The 2014 HDI Conference and Expo Resembled a Sardine Can

The 2014 HDI Conference and Expo Resembled a Sardine Can

The 2014 HDI Conference was packed.

Over 2300 IT service and technical support professionals squeezed into the 2014 HDI conference and expo this week in Orlando. There were clearly two sides to the event: thoughtful motivation and mind expansion mixed with practical information from Expo exhibitors.

On the conference side, five great speakers captured the imagination and motivation of attendees from John O’Leary a motivational speaker who at age nine survived a fire that burned 100% of his body. In "Ignite Your Life" (a provocative title from someone with an exceptional history), O’Leary challenged attendees to take control of their lives and their departments to effect significant change. Randi Zuckerberg, former Director of Market Development and spokeswoman for Facebook, walked the audience through a day in the life of modern customers, and all the apps/websites/gadgets/tech they encounter on a daily basis. She talked about how to reach these customers in an exciting new way to help their business cut through the noise and clutter.

Peter Sheahan, at only nineteen years of age, was the head of a multimillion-dollar company. In the "Talent Revolution", he focused on recruiting and retaining talent as one of his biggest challenges. Peter’s talk focused on generational change, workplace trends, and the rapidly changing employee and consumer expectations.

I’m sure the rest of the keynotes were as informative and educational but I missed them. Drawn like a moth to a flame, I slid into the Expo floor where I skulked from booth to booth, taking in the claims and exaggerations by competitors who are prone to do. Prospects either moved briskly past their booths or were drawn like flies into so many spiders’ webs.

Okay, it might not have been quite like that but it certainly felt that way from my perspective.

Avatier 2014 HDI Conference Events

Avatier, a Platinum sponsor this year, has been an exhibitor at the HDI Conference for seven years now. Each year the show consistently brings in the best attendees in the IT industry. As a result, the company became the largest sponsor at the show four years ago because in Avatier CEO Nelson Cicchitto’s words (and, full disclosure, I didn’t write this either) "The HDI organization is one that makes the greatest impact on the IT industry, because they listen to their members and put great programs in place to serve their needs. That’s one of the reasons Avatier is one of the major sponsors this year."

And one of the more interesting 2014 HDI Conference presentations came from my client (okay, so I am a little prejudiced here) Avatier CEO and Chairman Nelson Cicchitto, who outlined the company’s new Avatier SSO single sign-on product in a presentation "SSO and Password Management Come Together" during the Solutions Spotlight on the Expo floor earlier today. Nelson talked about how SSO, password management and identity and access management can come together for one unified identity governance and administration (IGA) solution. His vision is to unify SSO into one complete IGA solution that leverages enterprise directories for SSO, rather than copying them in the cloud. "That’s wasting time and money," he pointed out rather forcefully. It was a very revealing talk—and I didn’t even write it, so I can provide at least a small amount of credibility. In what I did help to write, Nelson said, "This presentation is going to surprise people." I looked around the crowd and it most certainly did.

In one of the most educational panels of the conference, two of Avatier’s experienced customers, ESPN and Cox Enterprises shared some exceptional service desk practices. The panel, moderated by Nelson, included Cynthia Ruel, ESPN Service Portfolio Manager and Vic Chandar, Senior Manager of Client Operations for Cox Enterprises Inc. The interactive session had a great turnout and the members of the audience I spoke with afterwards, said they really learned from the problems Cynthia and Vic faced and how they solved them while decreasing their service desk burden.

Meanwhile, back at Avatier booth 424 the company’s executives discussed Single Sign-On (SSO) and self-service password management, along with new features in their recently released AIMS 9.5 product suite. A limited number of select attendees also got a "sneak peak" demonstration of both the SSO product and AIMS 9.5.

There were a number of additional company activities that you missed if you didn’t attend. If you did, thanks for your interest and support. If you didn’t, I assure you Avatier will be back next year for the 2015 HDI Conference.

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Written by Gary Thompson

Gary Thompson is a 35 year veteran of the PR industry. He was the president of Shandwick International, the world’s largest agency with 2000 people in 90 offices and 32 countries. A million mile flyer on both American and United, he got off the road at the “encouragement” of his wife. Four years ago, he founded his own firm, Clarity Communications, which counts Avatier as one its most successful clients.