Gartner Web Innovation Summit Notes, Day 1

I’ve already written up a number of notes from sessions I saw at the Gartner Open Source Summit, which overlapped with the Web Innovation Summit.

(Full disclosure: Optaros was a sponsor of the Web Innovation Summit).

Unfortunately I got in too late on Tuesday night to see any of the Tuesday evening sessions. I would have enjoyed Anthony Bradley‘s Web 2.0 Basics Tutorial, based on reviewing the slides and seeing Bradley’s other presentations. I like the way he approaches questions about adoption and Enterprise class Web 2.0 applications.

Wednesday am, running a few minutes late due to a conference call with Optaros colleagues on the East Coast, I wandered into the opening remarks just in time to hear the speaker (was it Adam Tinkoff?) ask “is jeckman in the room?” – he’d been following me on twitter as I tweeted away about my travel saga. (Planes never arrive on time anymore – it’s really just a question of how late they will be or if you’ll get there at all). Best publicity I’ve had from twitter so far, though I’m not sure my “complaining about travel” tweets are the ones I most want to be known for.

Then, I watched the initial keynote session: “Planning for Five Major Mutually Reinforcing Disruptive Discontinuities,” featuring Tom Austin, Gene Phifer, and David Mitchell Smith. Three analysts, five discontinuities – it was a whirlwind trip.

High level, the five discontinues are:

  1. Software as a Service (SaaS)
  2. Consumerization
  3. Web 2.0
  4. [Free and] Open Source Software
  5. Global Class Architectures

Although I wish Gartner analysts in general would stop talking about the “hidden costs” and “hidden risks” of open source, since I don’t really think they’re really hidden in either case, most of what they had to say about the five discontinuities made perfect sense to me. If anything, my only critique was that they didn’t seem to me to be telling the audience anything they didn’t already know – but I guess it is difficult to gage the audience’s level of familiarity with these concepts, and the keynote did ground most of the discussions for the following three days in some shared basic concepts.

Second session I saw was on Enterprise 2.0, with Anthony Bradley and Tom Austin. (Also covered here in eWeek).

Although they had some logistics issues (the version of the slide deck they had loaded wasn’t, apparently, the one they expected to see) they ran through most of what I’d expect to hear about as Enterprise 2.0. Enterprise 2.0, like all the major overlapping discontinuities, and like open source, was described as unavoidable – the message to enterprise IT organizations being they need to get involved and move beyond skunk works type projects into real projects.

My favorite section was on the myths and urban legends of enterprise 2.0 (paraphrased):

  • People will naturally share things on the web
  • There is exactly one right way to organize any set of data
  • If you have a good culture, other controls aren’t needed
  • Social software is for kids (like Kix)
  • Enterprise 2.0 is just vendors trying to sell Knowledge Management in a new wrapper

They also offered a nice list of 8 ways to ensure success and 8 practices to avoid. I won’t reprint them all here (not sure what Gartner’s copyright policies are) but they included:

Success: Start small but real. Be open, let emergent structures emerge, and lead by example.

Mistakes to avoid: Don’t ignore accountability; don’t think Web 2.0 is a “fad”; Don’t have a plan for growth.

Having been intrigued by a couple of things Bradley said, I then went to the “Plant Seeds: A Model for Community Adoption in the Enterprise” which he also presented.

I really liked the framework he presented, though I’m not terribly fond of long acronyms (all of PLANT SEEDS is an acronym). Focusing on starting not with “experiments” or “proofs of concept” in the Enterprise 2.0 but real solutions to real problems, with scope controlled so as to minimize risk. Larger successes build from small successes, not from experiments.

He described the “legal-precedent” type approach to adding governance to these efforts – you set out high level rules, then as/when examples of borderline behavior (or outright bad behavior) come up, you use reactions to those behaviors to guide future behavior. (Rather than trying in the abstract to determine all the ways people might behave wrongly and explicitly forbid those).

He also described the nature, nuture, or both notion – that some people will naturally want to share, while others will need too see sharing be cultivated and rewarded before they take to it.

Finally, he described the way in which your Enterprise 2.0 efforts need to be integrated, not new silos separate from individuals’ “real jobs” but part of the larger IT ecosystem. The net effect can’t be additional work added on top of a full stack – it needs to replace and ultimately make more convenient the work people are doing – as it will, if the problem is a real candidate for these approaches. (If it doesn’t fit, you may be forcing it as the solution to the wrong problem).

The rest of day 1 I spent at Open Source Summit sessions I’ve already blogged about.