Sadly I missed this Enterprise 2.0 conference but wanted to share some thoughts with you. Here is a good quick summary from Information week. This was a gathering of many CIO and IT leaders. Clearly top on everybody’s mind is how rapidly and broadly IT is evolving. Gone are the days that the CIO was the gate keeper about what a company could buy (hardware/software/services/products/resource allocation) and how IT should operate. One the biggest changes in corporate IT has been the massive DEMOCRATIZATION of IT. I spoke about this on an earlier blog and wanted to revisit this topic in light of the recent conference.
With the advent of anything-as-a-service, the dependency of groups within a corporation to the IT group has and continues to greatly diminish. Today, I don’t have to submit a requisition, wait weeks or months, have debates in budget meetings and loose sleepless nights to have access to hardware, software and applications. In fact, I can provision the application and never worry about owning anything. This is key in prototyping (will tell you why in a minute) but also changing the mindset of groups on IT. Yes, when the corporation then wants to bring in a ‘service’ as a standard and costs come into play, yes, then the CIO might get involved, but not as much.
Take the case of Salesforce.com, prior to which, sales management software selection, evaluation, customization and provisioning was a nightmare and cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. Today, log onto a site, try it out, for free, see what you think? Get what you want, when you want and gone are the days of week long training classes to teach people the du jour product. I am sure you agree that this evolution is not only well under way but the new normal in many companies.
Hence, it is only rational the role of the CIO is changing in today’s new normal, specially that groups can utilize their own budget to provision applications and don’t have to be held hostage to the IT budget grind. So, this is changing the role of the CIO. Yes, we still need to be mindful about what we spend money on and make sure things run flawlessly, BUT, this is not longer the powerful position it used to be. By no means.
The democratization of IT, is impacting all aspects of the company like a storm and the successful companies are those who recognize and embrace this. Now, on the point of prototyping, this warrants special mention. One of the biggest benefits of the democratization and decentralization of IT and the ability to provision what you need, when you need, is the ability to be very agile in prototyping. Rapid prototyping allows us to experiment on what-if ideas quickly and efficiently, allowing a company to explore many avenues of innovation.
So, why am I excited? Because given the massive technical talent in companies we need to pave the road and be far more innovative than we are today. Road blocks such as ‘this has to be approved by the CIO’s office ‘ OR, ‘there is no way I can build a prototype efficiently’ are huge obstacles that we have to remove. Let’s empower groups to be innovative and productive.
The real question is: What should the role of a CIO be in this new democratic IT landscape? Should there even be a CIO? What do you think?
Here are Gartner’s picks for the top technology trends for 2013, which among the regular set of suspects, brings in enterprise App-store and strong emphasis on Big Data. To be honest, I have yet not formulated my 2013 list yet and wanted to get your thoughts.
I hope in 2013 we are rising above analytics to ‘predictive and machine-driven big data analytics.’ How can data-driven systems change the business and structure new business opportunities? Maybe this is more of a 2014 and later phenomenon but as I have been enthusiastic and waiting for many years, I would like to think us getting there slowly but surely starting soon!
That is what is super cool about Big Data- the infinite possibilities. Let’s discuss.
I am thrilled to report that we are in the Beta test phase of ProVoke LiVe NetWork, PLN.
We live in a highly global and collaborative world. My work with ProVoke and Disruptive Innovation has me engaged with many global teams. At all times I need to communicate with these teams in parallel as we work on disruption, innovation, technology review and re-engineering projects. About a year ago I started looking for a communication platform which would allow me to have live, video/audio, highly interactive, real-time and content driven collaboration with my audiences. I wanted a platform (not a software package) that would absolutely resemble the experience that I share with live audiences. I had high expectations and did not find what I needed.
When I was not able to find one, that was gave rise to ProVoke LiVe NetWork, which we call PLN.
Necessity is the birth of great innovation and innovative approaches. We start asking enough ‘what-if’ questions, we will eventually build our dream platform. A few of PLN key features include:
1. Highly orchestrated: with a producer in the background running this virtual network, just as a real TV network does, we can produce flawless events, from invitation to final close. This is key to being able to bring multi-media in and to engage/excite audiences.
2. Live: I wanted an environment that I could be on video with participants and provide an experience very similar to one if we were in a room together. Highly interactive and participatory. Our unique multi-video sequencing allows us to truly make this a global collaboration platform.
3. We are truly multi-media: Our secret orchestration sauce, allows us to bring audio, video, presentation and other mediums in to enhance the experience of the participant.
4. We are the only collaboration platform to integrate “live animation”. I wanted to share the animation experience I bring to my audiences in our in person sessions to this platform. And we did it!
5. Network: we will have multiple channels running at the same time.
6. Content-Driven: In addition to being a live, multi-purpose communication platform, PLN will be focused on the ProVoke Methodology, helping folks disrupt and innovate. The ProVoke Methodology follows the concepts laid out by my book ProVoke, allowing small to large companies and individuals, to very methodically learn and practice how to disrupt effectively and increase the rate of innovation. Hence, PLN is not just another webinar platform, rather one which is content-driven and designed to be highly engaged with the participants. We are the first company to launch a content-driven collaboration platform.
Many of the existing technologies fell short of my expectations as they are designed as a tool and not apriori architected to be a true collaboration platform. I expect to be bringing virtual audience members onto our stage, collaborate in real time, and have an experience very similar to one where we were together. That is the key. A highly ACTIVE vs. a PASSIVE experience.
Friends, I am so delighted to share PLN with you. Gone are the days that many log in, or dial in and put the speaker on mute, do other things and the call goes on. To me that is just a call where folks are listening (fact is often they are doing other things and not engaged). That is not collaboration. I call that a phone call!
We need something much more sophisticated and designed to truly enhance the participant experience. I want to delight the participant as that is the only way to get them to participate, be engaged and energized. We need this in order to disrupt and innovate!
Yes, PLN is a disruption to today’s video conferencing tools and without disruption we don’t have innovation! The journey has begun. Stay tuned as we launch PLN! More coming soon!
Like you, I have attended a whole bunch of tech conferences this year. I am jazzed that so many organizations want to put together conferences around Hadoop, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Digital Media and much more. Via conference such at TechCrunch, Strata, and many other venues we have reached global audiences with dialogs about technology any where from the US, Europe, China, India and much more. However, I am equally concerned regarding the following:
1. Let’s get more paying customers (users) to the conference and make it less of a vendor-fest. Hey- not to say there isn’t loads of fabulous inter-vendor networking, but great if we can hear actual customer user case stories from customers. How ? Let’s just invite customers.
2. Let’s be less sponsor centric. When you go to a tech conference these days, it is really about the platinum, gold and other sponsors. Let’s make it about technology!
3. Let’s play it less safe! Let’s push the boundaries and disrupt more. What the tech industry does great is deal with the ‘what-if’…let’s stimulate and dare to disrupt and not play it super safe. Let’s point out what we do very well and what we don’t
4. Let’s improve year on year. Have you noticed how super-constant the agendas are? You can almost take the agenda and change the year and voila, a new conference and more than anything folks, seriously.
5.Let’s change up the speaker roster. Not to say the sponsor speakers are not great, but how many times a year can you hear the same speaker? Are there not free thinkers in the tech giants, others who can present?
6. Let’s let disruptors present, shake things up and let’s invite, encourage and demand more women technologists and thinkers on the stage! No wonder that the female attendance is so low at techfests. Maybe because we don’t have enough women speakers? With about 50% of the tech field women, is there a reason that we still have conferences with zero women presenters?
So, let’s disrupt to innovate. Let’s dare to use these conferences as venues to think, stimulate, mix things up and come up with the impossible.
A great example of disruption which brought about one of the more eclectic conferences, is TED- multi disciplinary, searching for the out of the box thinkers, to create a renaissance environment for creativity, which has given rise to many TED’s around the world and now via podcasts available to all at no cost. Why not to Tech-TED?
Hey, I want to see more events. I just want to see us grow and not stay stagnant. It isn’t all about landing the sponsor dollars, it is about educating, stimulating and growing.
I welcome your thoughts as always.
- TEDGlobal 2012: ‘The more you give away the more you get back’ (guardian.co.uk)
- Tech Conferences Should Not Be Just for Vendors… Let’s Change the Game! (lindabernardi.com)
- TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon – Hackers Gotta Hack (twilio.com)
It used to be that tech conferences were where customers went to hear about what is new, learn about innovation and network with new ideas, new people, new possibilities.
Today, the majority of tech conferences are ‘vendor-fests’. Great ideas are being presented but for the most part, the participants are other vendors. More and more I am seeing panels made up of vendors/tech providers and the audience made up of the same. Hmmm….something is missing! Where is the customer?
When I ask my enterprise customers why they don’t attend, their answer is as follows:
“These are mostly vendor events for vendors, events are over-priced and frankly I already know what is being presented. And if I want to meet with a vendor they will come to me, so why do I have to fly across the country to San Francisco, Vegas or London to hear what they have to say? And, oh yeah, my budget is totally slashed so I can’t justify going or sending anyone to events.”
Let me qualify and say that I am referring to general technology events and not ‘user group events’. There were over 60,000 people at Oracle’s annual user conference in October 2011 and many (not all) were users/customers. These events are geared towards large established user communities and are most valuable.
However, across the globe each week there is a conference about open source, Cloud, Big Data, Analytics, Social Media, Digital Media (to name just a few). This is where the future is discussed. So, this is where we need actual customers in the room!
I say let’s change the game up big time: let’s make panels to include customers presenting case studies so we are not hearing about a piece of technology from a vendor but hearing HOW customers ACTUALLY use the technology. Then, more customers will come.
The ideal participant make up should be over 50% of the presenters being customers AND 70-80 of the audience customers/users as well. Yes, vendors are key and exhibits are awesome. But let’s have customers speaking with vendors in the exhibit hall rather than a massive vendor fest!
Once we change the game up, increase the learning factor, end-users/customers can justify coming to these events. At a price tag of over $1500 per event plus travel, one needs to justify WHY going to the event is important. It is a matter of time and money.
And it would be even better if event organizers were less focused on getting ‘sponsorship’ dollars from vendors, and instead creating such great substance for the conferences that they are profitable based on attendance fees. Now that will be a great win!
Having said the above, I still believe that there are some great conferences intending to bring great value to the participants (disrupting the norm!) These are the ones that attract my attention. I will be at CloudFair 2012 in Seattle next week and at DoD Enterprise Architecture conference in Miami, FL April 30 – May 2. I look forward to great learning and sharing of ideas in these conferences and look forward to identifying great other ones to participate in
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.