There’s no question that the worldwide economic downturn has created a highly challenging environment for industry events of all kinds. When Gartner began planning Symposium/ITxpo 2009, we set out to attract key enterprise decision-makers — especially chief information officers (CIOs) — and connect them with one another, and with the information they’re looking for.
“This year’s Symposium/ITxpo features a wealth of new content designed to meet the clearly identified needs of CIOs and their leadership teams,” says Michael Morhardt, Gartner’s Group Vice President for Worldwide Events Sales. “We’re on track to beat the CIO attendance record we set last year. We’ll have 1,500 CIOs on-site, which is pretty remarkable when you consider the travel restrictions most enterprises have in place right now.
“Symposium/ITxpo is simply the largest gathering of CIOs in the world,” Mr. Morhardt points out. And, he adds, “Nearly half of those CIOs don’t attend any other IT event. Any industry player who wants to connect with these IT leaders really has no choice but to be in Orlando.”
The Symposium/ITxpo attendees also represent a huge cross-section of enterprises and industry segments, with 77 percent belonging to large IT organizations and 94 percent playing an active role in product/service purchasing decisions. Together, these people influence more than $100 billion a year in total IT spending, and bring a wealth of shared IT expertise and business knowledge that can’t be expressed in dollars and cents.
The ITxpo show floor is designed with industry “heavy hitters” in mind, too. Gartner deliberately avoids the glitz and glamour of most trade shows, and delivers a professional-looking presentation and a “level playing field” for technology providers. Attendees are looking not for marketing hype, but for real-world solutions to their critical business issues.
Two new features in particular stand out:
• Magic Quadrant (MQ) presentations — Analysts present an up-close-and-personal version of one of Gartner’s most-sought-after research products, and attendees can interact directly with the covered vendors.
• Cool Vendors area — Attendees have consistently told Gartner that they want to engage with up-and-coming IT providers, and a dedicated area for Cool Vendors makes that simple and convenient.
The bottom line: New content, improved presentation and unparalleled opportunities to network with business and technology leaders are ensuring that Gartner Symposium/ITxpo remains the world’s premiere IT event for the 19th straight year.