03 Mar Increasing IT's business value a highlight of 2008 Fusion symposium
Madison, Wis. – Will 2008 truly be a year of information technology transformation, or will a sluggish economy restrict the ability of IT departments to execute technology implementations that really drive growth?
This and other technology issues will be explored during the Fusion 2008 CEO-CIO Symposium set for March 5 and 6 on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.
The annual symposium, which explores the dynamics of the relationship between chief executive officers and chief information officers, features a roster of prominent technology executives from Wisconsin and beyond.
They will explore topics ranging from the enterprise data center to mobile computing strategies, but the central point of Fusion 2008 will be the importance of breaking out of the every day focus on generic information technology and focusing on the strategic value of the aforementioned technology investments.
Last fall, when it looked like IT spending would continue at a healthy clip in 2008, all the talk at events like the Gartner Symposium/IT Expo was about how much advances like unified communications, server virtualization, and “green IT” were going to transform business over the next few years.
Now, with the reality of a slowdown and the possibility of an economic contraction looming, will choppy economic waters be a drag on strategic IT investment?
That would be a mistake, according to Fusion keynoter Mark McDonald, group vice president and head of research for executive programs for Gartner. McDonald has been outspoken about the need to move beyond what he disdainfully calls “generic IT,” but he acknowledged that nervousness about the economy could force decision-makers to wear blinders.
In this environment, executives are more likely to see IT as a means of cost cutting rather than raising revenue. They would be well advised to focus IT on top-line revenue growth that provides the business with an opportunity to work smarter and attract higher-quality customers.
“Revenue drives the enterprise, executive compensation, and shareholder value,” McDonald said. “Executives who view IT as an operational tool are missing out.”
Also among the symposium highlights will be sessions featuring the likes of:
• CEO Paul Purcell and CIO Brian Brylow of Robert W. Baird.
• Mark Hennessy, vice president and CIO of IBM Corp.
• Stephen Savage, senior vice president and CIO of CA, Inc.
• Peter Coffee, director of platform research for Salesforce.com and former technology editor for Eweek.
• Erik Phelps, partner with Micheal Best & Friedrich
• Paul Shain, CEO of CDW Berbee.
• Tom Koulopolos, founder and CEO of Delphi Group.
As is the symposium’s tradition, Purcell and Brylow will talk about the unique and important relationship between the chief executive and the chief information officer in business organizations. As part of his Fusion presentation, Purcell will talk bout the CEO’s perception of strategic IT and technology’s value proposition for driving revenue and attracting talent, and talk about his growing expectations of the CIO along strategic lines.
Savage, who is part of an operational transformation at CA, will share his insights into mobile computer strategy. With mobile applications having become top of mind for Wisconsin CIOs, according to a recent WTN survey, Savage will examine not only the functional benefits of mobile devices, but also address the controls and regulations that CIOs must think about during the implementation of mobile computing.
About 30 percent of CA’s employees do some teleworking, and the company is a heavy user of mobile devices. Savage will talk about the balance that organizations must strike between governance (how much free reign to give to users) and the functionality of mobile devices.
Speaking of trends, Coffee will offer his insights on another new opportunity for IT departments – software as a service. Such service-delivery models are changing the way organizations do business, and they are an increasing focus of future IT spending.
Hennessy and Koulopolos will focus on innovation. Hennessy will discuss how IBM’s technology community is creating a culture of innovation across its global enterprise and how focusing on innovation-generated revenue growth can help CIOs demonstrate business value to upper management.
Koulopoulos, who edits a blog titled The Innovation Zone and soon will publish a book of the same name, will center his presentation on the art (and science) involved with producing sustained innovation.
Also contributing to the body of knowledge explored during Fusion will be CDW Berbee’s Paul Shain and attorney Erik Phelps of Michael Best and Friedrich. Shain, whose company is building a “green” data center in Madison, will delve into the issues his company is facing as it tries to manage power, cooling, and building costs. Phelps will advise CIOs on how to improve their IT implementations by driving a harder bargain during vendor negotiations.
Finally, the all-important subject of IT workforce development will be featured in a CIO panel discussion involving Melanie Holmes, vice president of World of Work Solutions for Manpower, Inc.; Greg Smith, senior vice president and CIO of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare; Phil Loftus, CIO and vice president of information services for Aurora Healthcare; Mike Jackson, vice president and CIO of Rockwell Automation; and Jane Durment, CIO of the Marcus Corp.
• Visions: Peter Coffee says SaaS will require new skills from IT departments
• Mark McDonald: CIOs must beware the dreaded “Generic IT” syndrome
• E-discovery case law trends beginning to emerge
• CDW Berbee “goes green” with new data center
• CIO Leadership Series: Stephen Savage takes the reins at CA