I spent the last two days at the eWorld Purchasing and Supply conference on London, where I had a couple of speaking slots (you can’t escape your past, and a long time ago I worked in Shell’s technology planning area, which involved software.procurement). I was pleasantly surprised by the scale of the conference. These days most IT conferences are struggling to get decent attendance, as more and more people seek out information on-line. Yet this specialist conference managed to get over 300 attendees on both days, and from the conversations I had these were mostly “real” delegates i.e. people with actual projects and problems to solve, rather than the tyre-kickers who sales people dread and often seem to constitute much of the attendance of some IT conferences.
For another perspective on the conference see the following blog:
Credit where credit is due to the organisers, Revolution Events, who did an excellent job with administration and organisation (only let down a bit by the caterers on day 1 who were of the “oh, we didn’t think this many people would be coming” variety). The exhibits area had decent flow of traffic and the speaking slots stayed well on time, a particular bugbear of mine. Perhaps these more specialist conferences, concentrating on a particular vertical or in this case functional niche, are the way to go.