On May 17, 2015, executives from all levels of government will gather for the Management of Change (MOC) 2015 conference at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay. Since 1980, ACT-IAC has sponsored the conference for attendees to share ideas, solutions and strategies on the application of information technology to government.
WashingtonExec recently spoke with Kavita Kalatur, President of NetImpact Strategies and Industry Chair of MOC 2015, about her involvement with the conference and what attendees can look forward to in May.
“When I went to my first conference with ACT-IAC, I only knew one person in the room,” said Kalatur. “I really enjoyed the conference, I met a lot of great people, and I wanted to become part of the community. The best way to do that is to roll up your sleeves and work alongside the other people who are making these events happen.”
Four years ago, Kalatur volunteered for her first MOC, assisting with government outreach, and she has stayed engaged with ACT-IAC ever since, helping out in different capacities. “Last year I was the Vice Chair for the same conference, and this year I am privileged to chair it,” she said. “I am the Industry Chair, and Sonny Hashmi, the CIO at GSA, is the Government Chair for the conference.”
Over the years, Kalatur has enjoyed supporting MOC in a variety of roles.
“Change is a leadership challenge. I am fascinated by change; it is interesting to see the impact of change in technology and business processes, and also to tackle the human resistance to change,” she said. “MOC looks at change from different aspects, and it has become one of those conferences I go to every year. It is an honor to shape it for the upcoming year.”
The next MOC conference looks to be one of the most exciting to date. “This year’s theme will be ‘Hacking Culture through Innovation’,” Kalatur said. “Obviously, it’s a pun on the word ‘hacking,’ since attendees are mostly an IT crowd. We’ve changed up the conference format so each session will be a ‘hackathon,’ where the team that participates in the session will be given a problem to solve. Instead of the problem being the focus, we will actually come together as a community to focus on the answers.”
This new hackathon format promises to be an engaging and participatory experience for attendees. “Every session will end with some kind of tangible product that people who come to the conference can use,” said Kalatur. “And, if you didn’t go to that session, it will be available to you afterwards via the ACT-IAC app. We also plan to take the output and carry it forward into the other programs that ACT-IAC offers throughout the year.”
For Kalatur, the only problem with MOC conferences is deciding which sessions to attend, from among the many timely and helpful offerings.
“The topics are amazing — this is usually my struggle when I go to these conferences, which session should I actually pick, which track? It’s like going to Baskin-Robbins and trying to pick one flavor,” she said. “The one this year that I am really, really interested in is focusing on the human aspect of change,” she continued.
“Technology issues are easier to resolve; smart minds can figure out how to resolve a bug, increase capacity or performance. The human issues are complex; much harder to understand and address. We are going to have targeted sessions that will look at the human aspect of change, which we’re calling the ‘Elephant in the Room’.”
MOC 2015 will feature several speakers, including several CIO’s from the federal government, to discuss a number of topics. “Attendees will be hearing from the best and the brightest in all of federal government,” said Kalatur. “We will be drawing heavily from our federal community to help with those sessions because our federal leadership can bring practical, real world scenarios to the table and guide the discussion in a way that the outputs are useful.”
We asked Kalatur which technologies will have the most impact on government operations in the coming years, but she said we would have to come to the conference to find out! “We have a track called the ‘Next Wave of Disruption’ that will focus specifically on that—what are the new technologies, what impact will they have?,” she said. “New technologies offer value and also disrupt the business processes that the enterprise has. For example, the way you leverage security for a mobile product is different from the way you did it for your machines chained down to the desk.”
“I think every technology that comes in not only disrupts from the perspective of offering business value and changing our business processes, but it also changes how we manage those technologies and other surrounding processes around that.”
As a president of an IT company, Kalatur views conferences like MOC as the perfect opportunity to stay on top of major technology trends affecting the industry. “While I don’t think you become an expert by going to a conference, doing so exposes you to things that you may not have heard of before and gives you a starting point. If you find something interesting, you can explore it further through reading,” she said. “I’ve personally found that going to these conferences is extremely helpful, both in understanding industry trends and what’s coming up, as well as market trends like government procurements, or the next big goals or opportunities. I also value the networking aspect — finding partners or finding customers at conferences has been extremely helpful.”
But you don’t need to be a CEO to get a lot out of MOC and similar conferences. “For conferences like MOC, we want to see the federal leadership attend, but I think that it’s also important that every federal leader also bring their rising stars to the conference for the engagement and learning opportunities,” said Kalatur. “That way, the younger generation, the people who are coming up the ranks in the federal government, will have an early opportunity to get exposure, to network, and to connect with mentors in the community.”
Readers can learn more about MOC 2015 and sign up to attend at the conference website.