By Emily Johnson, Digital Content Editor, InformationWeek
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 pro. The Interop conference, long devoted to those in infrastructure, 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.
This year’s event covers a range of topics; in addition to infrastructure, conference content emphasizes 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 last 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 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.
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, 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. Sub-themes called “conference journeys” dig deeper into newer topic areas such as IoT, as well as more traditional topics like networking, storage and wireless.
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 30×30 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.”
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. They must also build and foster relationships with groups in their organizations 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 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.
SPECIAL NOTE: Interop ITX is offering the Packet Pushers community a 20% discount on any pass for the 2017 Las Vegas show. Register today with the Promo Code: PACKETPUSHERS to receive the discount.