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July 31, 2003

SIA Conference Overview

By Katherine Kiely

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  • SIA Conference Overview

The mood at this year's SIA Technology Management Conference was decidedly optimistic as technology executives, traders and others got together to debut new technology, share ideas and make deals.

"It was our first time at the SIA show and it was fantastic, " said Eric Goldberg, CEO of Portware, a trade management system developer in NYC. "It was a great opportunity for us." Portware, in fact, closed three deals the week after the event.

Wayne Gans, CEO of BOCS, a brokerage industry solutions developer, had a similar experience. "The show was well attended by industry leaders," he said. "We got such a good response that we are still in the process of following up leads."

Peter Gaffney, the U.S. operations president of Stockholm-based NeoNet Securities, an inter-

national agency broker, felt that the show was one of the best in years.

"Compared to a few years ago, people generally seemed more relaxed and open," he said. "I think there was a general sense of relief that the worst of the bear market is behind us."

It certainly has not been an easy time for IT departments. The market has been tough and the purchasing climate uncertain. Defining priorities, leveraging cost benefits and improving ROI are an imperative. The pressure on IT executives to perform is more intense than ever.

At the Conference, Paul Otellini president and COO of INTEL addressed this fact in a keynote speech. He said that after a spending run-up in the nineties, the security industry had to cut IT jobs by 7 percent and organizations faced the challenge of doing more with fewer heads. He told the crowd, "I think the pressure is going to remain on IT budgets, not just in the financial services industries, but everywhere to hold flat and drive productivity into the organizations and around the corporations."

With that in mind, executives were out in full force evaluating solutions and talking to vendors.

The SIA event, in fact, is one of the most comprehensive and well-attended shows in the industry. Held at the Hilton New York in midtown Manhattan, more than 9000 visitors toured the booths on the three exhibit floors. This year more than 80 of 255 exhibitors were newcomers to the event.

"I visited most of the booths and it was really good seeing solid industry players and what they were doing--as well the smaller players and how much so many of them have grown and developed over the past few years, " said NeoNet's Peter Gaffney.

The Conference tends to draw individuals within security firms who are responsible for technology- based activities including communications, market data, Internet, security and overall information systems related functions. Many conference participants commented on the seniority of executives who toured the floor.

"The people who came by our booth were high quality prospects, " said John Tucker, VP of marketing at Revere Data, a provider of integrated research and market data based in San Francisco. "There were less window shoppers' and more serious senior executives."