Conference Notes

Reflections on Day 1 of Strategic Intranets and Enterprise Portal Management Conference, Aug 23

So far I’ve written up my notes from the sessions I attended at the conference today, but apart from a couple of deviations, haven’t commented on the sessions or the presenters per se. Here’s my thoughts as the day draws to an end:

  • James was given a difficult job … that of talking to the key trends in Intranets during 2006. First up, the timeframe should have been extended in the title … 2006 ends in 3 months! Secondly, perhaps in slide layout, James could have condensed the “hype” and “reality” slides for each trend into a single slide … thereby showing the two side-by-side. And finally, perhaps rather than asking for “questions” at the end of each trend he could have asked for “experiences” or “alternative perspectives”. All-in-all it was fine.
  • I have two suggestions for John, but hey, it’s his show. First up, take questions during the session. Putting a damper on them until the end kills audience engagement, at least it did for me. I had numerous questions that attempted to draw out some of the finer details, but I let them slide. Secondly, be very careful about mixing sales pitch in with ideas pitch. I felt that the line was crossed a few times, and I had to struggle to stay focused during those times. It tuned me out.
  • That Sampson guy … no comment!
  • Benn and Anthony outlined some rules for where blogs and wikis and forums would work in organizations, calling attention to the cultural hallmarks that would signify a fit. I left with the impression–and could have entirely missed the boat here–that they are looking for organizational exemplars in which to advocate the technology. In other words, they suggest that you get the cultural stuff right upfront across 100% of the organization before attempting to implement anything new. If that was the message, I disagree. I say that you have to find someone in the business who is willing to embrace, push, advocate, fight for, wrestle for and demand that people in their network start using the new thing. What’s that quote about the reasonable man vs. the unreasonable man and that the latter demands that life changes to meet their vision of the future?
  • I’ve never heard Paul Reynolds speak before, but he was worthy of respect and being listened to. I could learn a lot from him. Although it’s not in my blog post, the work he’s doing with the Public Libraries down here called “Fitch” is awesomely cool. It makes me think he’s read The Social Life of Information.
  • I stepped out to attend another meeting at 3pm, so missed all of Richard Tate’s presentation entitled “Make it all Worthwhile: Establishing the Business Value of Portals”. Richard is from Solnet Solutions. That’s why I didn’t write it up.
  • I remain extremely impressed with the work that Jason and Tracey did at the Northland Regional Council for building their intranet environment. As the conference chair said to them, “for an organization of 130 people, you have the best Intranet I’ve ever heard about. And you put many organizations that are much larger than you to shame”. Kudos. Well done.

And definitely thanks to Nick Besseling for his moderation of the day, and for keeping everyone pretty much to time. It’s a thankless but vital task.

Time to turn in. It’s been a long day (I started with an 0400am call with my colleagues in the US before leaving to catch a plane at 0540am). I’m tired. See you on the other side.

Categories: Conference Notes