Conference Notes

Recap of the Enterprise 2.0 Conference for 2010

The annual Enterprise 2.0 Conference took place in Boston last week. I was heavily involved in the conference in the first three years (2005-2007), but haven’t been able to attend since. Perhaps I should fix that in June 2011.

Anyway, here’s what stood out to me from afar from the conference this week.

Jive Wants to Be a Top Player
One of the problems facing small vendors is irrelevance as a new market place matures. Either they make it big through a combination of smart moves and luck, or they luck out and move smartly to the back of the pack. Jive Software is doing a lot of things right, in my opinion:

  • Leveraging the strength of others to stay in the game. Eg, three key moves announced this week:
    1. A strategic alliance with CSC where CSC will sell Jive’s software.
    2. A placement of Jive’s software in the Google Apps Marketplace — broadening its reach, making it easier for organizations to start.
    3. An alliance with the Dachis Group where strategy and implementation work done by Dachis will be leveraged appropriately to improve the products and services offered by Jive. This is great for Jive, but will come with a set of challenges for Dachis — which will be interesting to observe.

  • Integration of what’s going in to simplify life for people. Eg, helping people take on the challenge of managing and engaging with customers, prospects, and influencers who are active on Twitter. Jive’s new integration with Twitter bolsters its Market Engagement solution.
  • Working on seamingly intractable problems that everyone faces. Eg, the new Jive What Matters, where Jive brings together what’s going on that impacts the current user, plus what they should be working on, into an integrated user interface. Email is still important, but doesn’t cut it as a complete solution anymore. Jive is attempting to deal with the new realities and provide a workable approach to staying afloat in the information tsunami.

Cisco is Muscling In
One of my analyst friends who now works for a large software vendor used to tell me that he thought “Microsoft, IBM and Oracle” would be the three key players in enterprise collaboration. Microsoft and IBM yes, but I don’t see Oracle doing a whole lot these days. Beehive promises revolutionary things, but Beehive news is very far and few between. The third key vendor now is Cisco … and definitely the up-and-comer to watch. Their work is cut out for them going forward — they have multiple challenges to address — but I see a lot of strength in their positioning, product direction, and current market approaches.

For more on my take on Cisco in the collaboration market, see:
Cisco Quad: Peeling Back the Layers (on my blog, from earlier this week)
Cisco for Collaboration: Vendor and Product Analysis (a report, from November 2009)

Talk About Marketplace Maturity
There was a lot of emphasis about the maturing of the Enterprise 2.0 space. For example:

  • Vendors talked about the changing face of company engagement, from “being evangelical” three years ago, to having “back-to-back meetings” with Fortune 500 companies. See Wall Street Journal.
  • Big consulting firms want in on the action. Compared to the “build it” approach taken by Dachis Group, Nielsen and McKinsey are working together. See Zach at Forrester on this.
  • Chris Yeh has had enough of Enterprise 2.0 being risk free. He wants to see big, bold, and expensive initiatives. See VentureBeat.
  • The conversation is more balanced, with discussion of the downsides of Enterprise 2.0 technologies, not just its benefits. See Computerworld.

There was a lot more news and happenings from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, and I’m sure “you had to be there” to get the full import. If you were there, what strategic themes did you take away from the conference?

Categories: Conference Notes