Chamber tech forum draws crowd

Business leaders talk about evolutionary changes

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The more technology drives business, the faster the climate changes – and that’s exactly why the Highlands Ranch Chamber of Commerce made the decision to host its first ever Business Technology Forum last week at the Denver Hyatt.

Whether being educated on free business services offered at Douglas County Libraries, learning how to best utilize the various top social media sites, or hearing about the future role of smartphones in everyday transactions, attendees kept busy from dawn until noon, taking in five workshops apiece with 11 to choose from.

“Technology is changing quickly and this was a really great forum for business owners to get up to speed,” said Michael Sickinger, an account executive with PADT, an engineering and design firm located in downtown Littleton. “It’s difficult to know everything that’s going on and it’s a good effort on the chamber’s part to do this.”

Attendance topped out at 85 during the earlier sessions and thinned as the morning progressed.

“For our first effort, we are just thrilled,” said Highlands Ranch Chamber President LaRae Marsik. “We spent the morning talking about innovation, progressive business practices and the evolution of technology. We definitely plan on doing this again next year and think we should be able to make it even bigger and better.”

In the social media workshop, Lisa Michaud of Actuate Social defined the audience demographic and major differences between all of the up-and-coming sites such as Pinterest and existing engines such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. She also talked about the benefit of managing your different accounts through catch-all dashboard sites such as HootSuite and TweetDeck.

“One key to build your audience,” Michaud said, “is to post once, comment twice. Every time you post you should be engaging with your clientele and readers twice.”

Other topics covered at the forum included cloud-based services, creating apps, pre-investment questions, effectively managing data and documents in today’s shared environment, tools for mobile and remote workers to improve productivity and collaboration, generating leads and putting your business on the mobile map.