Sell Your Boss

Hey, boss.

Registration is open for TechMentor Las Vegas coming up in October. Now, I know times are tight, but I wanted to outline some of the ways that this is really an investment, and a way for us to keep meeting the company's needs even though budgets are getting smaller.

TechMentor is truly an educational conference. It's not three hundred vendors in an expo hall where I'll go to pick up toys and t-shirts - it's a dozen or so of the top experts in the field, sharing the experience. TechMentor is also completely independent - that means, when I get back, I won't spend time trying to make things work the way the vendor says they should - instead, I'll know the real way to make things work in an environment like ours.

And because TechMentor is a small conference, I won't be competing with five thousand other people for the attention of those experts - I'll be talking to them directly about the issues we're dealing with right now - and I'll be bringing home answers that work.

Yeah, I know I could take a class here in town. The problem is that I'll be learning one thing that way - and I won't be focused on the things we need. At TechMentor, I'll be able to take more than a dozen classes on the exact topics we need - it's kind of a custom class. I'll get close to forty solid hours of education, and it'll all be topics designed to be used right now, in our environment.

You know, there's a number of things that we could be doing with Windows, Exchange, SharePoint, and so forth that would make us a leaner, meaner IT machine - able to do more even with the tighter budgets we're facing. The problem is, we've never been able to invest the time to learn about things like centralized control, automation, application deployment, and so on. Well, now is the perfect time - and TechMentor has sessions on those exact topics. I know we've got more projects than we can possibly handle, but if I can learn how to get the computers to do more of the work, then we'll be able to make headway - even these days.

And Windows 7 is here. We may not have invested heavily in Vista, but Windows 7 is pretty much going to be our new operating system. I'd like to get a handle on how to deploy it with as little effort and interruption as possible - and a better idea of how to support our users when they start using it. I'd also like to see what Windows 7 can do for us in terms of reducing the effort we expend to support our users - and yes, TechMentor will show me how. I’ll also learn what’s new in Windows Server 2008 R2 – I’ll be able to come back with some solid recommendations on whether we should be implementing it, and why.

Unlike some vendor conferences, where they just want to talk about what's coming in a year, TechMentor focuses entirely on stuff that we can utilize right now. Sure, the experts there are in touch with bleeding-edge stuff, and they'll let us know what's on the horizon that I need to keep an eye on. But they're really focused on helping us make a better IT environment with the tools and solutions that we already have. There are no sales pitches, either - I'm not going to come home with a laundry list of things we have to buy, just a list of things we can improve based on the Microsoft products we already own.

I suppose I could spend a few hundred bucks on books to learn some of this. The problem is that books cover everything - I don't need to become an expert in some of these techniques, I just need to learn enough to benefit our company. That's what TechMentor does - their speakers distill all the information down to just what I need to know, and just what I can put to use immediately. Besides, you can't ask follow-up questions of a book!

And while I know it's tough to get me out of the office for a week, it's worth it. I'll be able to really immerse myself and learn this stuff - and then apply it when I get home. When I try to self-study at lunch, I never actually get anywhere quickly - there are just too many interruptions in the office. Besides, since TechMentor helps keep us connected via the Internet, I'm just an e-mail and Remote Desktop away if something urgent comes up.

Boss, I think TechMentor is a great investment for us. I'll be able to focus in on exactly the topic we need to master, and I'll be able to come home and start using them right away. It'll save us effort and time - and in the end, that'll save us money.