IT Forum to explore communication in business

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10th annual IT Forum Nov. 2

KALAMAZOO—Technology's role in improving communication and information sharing in business will come into sharper focus early next month when the 10th Western Michigan IT Forum unfolds at Western Michigan University.

Business professionals from across the region are invited to gather from 7:15 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, at the Fetzer Center to expand their knowledge of information technology's impact on multiple industries. Put on by the WMU Department of Business Information Systems, the forum's two keynote speakers, six concurrent paper presentation sessions and a speed-networking session will address this year's theme, "Information to Communication."

The forum's lunch also will kick off a celebration of 30 years of business information systems education at WMU, the first university in the nation to require basic computer literacy for all students. The celebration will include speakers and alumni from different decades of the information systems program.

There's no question that technology is at the forefront of society today, says Dr. Muhammad Razi, associate professor of business information systems and forum chairman.

"Attendees should leave the forum with a better knowledge of the way technology has impacted communication and how communication can enhance business and academic environments," Razi says.

Western Michigan IT Forum

Keynote speakers will be Tim Dechant, director of technology at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and John Hill, higher education evangelist at LinkedIn. Dechant has a background in the administrative, developmental and operational aspects of technology, while Hill works with higher education professionals around the world on social media skills.

The forum also will include a plenary session with experts from a variety of companies. They include Mary Jane Mapes, president of The Aligned Leader Institute; Joy McClendon, senior director of business technology at Pfizer; Grant Sienko, regional director for Windstream; and Rod Smith, vice president of emerging Internet technologies at IBM.

Those attending also can take part in the Employer Turbo Presentation, an employer-student speed-networking session new to the forum that gives students an opportunity to meet in groups with employers for several minutes before moving on to meet with another employer. The session will help both students and employers find connections and communicate in and out of the forum context.

"Students will be able to choose which employers they want to interact with as a group and then will have limited time to do so, prompting interesting conversations," says Dr. Mike Tarn, professor and chair of the Department of Business Information Systems.

The event will conclude with a raffle and an announcement about the 2013 International Conference of Health Information Technology Advancement.

For more information or to register, visit wmich.edu/infosystems/itforum/index.php. Registration is free for WMU students, faculty and staff.