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19th Annual Information Technology Seminar
January 22-23, 2003.

Speakers

Information Technology Seminar Draws a Crowd

Last week Partners in Business held the 19th annual two-day Information Technology Seminar on USU’s campus. This event is always highly anticipated because it draws a wide variety of experts who discuss up-to-the-minute business solutions, and provide answers about many of the latest technological innovations.

The first seminar speaker was Doug Greene from Overstock.com. He discussed how the internet-based company had managed to survive the dot.bomb fiasco. Doug credits much of Overstock’s success to the integration of their IT and marketing departments. This unusual fusion occurred, when the company abandoned mass banner ads because they were ineffective. The combined department developed a tracking system which allowed Overstock to customize web-pages for regular customers, focus on moving in-stock merchandise, and offer incentives to other web merchandisers for referrals. These methods have proved immensely successful.

James Frost discussed the importance of information assurance and system-wide security. He explained that firewalls and virus protection provide only partial solutions because most attacks, security breaches, and data integrity problems originate within the organization. These situations occur when employees either make mistakes or intentionally attack a company’s system. In such a dynamic environment security will always be an issue, so he advised companies to share information about breeches to decrease the risk of reoccurrence.

Peter Chen provided a short history of the development of the Entity Relationship Model. He feels its development resulted from being in the right place at the right time, with an original and unique idea. He shared some of his research on modeling data with languages, especially Chinese characters and Egyptian Hieroglyphs. He also discussed other modeling techniques.

Jared Spool talked about reducing the knowledge gap—the gap between what users actually know and what they need to know to operate software or web pages effectively. Jared noted that as the gap shrinks--either by users becoming more computer literate or by decreasing the level of knowledge required to perform tasks--usability increases. He suggests that developers focus on implementing systems that do more for users, or provide better help screens and tutorials.

Bruce Larson summarized the benefits of IP Telephony. He related that this technology can greatly reduce network maintenance and infrastructure costs since it eliminates the need to have both a phone and a data network. Another major advantage to IP Telephony is the ability to assign numbers to phones rather than to desks making it easier for customers to stay in touch.

Stephen Hill highlighted the growing popularity of the Linux operating system. He related that it is capturing increasingly larger chunks of both the server and the desktop markets. To compete in this new market, many vendors are developing Linux tools and strategies. The Linux system is very robust because so many people work on improving it every day.

Kelley Goggins discussed Fidelity Investment’s disaster plan and how well it worked during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. She related that all of Fidelity’s employees made it out of the building, and that the recovery team had immediate access to required information. The company also had the network capability to bring New York back online by 11:00 a.m. on September 11th. The magnitude of the disaster has caused Fidelity’s management to re-think some of their prior assumptions, but having a well-thought out plan and a staff prepared to put it into immediate action facilitated a very smooth recovery.

During the concurrent sessions Brandt Redd talked about using untethered computing to stay in the communication loop. He focused on keeping all of your available hardware and software applications connected, synchronized and backed up while you are away from your desk. Daren Stegelmeier discussed an exciting new device, the Tablet PC, which is an extension of the notebook computer, and Steve Quane focused on security threats and defensive tactics. He also provided a general overview of security practices.

Barbara White, USU’s CIO, discussed operationalizing knowledge management. She focused on managing the human factor, involving management and leadership in projects and scenario planning. And the final speaker, Mark Hurst, talked about the importance of the user experience. He provided many examples of websites that enhance the on-line experience and convert browsers into buyers. He also discussed what turns potential customers off, and how to avoid building web-sites that use those practices.

Participants evaluated the seminar very highly. Many commented that it was an excellent use of their time, and some described it as one of the best seminars they had ever attended. The common theme was that Partners seminars just keep getting better and better. The Partners staff is looking forward to seeing you at the 12th annual Customer Service and Marketing Seminar February 19th and 20th. For further information call toll free at 800-472-9965.

Speakers back to top

Keynote Speakers
Patrick Byrne

Dr. Patrick M. Byrne
Chief Executive Officer and President Overstock.com
Doug Greene
Chief Technology Officer & Vice President of Marketing Overstock.com

A Case Study on Integrating Technology and Marketing to Improve Your Bottom-line

In three short years, under Dr. Patrick Byrne’s leadership, Overstock.com has become the market leader in online excess inventory liquidation. Mr. Greene created the technology backbone that supports and connects each of Overstock.com’s multi-million dollar businesses. The speakers will address Overstock’s decision to combine its information technology and marketing departments. They will discuss why management made the decision, the strategy they use to manage the integrated department, and its impact on the company’s growth.

Doug Greene

 

Peter Chen

Peter Chen, Ph.D.
Professor Louisiana State University

Present and Future of Information Modeling

Professor Chen is internationally known for inventing the entity-relationship (ER) model, the foundation of many systems and design methodologies. He has also contributed to computer performance evaluation, office automation, XML and cyber security. He will analyze current information modeling practices, and teach you about future challenges in the modeling field.

 

Jared Spool Jared Spool
Founding Principal User Interface Engineering

Closing the Knowledge Gap

Mr. Spool has worked in the usability field since its infancy. He guided the research agenda and built User Interface Engineering into the largest organization of its kind in the world. He will explain recent developments in the field using current web sites as examples, and show you how to teach users to navigate complex concepts simply.

 

Mark Hurst

Mark Hurst
Founder Creative Good, Inc.

Bits and Users: How the Online Customer Experience Shapes Business

Mr. Hurst is credited with popularizing the term "customer experience" and the methodology surrounding it. He has consistently worked to make internet technology more user-friendly. Mr. Hurst will use existing web sites to discuss the importance of the customer’s online experience. You will gain an understanding of how your web site impacts your customer base.

 

Stephen Hill

Stephen Hill
President/CEO Linux NetworX

Linux and Open Source in the Enterprise

Mr. Hill works closely with his board of directors to drive Linux NetworX’s strategic direction. He is a recognized expert in the high-tech field who engaged in capital funding and formed key technology relationships for LNXI. Mr. Hill’s presentation will focus on high performance solutions using open source software and cluster systems.

 

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Kelley Goggins
Director of Risk Management Fidelity Investments

9 weeks in New Jersey, a WTC Case Study

Ms. Goggins has direct responsibility for planning and testing the recovery program for approximately one third of Fidelity’s business operations. She has 20 years experience in contingency planning from both a data center and a business perspective. She will tell you about Fidelity’s crisis management plans, and explain how well they worked after the terrorist attack.

 

James Frost James Frost
Deputy Director National Information Assurance Training and Education Center

Cyber Security Strategy: Meeting the Multi National Business Challenge

 

 

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Bruce Larson
IP Telephony Specialist Cisco Systems, Inc.

IP Communications for the Enterprise

Mr. Larson develops technology solutions for the public sector and IP telephony solutions. He will explain how IP Communications can deliver significant ROI by leveraging a single network infrastructure to provide a solid foundation for applications. You will learn how your company can migrate to IP-based systems delivering additional productivity, value and cost savings.

 

Dr. Barbara A. White
Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Office, Utah State University (USU)

The Importance of Enterprise Planning in a 21st Century Knowledge Management Environment

Dr. Barbara White has over 30 years experience in higher education including 6 years with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Senior Executive Service. Her accomplishments include internships with the W.K. KELLOGG Foundation, refereed publications, book chapters and national presentations in the areas of distance education, instructional technology applications, Enterprise Resource Planning, and the management of information and data through the use of technology.

 

Concurrent Session Speakers
Brandt C. Redd

Brandt C. Redd
Senior Developer and CTO Agilix Labs Inc.

Untethered Computing: Information Systems for the Conference Room, for the Hallway, at the Worksite and On the Road.

Mr. Redd, co-founder of Agilix, a company that develops Personal Effectiveness software for Microsoft Tablet PCs, has two decades of experience in document management, indexing, publishing and the internet. He will explain how you can evaluate and integrate wireless networks, synchronization systems, back-end databases, and software.

 

Daren Stegelmeier

Daren Stegelmeier
Business Solution Executive Microsoft

.NET and The Tablet PC

During his nineteen years at Microsoft, Mr. Stegelmeier has focused on helping customers find their strategic, technical direction. He will discuss the Tablet PC and .NET, and speculate about the next IT revolution. You will learn what these devices can potentially do for the industry.

 

Steve Quane Steve Quane
Director of Enterprise Product Management, Trend Micro, Inc.

A World Safe for Exchanging Digital Information

Partners in Business Home Page Jon M. Huntsman School of Business