TUCON 2011 Day 2 Keynote

Today’s keynotes were 1.5 hours less than yesterday’s, but still a hefty 2 hours long. Some of the highlights:

Ashok Vemuri of Infosys gave the opening keynote on innovation. He discussed how technology is making a difference in the developing world, such as mobile branchless banking in Kenya, and how the human qualities of mind, mindset, character and luck can have a huge impact if properly leveraged. Innovation is critical to maintain a competitive edge in any industry: new products, services and processes can lead to increased efficiencies and increased revenues. In many cases, innovation can end up transforming industries or even creating entirely new industries, and it’s necessary to take risks in order to embrace these sorts of disruptive conditions. To foster innovation, Infosys focuses on simplification, adaptability and collaboration as pervasive values within their own organization, and with their customers and partners. Although this was basically one big advertisement for Infosys, it was a good summary of some of the factors and environments that contribute to innovation. Not, however, particularly inspiring or uplifting (as Vinnie tweeted).

Continuing on the hit parade of major partners, Chris Robinson of KPMG was up next to talk about innovation in banana peeling. No, really. His point – which was one of the points also made by Vemuri – was that some of their important innovations come from their youngest employees. Instead of focusing on innovation, however, Robinson talked about recruiting and retaining employees, and the impact of social media on that. This was the usual pro-millennials crap: boomers are too old to learn the new ways of doing things, only digital natives can live comfortably with social, blah, blah, blah. It was exactly this argument that led me to abandon the Enterprise 2.0 conference over a year ago and stop attending Don Tapscott keynotes. The fact is that if you reward people for maintaining the status quo, as KPMG undoubtedly does with their partners and senior employees, then they will work hard at doing things in exactly the same way as they have been doing for years. Different incentives and different motivations lead to different results. News flash: even we old people can embrace and thrive on social media.

David Calhoun of Nielsen was the first customer on stage today, discussing how consumer behavior is changing. As a company that tracks what consumers watch and buy, they collect a massive amount of data on this and provide analytics and expertise about it. They have long relationships with customers (over 70 years in the case of P&G, for example), helping them to craft their marketing and promotion efforts based on multi-year domain knowledge. For Nielsen, information is money, quite literally. Calhoun talked about their road to innovation, which involved replacing some of their batch-oriented legacy systems in order to provide faster, better information to their employees and customers, including leveraging new platforms such as Facebook. He had a great quote on business transformation: make sure that the corporate culture supports your desired outcomes. Really good keynote, definitely the best of the morning.

As the time got a bit long and the Accenture speaker came to the stage, I ducked out. Only so much keynoting I can take at one time.

There are several good breakout sessions today that I plan to attend, including ones on Nimbus and AMX/BPM, plus a few 1:1 meetings with TIBCO customers, so watch for more on that. Also, you can follow the Twitter at three different hashtags: the official one is #tucon2011, but people have been using #tucon11 and #tucon as well, so you may want to use a compound search for all of them.

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