What it took to get to RSDC

The actual planning for the event started at the end of last year’s RSDC, getting a location, estimating the crowd, logistical things on getting a show site and such.

The Audience
For us in the communications world, we started in earnest around the PartnerWorld timeframe. There are many audiences at a customer event like this and many constituencies that intermingle. You’ll read from the other blogs about their lives and experiences at RSDC. Mine is working with the Analyst and Press, and the corresponding IBM AR and PR teams.

We first picked out the target list of analysts and press that follow Software Group, Rational or developerWorks. Then we went through the invitation process to get them there, knowing that there were a specified number of slots (other parameters defined this, but that is minutia not worth delving into). From there it was a match game on both sides. There was an interesting dynamic to this year’s planning as the SOA analyst event was at the end of last week, causing some decision making on the part of the analysts who follow both and the resources on our side knowing we had to staff and support both. SOA is an important initiative for us so careful planning to give it it’s due was appropriate.

The Scheduling
Once we had the audience, we had to do the scheduling of matching analyst (and press) interests and the right executives. There are times that execs are double and triple booked and it’s a logistical exercise that maybe the Pentagon could lend assistance to. The reality is that the actual scheduling goes on until the last 1:1 is held. Everyone is switching times and availability due to everything from an interesting briefing or customer they want to see to changing flight schedules. One has to be flexible to work out everything on the side of the Analyst/Press and the IBMers they are to meet with.

The Show Blog
Ever since developerWorks was the first external blog site, we’ve tried to push the envelope. Last year we held the first IBM coordinated show blog at an event and this year we are doing the same. We have both internal and external bloggers keeping you updated on their perspective of the event. We wanted to host the first meetup, but Lotus already did that….guess it pays to have your event first. I’m glad we as a company are having many factions working to keep current (or catch up) with the blogosphere. Nevertheless, we are having a meetup as I’ve gone on about ad nauseam on Tuesday night at the Dolphin bar from 6-8.

We had meetings for months getting the right people to blog and get them ready to do so. Some were already bloggers, some had to be registered to developerWorks and some, like mine are just links. We asked analysts to be a part of it and some did (thank you) and many declined for various reasons.

You’ll also be able to listen to podcasts of executives at the show. Here is the list:

Danny Sabbah, General Manager, Rational Software
Lee Nackman, Vice President, Product Development and Customer Support, Rational Software
Walker Royce, Vice President, IBM Software Services, Rational Software
Buell Duncan, General Manager, ISV and Developer Relations, IBM Software
Murray Cantor, Distinguished Engineer, Rational Software
Martin Nally, Chief Technology Officer, Rational Software
So you’ll get the range from newbies to veterans on this show blog. Pick your poison.

The Final Prep
Today is registration and final detail day. We’ll all get together this afternoon to go over last minute changes and who is covering what. Hopefully everyone will make it into town without flight delay and our planning will be complete. Then it’s blocking and tackling time. The most important capability in pulling these off is the ability to handle the proverbial monkey wrench. Someone can’t come, or is coming in a day late, or gets sick or whatever. The ability to deal with these issues and keep your cool is a valuable skill. Panic never helps.

So I look forward to seeing both my teammates for the first time in person regarding RSDC and the analysts I haven’t seen in a while, or in some cases since last year. Then it’s off to the races…

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