….4 German words with which most Americans of a certain generation will be familiar. When President Kennedy made his infamous speech, Berlin was going through a political maelstrom and tensions across the city were high. It was extremely divided, metaphorically as well as literally.
Things have moved on pretty significantly with respect to Berlin since 1963. One major aspect is quite how cosmopolitan it has become. Regarded today as one of the most happening cities in Europe, the capital of Germany is in the ‘zeitgeist’ (if you don’t mind me adding another German word to this post). It has become a city known for its tolerance, creativity and forward-looking nature. It is also rapidly becoming a popular destination for business, especially for conferences, summits and expos.
So, it is not a surprise that NetApp has decided to host its EMEA technical conference, Insight, in this magnificent city. After a couple of highly successful years in Dublin, the conference moves eastwards. Originally established to train and educate internal technical staff, the event was expanded several years ago to include the partner community, and last year 2300 staff and partners (50:50) took the trip to the Emerald Isle to deepen their knowledge of the storage and data management marketplace and the technologies of NetApp and its ecosystems partners in particular.
Insight EMEA is part of the global program which kicks off with Insight US in Las Vegas Oct 27 – 30. Three weeks later, with broadly the same program, senior executives from NetApp together with engineering and product operations leaders and technology experts will be in Berlin, eager to share their knowledge with customers, partners and internal staff.
But this year there is a difference. This year we will be joined by customers for the first time. Adding our customers to the program was a decision that was not taken lightly. We could have run a separate customer event of course. But, there is something very unique and special about Insight that we wanted to share with the technical executives and practitioners from our customer base. As a company that believes in partnership as a core tenet, we believe that the mélange of customers, partners and NetApp staff is a key element in our focus on customer experience.
The agenda features NetApp and industry luminaries such as Dave Hitz, co-founder and thought leader, Tom Georgens, Chairman and CEO and Tom Mendoza, Vice-Chairman and leading authority on leadership. Another notable presenter will be Jay Kidd, CTO, who may even give a report card on his 2014 predictions for IT infrastructure. We’ll just have to see (read how I think he fared in 2013 here).
Networking is always a key part of Insight and often one of the aspects most appreciated by attendees. Learning best practices, swapping war stories and understanding what is possible are just a few of the key benefits cited in the past. Customer keynotes and panels will be announced shortly, but you can be sure that they will feature some pretty cool implementations and business solutions.
NetApp is at the forefront of some of the most disruptive technologies in the industry right now – flash, hybrid cloud, converged infrastructure, object storage to name just a few. As an IT professional can you afford not to come and learn about the latest solutions? And it isn’t just NetApp. Our core partners like Cisco, VMware, Fujitsu along with many others will be in Berlin to help our ecosystem with their IT aspirations.
Customers can check out the agenda register for the event here. The program is varied, but the emphasis is on learning and training. Certification classes abound and deep technical sessions are the order of the four days. It is primarily for the technical, although business executives from our customer base are very welcome and there is plenty to learn for them as well.
If you are going, I look forward to seeing you there. We can all then proudly announce that Wir sind Berliners!