The one thing that is nice about the conference is the opportunity to meet other practitioners and discuss topics of interests openly and to learn from each other. When I have gone to conferences this is the factor that draws me in.
I've been a member of SIM (Society for Information Management) for about 10 years but have never bothered to attend their annual conference for the reasons mentioned above. However, as I became the president of the Houston Chapter of SIM I thought I should attend to see what it was all about - so last week I was in Atlanta for SIMposium2010.
All I can say is - boy, was I wrong about judging this one. SIMposium2010 was fantastic! Although there are vendors there it is not just one big sales pitch. The vendors are limited in number and there is no hard selling.
As I mentioned the one thing I do like is being able to meet other practitioners. SIMposium was great for this as it is designed by and for senior IT leaders. Because of this you have a great opportunity to discuss issues with people that are in similar situations as you and they understand the problems and opportunities you meet on a daily basis. The panel discussions in particular were very good as they had a lot of open and frank discussion among both panel members and the audience.
My only regret about SIMposium is that I waited so long to attend. I met a lot of great people and made some good friends. I'm looking forward to next year's conference in Orlando. I hope to see you there.