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CEOs, CIOs, VPs, Directors, Managers of information technology converged upon the Fluno Center in Madison, Wisconsin, to talk to each other about technology trends, strategies, challenges and experiences. Its the Fusion CEO-CIO Symposium. It kicked off on Wednesday and wrapped up Thursday, March 8th. I attended the full day session on Thursday and attempted to live tweet the event.
It has been a successful event in years past and while this was the first one that I attended, Id have to say that I did not have a hard time understanding why its been successful and the feedback positive. Its the contacts, the speakers and the information that is shared that brings the value. How many days in a year can other CIOs talk about whats going on in the industry and know what other peers are handling the common challenges? Each speaker addressed a particular experience, trend or technology, and presented it with their own approach. While this may be elementary, CTO Sears Holdings-Phil Shelleys demonstration of Hadoops parallel processing of using smart audience member (representing a RDBMS) and dumb members (nodes on a Hadoop cluster) provided amusement while also providing a live analogy that many attendees will not forget. Mark McDonald, PhD, from Gartner Executive Programs and author was intense and passionate about Technology being greater than IT. If you can go to an event where Mark is speaking, go. You wont be disappointed. Put Tom Koulopoulos, CEO, Delphi Group in the same room and you wont have people nodding off at all. The energy of Tom and Mark could power an Enterprise for a year.
Not to be overshadowed, Steve Schlect-CEO, Duluth Trading, gave us insight into the challenges of going from mail order/print to online e-commerce (eventually brick and mortar retail) that many CEOs would not openly share. There was the talk from IBMs Dr. William LaFontaine, VP Tech Strategy & Worldwide Ops, Research, about the future of IBMs Watson. Ken Jennings wasnt around, but hell sleep better knowing that Watson will be venturing into healthcare and not the trivia show circuit. There were many others to consider, so my apologies to not elaborating on each of them. The short of it is that each one brought value. The board for the symposium was diligent enough, and should be credited for ensuring talks from vendors were more topic-oriented and not a mere sales pitch. As a potential attendee, this is important to know.
There were a lot of smart people in the room, many of them decision makers that need to not only consider the ever-evolving world of technology, but how to adapt new treands into the enterprise.
A symposium certainly worth attending. It will get you thinking about the power of social, the quest to make sense of all the data, and how peers in the industry are trying, failing, and succeeding. It was good to be a part of it.
Sean P. Kelley is a corporate recruiter who leverages the power of social media to help attract talent while continuing to source, screen, interview, negotiate, and place qualified IT professionals within the information technology industry. Read his blog
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of WTN Media, LLC. WTN accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.