Conducted during the Networking Breaks, Strategic Briefings allow conference sponsors to present expert views of strategic opportunities and implications of emerging technologies and business trends.

Vasan Venkat SAP Logo

Breaking Down Line of Business Barriers to Run Live

Vasan Venkat
Vice President, North America Center of Excellence, SAP

A company’s customer and employee experience, and their success overall, is greatly dependent on their ability to build a seamless, connected, and live enterprise — one that works in harmony across departments, including finance, extended supply chain, procurement, marketing and customer engagement.

Vasan Venkat will discuss how new technologies like cloud, in-memory computing, and machine learning can strip away the barriers between lines of business and even entire industries. He’ll provide practical examples of companies whose departmental applications are being consolidated and united by a new digital economy that combines analytics, transactions, and machine learning into a single in-memory platform that connects through the cloud to external partners and suppliers.

This Strategic Briefing will be at 9:45 am in Hall of Ideas EFG.

About Vasan »

Vasan Venkat is Vice President, North America Center of Excellence at SAP. He has nearly two decades of experience in Manufacturing and Supply Chain operations with stints at ABB, Rockwell Automation and a start-up funded in part by SAP Labs.

Venkat has a Bachelor of Engineering in Instrumentation Technology from Bangalore University, India, and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Mississippi State University. He specializes in helping companies leverage technology and solutions to drive lean, sustainable, adaptive and optimized operations throughout their value chain - driving higher margins, profitability and growth for their enterprise.

Originally from Bangalore, India, Venkat grew up in London and currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Tim Currie AHEAD

Organizational Change in the Time of Cloud

Tim Currie
Managing Director, Service Management and
Cloud Solutions, AHEAD

The public cloud is here, and many IT organizations are in a race to adopt and leverage public cloud services while still maintaining enterprise grade infrastructure, service management, security and governance. Addressing these challenges also has a profound organizational change (OCM) impact as service owners are tasked with challenges around demands in new service development, span of control, skill set requirements and financial budgeting.

This session will review the organizational change impacts of a traditional IT organization on a cloud journey towards an agile set of services and technology fabrics to meet the demands of their stakeholders.

This Strategic Briefing will be at 9:45 am in Meeting Rooms MNQR.

About Tim »

Tim Currie is the Managing Director for Service Management and Cloud Solutions at AHEAD, a Cloud Consultancy. Tim is a senior ITSM and cloud thought leader with over twenty years of experience advancing service management best practices and IT transformation.

Tim formerly served as the Director of Service Management at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, where he was responsible for IT transformation, establishing the Service Management program office and a successful ISO 2000 certification initiative.

Jake Beyer EDCi

Strategies and Tools for Customer Service Delivery in a Challenging Talent Supply Environment

Jake Beyer
Senior Solutions Architect, EDCi

With unemployment rates at an all-time low, finding and retaining qualified employees has become a challenge in many industries. Perhaps more than others, customer service and contact center teams are feeling the consequences, as they are still responsible for delivering the best possible customer experience regardless of staffing constraints. Fortunately, tools and strategies exist to help customer service leaders address staffing challenges.

In this session, Jake Beyer, who has spent more than 15 years in various contact center roles, will present related ideas and use cases focused on technology, process and culture. Specific examples include: voice biometrics, chatbots, artificial intelligence, automation, analytics, gamification, workforce optimization, and work from home. Please join us at this session to learn more about this topic and share your thoughts!

This Strategic Briefing will be at 9:45 am in Hall of Ideas HIJ.

About Jake »

After several years providing stellar engineering and expertise in the contact center arena, Jake Beyer now focuses on expanding the contact center knowledge base to professional organizations. After joining EDCi in 2007, Jake has demonstrated outstanding technical competence in the areas of custom software development and integrations. As a result of his inventive technical guidance, Jake and his team have been recognized with three of the esteemed “Innovation Awards” from Interactive Intelligence. Jake additionally invests a great deal of time into keeping skills current. From complex contact center integrations to optimization and consulting, Jake understands the vital task of aligning IT with the strategic goals of the business. And on top of all of this, Jake makes sure that work and fun come together on a regular basis!

Randy Bertram WMEP

Supply Chain Sustainability: Survey or Engagement?

Randy Bertram, Director of Sustainability Services, WMEP

Implementing sustainable practices in your supply chain presents many challenges. How do you contact suppliers? What do you ask them? What data or information are you trying to capture? How do you roll up and utilize the data to factually represent your supply chains progress toward improved sustainable performance? This session will provide a look at how and why Oshkosh Corporation decided to pursue engagement. Their plan and methodology to engage their suppliers, assist them establish a base line, composite sustainability score, and drive year over year improvement.

This Strategic Briefing will be at 3:05 pm in Hall of Ideas EFG.

About Randy»

Randy Bertram is director of sustainability services for the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership. He also serves as program manager for the Wisconsin Profitable Sustainability Initiative (PSI) and the Milwaukee E3 program (ME3). Through the PSI and ME3 programs, Randy and his team have assisted more than 200 Wisconsin manufacturers implement sustainable practices resulting in significant cost savings, revenue growth, and reduced environmental footprint ($375 million total impact to date). Randy serves on the board of directors for the University Wisconsin Milwaukee Industrial Assessment Center and he provides leadership on a national working group of MEP centers supporting the adoption of the Profitable Sustainability model across the MEP network.

Randy is also the Program Manager for the Wisconsin Transformational Productivity Initiative with over 35 years of experience implementing and consulting on improving productivity.

Chris Hazelton BlackBerry

The Intersection of the Connected Worker and the Internet of Things

Chris Hazelton
Director, Product Marketing for Enterprise Software, BlackBerry

The smartphone is the primary communication and computing device for many of today’s consumers. This dependency on mobile devices will translate into a majority of enterprise computing outside of traditional PC computing. This will have the greatest impact with onsite employees who are mobile around the office and workers who are mobile on the road and are becoming increasingly connected by rich, real-time communications powered by mobile applications running on wearable devices such as smart glasses. The rise of IoT in the enterprise, or the Enterprise of Things, will allow these workers to instantly connect with assets in the field to gain immediate understanding of the situation around them.

This session will explore the impact that these connected workers and endpoints will have on your enterprise and its ability to drive growth. Attendees will also learn security concerns that come with these new tools and how to best address them.

This Strategic Briefing will be at 3:05 pm in Meeting Rooms MNQR.

About Chris »

Chris Hazelton is Director, Product Marketing for Enterprise Software at BlackBerry. A former industry analyst turned IT software marketer, Chris has been working in management and security for enterprise endpoints for over 10 years. Chris leads the product marketing team for BlackBerry Enterprise software and services that secure today’s Enterprise of Things for over 20,000 companies around the world. He also oversees Global Industry Analyst Relations as well as BlackBerry’s Competitive Intelligence. Prior to BlackBerry, Chris led the Enterprise Mobility research practice at 451 Research where he authored over 500 reports on emerging mobile software and services impacting IT. While at IDC, Chris was the worldwide smartphone analyst, researching emerging trends in the mobile and wireless space that impacted the design and deployment of smartphones in enterprise and consumer markets.


Leveraging Your Current Security Tools to Increase Cyber Threat Awareness

Tom Heideman
Systems Engineer, Fortinet

Malware dates back to the earliest days of connected computing. To date, our approach to dealing with malware has remained relatively static. Currently we rely on being able to determine patterns within unpacked, decrypted files. This provides a single pattern-based signature to defend against a wide range of malware attacks, but is insufficient due to several management aspects. Artificial intelligence is the next step, but how can we leverage it to meet malware management needs? In this session you will learn:

  • The history of AI
  • How a deep learning system functions
  • How this type of system is being used to combat the ever-increasing onslaught of malware

This Strategic Briefing will be at 9:45 am in Meeting Rooms KLOP.

Nieko Giuliani Skyline Technologies

Everyone’s Talking Digital Transformation ...

Nieko Giuliani, CAPM
Managing Consultant – Web and Digital Marketing,
Skyline Technologies

User experience, marketing automation, data analytics — with so many areas to focus, where should a marketer start? In a world where the pace of change is accelerating and the average organization’s lifespan is decreasing, the need to continually transform exists. An organization who puts the customer first in the creation of their digital transformation roadmap will be a winner.

Join us as we talk about the continual journey of digital transformation and how this applies to marketing in the digital world.

This Strategic Briefing will be at 3:05 pm in Hall of Ideas HIJ.

About Nieko »

With 15 years’ experience in digital marketing, Nieko’s focus ranges from both B2B and B2C website creation, online marketing, and optimization. While Nieko is currently a Managing Consultant at Skyline, her background includes working with brands such as Funjet Vacations, Southwest Airlines Vacations, Enzymatic Therapy and Humana. Nieko directs digital strategies that maximize profit and demonstrate an excellent customer experience. In her free time, Nieko enjoys reading, enhancing her postcard collection through travel, as well as a recent addiction to true crime podcasts.

Questions about the conference? Contact UWEBC Member Services and Events Manager Jennifer Anderson at 608-890-1406 or

Sponsors Banner
SAP Logo

American Family Insurance logo
CUNA Mutual Group
EDCi  logo
Mediasite by Sonic Foundry

Video On Demand Partner

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Arts Institute

Center for Professional
and Executive Development

Engineering Professional Development

Kohl's Center for Retailing

Office of Corporate Relations

Interested in sponsoring?

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