MoO Conf Showcases IT Expertise

MoO Conf Showcases IT Expertise

What’s it called when more than 500 information services (I/S) associates come together virtually? MoO Conf — a day of learning and sharing the latest in tech innovation at Mutual of Omaha. (MoO Conf is short for Mutual of Omaha Conference).

After enjoying the collaboration from community tech conferences, Abby Jones, engineer III, brought the idea of an internal tech conference to the I/S networking and engagement team. Together the planning committee put together a vision of what the conference could look like.

“Everybody brought their own perspective, their own ideas,” Jones said. “It was such a group effort.”

Though the primary audience was I/S associates, anyone interested in tech was invited to join. Participants could choose from sessions across four tracks — technology, creative/maker, innovation and kitchen sink.

MoO Conf Tracks

The technology track showcased solutions to challenging problems. Topics included technology modernization, data, test automation and APIs.

The creative/maker track was for process and insights to all things creative. Topics included UX design myths, creating compelling presentations, home network security and digital fabrication.

The innovation track was all about out-of-the-box ideas including innovation by design, virtual reality and AI/ML model management.

Finally, the kitchen sink track was a catchall for anything else I/S associates may encounter including API economy, cross-training efforts, the power of positivity, building a tech community and a DIY carnival.

Coming Together

When developing the tracks, one question the committee asked leadership was, “Do all presentations have to be directly work related?”

“They said, ‘We actually think it’s valuable to keep it open.’ It’s a commitment to encouraging creativity and innovation,” Jones said.

This led to presentations on unique topics, such as how a DIY carnival ties into the agile process, the revolution in 3D printing and how to create a compelling PowerPoint.

“You never know when these conversations are going to build the next amazing innovation idea we end up using,” Jones said.

Two separate tracks featured presentations on application programming interface (API) strategy, a key initiative for Mutual of Omaha I/S.

“I was excited about that personally because it’s a huge initiative, but we got to hear from folks, what does this really look like when we push into it?” Jones said about API.

Attendees enjoyed hearing from associates across all areas of I/S and learning how people in different teams solve problems.

“It gave people a chance to connect and learn from each other and share ideas,” Jones said. She notes it also helped build key relationships that associates can lean into when they face a technical problem and need someone to turn to for advice.

Future Plans

Feedback for the conference was overwhelmingly positive with attendees noting how there was something for everyone. The committee is planning on holding another conference soon, with more community input on presentations.

“As organizers we were overwhelmed by how well it went and the overall response. We got this wonderful turnout, and it went way better than we expected. We couldn’t have done it without the village,” Jones said.

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