Phorum 2014, to be held April 10 during Philly Tech Week, has powerful list of headliners

Tom Paine

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Philadelphia's Phorum 2014, hosted by PACT (The Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies), and sponsored by investment bank Fairmount Partners and technology integrator LiquidHub, will take place on Thursday, April 10 at World Cafe Live, for the first time as part of Philly Tech Week.

The conference, which is probably Philadelphia's premier tech event targeted towards top level enterprise management, has varied and in some ways broadened its theme in each of its three years. This year's theme, "Increasing Customer Engagement in a Digital World", encompasses not only social, customer relationship management (CRM) and mobile, but all means used by enterprises to connect and interact with customers in the digital world.

While customer engagement continues to be a top priority for CMOs with over 70 percent of
respondents listing it as their top business challenge that they need to address, a recent survey conducted by PACT Phorum in late 2013 revealed that the issue is increasingly gaining traction with CTOs and CEOs. According to the survey, 38 percent of CTOs and 33 percent of CEOs also concur that customer engagement represents the top technology challenge they need to focus on in 2014.

The list of keynote speakers is impressive. VP and Head of Platform Research Peter Coffee, a leading Salesforce evangelist, apparently has a long-term contract with Phorum since this is his third consecutive appearance.

David Pogue, technology columnist formerly with the New York Times and now
with Yahoo and NOVA ScienceNow; Aneesh Chopra, who served as the first U.S. Chief Technology Officer and just yesterday was named an advisor to Box to help develop its healthcare IT strategy; Dan Hilferty, President and CEO, Independence Blue Cross who has been a leader in expanding the healthcare IT landscape in the region; and Maggie Fox, Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing at SAP and a leader in social media, are the other key speakers.

Functionally, an emphasis of the conference will be not to simply focus on the rising influence of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) as a key decision-maker in many tech buying decisions, "but on the importance of the CMO [and other functional chiefs] working with the CIO", said Suzanne Lentz, Vice President of Marketing, LiquidHub, Inc. and a member of the Phorum 2014 Advisory Board in a phone interview. Though the rapid adoption of a stand-alone functional app can be attractive, any large-scale projects requiring integration of corporate systems and data will need more coordination.

A recent Forrester survey tends to confirm this need. More than half of CMOs see their relationship with the CIO as essential,up from 30% in 2011.

An interesting feature will be a "Fireside Chat" between Salesforce's Coffee and SAP's Fox discussing the challenges and opportunities their clients have faced in moving beyond simple outreach to creating real engagement with customers.

Other discussion panels will cover subjects such as "Mobility as an enabler" and "Turning
Big Data into action."

One of the most popular features of Phorum has been the Demo Pit, which features early stage digital technology ventures generally based in the Philadelphia area. Past
selections for "Best in Show"included PeopleLinx and one acquired by Artisan Mobile.
Nominations are still open for this year's Demo Pit, and participants will be named in early April.

The day kicks off at 7am with a continental breakfast.

The conference will close with Cocktails (free beer) & a Network Reception with live music. Price points are $199 for PACT Members and $249 for non-members.

Update 3/24: Panelist Lineup were announced today for Phorum 2014:

“Mobility as an Engagement Enabler” (moderated by Joseph DiStefano of the Inquirer:)

David Cuthbert, President and Chief Executive Officer, Alteva

Michael Kinzly, Director Business Solutions, Wawa, Inc.

Joe Portale, Chief Technologist, Mobility Solutions, Lockheed Martin

Roy Rosin, Chief Innovation Officer, Penn Medicine

Scott Snyder, Ph.D., President and Chief Strategy Officer, Mobiquity

“Big Data – Turning Data into Action” (Moderated by Mary Fran Johnson, Editor-in-Chief of CIO Magazine:)

J. Patrick Bewley, CEO, BigCloud Analytics

Todd Cullen, Chief Data Officer, Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide, Ogilvy and Mather

Ira A. Hunt, CEO, Hunt Technologies

David Schuff, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems, Fox School of Business, Temple University

Update 4/1: Yesterday Phorum named its nine demo pit participants. They include
some rather well known startups such as RJMetrics, Clutch and Yorn, and others like BuyerMLS, Canvas and tapCliq. One slot in the demo pit will be reserved for the winner of Penn mobile app contest AppItUP.

During the closing session, three Demo Pit companies will be selected to join Peter Coffee on stage. One will be named “Best in Show” and will receive the 3rd annual Phorum Phorward Award. Phorum 2014 Demo Pit judges include: Bob Moul, CEO of Artisan Mobile; Scott Kinka, Chief Technology Officer of EvolveIP; and Nate Lentz, Managing Partner of Osage Venture Partners.

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