Recap From Tech Leadership Forum

by Erica Driver.

Last week at Forrester's Technology Leadership Forum conference in Carlsbad, CA, I did 3 presentations and workshops on collaboration — and Information Workplace (IW)-related topics, all of which turned into highly interactive discussions. I'll find out when I see the participants' feedback whether this was good or bad, but in one of these sessions we never got past the agenda slide. During the 2-day event I also had 16 one-on-one meetings with attendees and spoke with many other people informally during meals and breaks. A few things jumped out at me. Today, information and knowledge management professionals:

  • Are hard at work developing strategies. This is an exciting time for IT decision makers working in areas like collaboration, content, portal, office productivity, business intelligence, and learning. Because these technologies are converging and Web 2.0 is evolving so quickly, the time is ripe for organizations in all sectors to rethink the way technology can transform business processes and help people get work done more effectively. Architects, strategists, CIOs, and others I talked to are focused on IW and collaboration strategies with an eye toward Transformation with a capital T. Like how to transform an energy company's business based on changes in the world supply of fossil fuel.
  • Are trying to find the right balance between chaos and control. There wasn't one single conversation I had that didn't include some aspect of Web 2.0. Okay, I admit, often it was me who raised the topic. But not always. Wikis, blogs, widgets, mashups, social networking, tagging, even 3D Internet — these things are on peoples' minds and in their technology plans and road maps. Web 2.0 is forcing attempts to find the balance between two extremes: utter chaos and ultra-tight lock-down. I had lots of conversations about policy, and I know my colleagues did too.
  • Have their eyes on more than IBM and Microsoft. One of the sessions I ran with Rob Koplowitz was titled "IBM Or Microsoft For Collaboration -- Or Both? How To Use Forrester's CollaborationPath Methodology." In this session we got to slide 10 or so, and then the hands started to fly up. We spent the rest of the session answering questions sometimes about IBM and Microsoft but very often about other vendors like Adobe, Google, Newsgator and many others. As new technologies enter the mix at a rapid clip, it's looking less and less likely that the big platform vendors can meet all, or even most, of an innovative organization's IW platform requirements. I&KM pros should explore their collaboration platform vendors' partner ecosystems. Third-party software vendors are recognizing an opportunity to fill gaps in these vendors' platforms and are integrating their products with the platform vendors' core collaboration services.