CIO Atlanta Summit Recap

As our last event before summer holidays, (no-one really runs events over the summer – all the delegates are all on vacation so it’s the ideal time to rest and plan for the fall campaign) the CIO Atlanta Summit was a great send-off. We were blessed with a great pool of delegates (over fifty local Fortune 1000 IT leaders), and some key strategic partners. The delegates were eclectic (10 different industry sectors represented, with Financial Services at 20% and Government at 16% the most common) and senior, (63% holding a VP level title or higher). It was only a single day event, but what a day.

We kicked things off with a great opening keynote delivered by Jonathan Langley from IBM. His topic was the hybrid cloud, and as Cloud becomes something that more and more organizations being to adopt, this concept of a “hybrid” cloud – one that combines both public and private cloud components – is going to become increasingly common. It just makes sense: the load that needs high levels of security and compliance stays in the private cloud, while the rest can leverage the economies of scale of the public cloud. It was a great way to start, and it gave the attendees some great points to focus on as they plan their own hybrid cloud initiatives.

We closed with a great panel that featured Lee Crump (the CIO of Rollins), Jay Ferro (the top man at the American Cancer Society), Chet Mandair (Good Technology’s very own CIO), and Gautam Vyas (VP of IT for Equifax). A more diverse group on paper you couldn’t collect. But when the topic is “The Evolving Role of the CIO” diversity is key and these gents didn’t disappoint as the conversation was highly interactive, very lively, and immensely entertaining and insightful. The keys, I think, that came out of the discussion for everyone though was that 1) the CIO role is now, more than ever, one of key strategic value to the organization; 2) IT departments must take on a P&L approach (if not responsibility) to break out of operational role ruts; and 3) IT leaders have the responsibility to build bridges with their peers elsewhere in the organization by saying what they’ll do, and doing what they’ll say.

In between we shared lots of stories, lots of insights, lots of guidance, and lots of pitfalls. We had key partners like Rimini Street, ZScaler, Windstream, and Software AG share their take on the challenges of the CIO in 2014. We also had great practitioners such as Vish Narenda, CIO at GE Power & Water, Michael Noel, CTO at Manheim, and Mark Reardon, CISO for the State of Georgia give insight into the struggles they’ve faced, the obstacles they’ve overcome, and the tools and techniques they used to find success.

All in all a great day. If you were there with us, we’re glad you came. If you weren’t were sorry both that we missed you, and that you missed out. As I said off the top, that’s it for us for the summer, but we’re already itching to get things rolling again in the fall. The next time you hear from me on a Summit report, it’ll be the CIO Retail Summit at the end of August. I already can’t wait.

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