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

From the blog

Enterprise 2.0 Conference Highlights – Day One

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las NievesContinuing further with the series of blog posts detailing some of the highlights from the recent Enterprise 2.0 event in Boston that I attended, I thought I would get things going again and dive right into it by following things further up with the last round of articles covering the various different highlights from each of the days throughout the event itself.

As I have mentioned in a previous blog post, there were a number of different sessions I wanted to attend and to such extent what I am going to do is to detail what I learned from each of them, since the live tweeting I did over at @elsuacon would do pretty much for detailing what happened on each and everyone of the sessions. As long as the wi-fi connection allowed me to, of course!

I realise that most of these remaining entries are going to be on the long side of things, even though I will try my hardest to brief them up as much as I possibly can; still I would kindly ask you to spare them as I reflect on what I learned throughout the event by putting together some of the various thoughts I shared live during each and everyone of the sessions and which I captured over at @elsuacon itself.

Thus, without much further ado, here you have got the highlights from Day One. Hope you enjoy going through them just as much as I did putting them together, reflecting, over time, on some of those major key findings.

Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom: How Online Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work and World

With Matthew Fraser, author of Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom; Well, I got a copy of his book signed up by him with best wishes and everything, and I am hoping that the book will be much better than the session I attended because rather he wasn’t really aware of the kind of audience he was presenting to or he was told folks in the audience didn’t know, nor have a clue, about Enterprise 2.0; thus learned very little new as someone who has been heavily involved in social software evangelism in a large enterprise for the last 7 years!

Oh well, I guess that is what happens when people raise your expectations really high up on how great the book is and then you see the author speak in front of an audience and mention all of the stuff I got exposed to for the first time a few years back! I surely hope the book helps improve that first impression, because it wasn’t what I expected, to be honest. At all.

Open Enterprise 2009

With Stowe Boyd & Oliver Marks; certainly one of the highlights from Day One, as they got to share plenty of insights on their recent study on Open Enterprise 2009 initiative, where plenty of really good findings came about on what some other businesses are facing as challenges on their journey towards adopting social software successfully; examples like culture, traditional "collaborative" tools like email, leadership, lack of openness and trust and my favourite one: the confirmation that tools were hardly ever part of the conversations with the various interviewees. Does it ring a bell? hehe

From here onwards both Oliver and Stowe went on to detail the winner of the Open Enterprise 2009 award which went to the very impressive Hello-Booz Allen Hamilton. I am really excited about this one, because we got a presentation on it for about 15 minutes detailing some of what they have done and it’s one of those companies that I will be following up further on them and see where they may well be in a year time. Last year there were a few stars of the show and, surprisingly enough, they almost vanished this time around, so I am hoping things will keep steady for these folks, because they truly deserve it! Fingers crossed we will see them again next year …

Enterprise 2.0 Reality Check – What’s Working, What’s Not, What’s Next

With Matthew Fraser, Christian Finn, Nate Nash, Neil Callahan and Ross Mayfield; very little learned on this first panel, but incredibly funny! It was good to see some big players within the IT industry getting into some sort of a fight with some of the new Enterprise 2.0 players and still make it coherent. Perhaps one of the major discussions going around during the panel was the concept of whether Enterprise 2.0 is a revolution or an evolution.

Most folks shared their insights inclined towards the concept of witnessing a revolution at work, whereas I tend to think it is more an evolution of what we have been having all along. And it is not the first time we have seen this. In an era where phone calls and faxes were ruling the corporate world, email was introduced to disrupt the way we communicated back then; the same thing happened about 12 years ago with Instant Messaging and, fast forward, the same is happening now with social software. For these social tools to be taking the corporate world by storm we needed them to breed for a good number of years on stuff we were using (Still are!) back then.

That’s why I think, to me, it’s all about an evolution; an evolution that hasn’t got anything to do with the technology, nor the processes, but the cultural aspects we are all immersed in within the enterprise world; we are evolving from a 1:1 collaborative environment within enclosed, private teams where secrecy and lack of transparency and trust were ruling to an environment where work now gets done through the collaboration and knowledge sharing happening across multiple teams, networks and communities corporate wide and where trust, transparency, openness and going public rule in the way we interact not only to benefit those teams and whatever other groupings, but the entire organisation as a whole! That’s why I feel more comfortable talking about an evolution than a revolution … How about you?

Lessons Learned From Internal Communities

With Peter Kim, Jamie Pappas, Joan DiMicco and Patricia Romeo; I must say I was surely looking forward to attend this one, since I have always been involved with community building, so I wanted to learn some more on what other companies are doing in this space of nurturing and helping sustain communities, apart from hearing as well my fellow IBM colleague, and good friend, Joan DiMicco, talk about her insights on the research they have done about our very own Beehive.

Alas, I didn’t make it into the session itself, because I was invited to take part on a bloggers meetup with IBM executives, and other very well versed and insightful bloggers, to talk about what IBM is doing in the area of social computing; last year I was surprised I wasn’t invited to it, since I attended the conference with a media / blogger pass, but this time around things have been different. And quite different! So much so that it deserves its own blog post on the topic… And you will see why… (I guess that’s what happens when you comment on Twitter on something you find surprisingly interesting and it comes back to you big time the following year! hehe)

Transition Strategies for E2.0 Adoption

With Lee Bryant; This was one of the sessions where the wi-fi was non existent, at least, I didn’t get a chance to get connected throughout the session and, funny enough, to me was one of the best sessions from the entire event, and by far! I mentioned it later on during the course of the day, Lee’s presentation was worth while the over 27 hours I spent in transit to go to Boston to make it to Enterprise 2.0. And back! Yes, indeed, that good! So much so that I would be blogging about it separately because it has got far too many gems to go through, digest and apply.

Suffice it to say that Lee’s presentation focused on an area that very very few businesses have been focusing on so far: that second wave of social software adopters, who are now starting to be on the spotlight grabbing all of the attention as the next group that will be getting on to the bandwagon of social software adoption.

Lee’s presentation, which I am hoping to be able to share it somewhere, somehow for everyone out there to go through, started with some solid concepts on the need to spend some time focusing on this second group of knowledge workers as the next challenge to make a successful deployment of social computing strategies and the way he approached it was providing some incredibly helpful and concrete tips that anyone could apply right as we speak, with very little bandwidth and involvement, but with great results! I tell you, I *need* to get a copy in my hands of the deck and share it along, because it was just one of the very best and fine sessions I have attended in a long while!

Oh, and it was kind of interesting, as well as exciting, to see how powerful the concept of validation from third parties can be, because plenty of the tasks I am involved with my internally focused social software adoption and enablement team (a.k.a. BlueIQ) are some of the key learnings that Lee was commenting on!; but once again, I hope to have an opportunity to spend plenty more time on this one, because it is worth it. At least, it was for me. Too bad the wi-fi wasn’t working because I would have loved to live tweet it!

How Twitter Changes Everything

With Jessica Lipnack, Bill Ives, Clara Shih, Isaac Garcia and Patti Anklam; This was one of the panels where I personally learned the most from, even though I have been using microsharing tools for years, and rather heavily, and yet plenty of space to learn so much more!

This panel session was basically dealing with how such an important concept as micro-sharing or micro-blogging can help flatten the organisation and break hierarchies building personal trusting relationships; how, like with any other tool, there are some security risks and potential regulatory concerns we need to look into, and very seriously, yet, we haven’t even started to bring up the subject!; how tools like Twitter are starting to be seen as "The emotional Web" (And, boy, did we see plenty of that in this particular panel! Loved it!).

How perhaps one way to measure the business value from your Twitter experience, amongst others, should be about how many times you get validated, perhaps, with retweets, versus a high number of Following / Followers; how micro-sharing is perhaps the "perfect way to getting continuous feedback from those who folllow / care about what you’ve to say" (Wise words from one of my old time virtual friends I had the great pleasure of meeting up in the flesh while in there: Ed Yourdon!);

How micro-sharing tools value transparency instead of secrecy, participation vs. silence; how in the end these specific social software tools have got one specific mission for us all knowledge workers in the enterprise world: "crowd-sourcing, finding our what people are working on, create personal relationships and trust" and, eventually make use of it to help improve what most businesses have been failing with all along throughout all of these years: improve your social capital skills through regular interactions with those folks who you share a common passion with and trust the most eventually.

Like I said, one of the my favourite panels from the entire event as well and one that surely had plenty of golden nuggets as you could see from a few of the thoughts I captured while live tweeting. But perhaps one other final concept I would want to leave you with and which I learn about from the one and only, Marcia Conner (a.k.a. Marciamarcia), was that one of Twitter hygiene. Something that most of us, heavy micro-sharing tools users, haven’t exploited good enough and which I think we will start seeing plenty more over the course of the next few months as Twitter’s growth continues to be exponential.

Why? Because if you think you are not getting enough value from them seeing all of that noise coming along your way with useless tweets, it’s not because of the tool itself, but more that you are hanging out with the wrong crowd, i.e. your network(s) and some Twitter hygiene would be needed so that instead of noise, it’s all about the signals you should be getting! Easy, eh? Well, not really. It’s a constant battle of fine tuning it to meet your needs and those of the folks you follow or the followers you may have. And that’s the fascinating space we have yet to explore plenty more within the Enterprise environment. Exciting times ahead, indeed!

And that was it, folks! Those are my main highlights and key learning activities from yours truly, from Day One, from the Enterprise 2.0 conference event in Boston. Like I said, hope you enjoyed them; it surely was fun for me to capture some of the thoughts I have been pondering for a little while now after the event itself and, not to worry, already getting things ready for Day Two! Stay tuned! Coming up shortly …

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