The most elaborate news out of Enterprise 2.0 in Boston may well have been the fact that this Enterprise 2.0 conference was the last. Enterprise 2.0 Boston has been renamed E2 Social and Enterprise 2.0 Santa Clara is now E2 Innovate due to the inherent shift of the enterprise (which some would argue is for the better).
Paige Finkelman, general manager of the Enterprise 2.0 brand, opened the conference discussing the two hottest trends that shaped this year’s programming: analytics, metrics, and the growing need to quantify business ROI. “It’s been said, 2012 is the year of mobile ascendancy,” Finkelman adds. So much so that this year’s event was co-located with the Mobile Connect conference. Another hot topic in Boston was social collaboration in the enterprise. Keep reading.
This year saw 15-plus Enterprise 2.0 exhibitors make news announcements. And it was all pretty newsworthy stuff! (My apologies in advance to anyone I declined an interview to for lack of time and energy to battle three floors of Hynes Convention Center.) Here are some of the highlights:
DoubleDutch launched its newest baby – the Pride app. Designed for mobile workforce collaboration, the iPhone and Android-compatible app changes the way enterprise teams share information and successes. Early adopter Revolights, a Kickstarter-funded company that designs and builds next-gen bicycle lights, is an early adopter. Among Revolights and other companies that participated in private beta – internal email usage has decreased by 34 percent for their teams. That’s productivity!
Formicary Collaboration Group launched Mindlink, an enterprise social collaboration platform, which streamlines a company’s existing Microsoft environment and unified communications platform. “We worked with our customers to determine, ‘What are they talking about?’” Daanish Khan, vice president of strategy and marketing for Formicary, told me in an interview. “If someone posts a comment in the CRM about the latest meeting, how does everyone else get active, up-to-date information, and respond? There’s a lot of information that sales and marketing need to keep up on.”
Michael Wu, principal scientist of analytics for Lithium Technologies, did a live experiment – on we, the people in the audience. Wu requested that for the duration of his session that everyone using the #e2conf Twitter hashtag switch over to #e2exp. What commenced was a “collaborative note taking” session, a.k.a. Live Tweeting, with a twist. At the conclusion of his session, Wu ran analytics on the half-hour timeframe we spent learning about social graphs and the power of influencers, and all of the “betweenness centrality” that connects people. There we were, connected on-screen, some more pronounced than others depending on who our connections were. Wu remarked that a way to determine your content’s relevance is to see how closely a target’s information needs coincide with influencers’ expertise. This is what our graph looked like.
Nike’s enterprise collaboration director Richard Foo took to the stage in windbreaker and track pants to talk social collaboration. Foo says one of the most important steps in change management is making someone’s job easier. “If you don’t make their job easier, people don’t see a point in moving over,” he says. “You need to help people see the value of working in a new way.” Foo compared the social collaboration model to the conversation enterprises once had about email. Nike is in the early stages of rolling Cisco WebEx Social for its own internal collaboration efforts.
Cisco WebEx Social, formerly known as Cisco Quad, made its debut at Enterprise 2.0, and will blend together Web conferencing with social capabilities. Cisco WebEx TelePresence, formerly known as Cisco Callway, now features audio/video support and an online customer portal. “The adoption of social varies by generation, but [in general] people just want to work differently,” Michael Smith, Cisco’s market management director for Collaboration Applications, told me during a demo of WebEx Social at the show. The target of the solution is to offer a “flexible working model” that gets people engaged and active, Smith says. Enhanced email integration lets users connect with mail clients all while posting updates to the WebEx Social feed. Cisco WebEx Social also lets workers switch from social networks to real-time IM, Web conferencing, and voice calls right from their mobile application on iPhone and iPad.
And, to tie it all together with a bang – Microsoft has officially announced today it will acquire enterprise social networking platform Yammer for $1.2 billion cash. Yammer had a presence at Enterprise 2.0, as well. Launched in 2008, the startup now boasts more than five million corporate users. “Yammer adds a best-in-class enterprise social networking service to Microsoft’s growing portfolio of complementary cloud services.” The cat has been out of the bag for weeks, but today makes it official. Let us all rest tonight.