The independently-run expo and conference for IT professionals and sister event to InformationWeek, Interop, has a new name, location, and approach to the content, with a focus on helping IT managers keep pace with the dramatic changes taking place in the enterprise tech sector. The 31-year old event, which has its roots in infrastructure and networking, will cover a broader range of topics this year, embracing the seeming daily shifts in the IT landscape that emphasizes cloud computing, big data analytics, DevOps, and cybersecurity.
“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 [at Interop this year].”
Reilly comes to Interop ITX from her role as chief administrative officer for Code For America, the non-profit organization that helps government groups go digital. Prior to her work with Code For America, Reilly helped manage the popular Web 2.0 event series -- a collaboration between UBM and O’Reilly Media -- which was known for attracting A-list tech giants to its speaking roster such as Steve Balmer, Jeff Bezos, Sheryl Sandberg, Eric Schmidt, and Mark Zuckerberg.
IT has changed dramatically over the last decade; shifting from a world where cloud was a fairly new concept, to one where refrigerators, printers, and phones can all connect to the cloud over the office network.
In order to build a conference program that reflects today’s complex IT environment, Interop ITX installed a community review board to provide 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 this year, registrants can attend sessions across six key IT topics. Some tracks continue to build on past themes, such as infrastructure and cloud computing, while new tracks, including DevOps and data & analytics, expand on the core challenges and opportunities that IT managers face in today’s dynamic workplace.
Embedded in each track and within the full, half day, and two-day workshops and summits are 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 last 10 years. None of these technologies and themes stand alone when it comes to IT. The broad coverage of topics reflects the need for IT teams to bring experts from different disciplines together to build one cohesive strategy.
Disruption in IT is also reflected in the event name. In its 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 startups and small to mid-size businesses (SMB) play in the enterprise technology space by limiting booths on the business hall to a maximum size of 30x30 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.”
IT takes a village. In order to deliver efficient and secure information services to employees, IT teams need understanding across a myriad of technologies and processes – old and new. Reilly encourages the village-built 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 May 15-19 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. To view the agenda and check out all the new programming and networking opportunities happening at Interop this year, visit http://www.interop.com.