SMB Research – Report from Enterprise 2.0 Boston 2011

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SMB Research spent some time this past week at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference.  The TechWeb folks put on a very good conference as they usually do, crafting a lot of different sessions on a lot of different topics.  If you have anything to do with social media, or are working on your company’s social business strategy, this is really a can’t miss event.  Put this on your calendar for next year:  June 18 – 21, 2012, in Boston.  The theme of this year’s conference “Building Social Business” reflects a maturation of the market from the conceptual to the execution in social business strategy.  An estimated 1,600 attendees descended on the new venue this year, Boston’s Hynes Convention Center, to share ideas and strategies.

In another innovation that largely seemed to resonate, the Enterprise 2.0 folks put  together a keynote format that featured short 15-minute keynotes that enabled attendees to be exposed to more thought leaders in a rapidly moving session:

John Hagel III, Co-chairman, Deloitte LLP Center for the Edge
Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Software Solutions Group
John Stepper, Managing Director, Deutsche Bank
Brett Shockley, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development & Strategy, Avaya
Jim Grubb, VP, Corporate Communications Architecture, Chief Demonstration Officer, Cisco Systems, Inc.
Sameer Patel, Partner, Sovos Group
Christian Finn, Director, SharePoint Product Management, Microsoft Corp
Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist, MIT
Bryce D. Williams, Social Collaboration Consultant-IT, Eli Lilly
Lee Bryant, Co-founder and Director, Headshift
Chris Morace, Senior Vice President of Business Development, Jive Software
Tom Kelly, CEO, Moxie
Ming Kwan, Global Digital Marketing Manager, Nokia
Ben Watson, Principal Customer Experience Strategist, Adobe
Sara M. Roberts, Book Author and President & CEO, Roberts Golden Consulting
Ross Mayfield, Chairman and Co-founder of Socialtext and VP of Business Development, SlideShare
Bert Sandie, Director, Learning & Development, Electronic Arts, Inc
Tyler Knowlton, Chief Strategist on Digital Innovation for the Chief Trade Commissioner at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Debra Lavoy, Director, Product Marketing, Digital and Social Media, Open Text

 

The general sessions pack a lot of content – some 43 different sessions, by my count – under these topical headers:TechWeb's Enterprise 2.0 Boston Conference 2011

Analytics and Metrics
Architecture
Business Leadership
Community Management: Engaging External Audiences
Community Management: Inside the Enterprise
Governance, Risk and Compliance
Mobile Enterprise
People, Culture and Internal Communications
Sales and Marketing
Social Apps and Platforms
Technology Leadership
Video and Unified Communications


It is left to you to do a mapping between these categories and what there is of an Enterprise 2.0 taxonomy.  (I find myself continually going back to the 2010 Social Business Landscape, created by The Dachis Group‘s Dion Hinchcliffe.

Dachis Group: The Social Business Landscape, 2010

You can find another version of a social business landscape here.

Some take-aways:

  • There is increasing use of “Social Business” alongside “Enterprise 2.0″.   This is positive; “Enterprise 2.0″ still causes some unnecessary confusion despite the best efforts of Andrew McAfee and others, and “social business” rightly re-focuses the discussion on what a business needs to focus on.   There is some discussion about the eventual evolution (and truncation) of  “Social Business” to just “Business”.  I really do not see this happening any time soon.  The social business realm still has some maturation to go before it is so embedded into business as to be indistinguishable from it.
  • Jim Worth, IBM‘s Sandy Carter, some folks from the Dachis Group and members of Social Business Council, were kind enough to allow me to sit in on a session early one morning.  I was particularly interested to hear about Watson‘s social “personality”, the probable evolution of our email Inboxes into “social inboxes”, and the story of how Celestica used social media to address one particular business issue.
  • In general, as “leading-edge” as the Social Business technologies are, some of the keynotes did not strike me as being as provocative or deeply insightful as they could have been.
  • Deloitte’s John Hagel talked about the link between passion and performance, and then noted that only 20% of employees are passionately engaged with their work.
  • On the social media front, John talked about the role that metrics play in leveraging the value of social media, and the importance of validating, rather than assuming, that you are looking at the right metrics.   An interesting construct that John talked about is the funnel, to show a range of metrics from strategic to the tactical metrics.
  • MIT’s Andrew McAfee talked about “Threats to Enterprise 2.0: Old Fashioned Bosses and New Fangled Computers”, citing the headwinds created by old fashioned bosses – what he called the “the row and column enterprise”, which has of course been superceded by the cube farm culture.  This resistance is in the face of the obvious business need served by these technologies.  McAfee cited HP’s Lew Platt who said: “If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive.”
  • One of the better sessions I attended was the “Business Leadership Roundtable”, with outstanding panelists  and Marcia Conner (Altimeter), Paul Greenberg (The 56 Group), and Ted Schadler (Forrester).  Messrs Schadler, Greenberg, and Ms. Conner, moderated by Andrew McAfee (confirming once again that with great panelists or not, it is the moderator that brings out the best from the panelists).  Andrew McAfee asked challenging questions, and became even more challenging with the responses and responders.  While Ted Schadler predicts the demise of the term “social”, and Marcia Conner said that we would not be hearing the term “collaboration” a lot longer. Hmm. I am skeptical of this.
  • Most companies should be doing something with social media.  Many companies are doing it poorly. Many companies are taking way too long to get started.  Commit next year to attending one of the Enterprise 2.0 conferences.
  • At the conference two years ago, with perhaps 1000+ attendees, the tweetstream encompassed some 320 pages.  this year, with some 1,600 attendees,  the tweetstream repository from this event runs at least 665 pages long. I am not sure what this means.

 

Recommended reads:

Enterprise 2.0 Boston Social Web Coverage June 20 2011
The Enterprise 2.0 Boston Wiki
Jim Worth

Enterprise 2.0: The business world is all about beating your competitors
Oliver Marks
June 24, 2011

Complete List of My 2011 Enterprise 2.0 Boston Conference Notes
Bill Ives
June 24, 2011

Andrew McAfee’s Blog
Andrew McAfee’s Blog

Sandy Carter’s Blog
Sandy Carter

TechWeb Informationweek’s The Barnyard
- Special coverage of Enterprise 2.0 Boston