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#SpiceWorld2017 Delivers Information, Training and Tools to IT Pros

spiceworld2017 

This week, Spiceworks kicked off its annual event called SpiceWorld here in Austin, TX.  For those of you not familiar with the event, it's a show designed for IT administrators and put on by Spiceworks, the company that prides itself on providing info on "all things IT" and offering free, easy-to-use software to its community of millions of IT pros -- known as SpiceHeads.  The success around SpiceWorld comes from the fact that it is a very community oriented show. 

On a humorous side of things, community members helped the event's hashtag of #SpiceWorld2017 to trend this week; unfortunately, the hashtag also confused and disappointed quite a few Spice Girls fans once they realized this link was all about IT and had nothing to do with a reunion tour for the 90's girl power band.  

At this year's event, Spiceworks was joined by more than 50 other vendors who wanted to have face to face conversations with the more than willing 2000+ IT pros in attendance.  VMblog readers will recognize companies like Alien Vault, AT&T, Cisco, Citrix, DellEMC, Dropbox, HPE, Lenovo, Scale Computing, Unitrends and Veeam just to name a few.

Spiceworks CEO Jay Hallberg kicked things off with a Day 1 keynote address that took audience members on a journey looking back at the company's first 10 years and laying out the next steps for the online IT community and its management tools.  And he detailed the steps his company is taking to simplify the IT workday by connecting everyone who works in IT with the resources they need to get better at what they do, every day.

"SpiceWorld is really about you," said Hallberg.  "About a half-million people come to Spiceworks every day to get their jobs done."

Hallberg went on to say, "Building a destination everyone in IT can get value from every day requires us to understand and predict an individual's needs in any given moment.  We're utilizing machine learning and advanced analytics to scale our personalization efforts for millions of IT professionals and connect them with the most helpful content, tools, and experts.  This focus not only improves the experience and value IT professionals get from Spiceworks, it also improves the connections they make with technology brands who use Spiceworks to become active participants in assisting IT professionals throughout their day."

The company announced a series of tools that will help its growing community of IT pros, currently attracting nearly 7 million unique visitors every month which is up 48 percent over the previous year.  And, as they noted during the opening keynote, the tools come at a time when IT pros have to manage more technology with less budgets than ever before.

Spiceworks plans to apply new personalization capabilities to these tools, meaning IT pros can expect them to become more intelligent about people, content and other IT tools based on real-time events in their IT environments.

One of those tools discussed on stage was the Beta 2 release of the company's Inventory 8.0 tool designed to help IT pros manage their on-premises IT environments.  The tool works with Spiceworks' IP Scanner tool, and recently underwent a major shift in its preferred method for scanning as it moves away from agentless to an agent-based system in order to capture more accurate inventory data and do so much faster.  Other new features included:
  • Improved change tracking
  • Consistent data collection across Windows, Mac and Linux
  • Improved cloud usage and suspicious IP detection

To help with troubleshooting, the company also announced the new Spiceworks Remote Support tool, powered by Zoho Assist.  To stand out from other remote support tools, this one offers a few interesting capabilities, such as:

  • Free for both personal and business use.
  • No Signup or login involved. A single click will start a remote session.
  • Unlimited tech, end-users, sessions.
  • Over the Internet, no VPN required.
  • Encrypted, fast connection.
  • No tech installation, browser based.
  • Works across devices.
  • Offers built-in chat functionality.

But the crowd showed an overwhelming response to something new called Spiceworks Learn, a crowdsourced, educational environment that provides IT professionals with free, instructional content in the form of how-tos, articles, webinars, and videos, across a variety of tech topics.  Out of the gate, it will kick off with four focus areas: networking, cloud, virtualization and backup/recovery.

Nicole Tanzillo, executive director of product operations, told the audience that over time, Spiceworks Learn will become more intelligent and personalized to individuals' needs by understanding the topics they're most interested in and recommending additional resources based on their knowledge level, needs, and experience.  She went on to say that IT professionals spend an average of 6.5 hours per week learning new IT skills and technologies.  However, due to other job responsibilities, they can only dedicate 30 to 40 minutes at a time when learning.  As a result, many IT professionals prefer to consume information that's concise and easily accessible.  And that's what Spiceworks plans to deliver.

Beyond the announcements, I also learned a lot over the course of the show from any number of conversations with Spiceworks employees, partners, customers, and sponsoring vendors.  Some of the best conversations were had over breakfast and lunch (which by the way, Spiceworks really knows how to pull together -- thank you for not skimping on the food).  The conversations taking place while breaking bread proved valuable for all involved.  Introverts were quickly converted to extroverts as the conversations were friendly, entertaining and educational.  You really can learn a lot while eating a breakfast taco!

Oh, and we can't forget about the keynote presentation from world renowned hacker, Kevin Mitnick, who gave a fantastic presentation which made everyone leave a bit more worried about their own security.  One attendee was even bold enough to allow Mitnick to "appropriate" his identity -- which he did in less than 60 seconds.

Interested in attending next year?  Spiceworks has a sweet deal for SpiceWorld 2018 which has already been announced for October 8-10 again in Austin, TX – get your ticket now for just $199 until January 26th.

Here's a quick video wrap-up from VMblog to showcase a few scenes from around the show.  I can't wait for next year's event.  Enjoy!

 

Published Friday, October 13, 2017 11:14 AM by David Marshall
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