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It's FOSE, FOSE, FOSE this week...

Yes, I'm down at FOSE for most of this week -- the big government IT trade show.

It is a whole new FOSE for Federal Computer Week. FOSE had been owned by PostNewsweek Tech Media, and we had been prevented from even buying a booth at the trade show in years past. (Ah, competition. You gotta love it.)

So we get in legally this year. In fact, I'll be at the Azimuth Award presentation tonight, which goes to a government and industry person selected by the CIO Council.

Each year since 1999 during FOSE week, the CIO Council and 1105 Government Information Group present two awards. The CIO Council selects the award recipients to be recognized as the Executive of the Year from Government and from Industry. The unbroken tradition occurs during the Azimuth Awards Dinner, where each Azimuth awardee is recognized and presented with the Azimuth Award, a Chelsea ship's clock that chimes ship's bells and a plaque to commemorate the occasion.

We'll let you know the winner... and maybe a few other things.

And while you're at it, in print this week, we have a story about how to approach these trade shows.

Even curmudgeons might start to weaken as they stroll the aisles at FOSE or other popular high-tech trade shows. We humans seem to succumb to the coolness of the newest and fastest software and hardware.

But a nagging question that's best contemplated away from the show floor is how do you distinguish valuable technology from the latest techno fad. It's the question that chief information officers face every day.

"When we wake up in the morning, our first thought isn't, 'Do I have the latest and greatest computer technology?' " said Dan Mintz, the Transportation Department's CIO. "The real question is, 'What do we want to use the technology for?' And that's actually the harder question."

To help answer it, CIOs often rely on technology specialists to evaluate new offerings. They also forge closer ties with program managers to help them recognize high-tech innovations that could improve agency programs.

It's a strategy that can counteract trade show swoon. "People spend too much time looking at gee-whiz features and not enough time talking to their customers to see what they really want and what really provides value," said Vic Stannish, CIO at the Douglas-Omaha Technology Commission Board (Dotcomm), an organization that provides centralized IT services for Omaha and the surrounding Douglas County.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Mar 19, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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