Interop Insider: Interoperability Is Still Job One

With the demand for seamless access to corporate info--regardless of location or device--the Interop show has never been more vital.

May 10, 2007

3 Min Read
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Thanks to the editors of Network Computing, I'm back in the pages of a CMP publication for the first time in 15 years. In a previous life, I was an editor of a number of CMP news weeklies. These days, I'm the general manager of Interop, so writing this column is a nice diversion from the hectic job of running our industry's largest trade show.

Fifteen years is a lifetime in high tech, so what's changed since my news weekly days? My favorite "how the world has changed" response is that IT professionals--not vendors--are in the driver's seat today. With the maturing of technology and IT, the power has swung to buyers, who no longer must adopt every technical innovation as it hits the market. Instead, technology value is measured by its impact on the business, which means that, ultimately, IT, not vendors, sets the agenda. With that comes more responsibility, and it requires more engagement with business leaders to anticipate their needs to help grow your business. It's actually harder to be proactive to business needs versus reactive to new technology, but it's also more rewarding--both for you and your business.

The control you've gained over IT vendors, however, is being threatened by another set of vendors--those that sell consumer products. Mobile devices, video and social-networking tools are just a few of the everyday devices and services that are being carried into the business environment by individuals who are increasingly banging at your door to demand IT support. You can't ignore this trend--removing consumer conveniences in the workplace is one of the quicker routes to a dissatisfied user community. So, how do you cope with the onslaught of consumer technology?

It's impossible to anticipate every consumer technology trend and how it's going to impact your business. But you can ease integration and assure quicker response to the latest gadget or Web service by building IT platforms that emphasize secure access to information, standards and interoperability.

And that brings me to the one thing that hasn't changed: Interop's focus on, well, interoperability. In its early days, Interop helped the network talk to itself. Today, interoperability is a requirement throughout the infrastructure, through the applications and to any device. And that's why Interop covers so much ground, from security to mobility, data center to VoIP, SOA to storage. It has grown to encompass these topics and more because we recognize it's your job to ensure all components work together to support today's applications and anticipate tomorrow's.You can't anticipate how rapidly the next consumer device or service will find a role in your business. But it's a sure bet that pressure will continue to build to give your workers and customers a similar experience to what they're getting from consumer-oriented vendors. Businesses that make interoperability a priority, and take pains to build standards-rich platforms, will be in the best shape to handle the next consumer trend--whatever it may be.

With the demand for seamless access to corporate information regardless of location or device, Interop has never been more vital. For over two decades, Interop has helped IT and business decision-makers bring together the key components of a solid information strategy to provide competitive advantage for their organizations. This year we've added more coverage in security, storage and data center, and added new programs to examine the impact of virtualization and optimization and Enterprise 2.0.

I'm looking forward to seeing many of you in Las Vegas. If you get a chance, drop me a line at [email protected] to let me know what you're excited about seeing at the show.

Leonard Heymann Is VP/General Manager of Interop for Cmp Media. He was previously VP of content for Interop, and has spent 11 years producing events. Write to him at [email protected].

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