Event Summary: The Future of the Social Web

Nothing like ringing in the new year with a look at where the industry is headed. My job as an industry analyst is to assess where the industry is going, and how vendors and brands should respond to changes. My upcoming research on the topic of the future of the social web will do just that, and perhaps the most effective way for me to learn from the best and brightest in the industry is to bring them all to one room.

A few months ago, I held an event to bring the industry top leaders together to discuss the future of social networks for my upcoming research report on the topic. I brought forth community platforms, widget companies, social networks, brand monitoring, web analytics, CRM, CMS search companies, and of course, brands that will implement these technologies. Thanks to SAP who hosted this event (thanks Giovanni for the intro) we had a day long working session to uncover what we see are the predictions of the social web, the challenges to overcome, and how they will be beat. Thanks to Kenny Lauer and the GPJ team for assisting me through the event. Special thanks to SAP for hosting this community event.

Folks flew in from around the country to attend this no-cost event, and we brainstormed and collaborated during the day to come up with the three things (and more) that will matter. Most would agree, none of the findings were earth shattering, but were confirmation for the different parties to attend. I’ll be hosting similar events throughout 2009 to bring the industry together, so we can learn from each other, and I can improve my research.

Update: For some reason the pictures aren’t showing in the embedded slideshare, although they are viewable in this version.
The embedded slideshare has more details about the event, if you’ve questions, leave a comment, I’ll answer the best to my ability.

Key Findings
Group findings at the very high level revealed the following, to see the specific three predictions, check out the slideshare. Note, these were not my predictions, but what I gleaned from the attendees.

  • The social web industry was able to collaborate towards a single goal.
  • Predictions generated weren’t “earth-shattering” yet group consensus confirmed industry direction.
  • Most challenges indicated culture and change management processes within corporations –not a technology issue.
  • The social web is still in early stages –standards have not been fully been developed nor adopted.
  • Measurement continues to be a key issue to determine progress and value –as well as a lack of standards.
  • Key relationships were developed pan-industry.
  • Here’s the roster of attendees
    I invited others, but some were not able to attend, I tried to avoid pundits, and focus on those that really do the work not just talk about it. In some cases, I sent an invite to the company, and they selected who would attend, some of these folks were hand selected by me.

    Scott Lawley, SAP
    Len Devanna, EMC
    Brian Ellefritz, Cisco
    Faith Legendre, Webex
    Bob Duffy, Intel
    Joel Nathanson, Wells Fargo
    Joshua-Michéle Ross, O’Reilly
    Karl Long, Nokia
    Paul Gilliham, Juniper Networks
    Tom Diederich, Cadence
    Justin Kestelyn, Oracle

    Brand Monitoring, Analytics
    Brad Brodigan, Biz 360
    Aaron Gray, Web Trends

    CRM, Enterprise Applications
    Sandy Carter, IBM
    Param Kahlon, SAP
    Eugene Lee, SocialText

    Rooly Eliezerov, Gigya
    Will Price, Widgetbox
    Jeff Nolan, Newsgator

    Social Networks
    Chris Schalk, Google
    David Recordon, Six Apart, OpenID
    Surya Yalamanchili, LinkedIn

    Community Platforms, CMS
    John McCormick, Documentum EMC
    Adam Weinroth, Pluck
    Bryan House, Acquia
    Cameron Deatsch , Jive
    David Carter, Awareness
    Lyle Fong, Lithium
    Michael Chin, Kickapps
    Mike Walsh, Leverage Software
    Rob Howard, Telligent
    Rusty Williams, Mzinga
    Peter Friedman, LiveWorld

    Expect more on this topic as I dive into this research for 2009, I plan to host this roundtable each year, will try to circulate different attendees as possible.