At some events, all eyes are turned towards the shining stars on the stage, but at Connected Enterprise, Constellation Research’s annual conference, the lines are blurred. This weekend long conference is an intimate innovation event for senior business leaders who not only have an interest in disruptive technology – they’re putting it to work within their businesses.
Keynotes and sessions centered around the Constellation business themes:
- Future of work
- Next generation customer experience
- Data to decisions (big data and analytics)
- Matrix commerce
- The new C-suite and consumerization of IT
The keynotes and panels ran from the high energy of Endeavor Global’s Linda Rottenberg to the explosive quirkiness of IDEO’s Tom Kelley. Private equity investor, Love Goel set forth a digital vision for emerging and established companies.The Gabriel Institute’s Dr Janice Presser challenged business leaders to understand the nature of teaming and its link to high performance, sharing frameworks and practical examples of her Teamability process in action.
Anne Lise Kjaer provided a glimpse into the near future through the Kjaer Global trend atlas – calling out a new vision of the 4 Ps of marketing – people, planet, pleasure and profit. SAP’s Vishal Sikka revealed the human creativity behind the global company’s technology success. And R “Ray” Wang fired some hard questions at Microsoft’s Mike Ehrenberg provoking a great fireside discussion.
Box.com’s Aaron Levie sparked some controversy with his comments about the ugliness of enterprise software and Adam Pisoni from Microsoft’s newly acquired Yammer suggested that the enterprise was ripe for disruption.
Interspersed across the jam packed weekend were one-on-one discussions between attendees and Constellation’s team of analysts. This allowed for focused discussion around particular business challenges – with a great deal of passion and insight often exploding from one table or another and rolling, contagiously across the room.
Live Quarks – short case studies from FanAppz and Metaio’s Trak Lord – kept the audience engaged and interacting not just with ideas but with live demonstrations of technology “in the wild”.
But it wasn’t all work and ideas. There were social events like golf, cooking and a spot of geo-caching designed to take the conference in a different direction – deeper, more personal, interactive.
The panel sessions provided case studies and deep dives into emerging technology and business impact. Talking with GetSatisfaction’s Jeff Nolan, Informatica’s Dennis Moore and Badgeville’s Kevin Akeroyd, we touched on the changing shape of customer experience and the power of big data to transform marketing and our customer relationships.
Fellow Aussie, Ben Haines, CIO with Pabst Brewing joined Leerom Segal from Klick Health, Ben Doyle from Enterasys and Lawrence Housel from Industrial Mold and Machine to discuss the changing nature of the C-suite and the impact of the consumerization of IT. Already many businesses are seeing clear value from this global trend – with panelists able to free up resources to deliver more strategic capability across their companies.
Shellie Molina from First Solar, Richie Etwaru from UBS and Meagen Eisenberg from DocuSign explained how their organizations were transforming business process through technology – linking demand and supply chains with matrix commerce strategies. It’s still early days for many companies, but these disruptive leaders were providing hard facts and figures to back their initiatives and drive further innovation.
A culmination of the event was the announcement of the 2012 SuperNova Award winners. Drawn from literally hundreds of entries entered into the business themed categories, a wide swathe of businesses competed to showcase their use of disruptive technology in a business context. The winners were:
- Consumerization of IT and the New C-Suite – Cari Cook, Delta Delta Delta
- Data to Decisions – Sheve Handl, ARI
- Matrix Commerce – Meagen Eisenberg, DocuSign
- Technology Optimization and Innovation – Leerom Segal, Klick Health
- Future of Work – Miguel Lozano, Shift CEMEX AND Chris Salles, Guitar Center
- Next Generation Customer Experience – Jason Williams, Ipswitch AND Lynn Hemans, Taco Bell
The tight focus on topics and the restricted audience created a pressure cooker of ideas and innovation in a very short time. Those in the audience could easily have been featured on stage – and this made the non-conference program particularly valuable. Constellation’s Connected Enterprise 2013 promises more of the same – and will be a must-attend event for disruptive business leaders everywhere.