Office 2.0 Pushes the Social Web Inside the Corporation

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(Above: The Social Computing Panel, left to right: Athena von Oech, Shiv Singh, Adam Nash, John McCrea, Anil Dash, Shel Israel)

Office 2.0: The Social Enterprise
I finished my second day of three at Office 2.0, and am really absorbing as much as I can.The first day was an unconference, an open style event where the attendees lead the topics and conversations. On the second day, I toured the demo pod area, where really nice Apple computer displays were used, it was a nice experience. I met with about 50% of all the vendors, but sadly, there were some companies that have created features, and are trying to create companies –it’s not enough, espicially when they are very similar. Every paying attendee received either an iPhone or a Play Station 3, what an amazing gift for attending, a well organized conference. I observed that there were few women who attended the event, is this a demographic slice of internal intranet teams?

[Office 2.0 is the intersection of employee productivity and the social web tools. Great conflict must be resolved as business units can communicate more effectively without IT, causing tension in security, support, and culture. The power continues to shift to the people, in this case, the employees]

Trend: Internal Evangelists fight for Employees
Remember back in 2005 when we first started to hear about how Marketing and PR was being afflicted with the blogging disease? There was always a great presentation how a lone evangelist had changed a program within a company. Now, in 2007, these stories are being told about the Intranet, I was very impressed and inspired to hear Adam Carson from Morgan Stanley share his story, Dan Farber was sitting in the front of the room, and has a great write up. Ismael has put on a great conference, many of the sessions were being streamed, and archived (Sadly, the Office 2.0 site is difficult to navigate, and I cannot find the page, try finding the agenda). After I asked my question to a colleague, I received a direct message from Charlene, who was watching remotely, what a connected world.

Notable Panel: Social Computing
While I despised the vendor pitching from one panel on mobile (Attention moderators, control your panelists, respect those who paid to attend) the best panel I’ve seen in a LONG time was the one moderated by Shel Israel, focused on Social Computing, the esteemed panel included: Anil Dash of Six Apart, John McCrea of Plaxo, Adam Nash of LinkedIn, Shiv Singh of Razorfish, Athena von Oech of Ning. I enjoyed the format, it wasn’t the usual Q&A, but each speaker (moderator included) were able to present their ideas and concepts up front, great format. As expected, Anil elevates the conversation to a strategic discussion, it’s always a pleasure to hear him. Many of these vendors are from social networking companies, and although Facebook wasn’t on the panel (those guys are hard to get) the conversation persisted around Facebook. As with most vendors, if they don’t have a ‘facebook strategy’ they pass it as a fad, or are nonchalant attitude. I clearly see the threat for some of these vendors, hence my focus on the topic. I like the shift the panel took, towards the impacts of social computing (social networks, blogs, media, live web) tools towards society, in which Buzz Bruggemen piped up from the audience that he only had business contacts, not personal contacts on Facebook. In response, I tickled the panel for their opinion on personal/business lives meshing, espicially with the millennial generation. The panel answered back, that those who had both merged were rare.

Attention IT Management: Step up or step off
I heard a lot of frustrations from business people that are tired of IT not stepping up to the plate to deliver social computing tools. Sadly, as IT units (often cost centers) are not measured by innovation, but rather by support, will be in a worse situation as business units adopt these tools. As a result, IT will eventually have to reconcile multiple logins, data off the firewall, new systems, and multiple databases in the new distributed world. I personally had frustrations of having to manage the Enterprise intranet at my previous company, when I asked for tools like blogs and forums, I was shoved clunky portal-like SharePoint. Why should IT step up? Some attendees told me they just need IT to provide a laptop and internet connectivity, everything else they can do within the browser –IT must step up, their livelihood depends on it. To help others, I teamed up with Dennis McDonald on this white paper, Business and I.T. Must Work Together to Manage New “Web 2.0” Tools, we started it in 2005.

Various pictures from the previous two days (see all my photos tagged Office20):

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