A Post-FUSION 16 Look at Selecting and Attending a Conference


by Roy Atkinson
November 9, 2016

If you were in attendance at FUSION 16, I don’t have to tell you that there was a lot going on! Great sessions, memorable keynotes, and good networking and social time as well.

Although it was the last day of conference, we forged ahead and held the weekly #HDIchat. People were heading to the airport or catching the last session block and final keynote. We did have a good chat anyway, with discussion around people’s favorite conferences and challenges to attending conferences. You can read the transcript of the chat. Let’s talk about some of the tidbits that surfaced during the chat:

Which conference do I attend?

Inevitably, there is overlap between conferences, making it impossible to attend them all—and sometimes even two that you feel you cannot miss. If you are a serious conference goer, this makes it hard to decide where to be and where your time and budget will be best spent. Our international chatters have been very impressed with SITS in the UK, as well as itSMF Norway’s annual conference.

Of course, we, like Friday chatter Sophie Danby, feel that you can’t miss FUSION or HDI 2017 Conference & Expo. The focus of the events is a bit different, but the quality of the sessions is always high—attracting those international conference-goers as well as lots of North American attendees.

Why do I go?

The reasons to attend a particular conference vary. If your organization decides to send you to one of the user conferences put on by a software company, chances are you’ll be paying attention to new an interesting ways to use the tool you have, as chatter Daniel Perriton does, or looking at the benefits of a tool you are planning to acquire.

One of the great parts of FUSION and the HDI Conference is the expo hall, with many vendors of all the kinds of tools you need to be considering to run a support center: ITSM and ticketing software, remote control, data protection, business process automation, password reset, knowledge management, data recovery, alerts, identity and access management, and so on.

The key to successful visits to the expo hall is preparation:

  • Come with a list of questions. If you are shopping for a tool, ask the same questions to various vendors and assess their answers.
  • Come with feedback for your vendors. Can’t get those reports you need? Ask the vendor how to get them. Need to integrate with other tools? Ask how to do it.

What do I take away?

This is a question you need to answer for your organization to approve your budget request to attend. Come with specific goals in mind. Select sessions that are relevant to getting you answers and additional information. If a speaker doesn’t get to the heart of your question, don’t be afraid to ask, either during the Q&A at the end of the presentation or afterwards. I know firsthand that the presenters at both FUSION and HDI Conference have a wealth of knowledge and experience they are there to share with you. Make the most of it. Here are some pro tips:

  • Make sure you get the conference presentations from the website once they are posted.
  • If you are on social media, pay attention to information being posted by fellow attendees and presenters.
  • Write up a full report for your manager once you return.
  • Read post-conference blogs to get insight from seasoned attendees.

Most of all, make sure you share what you learn once you are back in your workplace. If you bring back good ideas, new insights, and answers to questions your organization is asking, you will have earned the price of attendance and perhaps much more.


Roy AtkinsonRoy Atkinson is HDI's senior writer/analyst, acting as in-house subject matter expert and chief writer for SupportWorld articles and white papers. In addition to being a member of the HDI International Certification Standards Committee and the HDI Desktop Support Advisory Board, Roy is a popular speaker at HDI conferences and is well known to HDI local chapter audiences. His background is in both service desk and desktop support as well as small-business consulting. Roy is highly rated on social media, especially on the topics of IT service management and customer service. He is a cohost of the very popular #custserv (customer service) chat on Twitter, which celebrated its fifth anniversary on December 9, 2014. He holds a master’s certificate in advanced management strategy from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and he is a certified HDI Support Center Manager. Follow him on Twitter @HDI_Analyst and @RoyAtkinson 

 

Tag(s): workforce enablement, supportworld, training, return on investment - ROI, hdi conference, fusion conference, business value

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