Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Time to talk?

As I prepare for this year’s HP Discover I will take every advantage of the downtime afforded – but “come Monday”, as Jimmy Buffett wrote, “California has worn me quite thin, I just can’t wait to see you again!”

The commencement of HP Discover is now only days away. Registration will happen even sooner, and already I have arrived in Las Vegas. It’s a little earlier than when I normally show up, but I have combined participation at HP Discover with the Memorial Day long weekend and given that the drive to Southern California and Nevada took place back-to-back with participating in events in Nashville, Tennessee, spending a couple of quiet days before the multitudes arrive is a welcome distraction.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that I posted of how we had entertained comForte’s America’s sales team and of the products that will be featured in displays, with collateral, on the comForte booth. “SecurData, the uLinga product suite, and J6530 Touch will take center stage as far as visible promotion from the booth is concerned,” I had explained in that post of May 13, 2012, “Nice to see you!” And of course, expectations are running high for a solid turn out by the NonStop community and that the typical buzz we have seen so many times will again be present on the stands and in the booths that are an integral part of the exhibition that anchors the event.

However, it’s not solely about the products or the trash and trinkets on offer. It’s just as much about the people, and as in years before, comForte is making a sizeable investment to ensure as many of the comForte executives and management will be on hand. Yes, comForte CEO, Dr. Michael Rossbach will be present and I am always impressed when those at the very top of a company can pull back from their daily routines just to spend time with the NonStop community – there’s simply no substitute for first-hand face-to-face participation.

“There’s a lot of planning that goes into participating at these major events; whether it’s the signage or the crafting of the message or even the sponsorships and social gatherings to be supported,” explained comForte marketing head, Thomas Gloerfeld,  the amount of effort the company puts into participating on a large scale cannot be easily discounted. “It is a major investment but one we happily make each year; after all, we really do want to hear the NonStop community openly discussing their plans and looking for products and solutions that frequently align with our core competencies.”

This year, comForte together with other vendors from the NonStop community will participate in athe NonStop Vendor Reception at the Venetian’s Grand Lux Café, Palazzo, followed by the CONNECT community reception at Gilley’s at Treasure Island - as I recall, kicking off a few hours later at 8:00pm. And don’t expect to see me too formal that night as I have earmarked that’s night’s festivities as the occasion when I will wear my new Fools for NonStop T Shirt, co-sponsored by comForte.

Also present at the event will be comForte CTO, Thomas Burg, who has been extremely earnest with his intentions about participating at HP Discover. “We are very customer focused,” Burg explained “with the experience we have and the solutions we have developed to date, we really like to sit down with real-world customers to more fully understand genuine requirements. There are many times where it is extremely beneficial for the company to know exactly what it is that a customer required without any dilution or distraction that may occur as messages filter through many channels. In the past, this has been among our best sources for customer intelligence and for getting a real sense about their priorities.”

Among the dozen or so comForte participants present will be others whose products are distributed by comForte and when it comes to Infrasoft, comForte also provided the initial early financing to help get the product developed. Infrasoft Managing Director, Peter Shell, will be close by throughout the event and with the recent wins, as covered in last week’s post, “Wins, and more wins!” Shell will be more than happy to talk communications, networking and application to application services with any and all from the NonStop community particularly now, that following the last past yet another NonStop customer purchased uLinga. And this time, it was a former SNAX user.

And it is the diversity that I find the most appealing aspect of participating in these major events put on by HP. As Gloerfeld told me, “in terms of dollars invested, there really is no substitute for these kind of gatherings. Sure they can be a little overwhelming at times, even somewhat intimidating and yet, this is where you hear of HP’s product roadmaps, about customers doing exciting projects involving NonStop and where honestly, a true sense of the vibrancy of the NonStop community can be gauged.”  Yes, it’s time to talk, but equally as important, it’s time to listen as well.

HP has invited me to the event as part of an initiative in support of blogging and I will be encouraged to post and tweet on everything I see. And to make things even more interesting, I have become the SIG leader for Clouds and I have to believe that will pull in many interested parties as well, even though it’s being held late in the week. Yes, there will be opportunity for me to have face time with a number of HP executives and you will be able to read about them in the blog, Real Time View, with some updates likely appearing here in comForte Lounge.

I am often asked how the marketplace for NonStop is doing and about my predictions for where the growth of the community will come from, I nearly always reflect on what I last saw at a major event. Hopefully this event will be every bit as encouraging as all those that have been held in prior years. For the moment though, as the clock continues to wind down I am going to relax as much as I can in the days that remain – see you all at HP Discover and safe travels!

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