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Strictly Business Seminar brings IT into focus.

Information technology continues to become more integral in many companies’ business models, and attendees of this year’s CxOnly Program should prepare to get an earful on the subject.

Presented by the META Group, and titled “Balancing Risk, Value and ROI,” the one-day seminar–as part of the Strictly Business Solutions Expo–will feature such keynote speakers as former FBI Director Louis Freeh and Dr. Howard Rubin of the META Group.

All the speakers at the seminar will cover various ways companies can protect their IT portfolios and analyze their contents from a bottom-line point of view. The speakers will also discuss the risk that comes with IT portfolios and how best to avoid dangerous pitfalls.

Geared toward executive management, as well as people in the upper echelons of IT and business management, the organizers hope that CFOs and CIOs will leave with a clearer idea of how to communicate with each other, as well as how each can assist the other. “We’re sort of bridging that gap between technology and business,” says Bill Buchler, who works for META Group and is organizing the CxOnly Program.

Portfolio management can be viewed as the preferred “common language” that can be shared between technology and business, Buchler points out. “It’s understanding what the business needs, how IT can support it, and how you structure and balance your portfolio so that everything is in proper balance,” he says.

Part of the risk to companies also comes when looking at their IT portfolios. Companies may make investments in venture technology that will lead to a dead end. The CxOnly Program will also address some of these issues. Strictly Business had already arranged for speeches from Freeh, as well as from Gary Beach, group publisher at CxO Media Inc. Because of META Group’s current focus on IT portfolio management and benchmark standards, Buchler feels that META Group’s program will fit well into the expo. META Group worked with Strictly Business so that attendees of the CxOnly Program would have a chance to hear Beach and Freeh speak.

Strictly Business, in its 20th year of operation, started out as a small show/expo geared toward developers, and has now become well known for work with IT business issues. This year, expo organizers expect 16,000 attendees and approximately 500 exhibitors.

META Group–which operates in more than 40 countries and does advisory, research, and consulting work for companies that are making technological decisions–helped plan much of the content for the Strictly Business expo. Freeh’s scheduled topic is “Homeland Security and Leadership for Complex Organization.” In addition to his talk, Freeh will be taking part in an open discussion with Dr. Howard Rubin, who is the executive vice president of META Group, as well as a research fellow.

Other speakers will discuss ways to balance a company’s IT budget, how to create shareholder value, and ways that management can better analyze IT initiatives and bring them in line with business values. There will also be a mini benchmark clinic that will give attendees a chance to compare their company’s benchmark information alongside the key trends noted by the META Group.

“We’d like the CFO to walk away with a better understanding about what technology really can do for them-or not do for them,” says Buchler. “And we want the CIOs to walk away with a better understanding about how to talk to business.”

The CxOnly Program is scheduled for May 8 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Strictly Business Solutions Expo is set to run May 8-9.

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