Gartner EA Summit, London 09 May 2011

From left: Brian Burke (Research VP, Gartner), Robin Meehan (CTO, Smart421), Drew Fettes as Manuel, Johnny Hansler as Basil Fawlty, Neil Miles (MD, Smart421), Julie Short (Research Director, Gartner). Photo by kind permission of Jim Templeton-Cross

During 2010, Smart421 decided it was time to take a stronger position on thought leadership and increase our brand awareness. We wanted to be mentioned in market research reports and appear at high-level events. We set to work to develop a good rapport with Gartner, known worldwide for their research and analysis of the IT market at an enterprise level. They enjoy significant influence providing reports, events and consultancy designed to help people evaluate and decide on technologies and suitable suppliers.

Smart421 has already started delivering briefings to Gartner analysts and is sponsoring two key Gartner summit events in 2011. More : http://bit.ly/b2qEPX

Our first event was the Gartner Entreprise Architecture Summit [website] which took place 09-10 May at the Park Plaza Westminter Bridge, London.  Gartner delivered a very high quality audience exceeding 300 people, 34% of whom were UK delegates. Smart421 was represented by our management team Neil Miles (MD), Robin Meehan (CTO), Martin Brazill (Director of Sales & Marketing). We also invested in deploying a team including Lead Consultant with specialisation is EA, as well as Customer Account Managers. No doubt Smart421’s CTO will be blogging about the conference sessions, which included Brian Burke’s key theme of “gamification” which had delegates buzzing during conversations I had (and some I overheard) during lunch and other refreshment breaks on day one.

Dinner at Fawlty Towers

From left: Drew Fettes as Manuel, Johnny Hansler as Basil Fawlty. Photo by kind permission of Jim Templeton-Cross

Day one also saw a Networking Reception which provided a informal place for delegates to meet sponsors, talk shop and reflect on the day. After a full day of conference sessions, delegates and analysts alike emerged looking to be entertained and to enjoy some hospitality. Smart421 stepped up to the mark and, even though it was our  inaugrual summit, we managed to pitch it just right with a stand flowing with goodies and our “Dinner at Fawlty Towers” theme, thanks to our comedy duo look-alikes courtesy of Laughlines.

Not that Smart421 can be compared in any respect to a shabby hotel in Torquay run by a maniac, but feedback indicated that people liked the fact we were very approachable, different from the crowd and didn’t take ourselves too seriously. Now that sounds like Smart421 to me.

The Tattinger champagne went down rather well, so did the fresh strawberries from Alder Carr and our Suffolk Cupcakes were a big hit.

Gartner organisation was top notch, the Park Plaza Westinster Bridge staff very efficient, our fellow sponsors very friendly and, perhaps most importantly, the delegates seemed to really appreciate the entire 2-day event.

Photos by kind permission of Jim Templeton-Cross