Symposium is usually an intense experience, and this year was no different. This year 3300 attended the event, a 21% increase over last year. It was the biggest EMEA Symposium in the last ten years. Close to 100 analysts did 200 presentations, almost 2200 1on1 meetings, and about 40 user roundtables. Personally, I did 26 1on1 meetings and seven sessions over 3 1/2 days. All those contacts provide a lot of information from customers about what they are doing, what they are struggling with, and what is confusing or perplexing them about the developing world of collaboration. I will be mining these insights over the next couple months in research notes.
These were some of the top questions people were asking about.
- Promoting Social Software in Conservative Organizations.
The initial issue many organizations faced with social software was how to get control of the mavericks and pioneers who were dragging in innovative solutions from wherever they could find them. As adoption deepens, more organizations are finding that their internal or industry culture is stronger than the impulses of these dynamic individuals. In conservative organizations, people feel that using wacky new software like wikis or microblogging would be seen as a bad thing, even if there is no official statement or prohibition. These organizations are looking for ways to encourage innovation and responsible adoption.
- Developing a Collaboration Strategy
A bit of an evergreen, but definitely still a hot topic. There are lots of initiatives, some benefits, and lots of attention. How do we channel that energy into a viable strategy?
- Involving Customers in Social Software Efforts
The first several iterations of social software concentrated on collaboration among colleagues. After that, the marketing or customer service organization started Social CRM efforts. Now, it’s time to develop a long term view of how to involve customers in the developing conversations.
This year is different for me because it is most likely the last time I will serve as chair for the event as well as attending as an analyst. This was my third year organizing the agenda, which is personally stimulating as well as a pleasant challenge. I became familiar with areas of our research that I otherwise would not have seen. I loved the chance to think about how we present our ideas as well as what the ideas themselves should be. I have loved working with the events team, leading to a much greater appreciation of the professionalism, work, and skills needed behind the scenes to pull off an event like this one. If Symposium is a success, it is mostly due to the events people making it seem (mostly) seamless. I will miss that part of the event, when I go back to just worrying about finishing the slides for my own presentations.
To everyone who made Symposium possible: Events staff, analysts, consultants, management, sales people, and (most of all) clients and sponsors: An enormous thank you.
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