Mike CisekThe Midsize Enterprise Summit Spring 2018 conference keynotes and breakout sessions that will give midmarket CIOs a new perspective on the challenges they face.

The Midsize Enterprise Summit Spring 2018 conference kicks off April 29 in Orlando with a theme of “A New Vision for the Midsize Enterprise CIO.” Many of the industry’s most influential leaders in midmarket IT, including tech suppliers, solutions providers and Gartner analysts, will discuss their views on that theme and other challenges facing midmarket CIOs. What follows below is a list of the confirmed sessions and speakers.

5 Trends Driving Change in Midmarket IT

Speaker: Mike Cisek, Research Director, SMB Infrastructure & Operations, Gartner

The midmarket is undergoing a phase of rapid growth, investment and productivity. Business leaders of midsize companies are experiencing a high level of confidence which IT leaders can leverage for investment in key projects to continue driving company growth. In this session, attendees will gain an understanding of the major trends shaping the midmarket--one of the least understood segments of today's economy. This session will unveil the myths of the midmarket then dive deeply into the five trends. While we don't want to spoil the surprise, some of those trends include security, enablement of the digital workplace and how analytics are improving business and IT operations. Make sure you come to this kickoff session to hear all of the trends.


Strategic Happiness: Building A Culture of Trust and Positivity

Speaker: Amy Blankson, Award Winning Author and Co-Founder, GoodThink

Happiness is the greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy, yet so often it is seen as a luxury at work. However, a decade of research shows that training your brain to be positive at work fuels greater success. In fact, 75 percent of job success is predicted not by intelligence, but by optimism, social support network and the ability to manage energy and stress in a positive way. It is time to get strategic about how we can raise happiness levels at our organizations to empower teams to reach their full potential. In this talk, Amy Blankson will draw on her experiences working as co-founder of global consulting firm GoodThink to empower teams that happiness is a choice, happiness is a habit, and happiness spreads. She explains how to rethink stress in the midst of change and challenge and how we can lead positive change from any position in the organization.

Key takeaways include:

Learn how the field of positive psychology has changed everything we thought we knew about finding happiness and success.

Understand why happiness is a choice and not a genetic or environmental byproduct.

Discover practical strategies for practicing happiness on a daily basis.

Uncover the power of emotional contagion and use positive social influence to deal with toxic co-workers.


Preparing People for Technological Change

Speaker: Chris Laping, Founder, People Before Things, LLC

Current research shows that 70 percent of all change initiatives are unsuccessful. Explanations for such a lack of success are all over the map. Everyone wants to understand why some organizations succeed at delivering change while others don’t. It's a vexing issue for every midmarket CIO. Chris Laping, an IT leader turned consultant, believes leaders can succeed at implementing change by simply putting people before things. Using concepts from his best-selling book, "People Before Things," Laping will take MES attendees on a journey to help them visualize how they can become change leaders. Intended for any executive, middle manager or grassroots influencer, this is an inspirational message for all levels of leadership. Laping will share how great organizations take care of people and inspire a culture of change.


How Being Brief Can Make a Bigger Impact

Speaker: Charley Thornton, Principal, Partner and Senior Facilitator, The Brief Lab

Attention spans are shrinking. Email inboxes are too full to manage. Meetings are endless. Presentations waste time. Too many conversations are unproductive. Getting to the most important point quickly is a skill that is in high demand and low supply. Charley Thornton, a partner at The BRIEF Lab, will share practical techniques to make communications more impactful so more work gets done. These insights are a sampling of the BRIEF Methodology, a powerful new approach used by many leading organizations including Microsoft, MasterCard and the Navy SEALS.


Leadership Vision for the Midmarket CIO

Speakers: Mike Cisek, Research Director, SMB Infrastructure & Operations, Gartner; Vivek Swaminathan, Practice Leader, CEB, (acquired by Gartner)

To engage and manage business ecosystems, organizations are creating a digital business platform to share critical assets. A digital platform is a business-driven framework that allows a community of partners, providers and customers to share and enhance digital processes and capabilities or to extend them for mutual benefit. This framework allows for different combinations of business models, leadership, talent, delivery and IT infrastructure platforms that power digital business ecosystems. However, implementing digital platforms successfully requires collaboration with business counterparts and across IT roles. Infrastructure and operations leaders will play a key role in building and managing this platform. I&O leaders will have to play their role in this collaborative environment. This means they need to overcome any challenges and take a different leadership approach.

What are the major trends and challenges affecting the I&O leader?

What is leadership in the digital age for an I&O leader?

How do leading organizations deliver the highest value using I&O?

What actions and next practices should an I&O leader and team implement?


HPE/Intel Keynote

Hear the latest insight from midmarket IT leader HPE. Top executives will share their vision for how HPE's IT solutions can help midmarket CIOs advance their organizations, innovate and drive efficiencies.


WatchGuard Tech Symposium: The Power of Your People: How to Rally Your Organization Against Phishing

Speaker: Todd O’Boyle, Director of Product Management, WatchGuard

Learn how to build a phishing-protection program for your company that works. In this session, WatchGuard will help senior IT leaders reach beyond technical solutions with tips on getting management buy-in to fund such initiatives. Attendees will also learn how to architect a phishing-protection program that is both effective and engaging. The session will wrap with some simple and practical steps IT leaders can use when they get back to the office.


Ruckus Networks Tech Symposium: Escape Your Average Networking 

Times are changing and so are the ways people live and work. Ruckus Networks, an Arris Company, has a unique position on the forefront of change with networks optimized for the onslaught of device. Join this session to discuss emerging technologies like OpenG, IoT and the ways Ruckus Networks is forging a path for the midmarket IT leader in an era of change. 


Influential Versus Positional Authority

Speaker: Niel Nickolaisen, CTO, OC Tanner

The digital transformation fundamentally changes the role of IT and IT leaders. In the old days, the organization defined its process needs and IT played a support role. Now, changes in technology define organizational opportunities and IT is in a leadership role. To seize this opportunity, IT leaders must exert influence over those outside their organizations. To do so, IT leaders must identify and master the skills required to build and maintain influential authority. They must also gain a deep understand of the different behaviors and actions associated with influential and positional authority. In this breakout, Niel Nickolaisen, author of The Agile Culture, describes the specific tools IT leaders can use to develop their influential authority skills and grow as business leaders.


Aligning IoT Ambitions with Capabilities in the Midmarket

Speaker: Robert Rhame, Research Director, Gartner

Midsize enterprises are challenged by the potential complexity of IoT, combined with their restricted technology adoption capacity and skills. CIOs looking to capitalize on IoT must choose technologies and partners that complement their capabilities and reduce IoT risks. This session will discuss the key challenges facing midmarket CIOs who seek to implement IoT solutions in organizations that have limited capability to undertake large or complex projects and lack staff and skills, particularly in IoT security.

Key takeaways include:

How to choose achievable projects, and educate executives to understand the opportunities and pitfalls of IoT.

Strategies to ruthlessly reduce and remove complexity from IoT projects by adopting simple off-the-shelf solutions, avoiding customization, and choosing technologies with minimal integration needs.

Reduce the business and technology risk using tactics such as outcome-based contracts and hiring external consultants to review security.


Taking a Pragmatic Approach to Infrastructure Security

Speaker: Neil Wynne, Senior Research Analyst, Gartner

Midsize enterprises are often the victims of opportunistic attacks. With the increase in adoption of cloud and mobility, IT leaders need to prioritize security hygiene and leverage multifunctional security products and cloud-based security. Some of the common pitfalls facing midmarket companies include making tactical, technology-based security decisions, relying too much on third parties for product selection and overlooking people and process aspects. CIOs need a game plan to address these challenges head-on. This session will help midmarket CIOs deal with limited security budgets, a scarcity of skilled security professionals along with data protection and monitoring for cloud workloads.

Takeaways include:

How to prioritize security hygiene first to mitigate most threats and focus on functions such as vulnerability management, patch management and hardening to reduce attack surfaces.

Leveraging managed security services or managed detection and response services to supplement internal resources and capabilities.


Peer Perspectives on Monitoring the IT Budget  

Moderator: Vennard Wright, CIO, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission

Panelists: Aaron Geiger, CTO, ARCO National Construction

Doug Pontious, BI Analytics Executive, Amerisure

Mary Wyderski, Senior Director Information Technology, DSC Logistics

Every company's budgeting process is different, but recurring challenges around remaining within budget remain the same. From expanding scope on project implementations to increases in annual maintenance, there are many potential pitfalls IT leaders must account for when formulating and monitoring a midmarket company’s IT budget. This panel discussion will help attendees gain valuable insight into best practices and proven strategies used by seasoned midmarket IT leaders. They will also share lessons learned in negotiating with vendors and industry partners to reduce operational costs while increasing the value of the IT operation. Topics discussed include how to benchmark against similar organizations and how to develop a framework for managing rising IT costs.


The Great Midmarket Cloud Debate

Speaker: Joe Mariano, Senior Research Analyst, Gartner

While midmarket IT leaders have migrated some applications and workloads to the cloud, they are evaluating public, private and hybrid strategies for future cloud migrations. This has ignited a great debate within the midmarket IT community of how to manage the investments, security, support and select providers of public cloud services along with what should reside on-prem in private clouds or in a hybrid setting. IT leaders know these decisions are not just about technology and must involve business leaders including senior management. This session will discuss the latest insight on public vs. private cloud strategies, cloud office services such as Microsoft Office 365 and Google’s G Suite and cloud strategies for supporting the digital workplace.


How Transformational Leaders Build a Winning Culture

Speaker: Joe Bassani, Managing Director, UTC Partners

One of the most critical challenges every leader must be prepared to face is how to lead through difficult and uncertain times. Regardless of the industry or profession, when adversity strikes, teams look to their leaders for strength and guidance. Unfortunately, there are few places where leaders can go to learn the art of leadership in a crisis. This session on Building a Winning Culture will offer leaders practical strategies to prepare yourself and your team to deal with the uncertainty of chaos and win together through the most challenging circumstances. It is important to recognize that leading through adversity is only possible if we prepare ourselves from Day One. Joe Bassani will show you how to not merely survive, but how to come out on top.