I attended the Vistage All-City meeting in Atlanta yesterday.  Vistage describes itself as “The World’s Leading Chief Executive Organization.”  I would guess around 300 CEOs, key executives and “Trusted Advisors” attended.  I am a member Larry Hart’s TA group.
Before lunch, there were three breakout sessions: one on technology, another on fitness and a third on best places to work. After lunch, best –selling author Keith McFarland gave a keynote presentation, “Getting Breakthrough Results.”   Throughout the day, I took notes on my Ipad, which I will share with you in two parts. If you want, you can skip to Part 2.

Aside:  I am really enjoying this move away from handwritten or laptop note taking for three reasons:  My penmanship is atrocious; the Ipad automatically emails me my notes which I can then copy, paste and edit without having to re-transcribe; and note taking on the Ipad is much less awkward than on a laptop.

Part 1
In the morning, I sat in the breakout entitled, Technology Panel: What every CEO Needs to Know about Digital Megatrends.  Scott Lutz of SAP led this discussion.  That’s a big topic for only one hour, and sure enough the roomful of CEOs and other high powered execs somewhat sabotaged the presentation.  If you reviewed a transcript you would guess the topic was “A 101 level Understanding of Cloud Computing” – there was a lot Q & A on “the cloud.”  Nevertheless, Lutz did a good job answering questions and a least describing an outline of what CEOs are paying attention to or at least should be.
Lutz said that CEOs today are tackling the following big five challenges:

1)    Preparing to compete with global competition both here and there;

2)    Security, collaboration and effectiveness of an increasingly tethered rather than physically present workforce;

3)    Taking business to near real time;

4)    Engaging with hyper informed customer; and

5)    Keeping an eye on reinventing the business model before competitors do it for them.

Since this was a breakout on “Digital Megatrends”, Lutz then listed four technology areas whose capabilities might help CEOs sleep at night:

1)    Cloud computing – that is, web accessible core applications which are highly scalable and deployable (this took up a large amount of time, but the audience was engaged and appreciative);

2)    Mobility;

3)    Analytics – driven by a CEO’s need to access the data he or she really needs to make decisions. Since Vistage is made up of small and medium size companies, the member CEOs often wear many hats.  They need to have access to information and analysis relating to sales, operations, finance, etc. at their fingertips, when they need it; and

4)    Social media.

Lutz commented that highly effective CEOs should figure out how these technologies can help them make decisions. Where to start? Know the answers to four questions:

1)    Where is your data?

2)    What decisions do I need to make?

3)    What are the sources of value?

4)    How can I control and consume data?

At this point, many in the audience started to squirm.  One gentleman asked, appropriately, “How does a CEO keep up and get unfiltered new info on technology?”
Lutz, who is clearly one of the well informed, suggested starting with these news and information outlets (I believe in this order):

1)    The Wall Street Journal Online

2)    USAToday online

3)    Silicon Valley online.  I believe he is referring to Siliconvalley.com

4)    Analysts such as Saugatuck Technology

Those are my notes from the morning breakout session.  Later, possibly tomorrow, I’ll post Part 2 – my notes from Keith McFarland’s keynote address.