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Colleagues,

A vendor would like to hear from CIOs and IT leaders about the Educause Conference.  Many of us appreciate the contribution of vendors to the value of the conference.  I, for one, make an effort to visit and spend time on the vendor floor. 

In your view,  what would you like to see from IT hardware/software vendors at the Educause Conference?


For a company that is new to higher ed, what should they know about presenting to and reaching out to campus IT leaders in a conference setting?


 

--
Theresa Rowe
Chief Information Officer
Oakland University
 
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

Theresa

I also spend a fair amount of time on the vendor floor. I view Educause as the perfect opportunity to assess the impact of the trends in higher education. I look for new entrants into an emerging market space.  For example, this year I will use it as an opportunity to assess the vendors in the cloud computing market.  For me, the focus shifts based on campus needs and emerging trends.  Sometimes I am interested in advances in security or network technology or how the distance education market is changing. 

I welcome a exciting and expansive vendor exhibit floor. 

Jeannie 


Sent from my iPad

Walking around the floor, it's hard sometimes to discern exactly what a particular product or service actually does. Reading a placard telling me that a product is my "cloud-based collaborative BYOD strategic massively online pedagogical solution" is more intimidating than enticing. I like to see displays that make it easy to figure out what the tool is for; then I'll approach and ask questions about how it accomplishes the task, what the costs are, etc.

In other words, please: eschew obfuscation.

Robert Goffeney
Senior Director, Enterprise Systems
Eastern Michigan University
rgoffene@emich.edu
734-487-3428

From: "Theresa Rowe" <rowe@OAKLAND.EDU>
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Sent: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 5:03:01 PM
Subject: [CIO] Educause conference and vendors

Colleagues,

A vendor would like to hear from CIOs and IT leaders about the Educause Conference.  Many of us appreciate the contribution of vendors to the value of the conference.  I, for one, make an effort to visit and spend time on the vendor floor. 

In your view,  what would you like to see from IT hardware/software vendors at the Educause Conference?


For a company that is new to higher ed, what should they know about presenting to and reaching out to campus IT leaders in a conference setting?


 

--
Theresa Rowe
Chief Information Officer
Oakland University
 
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.


********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

My preference is that vendors should have thought leaders and functional experts available on site. I need to know ‘what the thing does’.  Sales staff offer little to no value.

Scheduling off-floor meetings has always been a benefit for me.

 

Steve

 

From: Theresa Rowe [mailto:rowe@OAKLAND.EDU]
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 5:03 PM
Subject: Educause conference and vendors

 

Colleagues,

A vendor would like to hear from CIOs and IT leaders about the Educause Conference.  Many of us appreciate the contribution of vendors to the value of the conference.  I, for one, make an effort to visit and spend time on the vendor floor. 

In your view,  what would you like to see from IT hardware/software vendors at the Educause Conference?

 

For a company that is new to higher ed, what should they know about presenting to and reaching out to campus IT leaders in a conference setting?

 

 

--
Theresa Rowe
Chief Information Officer
Oakland University
 
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

I really wanted to bite my tongue on this one but both Steve and Bob have hit the nail on the head….the Vendor Hall reminds me of a Car Show or a carnival with side show acts, magicians, even the occasional spiked-heeled-tightly-clad temptress…..Oh and “sign up to win gizmos” so I get cold called all next year….The suggestions Steve and Bob have made are germane. If I have a need, or as someone said, if I’m looking for trends I go to a specific location/vendor to find out from them what’s up….

 

I don’t like being hi-jacked while walking down the aisle by fast talking sale persons that may have breadth of knowledge but no depth… just like I don’t like it at a shopping mall….I suppose some people are OK with that and that’s fine for them…

 

So there is value by having a trade show and one need to figure a way to take advantage for their institution, without being taken advantage of…. Oh one last thing, the putting lunch on the back side of the vendors space so one is forced to walk through them is pretty tacky. Understandable but tacky…..

 

Dr. Robert Paterson

Vice President – Information Technology, Planning and Research

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY

 

Put on your vendor hat for a moment.

Educause (and all trade shows) charge a hefty fee to set up a booth.  If you have never traveled with equipment, let me tell you, its not fun.  They spend DAYS traveling, setting up, etc to try to get 5 minutes with you.

The vendor stands there watching the crowd go by, all trying desperately not to make eye contact for fear of a sales pitch.

The vendors paycheck depends upon product or services sales - they have to make it worthwhile economically so they fill their booth with products, displays, gizmos and give-a-ways - hoping beyond hope that someone other than their existing customers who stop by to say "hi" will give them a few minutes to present their wares...  

They go home with a pile of business cards dropped in a fishbowl or scanned by the scavenger hunters looking for the "stamp" so they can win some prize - who have no intention of buying anything.  Follow up calls are not returned.....  despair.

then the flyer for the next opportunity to set up a booth comes in, and the process starts all over again...  

I have served on vendor liaison committees with another higher ed group - and it was a conundrum we failed to solve.  I do know this, complaining about the vendors who fund these events is not productive.  We need dialogue as to how to make the events valuable for everyone involved.
--
 
Ron Walczak    PMP, RCDD, CWNA/CWSP
Walczak Technology Consultants, Inc
(724) 865-2740

"Worry looks around; sorry looks back; faith looks up; virtue looks forward" - Unknown

"Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act." -  Dietrich Bonhoeffer 

"The great aim of education is not knowledge but action." - Herbert Spencer

Anyone can count the seeds in an apple;
but only God can count the apples in a seed
.

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

I think the vendor presence is a big plus

One thing vendors can do is identify customers of their products. If we are interested we can likely find someone from the institution at Educause and talk with them directly about their experience.

What I would like to see is less sales and more product managers present ( or at least a better balance ). The vendor conference is a great place for vendors to hear from their customers about what they like and need. 

Finally, I loved the startup section of the vendor floor. There is tremendous innovation occurring in the educational technology sector and it is great to encourage this.

Jack Suess
UMBC Division of Information Technology (DoIT)

Message from bauer.rick@gmail.com

As a vendor of certification exams and a former CIO, I would like to see organizations push back on inappropriate dress as a come-on at a trade show. As someone who attends and speaks at way too many of these things, I think its shameful and degrading that we still have vestiges of the "booth babe" approach to product sales and marketing. It's horrifically demeaning to an industry that cannot create better gender diversity (wow, is there a connection here?), and it is embarrassing for those vendors who respect their female colleagues and don't pressure them to dress provocatively. If enough people pushed back, things would change. I fear we are actually headed the other way, at least in the tech shows (VMworld, Storage Network World, Cloud Expo (NY), RSA (San Fran).....a retro "Mad Men" approach, as it were.

Not singling out EDUCAUSE out for any special ire here, but every association having a gig like this should have a dress code expectation of business-appropriate wear, and penalties including removal for breach.

I really thought we were done with COMDEX last century, but apparently some people think you still need this come-on.

Rick Bauer, CompTIA


On , Jack Suess <jack@umbc.edu> wrote:
> I think the vendor presence is a big plus
>
>
> One thing vendors can do is identify customers of their products. If we are interested we can likely find someone from the institution at Educause and talk with them directly about their experience.
>
>
> What I would like to see is less sales and more product managers present ( or at least a better balance ). The vendor conference is a great place for vendors to hear from their customers about what they like and need. 
>
>
> Finally, I loved the startup section of the vendor floor. There is tremendous innovation occurring in the educational technology sector and it is great to encourage this.
>
> Jack SuessUMBC Division of Information Technology (DoIT)
>
>
>

You read my mind! Telling me very simply what a product does helps me make a decision to linger because there’s potential value for my organization, or to move on to the next display.  Of course, maybe that’s an incentive for a vendor to be obscure…

 

Linda

 

 

Linda D. Hilton, Chief Information Officer

Vermont State Colleges

802.224.3025

Linda.hilton@vsc.edu

PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This message is for the designated recipient only and may contain privileged, confidential, or otherwise private information. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the original. Any other use of an email received in error is prohibited.

 

 

 

I will say that much of what I do is gardening.  I stopped dropping off cards and scanning my name, because I thought it unethical if I knew I didn't have the budget to buy something.  But I do need to be aware of what is out there for sale.  So I view the floor as tending a knowledge garden.  I took photos (with my cell phone) of key exhibits to review and check out web sites when I got back (rather than badge scanning or leaving cards).

I have also brought our university Director of Purchasing to Educause for the past couple years.  She spends a lot of time on the vendor floor and she attends a lot of vendor demos.  She has commented that this enables her to keep a much larger portfolio of vendors for bidding.  She also likes to know all the products, so when departments contact her to buy, she can also inform them about other options that perhaps they missed.

Theresa

Last few conferences I've taken our university Director of Purchasing, and she LOVES the ven

Ron, I too have been on both sides of the booths.  My experience as a vendor wasn't quite as horrific as yours, it was actually quite enjoyable. But that was years ago.

Perhaps the problem is with the pressure a company imposes on it's reps to "get a sale" in these venues today?  (I dunno)

While I love getting some free stuff / swag as much as the next person, it ultimately doesn't help the vendor nor the customer.  While at the Banner Summit Conference months ago, I found myself having to stand in line for for over 30 minutes to get some basic information on a product I was interested in, just because the vendor  setup a cheesy Slot Machine with cheap payout gifts.  Once I got there, the rep couldn't answer even the most basic questions, and offered to have someone call me.  That is just one example, other vendors did similar ridiculous things that kept those of us really interested from making contact.  Do you think ANY of those vendors got a single sell, or did they just deal with gift mongers?

Remember, banks used to give out free toasters and such to get you to sign up to their bank, until they realized that everyone with $25 bucks just keep going from bank to bank to get the latest freebie.  I believe most vendors today fall into that old trap at conferences.  In other words, companies seem to think about these events in terms of how many contacts did we get, as opposed to how many relationships did we make.


On 10/10/2012 11:22 AM, Ron Walczak wrote:
Put on your vendor hat for a moment.

Educause (and all trade shows) charge a hefty fee to set up a booth.  If you have never traveled with equipment, let me tell you, its not fun.  They spend DAYS traveling, setting up, etc to try to get 5 minutes with you.

The vendor stands there watching the crowd go by, all trying desperately not to make eye contact for fear of a sales pitch.

The vendors paycheck depends upon product or services sales - they have to make it worthwhile economically so they fill their booth with products, displays, gizmos and give-a-ways - hoping beyond hope that someone other than their existing customers who stop by to say "hi" will give them a few minutes to present their wares...  

They go home with a pile of business cards dropped in a fishbowl or scanned by the scavenger hunters looking for the "stamp" so they can win some prize - who have no intention of buying anything.  Follow up calls are not returned.....  despair.

then the flyer for the next opportunity to set up a booth comes in, and the process starts all over again...  

I have served on vendor liaison committees with another higher ed group - and it was a conundrum we failed to solve.  I do know this, complaining about the vendors who fund these events is not productive.  We need dialogue as to how to make the events valuable for everyone involved.
--
 
Ron Walczak    PMP, RCDD, CWNA/CWSP
Walczak Technology Consultants, Inc
(724) 865-2740

"Worry looks around; sorry looks back; faith looks up; virtue looks forward" - Unknown

"Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act." -  Dietrich Bonhoeffer 

"The great aim of education is not knowledge but action." - Herbert Spencer

Anyone can count the seeds in an apple;
but only God can count the apples in a seed
.

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

I have been fortunate to have spent half of my career in higher education and the other half working in education in the technology sector.  I have to say, there are many more similarities between the two than one might initially imagine.

 

Early in my academic career I was the Director of Admissions and Financial Aid for an MBA program.  I can tell you that the description of the exhibit area at EDUCUASE is very close to the experience at a MBA Forum where scores of programs are vying for the attention of prospective students.

 

As a father of a recent college graduate and another who is a high school senior, the mail in our mailbox increased five-fold after they took the SAT.  While there were no cold calls, we did get a plethora of unsolicited college brochures, catalogues and letters as well as a few emails.

 

Just like the MBA Forums and the College Fairs, the exhibitor area at EDUCAUSE is designed to create awareness, start conversations and make contacts.  The level of noise (at least for me) makes it difficult to have an in-depth conversation but it has provided the opportunity to have many interesting follow-on conversations to the benefit of both me and the EDUCAUSE attendee.

 

While I will not be “working” the Microsoft booth, I will be attending EDUCAUSE as an attendee and look forward to joining you in some of the sessions and perhaps having side conversations on innovative uses of technology in higher education.

 

Cordially,

 

Jim

James Garner Ptaszynski, Ph.D.

Senior Director, World Wide Higher Education

WW Public Sector – Education | Partners in Learning | Microsoft Corporation

T: +1.425.703.6890 | F: +1.425.936.7329 |

jimp@microsoft.com

www.pil-network.com\TEI

www.microsoft.com\pilhighered

 

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Theresa Rowe
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 9:53 AM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [CIO] Educause conference and vendors

 

I will say that much of what I do is gardening.  I stopped dropping off cards and scanning my name, because I thought it unethical if I knew I didn't have the budget to buy something.  But I do need to be aware of what is out there for sale.  So I view the floor as tending a knowledge garden.  I took photos (with my cell phone) of key exhibits to review and check out web sites when I got back (rather than badge scanning or leaving cards).

I have also brought our university Director of Purchasing to Educause for the past couple years.  She spends a lot of time on the vendor floor and she attends a lot of vendor demos.  She has commented that this enables her to keep a much larger portfolio of vendors for bidding.  She also likes to know all the products, so when departments contact her to buy, she can also inform them about other options that perhaps they missed.

Theresa

Last few conferences I've taken our university Director of Purchasing, and she LOVES the ven

I am sure that if there were no vendors, there would probably be no conference or at least a much much smaller one.  I think the vendor hall is what you make of it.   I try to set up appointments with key vendors and have those in-depth product or support or service discussions.   I also window shop and see what else is out there.  My staff hates that part.  I always come back with "what ifs" and "how abouts".   I would much rather cruise the vendor hall than deal with the daily influx of vendor emails and phone calls (or phone calls followed by emails telling me about the phone call they made)!     Everyone wants 30 minutes of my time to hear about what problems I am trying to solve so they can convince me they are the ones with the solution to those pesky problems.   I could spend my entire day talking to vendors.  The ones that really annoy me (since I am now on a rant), are the ones who berate me for not responding to their email last week.   That sales person goes to the bottom of my list.

So at least at the conference – I can look someone in the eye and ask my questions, not answer theirs.  I am on my schedule and I can walk away at any time.   Possibly I can meet up with other people using the product or service, and if really cool, grab some swag for the staff left at home.

Julie

Julie Ouska
CIO/VP of IT
Interim Executive Director CCCOnline
Colorado Community College System
Julie.ouska@cccs.edu
(720) 858-2781 


From: Theresa Rowe <rowe@oakland.edu>
Reply-To: CIO List <CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 10:52 AM
To: CIO List <CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Subject: Re: [CIO] Educause conference and vendors

I will say that much of what I do is gardening.  I stopped dropping off cards and scanning my name, because I thought it unethical if I knew I didn't have the budget to buy something.  But I do need to be aware of what is out there for sale.  So I view the floor as tending a knowledge garden.  I took photos (with my cell phone) of key exhibits to review and check out web sites when I got back (rather than badge scanning or leaving cards).

I have also brought our university Director of Purchasing to Educause for the past couple years.  She spends a lot of time on the vendor floor and she attends a lot of vendor demos.  She has commented that this enables her to keep a much larger portfolio of vendors for bidding.  She also likes to know all the products, so when departments contact her to buy, she can also inform them about other options that perhaps they missed.

Theresa

Last few conferences I've taken our university Director of Purchasing, and she LOVES the ven


Another interesting thread--and, as is often the case, I find something I agree with in nearly every response.  Here's my take on the vendor floor: I'm really glad they're there, it's often a lot of fun to walk around and see the shiny toys.  But at the same time, I often feel like there's a disconnect between what the vendors seem to want and from what I (think I) want.
 
An important caveat: I can only speak to what *I* want, given my own job, priorities, and interests. I know, for instance, that several of my staff who have gone in the past feel quite differently than I do and use the vendor floor in very different ways.  In fact, my former network manager spent virtually the entire conference on the vendor floor, picking the brains of every vendor he either did business with or thought he might want to do business with. If it weren't for the vendor floor, he wouldn't have bothered to go to the conference at all.
 
That said, what I want from the vendor floor:
- a chance to do some general background industry data collection and research: of the vendors I'm already familiar with (particularly the big guys) -- what are they focusing their energies on currently, and what do they seem to be less interested in?  Of the vendors I'm not familiar with -- who are they, might they be a company to keep an eye on?
 
I do this mostly by walking around and observing; skimming the displays and picking up literature.  This is often easier said than done, because often as soon as you show the slightest bit of interest, the vendor rep "pounces."  Especially when they see the title on my name tag.  Sorry, but I hate the pounce.  (Word to the wise: although as CIO I sign the purchase requisition, I'm rarely the one who makes the actual vendor decision. I look to my very capable staff to do the bulk of the research and due diligence. I'll take their opinions, recommendations, and research much more seriously than a direct sales pitch from a vendor any day.  So in my case at least, the vendors are better off giving their attention to my staff than to me!)
 
- for a particular project in the wings, or a pain point for which I don't have a solution in mind yet: more research.  What vendors might have a solution?  Do the vendors I already work with have a solution for this particular issue?
 
I do this by selecting a handful of vendors to talk to, and by approaching them.  I usually start with the open-ended question "can you tell me a little about your product?" and, not unlike interviewing a job candidate, I have a pretty good sense if this is something I'm interested in learning more about within about 5 minutes. 
 
In general, I've had mixed luck with this approach.  Sometimes it works great.  But I've been surprised at how often the person attempting to answer my question asks no questions in return to guide their response and launches into a canned marketing spiel/demo that I then have to figure out how to extract myself from.   Or how often it leads to the vendor rep trying to convince me that I need their product to solve problem X, when I haven't mentioned that I have problem X, and, in fact, I don't. 
 
- for vendors with which I have an established relationship (my ERP, LMS, software reseller, etc) I like to stop by and say hello, hopefully see a familiar face, and do some basic relationship-building.  This consistently works well with some vendors and consistently fails with others.  A lot of it depends on who the vendor sends to the conference -- yes, you need some sales reps, but if you really care about higher ed, you'll send some senior management as well, and you'll make sure that the senior management spends time on the vendor floor, not just in meeting rooms all day.
 
Again, an interesting thread.  I hope I don't sound ungrateful: on the whole, I think the vendors' participation is one of the best features of the conference, and I'm always amazed at the number of vendors who come and the corresponding (dizzying) size of the exhibit floor.  I hope that hearing some of our perspectives will help vendors get the most value out of their participation.
 
Eric
 
--
Eric Bird
Vice President for Technology and Chief Information Officer
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
617-879-7878
 
Technology staff will NEVER ask for your password, particularly not by email.  Any request for it is a scam and should be ignored.
 
This is a very interesting thread and it's helped me see how I can make better use of my time on the vendor floor, so thanks to all for the thoughtful replies.

My primary need is to get cogent explanations of the product or service, without marketing hype, and with information that helps me quickly focus on how the product or service might benefit our university.  Marketing hype is noise to me and I have no patience for it.  

I'll add that vendor reps often seem to discount me due to gender, and are surprised to find out I'm the vp for IT.  Relationship management skills are a big plus for a rep.  Also, I'm more likely to spend time talking to a rep when the reps are dressed and act professionally and aren't engrossed in talking with each other (I've seen that too often).

I find the short demos very useful as long as the rep can respond to questions and stray off-script to show how the product handles a few specific needs.

Signage that quickly helps me determine the problem being solved is very helpful; buzzwords are not.

Regards,
Debi

-- 
Debra Hust Allison
Vice President for Information Technology & CIO
Miami University
Oxford, OH  45056
513.529.8338
allisodh@MiamiOH.edu