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IT Forum focuses on service transformation

March 18, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University will challenge Michiganders to reflect on technology-enabled service innovations in the 21st century when it holds its sixth annual WMU IT Forum from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 30, in the Fetzer Center on the main campus.

This year's event, which requires advance registration by Monday, March 26, will focus on the theme "Service Innovation Through Technology: A Paradigm Shift for the 21st Century." It will open with a continental breakfast followed by WMU IT expert Dr. Andrew Targowski speaking from 8:40 to 9:30 a.m. about higher education's role in innovation.

The 2007 forum is being hosted by the Computer Information Systems Program, which is part of the Department of Business Information Systems in the University's Haworth College of Business. Co-chairing the event are two members of WMU's BIS faculty, Dr. Thomas F. Rienzo, instructor, and Dr. J. Michael Tarn, associate professor.

"In one of his many books, Peter Drucker stated that the most important contribution of management in the 20th century was the 50-fold increase in the productivity of manual work in manufacturing," Rienzo says, "and the most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st century is a similar increase in knowledge work."

Innovation is the only effective response to the challenges of globalization, Tarn adds.

"With service encompassing about 75 percent of the U.S. economy, productivity in knowledge work means productivity in services," he says. "So our featured speakers for this year's forum represent companies and organizations on the leading edge of service innovation."

Featured will be Dr. Robert E. Litan of the Kaufmann Foundation, who will address services operating in an entrepreneurial environment; Rod Smith of IBM, who will connect Web 2.0 and enterprise systems technologies, and Grady Burnett of Google who will describe the democratization of the Web through Internet search.

Litan is vice president for research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation and director of economic studies and holder of the Cabot Family Chair in Economics at the Brookings Institution. He has served as a staff member for the Council of Economic Advisers, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, associate director of the Office and Management and Budget, and a Department of Treasury consultant on financial policy issues.

Smith is an IBM Fellow and vice president of the emerging Internet technologies software group. He is a recognized technical leader, both within IBM's software business, as well as across the industry. Smith enjoys a sustained record of achievement in the software business due to his ability to identify key emerging technologies well before they become mainstream.

Burnett is head of online sales and operations in Google's Ann Arbor office, which supports the company's AdWords advertising program. His responsibilities include hiring, sales, customer service and account management. Previously, Burnett managed the national agency team at Google's California headquarters and was a DoubleClick vice president for agency sales.

Targowski, the forum's other major speaker, is a BIS professor at WMU whose publications have helped define systems architecture, information infrastructures, and electronic enterprises. He has published more than 20 books in English and Polish on IT, political science and history. His latest text involves the role of information in the development of human civilization.

The forum also will feature student project award presentations throughout the day and three concurrent panel sessions from 3 to 4 p.m.

Panel one will examine "Service Oriented Architecture," which integrates software services to support business processes and software users. SOA makes resources available to networked collaborators as independent services that can be accessed independent of computer platforms.

Panel two will look at "Web 2.0," which refers to perceived second-generation Web-based services and envisions the Internet as a platform in which applications improve as more people use them. Users are not just accessing information, they are contributing content and knowledge.

The final panel, "Internship and Recruiting," will focus on IT job opportunities and emerging market needs. It will be particularly attractive to students and include a dialog between WMU students with IT training and corporate human resources personnel.

For more information about the forum or to register online, visit cis.hcob.wmich.edu or contact Thomas Rienzo at thomas.rienzo@wmich.edu or (269) 387-5410.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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