Is it OK to Talk to Each Other?


We look at the growth of interest in IQPC Exchange business networking and ask – after years of not talking to anybody, is it now Ok for our corporate leaders to engage with actual people? We report from back from the Chief Data Officer event a few days ago in London.


Absolutely it is. The problem has always been one of habit and even avoidance. Those of you who make corporate decisions have become immune to the deluge of unsolicited emails, and it had bred a culture of avoidance rather than working together.


Yet after decades of difficulty in getting traction, the reality of life has hit home and corporates are now waking up to the fact that talking with people, sharing ideas, saves making mistakes, following wrong paths, and getting faster where you want to be. In short – things have changed.
This is not the first time that the IQPC company have been spreading this gospel; their Exchange programme of events has been running for several years. But our recent visit to the Hurlingham Club and the Chief Data Officer conference for financials – was the first time we have noticed that leading decision makers are not afraid to interact. It is an important milestone.


The Exchange format focuses on a simple reality that bringing people together – vendors with corporates – decision makers with influencers – enables a sharing of experience. It allows corporates to focus on vendors who have something beneficial to say; and it gives vendors a platform to say “hey, we may have something that can help you!”
But that in itself is nothing new. The IQPC secret sauce is the understanding that the location of an Exchange venue, has to have sufficient private areas, gardens where people can take time out, multiple coffee spaces – that can facilitate naturally the sort of intuitive discussion that business leaders need for private communication.


In the three hours that we spent at the CDO event – we had insightful discussions with over a dozen high level directors, vendors and corporates, from all parts of UK and Europe.


For Exchange to work, there has to be a willingness on all sides to want it to work, and the apparent informality belies the work that goes on and preparation from all participants, to share knowledge. But the benefits are clear. We expect to see more of these events in the future.

LIVING WITH GDPR; HAS LIFE MOVED ON?

We look at the upcoming Chief Data Officer conference in London and ask; are we getting bored by all this?

Yes, indeed we are. And that’s the problem. And it makes us immune to the real issues of handling our corporate data, because, frankly – if we ever see yet another request from a company we have never heard of, to “opt in and remain on their mailing list”, – when we never knew we were even ON their mailing list – then we would be forgiven for jumping out of the nearest window.

Depressions were never as bad as this!

The answer, is to take a balanced view. I absolutely “get” that there are still some serious issues as to how we handle our personal or restricted data and that these aspects have not been universally solved.

But let’s not miss the real opportunity – which is; there are new and better ways to handle our data. Wake up calls are great if we do what the name suggests, ie – we actually “wake up”!

Looking at the Agenda of governance, emerging technology, and conceptual avenues of strategy – the upcoming CDO conference promises to move us along, in the directions that we now need to be heading.

If the profile of delegates attending, is as expected – then this is a forum that our decision makers in business need to attend. Decisions are based on looking forward as much as the experience of looking back – but let’s not dwell just on those experiences.

The key thing about the CDO is as always the interim networking, the casual conversation, and our guess is that this will always be the same. But the blurb from the good people at IQPC is that things have moved on, and that this is the discussion platform that will take us there. Pillows and blankets will not be provided.

Our longer Report will follow shortly.

FUTURE OF FINANCE 2018 CONFERENCE

We take a look at the latest IQPC Conference formula and ask – does it work for us?

The man opens the inner door as I and my two colleagues from Portugal – who I have never met before- enter from the outside courtyard.

He is dressed in a Polo shirt, and a bath towel. He has no trousers, and his hair is damp. He has some soft leather sneakers on.

“Are you lost?

Yes of course we are. It is a ten minute walk from the Putney Bridge tube station, past the security barrier and through the immaculate lawns of the Hurlingham Club, and the arboressence of pathways. We are trying to find the Conference.

“Then let me show you a shortcut”.

The man beckons us through, we enter a further courtyard, the man slides into a black 4×4 and we walk up the stone steps into a modern but eloquent glass atrium, which is indeed – where the Conference is.

The Hurlingham Club is as distant as it needs to be. This is no typical Conference mingling among the tourists who are checking out of whatever four star hotel they have found in the city. This is a venue for serious players. The 100 or so Delegates who have found their way here, a sort of crystal maze if you will – are all serious players. Large corporates do not send their key financial execs to this sort of Conference unless they can deliver, and can feel at home on this global stage fo financial business decision makers.

The Future of Finance Conference is three days long. It is a Management Conference, not a Tech event. Sure, the topics discussed inevitably contain technology, but this is no GDPR Roadshow. Life has already moved on. The focus is as much about corporate vision than AI and Robotics. Typically, the 40 minute sessions – and there are many and varied and you pick and choose the ones that work for you etc – focus on Transformation – how to bring your team with you, establishing a culture of improvement – and inevitably, something about Brexit. I could go on. And in between, people mingle and chat in the frequent coffee breaks. Everybody shares anecdotes and business cards.

I had long gone by that time. But it establishes a central truth, that the value in IQPC Conferences is as much in the informal networking amongst peers, as in the more formalised presentations.

My colleagues from Portugal are taking a quick cigarette outside the exit as I make my own way back to the exit. They give a cheerful wave – “see you in Lisbon?” It turns out we both used to work for the same company. The next IQPC Conference will be in Lisbon, and I have been invited.

Will I come?

You bet!!

Conferences – do we need them?

We look at the need to get together and ask – does it work?

Conferences are big business. A casual search for any vertical mix of “meeting point”, be it by topic or geography, could keep you and I continually doing the rounds of expensive hotels and free lunches everyday except weekends, until midway thru 2019 – and we haven’t even got through January some twelve months earlier.

Either the common understanding is that; conferences work. Or we are simply creatures of habit, we go because we always did.

Except that, for many – conferences, and the mini exhibitions that accompany these – deliver very little. Particularly for vendors, who splash out large sums but frequently tell us its a lot of cost for what ultimately does not deliver. And similarly for delegates – why is it that Speakers who should know by now how to communicate their corporate benefits, are so frequently unprepared, whose presentations are just so dull? Is it – to put it another way, there are simply better ways of achieving your goal – be it sales prospecting, market info, meeting your peers – than by jumping on the cattle run.

Then again – judging by the highly competent lists of theoretically highly competent decision-makers that always herald every getting-together – these guys would not do it, if it didn’t work. The answer, is to pick and choose the meetings where a/ you want to be visible; and b/ where the delegates that surround you are actually worth meeting.

And sure, there are the classic industry standard get-togethers, that are like the perennial flowers in my front garden. its the same people, the same format, the same booths, the same visibility. If you are not there, then people “assume” you are not anywhere. I am not talking about these. You can put healthcare, and hospitality into those boxes. There are many more.

The trick is to identify conferences that are addressing an actual market need. Nowhere is this more obvious and important, than in the technology arena. And these conferences too are changing. If 2016/2017 were the years of Big Data, and then GDPR – we are now seeing the more discussion based formulae. These are the meetings that you need to go to, because they deliver original thinking.

It has long been recognised that the real hidden benefit of this level of conference – is the casual networking, the informal discussion. Best among the upcoming conferences is the Future of Finance 2018 Discussion, on Feb 19th in London. Organised by IQPC, this promises to be an innovative forum based event, that brings together the people that can shape the industry, and where you can play a part. Worth registering.

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ISSUES AND COMPLEXITIES OF DATA MANAGEMENT IN THE FINANCIAL MARKET

We report on the latest success story from the IQPC company, and how to deliver a Conference that actually works.

Generally speaking – we are a polite society. True, we all have our moments, but again, generally speaking, if we have not the greatest meal at our chosen restaurant, then we will not give a hard time to the waiter. We will just not go back. Restaurants that develop a reputation for being reliable, always, somehow, delivering the ambience as well as the food – keep us coming back.

IQPC do not do restaurants. But they do have the “secret sauce”, the ambience from the moment you descend the stairs into the meetings areas, to the ease of engagement into groups of like minded professionals.

Because the fact is, if you are a strategic decision-maker in a financial market, these focussed events need to deliver; they are your one time to engage and share with your peers. And they need to get it right.

This latest IQPC Conference, at the Pestana Chelsea hotel just by the Thames, – in a whole series of their Data Analytics events , brought together some of the financial markets leading voices and contributors, from across the UK and Europe, who were relaxed enough to share and to receive, the do’s and don’ts of how to manage your data process in a complex world, that you will never get from browsing the marketing material of the vendor website.

This Conference was a sharing experience; vendors were not selling, they were explaining; delegates were listening and contributing. Topics ranged from the essentials of how to manage the data you actually have, which still remains the key issue for most corporates – through to the modern topics of Money Laundering, how to recognise it, bow to stop it.

But what was most insightful, was that the need of delegates had already moved on from GDPR as the sole topic of interest. As such, an IQPC Conference remains the benchmark of how to do business events that deliver.

We found the round-table break-outs the most insightful, not just from the commentaries and points made, but from the levelling of opportunity, the facility for everyone, from whatever level of knowledge to make a contribution, to be involved.

This was a Conference that was looking forward, a focussed two day event, that never lost sight of its objective, to give the Delegate the framework of information that they otherwise would not obtain.

Sure, IQPC don’t do restaurants. But they do great Take Aways.