Last week, the New England chapter held our final event of the program year. Not only was the event a success, but it was described by many participants as having been the best panel discussion ever. I used the word many, because it wasn’t a few people, it wasn’t “several” people, it was the dominant reaction among the people in the audience. The reason for the success was twofold: First, we had assembled an amazing panel that included Roger Bottum – VP of Marketing, SpringCM; Christopher J. Luise – Executive VP, ADNET Technologies and Marc D. Anderson – Co-Founder and President of Sympraxis Consulting. These guys were uniquely capable of discussing the intricate dance going on in the overlapping worlds of Cloud Computing, Mobile ECM and the trend toward BYOD – the ‘D’, by the way, according to Marc Anderson, stands for Device, not Disaster. The second reason this event was such a success was it took place during an AIIM chapter event.
I have been in the audience at several large conferences that addressed one or more of these three topics. Those sessions have all been good, but they have primarily been 30-45 minutes long. After a brief (sometimes) introduction, the panel usually has about 20-30 minutes to “discuss” the issue and that often means “direct the attention to (my) company’s product.” The chapter meeting started at 8:30 with breakfast – yes, for those who follow @cluise or @sympmarc, this was a bacon-fueled event. The discussion stared at 9:00 and continued until 11:30 with a short break in the middle, ample time to explore the major issues in depth. The panelists and the audience talked about the problems with the way companies are addressing these issues and the various ways management and corporate IT are missing the point(s).
Interestingly, this panel didn’t have and didn’t need a moderator. We kick-started the discussion with a single question: “are cloud, mobile and BYOD three disparate topics or are they really related?” In a twist that telegraphed the rest of the meeting, the first panelist to respond said “can I answer a different question?” The panelists offered their opinions, shared their experiences, supported each other sometimes and sparred with each other at other times as they responded to questions from an in-room and live streaming audience. The dominant message we heard from these experts was that corporate IT is failing its constituents; iPads and smartphones and the cloud aren’t so much new as they are the new face of a familiar problem that has dogged the technology sector forever – change. The difference today is scale, ubiquity and velocity, but the problem is the same, we aren’t doing the right things. Rather than embrace the benefits these trends bring, we are trying to maintain a moat mentality, as one panelist put it “as if that has worked in the past.”
If you want to read more about the content of the event, including a few choice quotes, check out my SharePoint Stories blog. As I said in that blog post, I took over 10 pages of notes during this event. I am tempted to continue; perhaps I will try to squeeze another post out of this great event, but I can’t capture the energy, the passion or the intensity of the discussion; for that, you had to be there. You had to be in the room, at a chapter event with bacon.#AIIMNE #cloud #Sympraxis #AIIM #Chapter #mobile #SpringCM #ADNET #BYOP