I'm at the Demo 07 Conference the next two days, where 68 companies get six minutes to show off their new or revised products. Many bloggers are in the crowd to witness the demo performances and render judgment. For the presenters, the experience is a bit unnerving, because it's a kind of performance art, unveiling a product on stage and hoping to create an impression and impact like best movie trailers. Even if the product is outstanding on paper, the presentation can doom the product and company to an inauspicious start.
The majority of products are the consumer side. CNET's Webware and Crave, GigaOm, TechCrunch, Podtech.net and others are all over those products. I will be focusing on the enterpisey business-focused products. Stay tuned...
Demo host Chris Shipley just kicked off the event outlining the overarching theme for the event--the empowered individual. "We are breaking from the model that puts technology at the center and shifts to a model where people are at the center....Forget about the mainframe, minis, PCs, mobile devices, Web 2.0--we are deeply engaged in the age of the empowered individual," Shipley said. She went on to say the we are moving beyond the sharing of media to become designers and producers. "We are becoming creating consumers," she said. "We seek out sites that leverage our individual creativity and individual influence."
I buy that concept, but then she suggested that the empowered individual is influencing all aspects of the enterprise, influencing what products are adopted. "Even where buying decisions are held deeply in the IT organization, very savvy computer users are influential. The individual endpoints in highly distributed organizations demand better response times, ease of use and reliability," Shipley said. "Decisions in the enterprise are not made in a vacuum, not imposed on a workgroup. They are driven by individual interest and influence."
While it's evident that individuals within an organization have a bigger voice today, and can influence product selection, they don't hold the keys to kingdom. IT organizations don't embrace the notion of individual employees connecting their phones, iPods, laptops and favorite software into the corporate network. On the other hand, the more forward thinking organizations are embracing wikis, blogs and social media, and are focusing on deploying tools that improve the user experience, similar to what people expect from consumer products. Creating a better user experience employees will become increasingly important as the generation that grew up digitally starts to dominate the workforce.