The following was published in yesterday’s edition of Foster’s and Seacoast Sunday.
Every year around now, I attend the annual ChannelCon event, produced by CompTIA, The Computing Technology Industry Association, www.comptia.org.
This year’s event was held earlier this week in Austin, Texas and attracted a large representation of the IT industry. Representatives from just about any household technology name you can think of were in attendance as were representatives from IT service providers like the company I work for, from all over the world. What I find most valuable about this event, is that it is not a product focused event, meaning it isn’t built around the latest sales messaging for a particular company’s offerings. Rather, this is a truly educational gathering that helps to keep attendees ahead of the trends, while also providing an opportunity to hear from some of the companies that drive the technology industry forward.
The event also touches upon social issues. Several years ago, CompTIA launched the Advancing Women in IT member community. This community seeks to get more women interested in technology careers as women are underrepresented in technology as compared to the rest of the economy. This year marked the launch of the Advancing Diversity in IT member community. This community works to help companies create work environments inclusive of all people regardless of age, cultural background, physical abilities, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. Further, this community seeks to be the leading advocate for the advancement of African-Americans, Hispanics and Latinos within the technology industry. Together with initiatives like the Tech Leaders Giving Circle, where technology company executives earmark donations from CompTIA to worthy local charities, CompTIA members have the opportunity to make a real difference in their local communities and for our country as a whole.
The theme of this year’s event was “Be The Change.” The content was designed around industry training, peer-to-peer learning and networking so that attendees would walk away with new ideas and tools to put into immediate action to help grow their business and their career, while providing critical services to our local clients who increasingly rely on technology.
There were several engaging keynotes, that challenged us to develop better diversity cultures within our organizations. Others provided career advice from men and women in different parts of the industry who all had different experiences throughout their storied careers. There was a highly engaging keynote by Scott Belsky, who founded the company Behance, that challenged everyone to create “windows of non-stimulation.” The contention being that we are all bombarded by entirely too much information at every waking moment. I’m sure you can relate to this!
Educational tracks focused on emerging technologies like Smart Cities and the Internet of Things and how this will impact us, both as individuals and as workplaces within our communities. Cyber security was a hot topic, as you might expect. While many understand that their own business may have cyber security risks, most don’t think about it from the standpoint of understanding the cyber security posture of their business partners. For example, when you partner with an IT firm, do you take the time to understand how they protect themselves? This will often give you instant insight into how well they can protect you! Do you want to partner with a company that does not have appropriate safeguards in place to protect themselves? I sure hope not.
Business Intelligence, or BI, is another emerging hot topic. Driven in part by new tools that have come to market that make it easier and more cost effective, companies are embracing BI to help them understand how their business is performing, in real time. It’s no longer unrealistic to think that a business of any size, can develop dashboards to keep a real-time pulse on your business.
The IT industry remains vibrant and growing. The opportunities to work with partners to help you grow your business through smart technology investments are better than ever. Just don’t invest for the sake of implementing the latest new technology. Make sure you have clearly established goals for your business and then apply technology to help you reach those goals more efficiently and profitably.