Gartner Portals, Content, and Collaboration Conference: Day 1 Notes

Tom Austin’s keynote
This was a good opening keynote, primarily aimed at getting IT leaders to realize that their job isn’t simply to take orders but to be the key enabler of innovation in the business.

Gartner research shows that most IT shops stop at “operations & hygiene” and “improving productivity & lowering costs”. What they should be focusing on is “improving performance of non-routine tasks” and “helping the organization innovate”. The personal tools and social services the IT organization puts in place and supports will be key enablers of those goals.

Workplace architecture

In a study of around 2000 companies, Gartner found that there are “Two faces of the workplace”. Roughly half of the respondents are in an organization of “Leaders”. The other half are organizations of “Directors”. Director organizations are those in which IT is essentially an order-taker. They see their job really as being the low-cost technology provider for the business and not much more. Leader organizations are much more entrepreneurial. The IT orgs in Leader companies see themselves as key enablers to innovation. The type of organization you are in can be a predictor of the success of the introduction of social tools and technologies. (It can also be a source of stress–if you are more entrepreneurial and you find yourself in a “Director” organization, the odds are that your tenure at that job will be short-lived).

At this point the conversation shifted to some high-level info on key vendors…

IBM

  • Workplace brand is essentially dead
  • Now have 23% of the content management market through its FileNet acquisition
  • Quickr product is their answer to MOSS
  • More “2.0” than Microsoft
  • At the mention of “Notes 8” I immediately felt old

Oracle

  • Web 2.0 and future strategy based on the WebCenter Suite.
  • Stellent, a second-tier player with consistently good functionality, was a good acquisition for Oracle.

Microsoft

  • Sharepoint 2007 is not enterprise-ready
  • Grassroots, viral spread of WSS (the free, low-end version of Sharepoint) is working extremely well

General content management tidbits

  • CM systems live b/w 5 and 10 years
  • Flexibility, openness, interoperability are key because of this longevity
  • Up-front license cost usually less than 20% of the TCO over the life of the system so don’t get so wrapped around the axle about up-front licensing costs

Clash of the Titans: IBM, Microsoft, & Google

Five technologies that are disruptive to the “titans”:

  • SAAS
  • Web 2.0
  • Consumerization
  • Global Class Infrastructure
  • Open Source

IBM:

  • #1 portal
  • Huge IM install base with Sametime
  • All about custom (because it drives services, for which IBM gets over half of its revenue)
  • All about focusing on the biggest of the big customers

Microsoft:

  • Pervasive office suite
  • Meteoric Sharepoint growth
  • All about commodity
  • Take technology to the masses, become the exclusive provider, then increase prices.
  • Web-based applications threaten Microsoft’s core model
  • “Sharepoint is the athlete’s foot of 2007. You leave it alone and it spreads everywhere.”

Say Goodbye to Enterprise Content Management

The term “Enterprise Content Management” is really shifting from an umbrella term describing the different types of content management (document management, WCM, imaging, records management, etc.) to a term that describes a management discipline.

1990 – 2006: Thick clients, closed source, monolithic platforms/repositories
2007 and beyond: Federated repositories, SOA, Web 2.0, SAAS, open source

Gartner sees most companies interested in deploying Basic Content Services (see below) and then building vertical apps on top of a more formal content infrastructure where appropriate.

Basic Content Services (BCS)

  • Good enough is good enough
  • Pays for itself quickly
  • Addresses needs of 65% of the user population
  • Everyone should be rolling this out now
  • Average spend on content management is $475,000 for 250 users

Top business problems addressed by content management:

  • Loan origination
  • Litigation support
  • Claims processing
  • Case management
  • Contract management
  • Correspondence management

Solution Provider Sessions

The “Solution Provider” sessions were extremely weak. These were essentially speaking slots the premium sponsors of the conference paid for. The first one I attended, sponsored by BEA, was ostensibly a deep dive on Facebook. After two slides on Facebook it devolved into a BEA product demo.

The second BEA solution provider session was a customer case study on how an insurance company used BEA’s Aqualogic platform to roll out custom portals for their clients. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of information shared with regard to challenges overcome, what worked well, or anything specific about how the platform was uniquely qualified for the solution.

Challenges of Enterprise 2.0 Adoption, Andrew McAfee

I’ve added McAfee’s blog to my aggregator within the last few months and I’ve enjoyed his posts. I was excited to get to hear him speak. This session was definitely the highlight of the day. Here are some rough notes…

Attributes of Enterprise 2.0 use:

  • Platform technologies: Enterprise 2.0 is about platform–not channel (ie, email)–technologies like blogs and wikis.
  • Social: The solutions are primarily about getting people together (not integrating data or systems)
  • Complementary with existing structures
  • Collective (subject to network effects)
  • Convergent
  • Emergent
  • Open
  • Undirected/autonomous
  • Non-credentialist. No one cares about your title or role. What’s important is what you do/say after you’ve joined the conversation.
  • Dynamic
  • Navigable. (McAfee did a survey of the audience in which he asked how many people thought their intranet was easier to navigate than the public internet. Only one hand shot up).
  • Extensible

McAfee really stressed the point that if you try to put too many controls on these systems (too much structure, roles/entitlements, workflow) you’ll totally screw up the intended purpose and really miss out completely on the business benefit.
Ease of use is a huge problem in adoption of these systems. McAfee referenced a study in which one of his colleagues determined that people typically overweight the incumbent technology’s benefits by 3 and underweight the prospective technology’s benefits by 3. He referred to this as email’s “9x” problem. Basically, any Enterprise 2.0 solution has got to be 10x better than email.

Beyond ease of use, other adoption problems included the concept of personal benefits versus cost and incentives to participate.

McAfee referred folks to cases2.com for case studies on Enterprise 2.0 use.