The house lights dimmed and music started blaring. Smoke billowed out from the stage and red-and-white lights flashed onto an audience of thousands.

Despite the rock-concert atmosphere, complete with an emcee peering out from giant video screens like a live-action "Max Headroom," most of the audience in the Dallas Convention Center Arena was in suits.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.