That’s a Wrap… and Repackage!

That’s a Wrap… and Repackage!

29 May 2017

After a decade-long journey started with a one-day conference in Chicago and has continued since, IBM has – in a move that should surprise nobody – decided to merge Vision (along with ALL their major user conferences) into a single show going forward in 2018.

This new show will be called “Think” – here’s what the IBM event page says about it:

“Think about it…AI, Cloud, Data, IoT, and Security. They have merged in your world… and they have in ours too. That’s why we’re excited to announce a first ever event that reflects the way you do business: Think 2018. Bringing together all of IBMs global conferences including World of Watson and InterConnect to form the technology industry’s most important event.”

After the acquisition of Clarity, Vision was modified to include IBM’s other FPM products, but the focus remained essentially the same. As IBM acquired more companies such as OpenPages and Varicent, they were added to Vision and the content would to shift toward the newest and greatest thing.

Despite these changes, Vision’s greatest value was its relatively narrow focus. It featured a subset of IBM’s product portfolio, and was more end-user focused. Of course, there were technical sessions and breakouts, but most of the content was aimed at end users, and the attendees of Vision reflected this.

So, what does this change mean? Here are a few thoughts from the perspective of FPM:

  • This show will be enormous. Oracle already does this with OpenWorld – and it’s overwhelming. IBM’s product offerings reach far and wide – data storage, fraud/compliance, FPM, business intelligence, security and the newest darling – cognitive computing.
  • The show is scheduled for March. The obvious problem here is many North Americans are taking spring break vacations, and when most public companies are in ramping up for the quarter. This will make Think a harder conference for finance end users to attend, and will make travel to Las Vegas much more expensive.
  • This is just speculation, but FPM was a small part of WoW (World of Watson), often recycling content from Vision. If this continues to be the case with Think, the show will have less appeal to finance users, but we’ll have to wait for the first show to see.

Although it’s sad to see Vision come to an end, it was inevitable given IBM’s strategic shift towards cognitive computing, not to mention the logistical overhead of running multiple major conferences each year. IBM has been putting a great deal of focus on Watson, which draws more attention to areas where cognitive computing offers the greatest value such as big data, the internet of things, etc.

What FPM looks like for IBM in 2018 remains to be seen.

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