This week I attended Gartner Portal, Content and Collaboration (Gartner PCC) summit at LA. This was my first Gartner summit and I’d like to share my impressions.

Update May 11: Social networking at #GartnerPCC event, LA, May 2014

The organization

Kudos to Gartner for very well organized summit with main emphasize on engaging attendees, speakers and exhibitors at every point.

Frankly speaking, I’ll give highest rating to Gartner on real-live people engagement.

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It started with speed networking, continued with networking breakfasts and networking lunch. Great and very engaging parties. Real-time polling, cross-polling, comparing results to analysts results during sessions.

On other hand, there was nothing extraordinary on social networks engagement part and looks like I’ve been most active #GartnerPCC twitter account even more active than official @Gartner_inc.

One point for improvement is that exhibition hours are too short; I heard that from multiple attendees.IMG_20140507_074915.jpg



It is all about people

Attendees are a very targeted group of portal and knowledge management managers of different level from North and Central America companies. They came with very specific topics to handle and I heard from exhibitors that while the summit is not very big, lead generation is great and of high quality.

Vendors definitely don’t represent entire Portal, Content and Collaboration market. SAP, Salesforce, Box.com, as well as many niche applications in this area weren’t presented. However, one can get good grasp of what’s hot. In the order of significance of presence it would be enterprise-grade file sharing, enterprise video content management and collaboration. Of course, there were also traditional portals and ECMs. Few vendors came with comprehensive digital presence strategy and SAP absence was very clear there, as SAP has very elaborate and comprehensive digital presence product strategy. Vendors were well stuffed and could have both business and deeply technical discussions with customers.

Most of the speakers were Gartner analysts. I liked presentation skills of most of them. More in the content part.

Event stuff was extremely helpful and serviceful.

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Content

Analysts are very targeted on omnichannel, smartness, agility and user-centric design. They tend to ease of integration between lean tools, best fit for particular need, vs full blown suits. Analysts are preaching for leadership and purpose in portal-related projects. Which all makes sense also in broader software development processes.

Vendors pick up smartness and context, but most have very little till now. This is part of Big Data story, where SAP definitely claims the leadership. 3 main hypes: file sharing for enterprise, video for enterprise and collaboration. Very little talk about portals. As I already mentioned some preach for digital experience strategy. Definitely the topic for customers to discuss with SAP.

Attendees. While IT-based attendees relate to the main trends – most talk about much more down to earth topics, like portals and WCM proliferation in their landscape as well as federation and standardization effort. Another very popular topic among attendees is how to handle mushrooming consumer apps for file sharing and collaboration between employees. Third very important topic is portal, collaboration and content management strategy and processes.

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Product and market conclusion

After interviewing multiple attendees from different industries and positions, talking with analysts and other vendors I found the following main points that require attention both of vendors and of integrators. Many of them validate SAP Portal directions.

  • Provide clear guidance to the customer and help establish digital presence strategy
  • Support IT and integration developers with their journey to establish agile practices
  • Improve support for development processes
  • Provide simple solutions for simple problems
  • Simplify. If one can POC and idea and demo to management in 2 hours it will happen with much more certainty than if it will take a week
  • Customers expect to get smartness w/o additional maintenance burden
  • Eco-system is more important than native capabilities

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Personal conclusion

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I’ve been minority among attendees (representing non-exhibiting vendor) and thus can’t provide insight for other participants. But personally I found this summit great for very targeted networking and 1-on-1 meetings, while sessions didn’t provide too much value for me. I think it still worth its money and time investment.

Discussions with Gartner analysts, learning about new products in the market and most important interviewing customers, made those 3 days very productive.

The session I personally liked most was the guest keynote by Guy Kawasaki – the combination of inspiration and great entertainment is unbeatable.

Expect next post to be around deeper conclusions from interviews and sessions and their relevance to SAP Portal portfolio.

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