Technology aficionados who attended the Regional Technology Showcase in Boston on October 14th were offered a unique view of the changing nature of technology and its impact on executive-level decision making from one of the event’s featured speakers: Vantage Senior Consultant Bob Kuhn.
Widely recognized for his ability to harness information technology to support educational objectives, Bob served on the faculties of Harvard University and Boston University. He was also the senior IT executive at Radcliffe College and Simmons College for ten years. That range of experience makes him particularly well suited to describe the “view-from-the-top” of a university’s IT department.
Co-sponsored by Symco, Infocomm, IMCCA and System Contractor News (SCN), the Showcase offered attending AV users, managers and developers an opportunity to interact with leading experts in fields such as commercial audio, video and data solutions, and unified communications.
The premier event of the day was the Technology User Panel Discussion moderated by Kirsten Nelson, editor of SCN Magazine. As a respected former CIO and knowledgeable technology consultant, Bob contributed heartily to that forward-looking dialogue.
“I wasn’t there so much to talk about the technology itself,” Bob said. “I was there as someone who could draw from IT management experience to provide the C-level perspective on strategic planning; expanding capabilities; organizational effectiveness – the things that a CIO thinks about in terms of utilizing technology in the higher education environment.”
“If you’re considering an AV upgrade, you may not realize that you have to consider network security implications as well.”
He offered attendees an in-depth analysis of the role IT plays at the college level, and the importance of utilizing independent consultants in today’s rapidly evolving tech environment. But the executive level decision-making process was his primary focus.
Those C-level decisions are becoming increasingly complex, he said, as modern technology continues to evolve and converge. And the pace of that convergence will only accelerate as IT, AV, security and other technologies continue to integrate.
“For example, there are a lot more ‘smarts’ in AV systems than there used to be – IT functions are embedded in those systems now,” he said. “That certainly expands capabilities, but it also creates security issues that may not have existed before. So if you’re considering an AV upgrade, you may not realize that you have to consider network security implications as well.”
For today’s CIOs, technology consultants are essential to the planning and design of new projects or system upgrades. Consultants provide the invaluable information decision-makers need to make better choices and avoid regrettable missteps. And the best consultants are strictly independent, Bob said.
“Independence is central to our work as consultants,” he declared. “At Vantage we tailor our designs and recommendations to match the specific requirements of each client. We have no alliances or partnerships, because we cannot allow our work to be influenced by any specific product vendor, system developer or hardware manufacturer.”
Putting client’s interests first, coupled with deep knowledge and unwavering attention to the latest innovations, are the key factors upon which Vantage has built its reputation as one of the industry’s top technology consulting groups.
“Rather than focusing exclusively on individual aspects of technology, we also approach our work in a more holistic way,” Bob explained. “Silos are vanishing. Convergence is the driving force now, and we must consider its impact on the larger tech environment – how it all fits together – in order to help our clients take advantage of the changes yet to come.”
For more thoughts from Bob Kuhn on convergence and the changing nature of technology, check out the transcript of his chat with SCN Magazine Editor Kirsten Nelson just a few days before the Regional Technology Showcase.