Enterprise 2.0 is coming up next week and it is one of the events I look forward to every year for a wide variety of reasons – the programming, the people it attracts, and the innovative use of technologies they use as part of the conference all make it stand out. Over the past few years that I’ve attended it has also evolved from a relatively IT-centric view of social technologies to a more balanced perspective and the issues of use, optimization, and management have become more prominent.
Programming – the Enterprise 2.0 board works hard to deliver a lot of cases studies and practitioner voices. To me this is critical to understanding not just the theory of what could be but the reality of what is being accomplished which provides a much better guide for others in setting their own objectives. Enterprise-wide social initiatives are one of the more complex undertakings because they almost always include some element of cultural and behavioral change which is much harder to accomplish than basic software adoption alone.
People – The Enterprise 2.0 community is made up of a rich stew of enthusiastic professionals attacking the issues from a variety of perspectives. One thing that I am happy to see is more merging between the discussion of internal and external deployments of social technologies. While the social media and the Enterprise 2.0 crowd has been fairly separate, having some cross-pollination is great. Speaking with a number of large organizations – many of which started with either internal or external initiatives – they are now looking at how to cross their own corporate boundaries and integrate internal and external conversations at some level making it critical that as an industry we address both ends of the spectrum.
Innovation – Enterprise 2.0 was the first conference that I attended, which not only had a back channel conversation going on via Twitter but also had hosted chat rooms for participants that encouraged attendees to participate in that way. It made for some interesting event issues in that the presentations and panels that had a lively back channel incented attendees in other presentations to move mid-presentation – essentially voting with their feet. This past year, the Enterprise 2.0 team has used crowdsourcing to help identify and select presentations and there were some predictable hick-ups there as well in that not every presentation that got high crowd marks was selected for the final agenda because the crowdsourced selections were balanced with track agendas. Both the use of innovative technologies and the issues it uncovers are extremely valuable for attendees to experience because it mirrors the challenges they will be faced with in their own organizations. It is not perfect or seemless but it is the reality of where the technology is today and I for one, appreciate the fact that the Enterprise 2.0 team pushes forward despite some of the issues – the benefits have far outweighed the issues.
This year, I was flattered to be asked to co-chair the Social Media & Community track with Mike Gotta. While a small part of the conference, it represents a move to bring the social media and social enterprise conversation closer together. I am also lucky to be moderating a panel bursting with social media and community management expertise – You Say Social Media, I Say Community – Does It Matter? – where we will be discussing the operational similarities and differences that exist between different business use cases and different strategic contexts. I’m thrilled to be joined by Eran Barak, Global Head of Community Strategy, Thomson Reuters; Matt Johnston, VP of Marketing and Community, uTest; Megan Murray, Community Manager/Project Coordinator, Booz Allen Hamilton; and Michael Petillo, Enterprise Sales & Marketing Systems Leader, W.L. Gore. Each panelist represents a different business context and use case – B2B marketing & support, the community as the company, B2B internal collaboration, and B2C marketing – and we will be discussing how that affects their strategies, the configuration and management of their communities, how they measure value, and what tools they use. It should be a fascinating discussion for anyone working on how to best operationalize a social business approach. Join us at #e20conf on Tuesday afternoon at 3:30pm.