Ian Campbell was host and moderator at Year Zero. Here he blogs on his impressions of the event.
Over 150 IT professionals from every conceivable kind of Irish organisation descended on the Irish Management Institute in Dublin last week, anxious to hear about the future of business technology. At Year Zero, an event billed as offering insights into “News Ways of Working”, they would not be disappointed.
In the panel discussion Paul Rellis, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland, and John Purdy, CEO of Ergo, made a compelling case for why IT had fundamentally changed, partly because it had to, driven by the economic downturn, and partly because it needed to, as cost and complexity are no longer acceptable.
Helping make sense of a fast-changing world where the consumerisation of IT is a hot topic, was Keith Riley, Programme & Systems director Primark. While he welcomed advances made in technology, he challenged the idea that IT had got easier. Yes, the individual tools may be better, and he cited the wide spread availability of enterprise-class business intelligence as a case in point, but he argued that IT managers were expected to do so much more for the business that their lives could hardly be described as easier.
Offering an entirely different perspective was Martin McCormack, director of ICT at Beaumont Hospital. He gave a fascinating insight into how an under-pressure health service was utilising a new era in IT, proving there was substance in the “do more with less” sound bite.
Putting all the discussions in context was Professor Martin Curley, Senior Principal Engineer at Intel Labs Europe. He drew on his role as Co-Director of the Innovation Value Institute in NUI Maynooth to give a sobering reminder in his key note address of the journey organisations must undertake to turn IT into a platform for business innovation.
Delegates already had plenty to think about as they filed out of the main auditorium and headed off to hear Ergo subject experts talk them through particular technologies. I spoke with many of them later as they emerged from the different sessions, clearly animated by what they heard. It was very apparent that this event was about serious professionals looking for real insights on where to take their company’s technology stack.
It was clear that many of them had come along looking for specific solutions to particular problems and had earmarked topics that would shed light on what they needed to do to advance their projects. Everyone I talked to was enthusiastic and delighted to have taken something away from the morning.
All in all, there was a real buzz about the Irish Management Institute and a sense that the event had tapped into a level of discussion and topical issues that the delegates were very keen to hear.
Find out more about this event at www.yearzero.ie
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