The top five reasons I’ve been going to IBM Vision for a decade

Director, Business Development, DisclosureNet

I’m going to this year’s IBM Vision conference, and it will be my tenth time attending in as many years. Having worked in this business for a long time, I’ve been to more than my fair share of trade shows, and I know it takes something special at events like these to keep people engaged year after year.

So what is it about Vision that keeps me coming back for more? The reasons abound, but I’ve distilled them into five core elements that I think not only characterize Vision, but are also the hallmarks for any exceptional corporate trade show.

1. People

One of the most valuable reasons to attend Vision is for the relationship-building opportunities. Not only are you guaranteed to meet like-minded peers in your industry, but you get exposure to inspiring stories told by the keynote speakers and time to meet with IBM executives and partners to learn more about how they can work with your company.

People from all over the world attend Vision, which extends the opportunity to learn beyond the geographic boundaries of North America. It provides attendees with a better understanding of financial performance management (FPM) practices around the globe. These interactions are always interesting and insightful, and in my experience the connections forged at Vision have resulted in long-term, solid business relationships.

2. Learning opportunities

Over the three days at Vision, product demos, best-practices sessions and expert panels provide exposure to a wealth of knowledge for attendees to soak in. Even a snippet of one presentation or a quick look at new software can provide valuable insight.

For me, the greatest takeaway is often hearing what others are doing with the FPM solutions—particularly IBM Cognos Disclosure Management (CDM) collaboration and process automation, the product that my team resells. Hearing real stories of how others use it and the associated benefits and return on investment (ROI) are stories that I can continue to tell as I help others increase efficiencies in their own processes.

3. Ongoing evolution

As business and technology evolve, so must conferences. Vision started as a peer FPM conference focused on budgeting, planning, forecasting and consolidations. As the industry changed, so did the conference. It has evolved to include emerging business processes such as disclosure management, risk management and sales compensation management.

This ongoing evolution at Vision is a win for attendees and exhibitors alike. It means new opportunities are always available to showcase and learn about cutting-edge solutions and best practices in the industry as it matures and faces increasing complexities.

4. Relevance

One fantastic effect of this evolution is that Vision also stays extremely relevant for growing businesses in this space. Each year, you can guarantee that something new will be brought to the table, and the agenda is responsive to the changing business climate for involved stakeholders. This flexibility is important to me and my colleagues because we can come together with our peers to discuss ideas around how to problem solve the latest issues and improve our business processes.

5. Fun!

Trade shows can be exhausting, so having some social activities to spice things up and take things outside of the business context for a little bit is always a nice touch. From opening receptions to themed off-site activities, Vision puts on some really impressive social events that get attendees out and about while experiencing fun local attractions. And who doesn’t enjoy a nice cold beverage and some entertainment after a day of learning and networking?

These five core reasons sum up why I believe IBM Vision is one of the top industry conferences. It truly offers something for everyone, which is why I’ve continued to attend throughout my career. This year I’m marking ten fantastic years at the Vision conference, and I hope to see you there. Register for IBM Vision 2015 today. If you can't be there in person, register for IBM VisionGO for live broadcasts of general sessions, keynotes, interviews, product demos and more.