The first of many - trade shows ahoy!
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My colleagues have already blogged about their hectic conference schedule, and I can sympathise with them. Whilst they are very important and useful, equally they are very hectic and tiring! Next week is BAI in Washington, where all the banking team from the US and Europe will be in attendance, including Robert Mancini, our latest hire. I’ll be then leaving to join Bob, Robert & Jacob in Miami for AFP. This will be my first time at this show – for many varied reasons, I’ve never quite made it previously so looking forward to it. And then shortly after, it’s my biggest event of the year – Sibos. This year it’s in Osaka, Japan. It looks as if it could be a slightly strange show. Many clients are sending fewer people, and several “serial exhibitors” are only sending attendees this year. Compared to previous locations, the perception is that this is a more expensive and logistically harder venue for the event, and that does seem to be impacting attendance. News reports today suggest that the 3 largest Chinese banks have withdrawn because of the growing tensions between China and Japan over a disputed territory. Couple that with a concern that has surfaced is the location of next years’ event, Dubai, which some people believe will also have lower attendance, some are pondering their future commitment to Sibos. With the show not returning to Europe until at least 2016 (Boston 2014, Singapore 2015), it will be interesting to see if the show evolves to address these concerns. Regardless, we still believe it’s a “must attend”. But my conference season started early. Last week I was in Berlin speaking at EXPP. This is the major electronic invoicing and billing show globally, and I was invited to keynote day 2. I was talking about my recent series of reports where I state that banks need to revisit e-invoicing. The presentation went well, with at least one member of the audience vociferously agreeing with my analysis. What were missing though were the banks. The show was as well attended as ever (c.400 attendees and at least 20 exhibitors), yet the bank attendance was probably at the lowest in the history of the event – I counted about 10. It would seem then that there is a real division in the market. We’re party to lots of interesting discussions, which we obviously can’t always share. But it would seem that there is a very clear group who “get it” and about to "just do it". What will be interesting is to see how successful they are and whether other banks can play catch-up in time. Next up is Commercial Cards & Payments, this Thursday & Friday in London, where I’m part of the Ask The Expert panel. See you there.