Friday, 4 November 2005

Gartner Disconnects KCG Connects

Last month I mentioned how Bill, wearing a Texan flag, hosted a day of discussion for analyst relations professionals attending Symposium in Florida. Gartner's CEO, Gene Hall, was the guest speaker - and did not have the best day of his life there. I've just heard that, thanks to Gartner, the KCG Connects event at the Symposium in Cannes has just been canceled.

KCG says that Gartner has suddenly moved the first full day to Tuesday from Monday, meaning that many people are delaying their arrival, and that a falling number of sign ups for their Sunday event makes it unprofitable for them to fly over to France.

We have to admit that even though it sounds very unlikely that a whole day of the conference was junked at the last minute, we don't think KCG could be making this up. Of course, Symposium always opens with an half day -- for registration and tutorials. And as far as we can see, the tutorial day in Cannes was always scheduled to be the Monday [in contrast, it was the Sunday last year]. Either way, it's certainly easier blame Gartner than to suggest that most Europeans think they have better plans for Sundays.


Silicon Valley Guy said...

Nonsense that Gartner changed Symposium to counter KCG!

Symposium is a very complex machine that starts more than a year in advance with vendors signing ITxpo contracts for the next year during the current Symposium. So for the 2005 Euro Fall Symposium, lots of contracts were signed in November 2004. In addition, Gartner has signed contracts with the Palais and hotels at least 18 months in advance of the Symposium. Gartner does not, cannot, make changes without incurring all sorts of business problems and penalities -- as well as annoying thousands of clients.

Euro Fall Symposium has for years been a day shorter (four days) than US Fall Symposium. Sydney Fall Symposum is a day shorter (three days) than Euro Fall Symposium. Each has a 1/2 day series of workshop the day before the official Symposium kick off. For example:

2005 -- 11/8 to 11/11 (Tuesday -- Friday)
2004 -- 11/1 to 11/4 (Monday -- Thursday)
2003 -- 11/4 to 11/7 (Tuesday -- Friday)
2002 -- 11/4 to 11/7 (Monday --Thursday)

What is tricky is that Gartner is not consistent when it starts Euro Fall Symposium. Sometimes it is on Monday (e.g., 2004 and 2002) and some on Tuesday (e.g., 2005 and 2003). US Fall Symposium always starts on Monday with the pre-day begin Sunday afternoon. Nor is Gartner consistent with how it lists the start date of Symposium on the website and brochures -- sometimes the listed start date is the pre-day and sometimes it is the first day of Symposium.

Two scenarios for what happened:

Scenario A -- KCG did not get sufficient signups to make worthwhile so it canceled its seminar and tried to blame Gartner to save face

Scenario B -- KCG was careless in scheduling their seminar for Sunday (thinking like the US with the pre-day on Sunday) when Symposium this year did not start until Tuesday leading to no signups and, again, tried to blame Gartner to save face

My bet is on Scenario B.

theARpro said...

Okay, I'm convinced!

Stephen England @ KCG said...

Try scenario C - KCG took for granted the event start date which was listed as the pre day - hence the planned Sunday event.

Once again we actually talked with senior Gartner folks who understood our concern with the confusion over the published start date and it's effect on our event.

Our main objective remained to establish an event in the US this year - which we did with great success and applause from the industry. Next year we'll try Europe again.