Grab that roadshow

We all live in the Information Age and participate in the information economy, but for those who work in the field of information technology I’m betting you suffer from that modern condition called information overload. And the load is even heavier if you’re an IT professional with the added responsibility of managing your organisation’s information security.

The remedy is to ‘quantify and qualify’, to get the right info at the right time and to draw on information sources selectively. It is against this backdrop that vendors play the critical role of educator to their customer base.

From utilising the vendor’s Web site for product updates to staying one step ahead of the constantly evolving technology landscape, customers need support that goes beyond the technical as they grapple with the complexity of today’s business issues.

This truth really hit home last month when I packed my bags and joined Websense, Netscreen and Trend Micro in a national roadshow. Silly me — when ‘roadshow’ was first mentioned I imagined the excessive tours of 1970s rockstars with penthouse hotel suites and limousines.

But of course it was the usual ho hum corporate travel — delayed flights, conference food and a blur of hotel check-in counters across four time zones. The most important item to pack on these trips is a good sense of humour; thankfully my travelling partners had this in abundance.

So what motivates IT managers to allocate a precious half day to hearing vendor pitches? The endless need to stay up to date and informed. Many in the audience admitted they try to make vendor roadshows part of their regular routine regardless of whether they are a current customer or have any real intention of buying the product on display. They simply want to be briefed on current issues and strengthen their awareness of products.

More importantly, they need to be aware of emerging IT security threats and these events have proven to be a valuable resource.

IT professionals today recognise an armoury of knowledge is central to success in today’s competitive climate and are willing to use vendors as are valued resource.

Do you rely on vendors to stay ahead of the pack or do you source your information elsewhere? Drop me a line at

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