META Group's Outsourcing Conference

Today, I’ll cover the META Group event and what I think will transpire there. I had the chance to attend the Gartner outsourcing event this year in Las Vegas, and it’s probably similar in many ways.

The conference is co-located with an event on IT infrastructure and operations. Makes sense. Those two topics have a lot in common with the work — and motivation — behind outsourcing.

Like the Gartner event I attended, the agenda for this one includes a multitude of researchers, analysts and consultants who work for META. More on that shortly.

It offers two breakout tracks, though only three sessions in each, as a kind of concentrated training. Track A focuses on “decision and selection.” The description says the track covers vendor selection and financial analysis. If you also get handouts with checklists and spreadsheets, this would be useful, indeed. Track B covers “value and optimization,” with a concentration on ensuring that what you’re paying for is what you’re getting in outsourcing agreements.

I’d presume that some of the event sponsors are speaking. These include SAIC, Unisys and Cognizant Technologies; but the catalog doesn’t reference any particular sessions. Nor are any client presentations mentioned. That's a shame, since those are always interesting if the speaker has any presentation skills whatsoever.

That means you’re bound to receive a heavy dose of META-speak, the high-level advice that the big analyst firms are wont to give when they have a roomful of highly-titled listeners. (They probably save the nitty-gritty for the private meetings they host with individual clients.)

On the other hand, you’re bound to meet people — other delegates — struggling with the same kinds of problems you have in making IT outsourcing work, some with advice on what they've tried. That could make attendance at the META Group event highly useful.

I’d recommend this one if you need research numbers to put into your business proposals for future outsourcing projects. (Take plenty of notes during the sessions; because once the numbers are handed out verbally, you may have a tough time tracking them down again!) It’ll also be an excellent way to meet others focused on IT outsourcing vs. other forms of outsourcing, such as HR or finance. This latter point is an important one, and what distinguishes the META event from the next one I'll cover, the SIG conference.

Besides, who can turn down a few days in San Francisco? October’s frequently a lovely time to see the city. Plus, the hotel where this event is situation is nicely located — right next to the Embarcadero.

And that, dear readers, is one of the reasons I'm looking forward to attending the META gathering. Press credentials in hand, I'll be reporting from the aisles.