22 Feb Fusion 2006 symposium focuses on making IT work for businesses
Madison, Wis. — If the Fusion 2006 CEO-CIO Symposium is anything like last year’s event, next Wednesday and Thursday will see the Fluno Center filled with top business and technology executives from all different places – but asking the same questions.
“CEOs and CIOs need one another, and need to become more like one another than ever before,” said Frank Ace, CIO of the Wisconsin Department of Justice and head of the Wisconsin IT Directors Council. “That recognition is a two-way street, but the responsibility for making the greatest change lies with the CIO. The responsibility for enabling that change within the organization lies with the CEO.”
Dealing with change and business growth strategies that incorporate IT are subjects of Fusion 2006’s keynote presentations by William Harvey, president and CEO of Alliant Energy, and Thomas Koulopoulos, founder and CEO of the Delphi Group.
They’ll lend their experience to questions about how to align technology and business priorities, and how to foster innovation in organizations using the knowledge resources they already have and can develop.
“One of the things Fusion really does is bring together people for very diverse areas of our economy around information technology issues that are of interest to everyone,” said Ed Meachen, CIO for the University of Wisconsin System. “We talk to people we normally don’t talk to.”
As a CEO-CIO symposium, Fusion emphasizes the ways business and technology can work together. It’s a theme that resonates with today’s CIOs: information technology leaders increasingly need to be business-savvy, not just tech-savvy.
“It doesn’t do me any good to be able to tell my boss that we deployed 7,000 servers,” said David Cagigal, chief information technology officer of Alliant Energy. “We need to know why.”
“There’s really two hard messages,” Cagigal said. “Sometimes we find it difficult within ourselves to know what value we deliver, so IT departments need to be able to decide what value that is, and secondly, IT departments need to be able to sell that value to the business.”
Despite the wide range of attendance, there are no separate “tracks” of sessions for CIOs and CEOs to follow. After Harvey gives his perspective on business in his keynote presentation, for example, he’ll be bringing Cagigal, his CITO, up for a discussion of how they work together.
Fusion attendees come from private-sector companies large and small as well as government and educational positions.
“IT leaders, no matter what industry they’re in, whether they’re in education or the corporate sector or government, are faced with many of the same kinds of questions,” Meachen said.