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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Contacting the Author: Content for a Convergent World – Peg Mulligan’s Blog

Social Business (also known as Enterprise 2.0)

In a recent post at the MarketingProfs Daily Fix, Don’t Forget About The Enterprise: A Glimpse Of Enterprise 2.0, Jacob Morgan explains that oftentimes when we refer to social media, we mean “how a brand can engage with customers or prospects to build relationships.” Morgan notes that these relationships are external facing:

…meaning brand to consumer, and are used for functions such as product development, customer service, increasing sales, and marketing. Through social media, companies seek to understand and do things such as: empower their customers, collaborate with their customers and prospects, and gain actionable insight from their customers.

Internal versus External Collaboration

Morgan goes on to explain that “a very similar type or relationship with collaboration, actionable insight, and empowerment also needs to happen internally WITHIN the enterprise; oftentimes called Enterprise 2.0, a termed coined by Andrew McAfee a few years back.”

Morgan believes that most companies should begin their social business transformation internally before branching out externally. He explains the rationale for focusing first on internal change:

There are several benefits to doing this such as building a social corporate culture, familiarizing the company with new tools, and understanding how to gain actionable insight and drive business results from collaboration. Once the company as a whole understands this, then it becomes much easier to build relationships and collaborate externally, with prospects and existing customers.

Taking Social to the Core of Your Organization

Morgan’s presentation complements very well the themes in a recent O’Reilley webcast, “Taking Social to the Core of Your Organization,” with an online panel featuring Stowe Boyd, Peter Kim, Jeremiah Owyang, and Joshua-Michele Ross. The webcast (tagged as socbs#  on Twitter) defines social business, provides successful examples, and discusses long–term challenges.

According to Stow Boyd, social business is “business organized intentionally around sociology and social tools.” Peter Kim adds, “social business is business,” being done with the same objectives as always—building brands, driving sales, and sometimes even changing lives—but business which simultaneously recognizes that the environment we’re operating in, including the world we work in and the ways customers engage, is very different.”

Jeremiah Owyang states that social business is not just marketing. It applies to all customer touchpoints, and across the entire organization, including product innovation, collaboration with partners, supply chain management, recruiting, and talent management.

Levers for Becoming a Social Business

As moderator, Joshua-Michele Ross helps summarize the following levers, mentioned in the panel discussion, which bring about an enterprise’s internal transformation to a social business:

  • A process with social guidelines is already in place. (For example, IBM co-created their guidelines, with  employees.)
  • Employees use social tools to collaborate internally, before opening up external gates. (Examples: employee networks on Facebook, Yammer, Jive, and Social Text.)
  • Companies reconsider the role of individuals in the company, with greater value of and incentives for extra market forces and nonfinancial drivers, including an individual’s sense of meaning and purpose.

Exemplars of Social Business

According to the panel, the most successful examples of social businesses include those who are already using social processes and tools internally. Those business that systematically encourage openness inside the organization are the most likely to empower employees to engage with the outside world. Panelists mentioned Intel, Dell, IBM, and Comcast Cares as exemplars.

Obstacles to Social Business

The panelists also noted common obstacles to becoming an Enterprise 2.0, as problems in scalability, increased signal to noise ratio, and resistance to change. Panelists agreed that measuring the ROI of social capital is difficult, but that organizations can measure the ROI of social media the same as any other effort that involves objectives. For example, marketing metrics often measure social mentions and that is measurable in social media as well.

How to Get Others Involved

According to Peter Kim, the way to get others in your organization involved, depends on where in the organization you’re placed.

For those at the top, Kim recommends making the executive commitment, putting a budget and resources in place, and letting people allocate time. For those in the middle, it means examining where the tools fit in the overall business strategy. For those at the lower levels of an organization, it means using the tools to be more productive at work.

For more tips on getting others involved, see Kim’s presentation, on Social Business.

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Contacting the Author: Content for a Convergent World – Peg Mulligan’s Blog