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Taking a Shovel to Conventional Thought on Portals #GartnerPCC

By: Christopher M.
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When Gartner Vice President and Distinguished Analyst Whit Andrews kicked off Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit on Monday, March 12 at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, FL by bringing a shovel to the stage, the objective was clear: Take everything anyone has ever told you about portals and throw it out the window.

Today’s business environment is constantly evolving, and it’s time that we changed the way we viewed technology’s place in that evolution. Today’s organizations need software that will enable them to not just do their jobs, but to do it in a way that is familiar and easy for them. What does this mean for IT? Use software and technology as an enabler, not as a roadblock.
The question asked in every keynote and session was a simple one: What is your “ah-ha” moment?

In the conversations that I had with analysts, end-users, and other software vendors at the show, several “ah-ha’s” came to the fore:

1. Empowering knowledge workers is integral to success. OK, you might be thinking, “I’ve heard this over and over … Musico, give me something new.” Fair enough, but empowerment is more than just a monthly ice cream social in the break room or dropping a suggestion in a box outside the Human Resources department. Empowerment must also come in the form of technology – allowing workers to use software and technology that they’re familiar with and use already on a daily basis. Life is so much easier if you can work on a last-minute project at midnight with a laptop, tablet, or smartphone you enjoy.

2. Governance is still a big deal. In Gartner Research Director Jim Murphy’s presentation on the six pitfalls of portals, the number one reason was lack of governance. Plenty of the conference attendees who came by our booth at the show very plainly said that governance was the main challenge they are facing with their Microsoft SharePoint deployments. Clearly there is still a need for a clear how-to strategy for implementing proper governance.

3. Microsoft SharePoint 2010 is still a big deal. Even with talk about what’s coming next buzzing throughout the SharePoint community, plenty of conference attendees were asking us about how to move – either through an upgrade or migration – to SharePoint 2010. The literature we brought to the show on that topic was gone by the end of the first day, which was extremely eye-opening to me.

4. Social Media alone won’t save your business. Gartner Research Vice President Jeffrey Mann explained in his presentation, which looked at social through the prism of popular country music songs, that you cannot rely on implementing a social media platform to save your entire business. One blog will not change the course of your company. It takes a concerted effort that starts before you turn on your social platform of choice. It’s like governance in that it requires a sound business plan that integrates social with ongoing initiatives, and gets buy-in from all the high-level executives who can help drive adoption throughout their business units.

If you attended Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit, what was the most compelling aspect for you? What did you wish the conference addressed that you feel it didn’t? Drop a comment below to get the conversation started.

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