For the first time ever, Vyopta is hitting the road. This is not to be taken too literally, but we are excited to announce we’re going on tour across the US in 2020. The “going on tour” part means venturing outside of our Austin headquarters, outside of the big national events like Enterprise Connect and Cisco Live, and going regional. With the help of some of our friends at Cisco, we’re going to see if we can scale our efforts to bring people together, and level up the conversation about improving collaboration and unified communications performance.
This year, we tested out some regional events just to see if we could get people to fill a room, and I have to admit – it presented its challenges. There are definitely opportunities for improvement on multiple fronts – from driving awareness among our customers and partners to making sure we have lunch delivered on time (and choosing the right venue/caterer). But, while we’re making sure all of the “t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted” we hope that leaders in the collaboration space will benefit from our lunch and learn gatherings hosted in a city near them in the near future. In this article at the bottom, I’ll share a few of the “Collaboration Roadshow” events we have lined up for 2020.
What worked and what didn’t work?
In 2019, we tested out our “Roadshow” experiment and results varied across the board. For example – we hosted one event with over 40 guests in the room and another with less than 5. Some cities are better than others it turns out, when you try to get people excited about a networking event you can’t rely solely on email. One one hand, the collaboration and unified communications space is large if you look at how many companies are investing, but it’s still has a pretty small town feel when it comes to IT decision makers and engineers who are responsible for deploying and managing the technology (insert video – how to grow a video environment of 10,000+ users with a two man team). That’s where having good partners to get the word out about your event comes into play. The events where we had the bigger turnouts were largely a result of staying connected with partners who could really help drive attendance in the region.
Of everyone that helped us with these events – we have to hand it to some of the leading Cisco Collaboration ISV partners Oblong, VBRICK and Appspace, who helped us get the right mix of people in the room. Without them, it would have been much more challenging or, we may not have succeeded in reaching our audience the way we had intended.
Getting “the right mix of people”.
What we learned is that a key thing in all of this is getting “the right mix” of people. We discovered after hosting a few lunch and learns that sometimes, measuring the event’s success by headcount should be secondary to measuring the quality of interaction and the conversation among individuals. I think we can all agree if you’re going to attend an event with discussions on getting the most out of your investment in collaboration – your time is well spent if you care a lot about collaboration. We know from our customer base that when companies reach a certain size and expand their number of video conferencing endpoints, phones and room systems to cover a global environment, that’s when those companies start investing in people that are dedicated to improving and optimizing that environment. These companies have massive IT departments and specialization like you wouldn’t believe. But when you can sit in a room with people from other organizations that face the same challenges that you do (the small town feel), you will really get a lot out of your weekday, 2-hour-long lunch commitment, to attend a Collaboration Roadshow event with Vyopta (see our customer page).
Channel partners also get a lot out of these events too. Sometimes the room is 80% partner 😉 That’s okay too. For us, it’s preferred depending on the region. Any chance we can get to present to partners in a room is time well spent when the partners in that room are truly looking for the best solutions to solve their customer pain points. If it’s helping that customer migrate UC to the cloud OR introduce them to a solution that makes collaboration experience better, we know we can help with that and we want to share what we know.
The most important take away for me in all of this is that we have proven we CAN bring the right people together in one room, and facilitate an important conversation around unified communications and collaboration for end users and partners alike.
What’s coming in 2020?
Taking into consideration all of the feedback and lessons learned from 2019, again we are excited to do more in 2020. This means more regional events at a higher frequency. We have prepared a plan to roll out 40-50 regional events over the course of the year and you can bet we’ll be coming back to some of the cities we’ve already hit:
- Rosemont (Chicago)
- Washington DC
This time around you can find us in these major cities and potentially more!
- New York
- San Jose