Just prior to things getting kicked off here at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, I thought I'd rope in some attendees to find out what was on their minds this year and what they were hoping to come away from the conference with. The first person I found who was willing to talk was Carl. Carl is an internal auditor with a state agency and I found him near the Symposium/ITxpo registration area at the Dolphin Hotel on the "Disney campus" (the main site of the event).
I recorded my interview with Carl. You can hear the interview by using the embedded player above to stream it to your desktop, manually download it, or, if you're subscribed to ZDNet's IT Matters series of broadcasts, it should appear on your PC and/or your portable audio player automatically.
This is Carl's second year attending the event. He came back because he thinks it's one of the best events he's ever been too. In particular Carl is looking for document management solutions that reduce the amount of hard copy that his agency keeps on hand:
We're looking to go to a paperless office environment... more or less because we generate probably 30,000 or 40,000 pages a month....They just pretty much get printed out an dgo in a file cabinet...most of it comes out of an accounting system we use..we just print it as we need it or on the fly everyday and that gets stored pretty much in file cabinets, we have quite a few of them.
According to Carl, the accounting system that his agency currently uses has the ability to generate documents in electronic format such as Adobe Acrobat, Excel and Word. So, whatever solution they find, it will need to accomodate the flow of information from the accounting system directly into the document management system.
With all the recent breaches in personal data, many of them due to laptop theft or loss, Carl's agency is also deeply sensitized to data security now that more and more people workers are moving to notebooks:
I'm also looking at information security. we're switching to more laptops in our office. So, we're looking at some of the network access control, encryption, web filtering, things like that.
Carl recounted how, between he and his wife, his family has received a total of 5 notifications that their own personal data has someone been compromised. One was from a hospital that discovered its systems had been hacked for over six months.
Carl is also looking for demonstrations of Vista. I asked Carl what his main areas of concern were. The first thing he mentioned was how it's going to work with older hardware and drivers. But Carl is also apparently fed up with getting weekly security patches. He says he'll wait 6 months to a year before seriously considering any upgrades to Vista. Carl also notes that the desktops at his agency are very firmly locked down. Users cannot load their own software on them or modify them in anyway. Not only that, while he thinks Vista looks pretty slick, he just sees that as window dressing ("bells and whistles" according to him). It's what's under the hood that counts and unless Vista corrects the security situation with XP, it doesn't sound like Carl's interest in moving to Vista will be piqued any time soon.