If you work in infrastructure, you understand how rapidly the technology landscape is changing, and how it is affecting the daily responsibilities of the IT professional. Long devoted to those in infrastructure, the Interop conference is spreading its wings and updating its name to reflect those changes, with a focus on helping IT managers and practitioners keep pace and expand their skill sets.
In addition to infrastructure, this year’s event covers a range of topics, including cloud computing, big data analytics, DevOps, cybersecurity and career development. Also embedded in the agenda are additional sub-topics – including the agile working model, internet of things, and inclusion in the workplace – that have brought change and disrupted IT departments over the past 10 years. The broad coverage of topics reflects the need for IT teams to bring experts from different disciplines together to build one cohesive strategy.
“I think most people would say Interop 10 years ago was only about infrastructure and networking, which were really important and remain really relevant to our conference still, but [we’re] broadening that out,” says Meghan Reilly, the new general manager of Interop ITX. “Seeing vendors and content related to...data analytics, DevOps, and some of these broader topics that in some cases didn’t exist [10 years ago]…really making sure that we’re covering the full stack IT in a way that’s comprehensive is a big difference.”
Reilly comes to Interop ITX from her role as chief administrative officer for Code For America, the non-profit organisation that helps government groups go digital. Prior to her work with Code For America, Reilly helped manage the popular Web 2.0 event series.
In order to build a conference programme that reflects today’s complex IT environment, Interop ITX installed a community review board to gain feedback on the 2016 event and guidance for the 2017 conference themes and content. Review board members work within the full spectrum of IT disciplines and include seasoned speakers, former track chairs, industry experts, InformationWeek editors, and long-time attendees.
During the five-day conference, taking place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, US, registrants can attend sessions across the outlined IT topics. Disruption in IT is also reflected in the event name. In a September press release, Interop said the addition of ITX to the Interop event name stands for “a conference that anticipates the X Factor: anyone or anything that can impact your business, your customers, or your market.”
The Interop ITX content and name aren’t the only aspects of the event that are getting a facelift. Interop ITX is embracing the role that start-ups and small to mid-size businesses play in the enterprise technology space by limiting booths on the business hall to a maximum size of 30 by 30 feet.
“We want to break that metric that the biggest booth means they’re the best, and level the playing field so that some smaller players can come in,” says Reilly. “There are so many interesting creative players out there that don’t require a big booth. We want to help foster those conversations and make sure we have a diversity of voices in the business hall as well as in our content.”
To deliver efficient and secure information services to employees, IT teams need understanding across a myriad of technologies and processes – old and new. They must also build and foster relationships with groups in their organisations they may never have spoken with before – groups like software development, business analytics, procurement, and finance. Reilly encourages this new view of the IT team through an emphasis on community at this year’s conference.
“Something that has been sort of baked through all of the planning cycle, including starting from the review board and making sure we’re getting external input, is really building a community,” says Reilly. “[Interop ITX] is a community of people that are coming together that are passionate about their roles and making their IT organizations run really well.”
IT isn’t only about networking and servers anymore, there are many layers to today’s IT strategy, and it takes a community.
Interop ITX will take place 15-19 May at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. View the agenda and check out all the new programming and networking opportunities happening at Interop this year here. Use promo code RECORD20 to save 20% off any pass.
Emily Johnson is the digital content editor at InformationWeek
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