Wisconsin Tech Conference Underscores Skills, Systems Modernization
March 3, 2014 Dan Burger
The IT industry is an ever-changing beast. As a business owner who values information but is baffled by information technology, it’s not unusual to feel like you are up IT creek without a paddle. Even IT pros, the guys with the paddles, are sweating the IT tsunami. Who would have thought a decade ago (or two or three decades ago in the case of many IBM midrange professionals) that IT could change so rapidly and skills would become so disposable? If you are hanging on to old skills, that makes you disposable, too.
Whether you are a business leader, an IT manager, or an IT worker, all eyes are on diverse and expansive IT skills. The future depends on those who possess the IT skills. They’ve always been thought of in terms of competitive advantage, and that’s never been more true than it is now.
This should bode well for the technical skills providers. We’ll see if that proves to be true as a new season of technical conferences is just getting under way.
One of the top conferences hosted by a local user group is the Spring Technical Conference developed and deployed by the Wisconsin Midrange Computer Professionals. This is a three-day event–March 11, 12, and 13–with presentations and lab sessions designed for modernizing skills and systems.
Success comes with companies and individuals who come up with ideas. They persist in spite of the rejections and the “it can’t be done” naysayers. There are people who work toward their goals and improve their ideas as they go forward and solve problems, says Jim Buck, now in his tenth year as president of WMCPA.
Companies need to focus on making their IT staffs more productive, meet new demands, and make adjustments while in transition. Education plays an important role in making IT success stories.
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done,” Buck says. “There are companies in the forefront that figure things out and spend the money to get things done. And then there are companies that have a ‘one of these days’ attitude and are continually ‘thinking about doing something.’ Well ‘one of these days’ is now. It’s gotta be.”
The session agenda, which can be viewed online, is aimed at helping companies modernize their IT departments and deliver business value. A skilled workforce, once a source of pride and competitive advantage, has been allowed to erode in too many instances. Key note speaker Tim Rowe, IBM’s business architect for application development and systems management for the i operating system, will be making the point that the time to modernize is overdue.
The overall list of speakers is top notch. It includes Scott Klement, Susan Gantner, Jon Paris, Carol Woodbury, Richard Dolewski, Charles Guarino, Aaron Bartell, Larry Bolhuis, Robin Tatam, Allan Seiden, Bruce Vinning, Kim Greene, Jim Oberholtzer, Dawn May, and many others.
The conference opens on the evening of March 11 with an expert roundtable discussion and open forum featuring a panel comprised of Alison Butterill, Richard Schoen, Mike Pavlak, Klement, Rowe, Bartell, and Guarino. This has been done successfully at past WMCPA conferences with attendees enjoying the opportunity to exchange ideas with industry experts.
Guarino and Seiden created a YouTube video that promotes the Spring Technical Conference from Times Square in New York City. You can watch that video here.
The Wednesday and Thursday session agenda includes more lab sessions than ever before. There’s an all-day PHP workshop on Wednesday and a half-day PHP workshop on Thursday for attendees looking for a PHP-focused single-track training opportunity.
The vendor expo area is much larger than any recent WMCPA tech conference. It includes 24 vendors. The list of vendors attending can be found on the conference website.
The conference will be held at the LakeLawn Resort in Delavan, Wisconsin, about a one-hour drive southeast of Milwaukee.
Typical attendance for this event is between 125 and 150.