Shared Insights: Two-Day Wrap-Up

Apparently there was no wrap-up session yesterday, so the last session today wrapped up the past two days. Colin White, who has been running this conference for 8 years, was joined by three of his regular presenters: Shawn Shell of Consejo, Tony Byrne of CMS Watch, and Zach Wahl of Project Performance. The discussion was pretty open; I’ll try to attribute to the correct person as I document it.

In looking at what has changed at the conference recently, White found that 2/3 of attendees were building external-facing rather than internal-facing, which he feels to be influenced by Web 2.0. Shell found the audience to be more technical and tactical, and very focussed on building portals to connect with customers and employees. Byrne commented on how layered that portals are becoming, sometimes with several portal products being used simultaneously, and how the sheer diversity of integration technologies is making a more complex portal ecosystem. He feels that many organizations are out-growing some of the lightweight tools provided by portals, such as document management, and thinks that traditional portal vendors are having problems figuring out how to do Web 2.0 in their products. Wahl mentioned a higher caliber audience (by which it appears that he means “more technical”, however frightening the implications of that statement), and sees that the outward-facing portals that are being developed provide a stronger tie-in to ROI.

They then moved on to audience questions, and I can’t attribute the responses to any of the four participants.

Q: How are organizations using blogs?

A:

  • Attend the Razorfish session tomorrow for a case study. [I did]
  • It’s still a “cautious” activity for organizations, and is often still a top-down corporate communications “fake blog” from C-level executives rather than true blogs.
  • Blogs are useful for technical organizations [I scratched my head over that one, although I admit that one of the most successful organizations that I’ve seen using blogs internally is IBM]
  • Many people inside corporations “don’t have anything to say that’s universally consumable”. [This statement made me cringe; it totally misses the point of blogs]
  • A corporate ethos of content sharing can provide the right environment for blogging.

My conclusion: half of the 4 speakers don’t get blogging.

Q: How much of Web 2.0 is hype versus reality for the enterprise?

A: “There’s some organizations for which this isn’t going to work”. [The speaker quite erroneously equated Web 2.0 in the enterprise with publishing corporate content on the public internet]

Q: What are the future directions in PCC?

A:

  • There’s an increasing diversity of products rather than consolidation in the market, leading to more competition.
  • Major vendors, such as Oracle and BEA, are leapfrogging technologies to meet new standards and stay competitive.
  • The dynamism in PCC right now is in the add-ons, such as BPM, rather than the underlying portal technology. [This resulted in a specific discussion about how BEA’s BPM is driving portal sales, although I’m not sure that’s true]
  • Portal vendors are moving into the add-on market to take more of the enterprise pie.

There was also a discussion about getting started with search and taxonomy: for example, using the Google search appliance as a starter for search/taxonomy, and the need for a simple start to taxonomy in particular. We finished with a brief discussion about the perceived dilemma of SharePoint proliferation: is it out of control or a necessary state of departmental document collaboration?

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