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News & Press: Colorado Technology Industry

IT Projects Continue Despite Economy

Thursday, December 9, 2010   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nikki Mill
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IT Projects Continue Despite Economy 

Last Thursday CSIA hosted two of more than 35 incredible programs for the 2010 calendar year, What Keeps IT Executives Up at Night and Women in Technology – Difficult Conversations.  Both received astounding kudos from members and attendees, together attracted more than 200 people.  Two more content-rich learning opportunities are scheduled next week to close out December, and 2011 planning is well underway to deliver knowledge and connections. 

The annual IT Executive Panel sponsored by Robert Half Technology and Latisys, What Keeps IT Executives Up at Night, attracted more than 150 attendees and was "standing-room” only.  Although the panel speakers ranged from a number of different industries – financial, moving and storage, 911 operations, real estate and online career services – many of the challenges and concerns were the same.  Panelists included:
  • Wilson Davis, VP of Corporate Systems, Western Union
  • Howard Fish, EVP & CIO, onTargetjobs
  • Jay Nielsen, Director of Network Engineering, Intrado
  • John Price, Sr. Director, Data Center Operations, & Corporate Security Officer, Graebel Companies, Inc.
  • Tom Sheraden, Chief Technology Officer, ProLogis
While the economy had slowed down their IT projects, many were still moving forward with them.  Accomplishing these projects with leaner budgets and less staff was a challenge, but not doing the project at all would cause more pain points for their company and/or their clients.

"Being in the IT staffing industry, it was heartening to hear the importance of retaining their top talent,” explained Ellis Blevins, Division Director, Robert Half Technology.  "You don’t always hear executives say if ‘my team is pulling all-nighters to complete the project, so should the VPs.’ ”

It’s no secret that social media and mobile applications and devices are on a steep up rise, especially with the younger work force demanding the use of them.  The challenge for these IT executives is keeping their infrastructure and data safe.   

"You can’t fight it,”
said John Price, Sr. Director, Data Center Operations & Corporate Security Officer, Graebel Companies.  "Instead, you have to create safeguards to protect information for a variety of client systems whether they are new laptops or tablets such as the iPAD.  Safeguards that we’ve used are full disk encryption on eligible portable devices as well as remote control access mechanisms to ensure critical information doesn’t reside on client devices if they get stolen.”

The morning panel wrapped up with audience Q&A including specific technical questions including the use of open source and infrastructure.  One of the last questions to the IT executives was how sales people get time to meet with decision makers, such as the speakers.  Suggested answers were to become involved with technology associations such as CSIA. 

The evening program, Women in Technology – Difficult Conversations, sponsored and hosted at ViaWest, was led by Betsy Redfern, Chief Learning Officer, MWH Global.  More than 50 women professionals and executives packed the room for a hands-on experience where attendees learned seven principles to having fierce conversations. 

"It was the best event I've been to in my career,” shared Michelle Rocke, Account Manager, ProtoTest.  "I took copious notes, and I’m sharing the workbook with the rest of my team.  Everybody can benefit from the principles Betsy brought forth.”  

The seven principles were based off a national bestseller by Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations, and included:
  1. Master the courage to interrogate reality.
  2. Come out from behind yourself into the conversation.
  3. Be here.  Be prepared to be nowhere else.
  4. Take on your toughest challenge today.
  5. Obey your instincts.
  6. Take responsibility for your emotional wake.
  7. Let silence do the heavy lifting.
Two more knowledge gaining programs remain for 2010.  Crash Proof – Don’t Lose Customers or Revenue, Wednesday, December 15th and a briefing on the updated federal and state tax laws on Thursday, December 16. 

Speakers at the Crash Proof program will go into depth about how to ensure your website performance is optimal, and share common reasons on why the performance fails - and it is NOT the code!  Speakers include:
  • Lawrence Nuanez, Senior Staff Consultant, ProtoTest
  • David Neitz, Global Director of Software Applications, MHW Global
  • Tim Higgins, Former Executive Vice President and General Manager - Denver, Bridgeline Digital
  • Christian Teeft, Vice President of Engineering, Latisys
The tax briefing will share planning ideas and give an update on federal income tax including new legislation and pending legislation, as well as an update on state income tax including recent sales tax changes.  Speakers include:
  • Alison Dunnebecke, CPA, Tax Partner, Denver, Hein & Associates
  • Meghan Hays, CPA, Tax Manager, Denver, Hein & Associates

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