GREENVILLE,Dozens of IT professionals from all over the country will gather in upstate South Carolina next week to discuss solutions to the latest business issues.

They will be attending the Southeastern Information Technology Exposition and Conference (SITEC), slated for May 11-13 at the Palmetto Expo Center in Greenville.

SITEC is among the Southeast’s largest IT events, providing a forum where business buyers meet to discuss their purchases. The people who attend the exposition are serious IT professionals, business managers, and purchasing agents looking to solve business related issues and make purchasing decision related to specific IT solutions.

While conference officials say they don’t know exactly how many to expect, attendance at an associated expo last year was about 5,000.

SITEC Chairman Kevin Boling tells Local Tech Wire they are on track this year to exceed that number. Additionally, Boling says the booth space in the IT section of the show floor has been sold out for weeks.

The SITEC will consist of three tracks entitled Lead, Manage, and Implement. These tracks are designed for CIOs, directors and managers and software development and support professionals, respectively.

The conference format will include keynote addresses, breakout sessions, networking events, panel discussions, case studies…all related to such topics as data collection, technology security, software integration, wireless and mobility products. These presentations will be delivered by industry analysts, consultants, vendors, government and law enforcement officials, academic administrators, as well as national and regional business leaders.

One keynote from Japan, Masaaki Imai, wrote the book on Kaizen principles (the standard in manufacturing process improvement and is now being used in the IT side of the business). Another keynote is James Illing, a vice president at Bank of America, who will deliver an address. And John Warner, a VP with Kemet and the founder of the Carolina Crescent Coalition, will deliver a speech, as well.

“There is an impressive list of speakers for the event,” exclaims Boling. “–John is very well thought of in this area and has not only been involved in the planning stages of a number of business initiatives in the area, but has also lead the charge to transition South Carolina into the new knowledge economy by facilitating the relationships between academia and business.”

SC: A ‘state of transition’

Boling says the SITEC event is particularly important at this time because of the issues currently facing the IT industry…such as the response to offshore outsourcing trends and increasing productivity by using “lean technology” principles. Other issues, he says, include moving to and implementing new technologies (such as wireless networking, RFID and other mobility products) to increase operational efficiencies and doing it all securely by implementing the best security products and practices.

“I would describe the current IT Industry in the Southeast as in a state of transition,” says Boling, who also serves as president of the Greenville IT Professional Alliance. “IT Executives are being pressured by the business executives to demonstrate a return on investment (ROI) for IT-related projects.”

This task, he says, is made more difficult by several issues, such as the fact that the business community is now more educated about the capabilities that technology offers and thus have a higher level of expectation. The IT department however has fewer resources available to them to perform the tasks required to deliver the higher level of services, Boling notes.

“So the IT executive is on a quest to find low cost, easy to implement, business process improvement solutions so that he can justify his existence to upper management and satisfy the demand of the business community,” he explains. “Additionally, the IT department is now being asked to do some tasks that historically it has not taken a active role in, such as, managing the telephone systems and connectivity issues–. So the IT industry is in this transition role trying to find and fulfill its identity once again within the business community.”

Looking ahead, Boling says he believes standards will emerge in the wireless world that will make the implementation of this resource more efficient. He says IT executives will continue to apply process improvement methodologies to IT Projects and will eventually be able to deliver more accurate ROI calculations.

Rounding out the event

On the opening night of the SITEC event, organizers will be hosting a South Carolina GOP U.S. Senate Candidate Forum. The forum, set for May 11 at 6:30 PM, is called “The Appropriate Response of SC to the Offshore Outsourcing Trends.”

Some other interesting highlights related to SITEC include a Cyber Café hosted by Sprint at the event that will allow attendees to check email or surf the web. Also, Check Point Technologies will have ites Ferrari Race Car on display.

Those who register for SITEC will also have access to any and all of the other conference sessions (over 65 to chose from) and will be eligible to attend other meetings at the event, like the China Challenge Luncheon and the Salute to Manufacturing Luncheon.

SITEC also will be collocated with two additional expositions and conferences in the Greenville-Spartanburg area. The first is the Automated Manufacturing Expo and associated conference entitled, “The Lean Enterprise Conference,” and the second is the Plant Engineering Expo and Conference.