Business focus will be common thread of next year's conferences

The growing business/IT alignment at all levels of the IT department is reflected in the business orientation of several major user-focused conferences planned for next year.

The growing business/IT alignment at all levels of the IT department is reflected in the business orientation of several major user-focused conferences planned for next year.

Business focus and value to the bottom line is the common thread linking three conferences spanning different areas and levels of IT. The Communications Management Association annual conference in early February; the main IT security show and conference, Infosecurity, towards the end of April; and the ship-borne IT Directors Forum in mid-May all attest this trend.

The IT Directors' Forum, on board the cruise ship Aurora from 17-20 May, has settled on its core themes. The first, examining the concept of the IT entrepreneur, aims to acquaint IT directors with techniques that they could normally only learn in other disciplines, such as marketing, sales, product development and finance.

Getting results is another theme, and this session will focus on new techniques for measuring the immeasurable, and new tools for making projects run smoothly.

IT directors can also get individual coaching sessions at the conference as part of the staff and career theme. In the same vein, IT directors will form small, facilitated self-help groups to discuss their successes and failures from five angles: results, staff management, new initiatives, projects and business intelligence.

With insourcing becoming more of a vogue, the IT Directors Forum will look at how to break away from incumbent outsourcing suppliers and bring IT back in-house. The presentation will outline the eight steps to do this successfully.

According to research by the organisers of the annual Infosecurity show, which will take place from 25-27 April, compliance, audit and governance are the three biggest management headaches for IT security directors .

Other areas of concern, which will also be featuring in the Infosecurity exhibition and conference programme, include reducing the cost of security, maximising the value and return of security spend, and securing links with the internet.

Issues of growing concern to IT security professionals include the security implications of identity management, mobile computing, remote working, wireless technology, denial of service attacks, and automating security.

The Infosecurity exhibition and conference, organised by Computer Weekly's sister company Reed Exhibitions, is the largest annual IT security event of its type in the UK. Alongside the exhibition will be two conference streams, one of business strategy-oriented IT security seminars and debates, and the other more technically focused.

The Communications Management Association annual conference will focus on the conver- gence of communications technologies, applications and services and how they will transform the enterprise. The conference will run from 8-9 February.

The hot topics telecoms and IT managers will discuss include the future of voice over IP - is it a key business enabler or just another IP application? Delegates will discuss whether to build or buy voice over IP systems and how to make the business case for them.

The conference will also review the promise of next-generation networks, including wireless and peer-to-peer networks, in terms of their effect on the business, and whether they promise business gain, or business pain.

A special keynote session on mobile security sports the provocative title "Mobile security - critical issue or non-event?"  The session will explore wireless Lan security, best practice disaster recovery and enterprise security management and identity and access management.

Fixed-mobile convergence and the value of unified communications, linking areas such as VoIP, e-mail, collaboration, document workflow, web conferencing and voicemail, is another hot topic.

End-users' ever increasing demand for flexible working and managerial strategies, and the integration necessary to support this, come under scrutiny on the second day of the conference. The business emphasis will be on increasing productivity while reducing costs.


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