I'm attending the Vignette Analyst Day today. Annually, Vignette invites IT industry analysts to Boston (the center of the IT industry analyst universe) and collectively brings them up to date by giving them a dog and pony show (a combination of product demos, PowerPoint presentations, and glad handing).
I've been attending these for awhile (here's a post from the 2005 version), and they're interesting for two reasons. First, Vignette personnel vanish and new people turn up to take their place with nary a word, so it's always fun to figure out who's missing in action based on last year's agenda. (Last year I think it was the longtime VP of Sales that had vanished without a trace.) Second, Vignette's Analyst Day is typically heavy with customer testimonials, and that's great. Most vendors cram an analyst day full with PowerPoint presentations from their own team, ultimately taking an entire day to impart information that you could glean from their web site in 20 minutes. However, customers talk about the things the web site or the vendor PowerPoints never mention--e.g., why they bought the product, what they find aggravating about it, and what business problem they're trying to solve. Oftentimes, they use the product in ways or for reasons that you'd never think of or the vendor never mentions. I get similar insights from talking with Burton Group clients; however, the more customer stories the better. Analysts always run the risk of drinking too much vendor Kool-Aid, and customer stories dilute the syrupy mix, reminding you that the real world is never as sweet--and sometimes much more bitter--than the datasheets make it out to be.