iTech Summit 2011 – Connecting Canada’s IT professionals

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The Infrastructure Technology Summit is Canada’s annual event that connects IT professionals to the latest in IT solutions. This all-day event makes major stops in Canada’s busiest business hubs and features a trade show floor showcasing all the latest advances from tech companies. It is a conference offering keynote speakers and seminars from some of Canada’s leading IT companies. Here at The Canadian Business Journal we’re interested in all things digital, so we went to check out the Toronto stop of this major IT event.

First glance tells us this is a B2B powerhouse of major players in the IT field. And no doubt, this was very much an industry event, with networking being a major goal of many of those who attend. “This is our first year here, so we’re really hoping on getting some leads and meeting some industry people,” says Mason Lee of Zippy Technology, a Taiwan-based company specializing in micro-switches.

“iTech Summit customers make up a large percentage of our business,” said Heather MacDonald of NetStore Technology, a storage technology manufacturers’ sales and service company with its headquarters in Markham, Ont. Many major IT companies—such as IBM, Hitachi and HP—are iTech summit veterans, obviously convinced of the networking opportunity.

“The way we communicate is changing”

The morning’s keynote was presented by Neil Bunn, Technology Architect for Complex Computing Solutions at IBM Canada, on the topic ‘Changing the Economics of IT with Smart Computing.’ Bunn is an engaging speaker, and this presentation was definitely an event highlight. Last October, CBJ attended the 4th Annual Social Media Conference to learn all about social media in the B2B world. We were pleasantly surprised when we discovered that an important point in Bunn’s presentation was social media.

IT departments can be skeptical of social media as a valid business application, particularly when time and budgets are stretched. Bunn’s major point was that IT professionals need to wrap their heads around the validity of blogs, Facebook, and especially Twitter as tools for business. Twitter, he argued, can provide that instantaneous connection to customers—an invaluable part of business that IT teams should not forgo. Bunn also argued the increasing importance of Windows Cloud and the fundamental role it will play in this new emerging era of IT.

After the morning keynote, attendees split off into smaller educational sessions available throughout the day, covering everything from increasing IT ROI to using Flash to accelerate business. Some of these were attended more than others, but the great thing about smaller sessions is it allowed interested parties to pick and choose their sessions for the day.

From the trade show floor

The big names in the IT sector were all present, representing the latest in innovations in a quick view of the floor shows booths from Hitachi, HP, IBM, Sun Oracle, and many other known names showing particular products. Tailored booths were catering to the B2B market and provided a great opportunity to network and learn.

We managed to catch Gary Sussman of CA Technologies, a data management company, on the trade show floor after his presentation about the cost of downtime. “As a data management company, we can help customers protect their data and loss of revenue or productivity because of downtime, and can successfully recover that data effectively and quickly. We have four different levels that we provide them to protect and provide in case of disaster.”

CBJ had to wonder—is downtime really that big of an issue? “Oh yes indeed,” says Sussman emphatically, “Don’t get me started! We actually did an independent study last fall and discovered that there was 426.5 billion of revenue was lost last year due to outages.” CA Technologies has the systems and capabilities to recover data so businesses won’t lose that revenue. The iTech Summit, as Sussman explains, is a logical forum for the company to meet valuable business contacts and showcase its specialities to the industry. 

If your IT team missed out on this forum of opportunity, there are still the Fall forums in Calgary and Vancouver. Please visit www.itechsummit.ca for my information.

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