From the Director
A Word from Our Executive Director
UniForum '97 Conference Planning Begins
One of our most important annual activities is off to a great start. Detailed
planning for the 1997 UniForum Conference program began during a two-day
retreat held a few weeks ago. As usual, the program committee is comprised
of analysts, journalists, vendors and users, who brought insights and strongly
held beliefs that will benefit those who attend UniForum '97 on Mar. 10
through 14 in San Francisco.
The goal of the UniForum '97 Program Committee was to learn from the past,
explore new technologies and address the needs of the disparate audiences
that look to UniForum as a key source of education. It is my feeling that
they succeeded, although we cannot prove this for another nine months. Advance
planning is always one of the most difficult aspects of building a conference.
What's hot today may be lukewarm next March; similarly, new stuff unknown
now may be sweeping the industry by then. For example, ask yourself when
you first heard of Java, then try to predict how this technology will be
used next spring. This is the type of challenge our committee faces every
year, and it forces us to leave room in the program for late-breaking topics
of real appeal.
Our group came up with a variety of topics we believe will still be current
in March. We identified the following "tracks": Integrating Unix
with Microsoft; Advanced Internet Technologies; Corporate Applications on
the Intranet; Integrating Internet, Client/Server and Legacy Systems; Mission-Critical
Systems; Middleware and Application Integration; Electronic Commerce; and
Networking Technologies and Distributed Systems. These ideas remain subject
Our next hurdle will be the winnowing process, which will yield six or seven
tracks, each with seven or eight sessions. Then threads of interest areas
will be woven throughout the entire conference. These threads will, for
instance, allow a systems administrator to follow a pertinent curriculum,
for which UniForum will provide a certificate of attendance. Our overall
goal is to produce a vibrant conference that delivers value to both implementers
(such as administrators) and decision-makers (executives). These are UniForum's
two traditional core audiences, and serving their different needs has always
been our mission.
To be a success, the conference needs your contribution as well. All UniForum
members are encouraged to submit proposals for sessions at UniForum '97.
Participating in the conference is a gratifying job; a number of tracks
last year were filled almost entirely by member-supplied sessions. To be
a part of this exciting activity, see Call
for Proposals or call our conference coordinator, Claudia Marshall,
at (408) 986-8840, ext. 48.
Personally, I came away from the meeting energized and confident. Good work
was accomplished that will need nurturing before it bears fruit months from
now. I'd like to thank my colleagues on the committee, whose efforts are
really just beginning. They are Jim Bell of The Open Group; Dave Bernstein,
our lead facilitator; Kim Biel-Nielsen of EurOpen; Andrew Binstock of UNIX
Review; Rebel Brown of Cognoscenti; Robert Gingell of SunSoft; Michael
Harrington of Beth Israel Hospital; Philip Johnson of International Data
Corp.; Derek Kaufman of Levi Strauss; Dan Slavin of Open Market; Cathie
Smith of UUNorth International; Tim Yeaton and Don Harbert of Digital Equipment
Corp.; Marie Burch and Ted Prindle of Softbank Comdex; and Jeff Bartlett,
Deborah Murray and Dick Shippee of UniForum. Their contributions will have
lasting effects on thousands of your peers--and on you as well, I hope.
Richard H. Jaross is the executive director of the UniForum
Association. He can be reached at email@example.com.