Just a quick post to highlight the best presentations of the two collocated Gartner events in Los Angeles last week:
- Matthew Cain’s presentation on collaboration, which he compared to gambling, because of the uncertainty it can create in the enterprise (which gets even more complex when we add social and mobile devices). He was also one of the few to mention human resources as a critical uncertainty for enterprises, which can have a negative impact on collaboration if not managed properly.
- Jeffrey Mann’s and Carol Rozwell’s session described how companies should deal with social media pioneers, settlers, and stay-behinds. According to them, 2009 was the year of the social pioneers (those who tried to incorporate social media into the business processes of their company), 2010 was the year of the settlers (those who understood the importance of social media, but were not willing to take risks and were content to follow the pioneers), and 2011 is the year of the stay-behinds (those who have little or no enthusiasm about social media, but who will try and even use it, in the fear that otherwise they will be left behind).
- Tom Austin’s and David Mitchell Smith’s session comparing the two IT giants fighting for supremacy in the cloud and social: Google and Microsoft. Facebook and Apple were also mentioned, because they have advantages others don’t (e.g.: largest social user base for Facebook and excellent reputation for Apple).
In conclusion: social and collaboration are important, but…
Both Gartner summits focused on social media and collaboration, but my impression was that the social aspect was covered in more detail. This is probably because the social paradigm is considered to be more important and more disruptive to companies that still seem to struggle to understand it and measure its ROI (which according to several Gartner analysts, is quite impossible and should be replaced with non-financial performance indicators).
My opinion is that a social software initiative is like taking the subway in Los Angeles for the first time: it can be scary, but it’s the best way to get in touch with ordinary people.
As for collaboration, the keynote speaker Don Tapscott used a video of the murmuration of starlings (the phenomenon of thousands of starlings flying together in harmony, which warms them, protects them from predators, and allows them to exchange information about feeding areas) to demonstrate his ideas. It seems that these birds have no individual intelligence, but there seems to be some collective consciousness. Tapscott wondered if by using new technologies, networking, and collaboration, humans will be able to work together in a similar manner. My opinion is that even though we’re intelligent creatures (as opposed to the starlings), or maybe because we’re intelligent, it’s highly unlikely that we will be able to collaborate in the same way.