Digital disruption and the influence of big data drove conversation at Cayman’s third annual Impact conference Thursday.

A fast-paced speaking schedule of international and local entrepreneurs engaged a full ballroom at the Kimpton Seafire Resort.

The Impact17 program, put on by the Internet Marketing Association and Cayman Enterprise City, featured more than 20 speakers from across the globe.

IMA Chairman Sinan Kanatsiz described a broad mission for the day, to openly explore business challenges and solutions in the digital age.

“Some of the best innovation in the world is going to happen on our stage and we don’t know yet what is going to happen,” he said.

Sinan Kanatsiz, Premier Alden McLaughlin and Charlie Kirkconnell. – Photo: Maggie Jackson

Premier Alden McLaughlin highlighted Cayman’s suitability to host such innovation. He pointed to developments like Margaritaville, the Kimpton, the airport renovations and Cayman Enterprise City as evidence of robust growth in the islands.

He praised Cayman’s legal framework and regulatory stance as favoring business development and producing tangible results.

“Clients don’t care about the labor pains. They want to see the baby,” he said.

CML Offshore Recruitment CEO Steve McIntosh pointed to Cayman’s talent pool as a driving factor behind economic growth. He described the human element as the foundation of success.

“We’re punching well above our weight in Cayman. How did we do that? We’ve attracted the best talent,” he said.

Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst for Adobe Digital Insights, ushered in conversation about digital disruption and the rapidly changing nature of the internet.

As mobile devices increasingly dominate public attention, Ms. Gaffney said, e-commerce faces greater challenges.

Tracy Morgan, Thomas Bartke and Yves Le Sieur join a panel about big data and technology at Impact17. – Photo: Kayla Young

“As people are moving over to mobile devices, we’re not seeing growth in e-commerce,” she said.

Mobile users spend less time on websites and are less likely to make purchases, she added.

She encouraged businesses to focus efforts on creating worthwhile information, rather than filling space with mass-produced content. With the digital market saturated, Ms. Gaffney said more than ever, websites must earn public attention.

“When people visit your site regularly, they don’t send any flares that they are about to leave. They go from massive amounts of visiting to zero overnight,” she said. “Our attention spans are fast. We are very loyal until we’re not.”

Saffron Consultants Vice President Keith Miller described a chaotic global environment, much like a Jackson Pollock painting. To rise above the confusion, he encouraged digital entrepreneurs to take a step back and focus on real human needs.

“It’s less about data and technology and more about moving forward on what we really feel and think,” he said.

Before Thursday’s presentations, guests attended an opening cocktail reception Wednesday at the National Gallery. The conference concludes with a networking brunch Friday at Abacus restaurant.

Sinan Kanatsiz, chairman of the Internet Marketing Association, opens the Impact17 conference.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now