written by: Brian Bailey
Categorized: B2B Integration | Procurement
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InterConnect 2017 is the ultimate place for IT executives and professionals to learn how to create competitive advantages with B2B integration, managed file transfer, and supply chain solutions. If you’ve already registered, you probably are busy making travel plans and scheduling sessions and activities to fill your agenda. Having been to the last three InterConnect shows, I want to share takeaways I’ve learned that can help you get the most out of your InterConnect experience.
#1. Create a plan of attack
Careful preparation is vital to maximizing the benefits from a show, especially one as large as InterConnect. Identify your top three goals, which could be to attend a session, learn more about an emerging technology like adding cognitive capabilities to B2B integration, or whatever else is important to you. Then study the session guide and conference materials to uncover opportunities to accomplish those goals. Identify people to meet with – your sales representative might be able to facilitate those meetings. Familiarize yourself with the conference layout. InterConnect is huge – getting lost can cause you to be late or even miss out.
A hidden gem that is frequently overlooked are the hands-on labs, where you can demo solutions yourself. We have two of them, one for IBM Partner Engagement Manager and one for Sterling B2B Integrator/Sterling File Gateway 5.2.6 REST APIs. Check them out in the session guide.
#2. Talk with your peers
One of the best ways to learn is through the experiences of others. While there are 19 client speaking sessions in the Watson Supply Chain, B2B integration, and managed file transfer track, they aren’t the only opportunities to learn from your peers. With more than 20,000 attendees, there are thousands of your peers attending, which offers you a powerful opportunity to network.
If you’re an introvert, like I am, prepare a few conversation starters and open-ended questions to make it easier. Wherever you find yourself, introduce yourself to someone and ask what they do and why they’re attending. You might ask what they consider the most interesting thing they’ve learned so far at the show. While you’re at lunch, on a shuttle bus, or in line, you will be surrounded by IT professionals. For example, as I was buckling into my seat for the flight home following last year’s InterConnect show, the gentleman sitting across the aisle asked me if I was with IBM. He works for an IBM business partner and had seen me present early in the show and had some questions. We engaged in a very productive conversation and exchanged contact information. Since then, we’ve each had the opportunity to help each other out. You’ll be amazed at how much you will learn from these conversations while expanding your professional network. This may seem obvious, but many people miss these opportunities.
#3. Talk with solution experts
This is the place where you can speak one-on-one with solutions and technology experts. The easiest way to have a conversation with a solution expert is by visiting the Watson Supply Chain booth in the concourse, but it isn’t the only way. Your sales representative can help you by scheduling Think Tank deep-dive technology sessions on the products of interest to you.
I look forward to seeing you at InterConnect 2017. And, if you see me, don’t hesitate to say hi. I’d love to meet you.
Haven’t signed up yet? It’s not too late. Register now.