About 450 IT directors and senior managers attended perhaps the UK's largest corporate IT user conference of the year.
The main focus for most was how to achieve consolidation, convergence and collaboration between existing applications and departments. Users wanted to ensure that whatever they do ties in with the true business needs and delivers value. Therefore sessions on developing the necessary management and leadership skills were popular.
One piece of advice to delegates summed up much of the thrust of the conference: a call to reopen old files, dig out the original business cases for projects in progress, and review business objectives against the original assumptions. Another session explained the importance of distinguishing between efficiency - doing something right-and effectiveness - doing the right thing.
Despite the suppliers' hype and hope almost no one was planning any real use of new technologies. The focus was relatively low level, implementing remote access programmes through Voice over IP or virtual private networks. Mobile e-commerce projects were not in evidence.
There was a lot of emphasis on the softer issues. "First seek to understand in order to be understood," was one bit of advice that stuck in the mind of one IT director. To help IT directors and managers improve their image as well as their self-image, the conference laid on a series of lifestyle consultants, dress sense advisers, psychologists and graphologists.
About the forum
The IT Directors' Forum is an annual three-day ship-borne, high-level conference run by Richmond Events since the 1990s. It is free to users and paid for by suppliers who get structured opportunities to meet them at fixed times each day. The ITDF is for those in all sectors except finance. Richmond Events runs a sister conference, City IT - this year from 6-9 November - for IT directors from that sector.