From Information on Demand to Insight to World of Watson comes IBM’s newest mega conference: IBM Think.
Now, navigating the IBM Think website and finding the information you actually need to get yourself there can be tricky so here’s a step-by-step guide.
1) Figure out the basic information.
What is IBM Think?
A four-day conference for “those who seek inspiration and education, reinvention and innovation.” Basically, it’s a place to go if you are part of a business looking for the most innovative products in your market or if you’re a technology vendor that wants to get your innovative products in front of prospective clients.
Is it Still an ECM (Enterprise Content Management) Conference?
Yes! Although the name and format are different, there will still be ECM vendors there. Read more about this in point #3 – Business & AI Campus.
Who Will Be There?
IBM predicts there will be over 40,000 attendees falling into these categories:
- IT Professionals 27%
- IT Manager 22%
- Line of Business Executive/Manager 15%
- IT Executive 12%
- Consultant/Developer/Other 11%
- C-Level Executive 9%
- Line of Business Professional 4%
Location: Mandalay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
2) Check your calendar.
Date: Monday, March 19 – Thursday, March 22, 2018. Calendar look full?
The average high temperature in Vegas in March is a comfortable 69°.
Wow, look how quickly you were able to move things around!
3) Determine which IBM THINK “campus” you’d fall into.
Don’t freak out. I know the word “campus” makes it seem like IBM Think will be big and scary with intimidating seniors, but you can stop your traumatic high school/college flashback right there.
There will be four campuses with the intent of bringing your interests directly to you (I.e. making a big show feel a little smaller by putting you in a relevant campus).
Each campus will have a theater, community networking spaces, think tanks, exhibitors, demonstrations, and most importantly, food and drinks.
Question it Will Address: How do I gain a unique advantage from data delivered on a cloud built for business?
Focus Areas: Cloud, data management, business analytics, unified governance, data science
Cloud & Data Expert to Look Out for: Maya Leibman, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer for American Airlines
Question it Will Address: How do I engineer the right infrastructure with cloud and AI to support my business?
Focus Areas: Power systems, IBM Z mainframes, storage, IBM LinuxONE
Question it Will Address: How do I make the right security decisions to safeguard my business?
Focus Areas: Disaster prevention and recovery, cloud, security tools
Expert to Look Out for: Sridhar Muppidi, IBM Fellow, CTO for Information Risk & Protection
Question it Will Address: How do I design and deliver business solutions that leverage AI across industries and professions?
Expert to Look Out for: Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Industry Platforms
Focus Areas: Watson, Watson Financial, Watson Health, IoT, customer engagement, collaboration, ECM solutions, insurance and banking solutions, capture
This is where you’ll find us! At booth #710 we will be showing how you can take ECM to a whole new level with our Pyramid eXpeditor product suite that eliminates content chaos so you can write better business faster.
4) Start having conversations with your manager and colleagues about attending.
Here’s a handy justification letter that IBM wrote for you to use if you need a little help convincing your boss.
5) Once you get the green light, register.
There are all sorts of registration options that would be silly for me to go over because you can read them here. Basically, don’t register day-of.
Side note: What the Heck is Think Academy?
Think Academy is just a fancy name for training courses. If you are on the more technical side of things at your organization, the Think Academy is a place to register for labs, certification tests and training opportunities. Need to get certified? Here’s a “Guide to Achieving IBM Professional Certification.”
6) Book your hotel and flight.
There are at least a dozen hotel options. I recommend staying at Mandalay Resort & Casino, Delano Las Vegas, Excalibur (the one that looks like a castle) or Luxor Las Vegas (the one that is a giant pyramid) because they’re the shortest walking distance to Mandalay.
**Pause for packing tip.**
Make sure you pack comfy walking shoes – you won’t fool anyone by saying those four-inch stilettos aren’t hurting your feet. If you need to invest in some, check out Vionic (men and women’s shoes) or Aerosoles (only for the ladies).
7) Get connected to the event and its speakers.
Download the IBM Events app. From there you’ll be able to login to Think 2018.
Follow all the keynote speakers (and @PyramidECM of course) on social media and use #ibmthink. Tag @ibmlive in your tweets and anxiously wait for your tweet to get liked or retweeted by someone famous or important.
8) Arrange your meetings ahead of time.
With 40,000+ people in attendance, you shouldn’t bank on running into the exhibitors, clients or attendees you want to speak to. Reach out them via email or try direct messaging them on LinkedIn to set up some meetings for while you’re there. If you want to meet with anyone on our team, let us know.
9) Start practicing the “Irish Goodbye.”
At big events like this, you always end up getting invited to some party or networking event. Some are a blast and some are a bore. For the latter, you’ll need to be a master at the Irish Goodbye (a stealthy way of leaving a party without anyone noticing).
10) Plan your transportation.
At least decide which ride service you’ll use so you’re not frantically picking a ride line at the airport. Did you know there’s Lyft for Work?
Ugh, this is my least favorite pre-show to-do item. You have to look professional, but the IBM Think website says suits and ties aren’t necessary. You need to look sharp, but also be comfortable for a long day that includes a wide range of room temperatures, walking under the Vegas sun into AC-blasting buildings, nervous sweating, and lots of standing.
Here’s a list of things to pack that I stole from a prior blog:
- Easy-to-layer clothes. Conference rooms tend to either make you feel like you’re about to lose all your appendages to frostbite or that you just lost five pounds from sweating. Pack clothes for either end of the thermometer.
- Walking shoes
- A day bag. Your IBM Think bag should be the equivalent of a climber’s Mount Everest backpack. Who knows what could happen. Here are some easily forgotten items that you’ll thank us for later:
- Deodorant – Don’t be that person in the crowded elevator and conference room.
- Tide To Go pen. Shout out to the people who like food so much that sometimes they decide to wear it.
- Extra shirt – you never know.
- Band-aids for those who don’t pack the second essential item in this packing list.
- Ibuprofen for mornings after evenings when you thought you were as resilient as you were in college.
- Water – we’re in the middle of the desert.
- Extra pens and paper if not being eco-friendly is your thing.
- Phone charger because if it dies it’ll be the end of the world.
- Computer. Duh.
- Computer charger (see reasoning two bullet points up).
- Safety pins – #wardrobemalfunction #janetjackson #crisisaverted
- Snacks – no one likes talking to a hangry person.
- EXTRA business cards – you forget to pack extras every year. Tell Siri right now to remind you when you get home.
12) Get PUMPED to see Barenaked Ladies, The Chainsmokers AND Train.
If you’re asking what this absurd string of words is, they are three bands that are performing at the conference on Wednesday evening. If you’re familiar with the bands and are as excited as I am, then let’s take a moment to celebrate.
Okay, moment over. If you want to pretend like you’re with the times and be able to sing along to some of their songs, check out their music here:
Okay, that was a lot of info. Hopefully it helped organize your thoughts instead of make you feel more frantic. Ultimately, no one knows exactly what IBM Think will look like since this is the first of its kind. With the speakers and sessions IBM has lined up though, there’s no doubt that it’ll be a great experience.
If you see me at the Pyramid Solutions booth (I’ll be manning it full-time. Woot woot!) and stop by and tell me that you read this blog, you’ll get a special gift.
See you there!
About the Author: Something I love about working in the Marketing Department at Pyramid Solutions is how many fun and different things we get to do. We have the freedom to express our creativity and test ideas. Outside of work, I currently spend my free time trying to achieve a specialist diploma in social media marketing.