So long, Ceylon
Deepali Gupta on Technology Senate 2004 which provided
India's top CIOs with food for thought.
Close to two hundred of India's leading CIOs came together in Colombo, Sri
Lanka, for Technology Senate (TS) 2004, a four-day conference at the end of
October, to familiarize themselves with trends in and the future of information
technology in India, and to some extent, the world.
The CIOs got an early start with an absorbing CIO roundtable and a session on
storage management and virtualization.
As it turned out, the concerns of today's CIOs have changed.
They are no longer worried about proving the ROI, since most CEOs are aware
of the significance of technology to the business. As L N Sundarrajan, Senior
VP-IT, Biral Corporate Management Ltd., put it, the CIO now has to think in
terms of toplines, bottomlines, and deadlines.
|Ninad Karpe, Country Manager, CA India, presents the
Computer Associates Intelligent Enterprise 2004 Award (in the Others category)
to Satyen Naik, Assistant Manager, IS, SUMUL
In an age of increasing specialization, we have observed a
shift from in-house teams to outsourced functions. Does this mean that the relevance
of the CIO is undermined? The CIOs gathered expressed their views freely, and
reached the conclusion that outsourcing only made them more critical to the
A panel concluded that matrix management was the most critical role of the CIO,
and for that the CIO would need a sound understanding of the key drivers of
the business, prevalent technology, and the corporate culture of the company.
On that note, TS sought to widen the horizons of all participants on both the
strategic and technological fronts.
Leading IT vendors presented an overview of the top technology topics across
It started with IBM affirming that storage management should
be part of a holistic and well-planned IT strategy.
|De-lighted: healthy food to suit all palates in a
In the second track, Sun spoke about unleashing the power
of network computing using a well-designed information architecture, adopting
a practical approach, and making the technology invisible to the end-user.
After that came the presentation on adaptive infrastructure
management by Hewlett Packard. It highlighted the need for dynamic automation
of business demands because a lot of network downtime is caused by misbehaving
The fourth track had Reliance Infocomm speaking of the convergent enterprise,
and the tools and methods by which it can be achieved.
Canon brought together a CIO panel to speak of the importance of document management
for the sake of effectively utilising printer resources.
Cisco and Novell touched upon the future ofenterprise networking
and identity management respectively.
Apart from what was held in the common conference room, there was a closed-door
roundtable on information security which established that security was not just
the responsibility of the IT department; it concluded that security risks can
only be minimized, but not eliminated.
Pie and pineapple
CIOs voice their concerns and aspirations during the
To help the delegates focus on such intellectually intensive
sessions, appetizing meals were prepared keeping the health factor and the sedentary
nature of the conference in mind. The food was light but had every bit of Sri
Lankan ethnicity to make it exotic. There was a spread of salads, fruits and
fruit juices. The spicy aroma of the prawns mesmerized the eater. Accompanying
the food was red rice to counter any reaction the spice-laden side dishes might
provoke. For dessert a spread of flan, pie, cheesecake, and meringue were served
with watermelon and pineapple.
The Gartner factor
A number of CIO participants last year had mentioned that they would welcome
analysts who could give a broader perspective. The request did not go unheeded.
This year there were some senior speakers from Gartner including Steve Bittinger
and Bob Hayward.
While Bittinger spoke of the need to outdo functional requirements if the IT
department wished to avoid being outsourced, Hayward talked about the importance
of IT governance.
Since not everyone can discuss his company's issues out in the open, the Senate
provided all CIOs the opportunity to interact with the Gartner consultants on
a one-to-one basis.
Home to the Pavillion
CIOs voice their concerns and aspirations during the
In parallel with the sessions were theme pavilions, which
demonstrated technology that vendors expect will soon take the market by storm.
The theme pavilion was split in seven sections.
AMD setup its Athlon 64 FX processor that enables the use of 64-bit software
Emerson Network Power demonstrated a range of Liebert, Emerson energy systems,
and ASCO products for power conditioning.
Displayed on the Zenith counter was SAAZ a complete suite
to remotely manage and monitor servers, networks, applications, desktops and
Krone exhibited a range of their Cat 5e and Cat 6 cabling solutions.
VIA Technologies India presented a low cost thin client that
could be useful in a centralized environment.
Eating fire: the delegates witness Sri Lankan culture
Interactive Intelligence exhibited their business communications
software for IP telephony, contact center automation, unified communications,
and customer self-service.
The Storage Application Network Engine (SANe) that simplifies storage network
complexity was on display on the MaXXan Systems stand.
A unique feature of this year's senate was the spouse program. The better halves
of the CIOs
attending the seminar had a bus and a tour operator to themselves for two days.
They visited a fishing village and many indulged in extensive shopping.
The main highlights of this year's future enterprise, the annual demonstration
of cutting edge technology at the Senate comprised voice & data convergence,
self defending networks, and mobility.
Painting the pavilions red: An overview of the theme
Technology Senate is not just about networking and knowledge
sharing. It is also a golden opportunity to honor the often-overlooked heroes
of business. The Computer Associates Intelligent Enterprise 2004 and
Come and join my party: the CIOs at the beach party
on Mount Lavina
SecureSynergy Security Strategist 2004 Awards were held with
that in mind.
Six CIOs were awarded for the business opportunities that they brought to their
organizations by means of IT. Three were recognized for safeguarding their networks
from a threat-ridden cyber world.
After three days of tech talk there was an evening beach
party followed by a morning of water sports.
Kapil Bhatia, Manager, IT, Syndicate Bank, takes the
microphone and sings
An elated gathering danced the night away to a mix of music
styles. Then, as the day awoke, the participants visited a soft white-sand beach
that led to green waters with a baby sun horizon.
If that gives you a calm feeling, then complete the picture
with about a hundred and fifty people screaming as they rode banana floats,
water scooters, and jet skis, and played a game of water polo between the West
(Mumbai, Pune) and the Rest (Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad).
This was just before Technology Senate 2004 came to an end, and the delegates
flew back home with fond memories and in anticipation of next TS.
Where will that be held? What's on the agenda? We're not telling yetthe
best things in life are worth waiting for.