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19 Mar 2019

As you will probably know if you follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn, I recently attended The ITAM Review's US Conference in St Petersburg, Florida, as guest speaker and to deliver a training course in VMware licensing.  First things first, credit to the ITAM Review team for the photo associated with this blog; it was taken in the middle of my interactive workshop on aligning ITAM processes with PMO and BAU driven data centre change on day 1.  I was fortunate enough to have a full house for that session and to receive some very positive feedback.  The week didn't start off so well though.

The day before the conference I was due to deliver a full-day training course on VMware licensing.  Unfortunately, the night before, when I was making some final adjustments to the slide deck (because I'm a perfectionist and won't ever be satisfied with anything I create), my trusty Surface Laptop suffered a critical error.  It boots to the Microsoft splash screen and no further.  To my, probably out of date, technical knowledge, it appeared that the laptop was no longer recognising the hard drive.  Oops.

Cue near meltdown.  Luckily, I did have a fairly recent back up on my business One Drive so, with the support of the ITAM Review team and a loan of one of their laptops for the day, I was able to deliver the training with only a couple of slides missing.  These we made up for by examining the actual documents which the missing slides had been about.  Training successfully delivered, with a huge dose of luck and some very understanding delegates.

On the morning of day 1 of the conference, I then found myself zooming off to Walmart to buy a cheapish Windows 10 tablet as an emergency replacement for my laptop, to enable me to continue to work for the rest of the week.  Whilst there, I found myself near the yarn aisle (or wool, if you're in the UK).  My wife is a keen crocheter, if that's the right word, and had specifically requested that I get her some yarn while in the US, as it's about half the price she'd pay in the UK for the same brands.  So there I am, in the middle of a technical emergency, skyping my wife from Walmart in St Petersburg to see if their yarn would be acceptable!

I made it back in time for my process session, which received excellent feedback from the delegates who attended, and managed to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing at other speakers' sessions, when I wasn't configuring my new tablet.  And there were some truly excellent sessions on offer - personally I attended Scott Bickley's session on Salesforce contracts and Rebecca Horton's on managing open source software, both subjects about which I learnt a lot last week.

On day 2, I had another workshop of my own to deliver, this time on datacentre technology to help non-technical delegates to understand what they needed to know for licensing and enable them to interact with the technologists and architects in their organisations.  Again, I was pleased to receive some excellent feedback.  Once more there were excellent sessions and speakers on offer, including Rich GibbonsMatt TurnerDoug Rabold and Franco Powers, discussing things as diverse as a review of the ITAM world in 2018, taking a firm line in support renewals, playing EA poker with Microsoft and intelligent discovery.  All fascinating subjects, all well delivered.

It was a really good conference, hosted in a city and state that I had never previously visited, and with a lot of really engaging and enthusiastic delegates in attendance.  On a final note, I've also changed my twitter handle off the back of an incident whilst in Florida.  I've been called many things by Starbucks over the years, particularly in London, where many coffee shop workers are not native English speakers.  In St Petersburg, on the last morning, I was served by a perfectly amicable young American native English speaker...and clearly my accent is so bad that they still got my name wrong; and so @Baron_ITAM was born.  I think it works...


I'm already looking forward to the next few conferences but, as ever, please do get in touch if we can help you with anything IT asset management related.