E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Enterprise 2.0 Conference Highlights – The Pre-Event Workshops

Enterprise 2.0 - 2009 - Boston, MAAfter the initial round of blog posts, to kick things off, with the Enterprise 2.0 conference event highlights, it’s now time to move into detailing some of the various major key learnings throughout the event itself, based on the various sessions I attended over the course of four days that the event lasted. And to get things going I will be spending the next few minutes going through what I learned on the Pre-Event day, i.e. the one of the workshops, which I blogged about it over here a little while ago.

If you remember, I mentioned back then how I had the intention of attending the conference workshops from both Dion Hinchcliffe and Mike Gotta (In the morning and in the afternoon, respectively) and I am surely glad I did, because I got to learn a few things that surely marked a specific trend that got corroborated during the course of the entire conference.

But, before going into that, I would like to encourage you to have a look into the superb blog posts that my good friend Bill Ives put together sharing his thoughts on both sessions, because I eventually agree with most of his findings, as part of being my own as well. I guess following each other for a long while now in multiple places helps you build up an affinity for things we both are passionate about and Bill certainly captured a good number of the most interesting tidbits that I can relate to in the KM and Enterprise 2.0 space.

So, what were the workshops like, you may be wondering, right? Well, Dion’s Exploring the Tools and Techniques of Emergent Change was a massively packed presentation on the state of Enterprise 2.0 in the corporate world, where he combined a good number of slides with a special guest (David Stephenson, another good friend I, finally, had the real pleasure of meeting up in person, although too briefly, I am afraid, and perhaps one of the most knowledgeable people out there in the area of Democratisation of Data, very much worth while following up further up, for sure!), trying to give us all an idea of what’s eventually happening in this space in most companies.

Very very helpful and informative, although if you have been following his blog already, there isn’t probably much you will learn additionally, but one thing for sure that is if you would need a crash course on what’s happening in the corporate world on Enterprise 2.0 Dion’s workshop will be it. Not only do you get an exposure to some of the key concepts related to social computing, but at the same time he covers a wide range of social software tools from various vendors, places them into perspective and it becomes really helpful to figure out the kind of landscape we live in. Tremendously helpful seeing how busy it’s starting to be for everyone out there.

However, if there would be a single major highlight from Dion’s workshop I would have to say it would be the clear trend that we are moving past the social software tools focus itself that we have been having in previous years and we are now moving forward into the heart of the matter: Enterprise 2.0 adoption. Yes, indeed, one of the exciting highlights, not just from this workshop, but, from the entire conference itself, is that the focus at the moment seems to be around the area of social software adoption within the corporate world, something that those folks who know me for a while now would have to agree with me is a very exciting shift into the right focus with social computing and social software tools: don’t focus on them, focus on their wider adoption by your knowledge workers and let it down to them to figure it out by and for themselves.

That’s where the real challenge is, and although I know plenty of folks out there don’t buy into the argument that it’s all about a cultural shift, in my opinion, it eventually is. And very much so! For Enterprise 2.0 to succeed it’s all about changing people’s habits, about inspiring a culture of sharing, about provoking a change of how we conduct business so that it happens more out there in the open, publicly and transparent to everyone, which is basically what most social tools would empower us to do. And Dion’s slideware during the workshop certainly confirms that growing trend.

Which makes for an interesting segway into Mike Gotta’s workshop: Getting Started With Enterprise Social Networking, where he shared plenty of insights on the recent study he has conducted where he worked with 21 organisations, interviewed 65 people, got 45 hours of conversation, and looked at 1,700 data points (WOW!), following quite an interesting approach as well: "rather than guide the conversation with a lot of questions, he set a framework and let people talk and tell their stories". Like I said, Bill Ives’ blog post on the topic is an great read on this one, too!, to get an idea of what the session was like. Enterprise 2.0 - 2009 - Boston, MA

Like I was saying though, Mike’s workshop session was eventually down to sharing the insights from the study itself where there was a single key concept coming back over and over and over again: adoption. Indeed, over a good number of slides he got to describe, quite extensively, how most folks are embarking into the next wave of Enterprise 2.0, now that we have moved past the tools focus into that one of social software adoption itself.

And with that new challenge we go back again to what I have mentioned above already … that this is going to be a rather interesting time as more and more businesses start wondering whether they can embrace social software as part of that cultural shift I mentioned earlier on as well or whether they will not.

The chance is that if they remain open to the whole concept of helping knowledge workers to be more in control of their work flow and their interactions with their peers sharing their knowledge and collaborating across there is a great chance that it will happen. But, it is not going to be that easy; more of a bumpy road eventually with key concepts like ROI (Yeah, I know! Again! Grrr), Social Software Tools (Making the right choice with vendors), business processes alignment, transition into a culture of sharing (Perhaps for the sake of sharing itself) are some of those hurdles we will keep bumping into and Mike’s workshop certainly provides plenty of insights on how to address most of these.

I do hope that both slide decks from Dion and Mike will be made available online for everyone to download, because there is just so much stuff contained in each of them that it would probably take folks a few hours to digest all of the interesting and insightful content. I surely am glad I attended both sessions, because they certainly corroborated what I have been doing for the last six years (As an internal social computing evangelist), but more interestingly a good reflection of the huge amount of work there is still out there to be done by each and everyone of us.

And I surely hope you are ready for it. Because it’s not happening next year or the year afterwards. It’s right here. It’s right NOW! … Are you ready?

(Quick note that caught my by surprise a bit while attending the pre-event day … Whenever someone mentions to me the word workshop, and this may well be a language issue, since English is not my mother tongue, I always think about a single word: interactivity; yes, a dialogue, a conversation between the presenter and the audience, a healthy discussion on specific topic(s); sitting in a room for over three hours waiting for that interactivity to take place and eventually just being a one man show is not what I would call a workshop, so I hope the conference organisers change their wording next year to match better our expectations on what a workshop really is and let us decide how to engage further … Just sayin’)

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  1. Louis .. I was wondering whether you heard at the conference (or know about in in any other context) if any organization has had clear success in ECM with integrating “traditional” platforms (DM/RM/Federated search) with web content management / open source / social collaboration / networking tools into a holistic managed environment that enhances productivity and is valued by the users?

    1. Hi Dale! Thanks a bunch for the feedback comments and for the information details. I was there for the whole week and, to be honest, from all of the sessions I attended there wasn’t anyone in particular that focused on case study you mentioned above. At least, that I could see …

      However, I mentioned your query on my Twitter timeline hoping other folks who attended the event may be able to chime in and share their experiences on whether they may have been exposed to such case study and unfortunately I didn’t get any responses on it, so it looks like in the area of ECM we may not be there just yet, at least, for most vendors and customers in this Enterprise 2.0 space.

      However, if I bump into other related materials with regards to this query I will be more than happy to pop back and share the link with the information and perhaps reach out to you as well, once I go through it myself. Hope that’s all right with you.

      Thanks again and really sorry to hear you weren’t at the conference; would have been great seeing you there! Perhaps next year 🙂

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