Hear All About It: Enterprise 2.0 Conference (Boston 2011)

Disclosure: This week, I attended the Enterprise 2.0 Conference , Boston, MA, on a free press pass, which covered the pre-conference workshops on Monday, as well as the full three-day conference, held June 21 – June 23, at the Hynes Convention Center.

According to Steve Wylie, the General Manager of the Enterprise 2.0 Conference at TechWeb, the event attracted approx. 1600 participants, from lines of business, marketing, and IT, as well as senior executives.

Enterprise 2.0: Supporting Critical Functions & Driving Revenue

The event site describes the annual Enterprise 2.0 Conference as focusing on “how to use technology to support a variety of critical functions such as HR, People & Performance, Sales, Customer Support, and Product Development to increase productivity, improve collaboration, and drive revenue.”

Many participants at the event shared an interest in how enterprise-class collaboration and productivity tools can help organizations solve business problems and create new opportunities (see Enterprise 2.0: It’s Still About Improving Business Performance).

In-Depth Workshops

The pre-conference workshops on Monday examined key Enterprise 2.0 topics, including detailed analysis of customer engagement, innovation management, and the latest collaboration tools and platforms.

Visionary Leaders

On Tue. and Wed., the keynotes featured a cross-section of industry thought leaders, representing companies such as Jive Software, Microsoft, IBM, Avaya, Adobe, and Cisco. (To view the recorded keynotes, visit Information Week’s Brainyard–the community for social business.)

Tue. night, BroadVision, Inc., a cloud-based social business solution provider leader, sponsored the official attendee party with CRM expert Paul Greenberg, for a discussion on “CRM at the Social Crossroads.” In his talk, Greenberg, author of CRM at the Speed of Light, described the convergence of Enterprise 2.0 with Social CRM, as part of the trend increasingly known as “Social Business.”

Diverse Conference Tracks

Conference tracks included an impressive range of Enterprise 2.0 topics: Analytics and Metrics, Architecture, Business Leadership, Community Management (Engaging External Audiences), Community Management (Inside the Enterprise), Governance, Risk, & Compliance, Mobile Enterprise, People, Culture & Internal Communications (HR), Sales and Marketing, Social Apps and Platforms, Technology Leadership, and Video & Unified Communications.

Expo Pavilion: Top Vendors (Large and Small)

There was also the opportunity to meet top vendors of collaboration technologies in the Enterprise 2.0 Expo Pavilion, where Microsoft and Cisco hosted receptions, Tue. and Wed. nights, respectively, and where participants could learn how the latest technologies are reinforcing collaborative cultures and helping to change internal processes.

Recognizing Innovation: Enterprise 2.0 Launch Pad

Another conference highlight occurred right after the Tue. morning keynotes, when Saba Social Learning, was announced as the winner of the “2011 Launch Pad Award.”

General Impressions

I was happy to cover the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, a second year in a row. For me, the event represents a comprehensive and timely look at the benefits, risks, and changes required in emerging Enterprise 2.0 organizations. The speakers were high caliber, the vendors among the top-most in the industry, and the atmosphere was consistently collegial. The post-conference resources (including slide presentations available at the E 2.0 event site) and related E 2.0 coverage at the Barnyard community are just as thorough and well-organized.

Moving Forward

As Steve Wylie notes in his recent Barnyard column, the spirit at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston was celebratory, recognizing all the ways that Enterprise 2.0 has come of age. However, to take the necessary next steps, Wylie suggests lots more must be done:

While great progress is being made in understanding the value of a socially connected, collaborating enterprise, the reality is that most enterprises are just beginning to peel back the organizational layers of operational inefficiency and outdated technology that hold them back.

Their challenges will require equal parts organizational readiness, workable technology solutions, and the resilience to see these initiatives through.

In the meantime, stay on the lookout here, for posts detailing what I learned at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference (Boston 2011), especially ways organizations need to change or are in the process of changing, to continue making E 2.0 a reality.

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