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Battle of the Conferences: Gartner VS SXSW

A new year and a new batch of conferences.



Conferences can be exciting, informative, and excellent opportunities to network. So far on the hot list:

RailsConf May 4-7
SXSW Interactive March 13-17
Gartner Portal Summit March 16-18
HOW Design Conference June 24-27
Introp May 17-21
Oracle OpenWorld Oct 11-15

I had a huge debate with several of my colleagues on the relative value of two of these as the dates overlap.

Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit

If you're doing anything in the Enterprise Portal space it's easy to see why you need to be at this conference. Just look at the top 5 topics of interest:

  • Apply Web 2.0 concepts and technologies to improve interactions with customers and partners and internal operations
  • Reduce operational costs/improve ROI
  • Drive innovation and creativity with workplace technologies
  • Improve organizational effectiveness
  • Portal design best practices

If you have a Portal in your organization or if you service Portals for your clients like me, this is the kind of thing you eat, sleep, and breathe.  You don't find people who are able, or willing, to talk in depth on these subjects every day.

The end value for clients is immense.  Not everyone has access to the aggregated research data Gartner collects.


Ok, this is a big one.  Probably the coolest conference in the IT field today. Some of the biggest names and greatest names on the web will be here.  Just check out the list of panels.

I have no doubt that there is enormous value to be taken from this conference.  The breadth and depth of talent here is staggering.  Not to mention examination of the incredible culture of the companies in attendance.  To get decent coverage you would need a team in attendence.

The Big Question

Which one to attend?! There are points in favor of both of these conferences but the dates make it impossible to attend both.

On one hand, for my company's Enterprise level client's the most immediate value would seem to be realized from the Gartner conference. On the other, isn't the Enterprise interested in what's up and coming too?

Post your opinion. Given the option, where would you be in March?

If I missed an incredible conference in my list, throw that out there too.