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Enterprise Computing Community Conference 2017 Recap

Variety of sessions, topics and speakers is high

8/23/2017 6:00:24 AM | In June, I attended the 9th annual Enterprise Computing Community (ECC) conference hosted by Marist College with collaboration and support from academic and industry partners and sponsors. Partner and sponsor financial support is strong and the conference has no admission or registration fees. Enrollment is capped at 300 attendees and meals are included for the entire conference. Overall, the quality of the sessions was high, including my picks for the top five talks of the conference.

The New Demands Of Enterprise Computing; Digital Disruption In The Cognitive Era
Keynote presentation by Bernard Meyerson, IBM Fellow, vice president and CIO, IBM
Bernard Meyerson’s talk was largely about big data, and it was full of experiences and examples that he learned through his many jobs in IBM and through his direct work with numerous clients. He spoke about leading enterprises and their continued use of mainframe computers—92 of the 100 top banks, 10 of the 10 top insurers and 23 of the 25 largest airlines. A vivid example he gave was for oil and gas—modern facilities have more that 80,000 sensors in place with a single reservoir producing more that 15 petabytes of data in its lifetime.
Takeaway: We are in an emerging cognitive era where we will store knowledge, not data. Clients and providers will gain near instant insights into what is needed and what is possible.

How Individuals, Teams and Organizations Can Make Innovation Business as Usual
Keynote presentation by Madge Meyer, founder of Madge Meyer Consulting LLC
This was an inspirational talk about innovation. It had plenty of substance, but the main use for me was inspiration. Madge Meyer told stories from when she was an IT manager at Merrill Lynch. She took some bold actions that saved the company millions of dollars despite their reluctance to change. The success of one IT project led to others that institutionalized innovation. Meyer was also part of the space program and was involved in three missions where “nobody died,” which was an ongoing concern for her and her husband who was also involved in pre-Apollo missions.
Takeaway: Organizations should listen, lead, position, promote, connect, commit, execute and evolve. These are the eight disciplines that teams should employ to make innovation business as usual.

A Methodology and Approach for Identifying and Mitigating Risks Associated with Enterprise Applications
Session by Phil Teplitzky, managing partner, founder HP Marin
I attended this session because I have a deep interest in methodologies. Phil Teplitzky spoke about the challenges in handling risk in legacy systems. He was funny, very experienced and had an incredibly powerful grasp of the issues and practice. Through his interactions with the audience, he added layers in information and insight to the useful materials already present on his charts. His 50 page presentation is a textbook on identifying and handling enterprise application risk.
Takeaway: Legacy modernization requires knowledge of where you are and what you have, understanding of where you want to be, methodology that is based on an ecosystem of change, and having the skills and competencies in both the current and the future. It’s most importantly knowing that what you don’t know is more important than knowing what you do know.

How Blockchain is Transforming Industries by Reimagining Business Interactions 
Keynote session by Ramesh Gopinath, vice president of blockchain solutions, IBM
Ramesh Gopinath took us on a fast-paced tour through his experiences as a leader in blockchain solutions from IBM. At first, he helped build that strategy to meet the marketplace need through professional services, then began a period where many customers engaged in lightweight explorations of blockchain. After this early period, somewhat suddenly, the projects became more substantive and serious. Today, customers are doing a lot more that just exploring blockchain, they are seeking to integrate this distributed shared-ledger technology to improve their business processes in a fundamental way.
Takeaway: This presentation provides ample proof that blockchain will fundamentally change business processes. There is significant interest and resources, from IBM and many others, propelling the technology forward to take its place as an open, trusted and ready for business networks solution for businesses around the world.

What's Your Problem? How Thinking Like an Entrepreneur Leads to Innovation 
Keynote session by Carol Reeves, associate vice provost of entrepreneurship, University of Arkansas.
Carol Reeves gave an amazing keynote talk on innovation. If you are interested in entrepreneurship, you must read through this presentation. Reeves spoke about the importance of interdisciplinary teams, mentoring from entrepreneurs and former students, hard work and the importance of not trying to pursue solutions searching for problems. The main focus of the presentation was a useful and methodical exploration of the topic. I especially appreciated the detailed focus on solving a problem versus creating a solution, then looking for a problem that it solves.
Takeaway: This presentation embodies a practical way to harvest the potential of innovation. As Reeves puts it: happiness is a positive cash flow.

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