Conference Top Man’s efforts and outlook for Enterprise 2.0

I had the pleasure of a preview interview the Mr Steve Wylie, the top man organising the Boston Enterprise2.0 conference from the TechWeb (formally CMP) happening June 9-12 in Boston. Steve and his team certainly seem to be working hard to make the 2008 event a big success.


Steve (left) hard at work

For this year’s conference Steve said they’d put a lot of effort into building up case studies and presentations from Enterprise firms that have implemented Enterprise 2.0. Steve is hoping to upgrade Andrew McAfee’s scorecard grades for case studies and stories from last years ‘c-‘ to a ‘b-‘.

The conference will be running a very open 2.0 flavour “Un-conference” session named Enterprise2Open for the first time which should be fun as the audience get to decide the subject and the proceedings are refereed by the chair, in this case Ross Mayfield of SocialText. I’m looking forward to meeting Ross who seems to have a quite a following in this market. This session has the potential to be really energetic or very chaotic. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new format for conferences run by the audience. It’s already started to happen at talks with Twitterers judging the speakers real-time and setting the tone.

The conference is really focusing suppliers and customer’s hearts and minds on this market and Steve seemed very pleased having changed the conference title from the more limiting ‘Collaboration Technology Conference’ and with a 20% increase in attendees from last year. I’m also very committed to this space with our new E2.0 informational website (E20portal.com) due for release in June. However, Steve did admit the Enterprise 2.0 term was still lacking definition because of conflicting opinions and purists views and went on to comment ‘We are still in an early market’. Perhaps the big enterprise vendors marketing departments will stamp their definition on the market with their monster marketing budgets.


Microsoft invest $900m in Vista, Office 2007
and Xbox 360 on sales and marketing, 2007

Steve was encouraged by the increased involvement of the large enterprise vendors and their rapid product development responses to Enterprise2.0 market and felt this validates the market as ‘no longer a niche’. This is good news for Steve because if the market grows so does the conference and ‘The Enterprise 2.0 Conference is the leading Enterprise 2.0 event’, Steve Wylie.

As a blogger it was a little sadistic to turn a difficult question posted by the blogger on themselves. Steve posted ‘And the Winner is…’ questioning if ‘newbie “Enterprise 2.0” vendors will become serious enterprise players? Or will the big vendors prevail? What do you think?’ Steve response was ‘We needed to take a good hard look at the big vendors’ and ‘some small vendors will disappear and others will prevail’. “That was very on the fence Steve”, I thought, but it is a hard question especially when all the vendors are paying the conference bills.

Steve and I have a very similar conference interest to understand how Social Networking will move into the Enterprise and what the Role of Facebook will be (see his latest blog post). I tried in vain to get Steve to give me some insights to new product vendor announcements, however there should be a press release a week before the event. I’m sure all the vendors will be shouting from the rooftops about their new major software releases at the conference including SocialText and Jive. It was a good chat and I was very encouraged by Steve’s efforts and outlook.

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