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Interop Preview: The Business of IT

In many companies, IT and "the business" are regarded as separate parts of the organization. This is a false distinction, because IT undergirds the organization and helps drive real-world outcomes. In fact, it would be hard to point to any aspect of today's business where you could remove IT and have that business continue.

However, one problem that arises from this perceptual distinction is that IT doesn't have a strong voice in the company. That's untenable, particularly as companies grapple with significant technology changes in cloud, big data, mobility and more. IT has to provide essential services, cater to users, and meet security, compliance and privacy needs of their companies.

The "Business of IT" track at Interop New York is meant to provide attendees with frameworks for how to address these trends, how to gain a stronger voice in their organizations and how to meet the tech-driven business needs of their constituents.

This year, I've had the pleasure of being asked to curate the "Business of IT" track, and, in doing so, have had the further pleasure of interacting with some amazing leaders who are connecting IT and business. Here's a glimpse of what you'll see in my track:

• Larry Quinlan , Global CIO of Deloitte, speaking to us on IT and business value: Quinlan will examine how cultivating a sense of possibility and excitement within your organization around what technology can do for its people as well as its clients can correlate to bottom-line business goals and result in increased value.

• Vala Afshar, CMO and CCO of Enterasys Networks, telling us how the CMO and CIO need to be best friends: While marketing and IT may not seem like natural partners, marketing is getting more and more complex, data intensive and technology-driven. CIOs can partner with marketing leaders to optimize the use of technology and drive toward ensuring a customer-driven approach that benefits the entire business.

• Sunny Gupta, CEO of Apptio, helping us align IT and the business through Technology Business Management: Gupta will delve into TBM, a framework for IT executives to help them run their shops more like their business. He will discuss strategies for building strong customer relationships, delivering valuable products and services, and being accountable for financial performance.

• Michael Simon, CEO of LogMeIn, introducing us to the Internet of things and how it affects our lives: Simon will explore various plans for smart cities and smart business of the future, and show through practical demonstration how life in our world will evolve on the IoT.

• Bob Friday, SVP of Cisco, enabling us to think about mobile networks as part of our comparative advantage in the business: Friday will show how mobile networks provide the right formula to help your business accelerate transformation and deliver differentiated experiences. He'll discuss real-world case studies across a variety of industries, including healthcare, retail and higher-ed.

What excites me most about these sessions is that they combine strategy and forward thinking with a large dose of practicality. As IT and the business converge, we need to clarify the role of IT professionals in shaping and nurturing the end goals of the company.

Also exciting is the zealotry that these luminaries bring to the mix. By zealotry, I mean the desire to perform and achieve, the relentless focus on the loftiest goals in technology and business, and the desire to elevate IT to its rightful place.

The celebration of IT that is Interop is enhanced by the presence and interaction of experts above as they interact with the community by teaching, learning and sharing.