Magazine article Information Today

SIIA NetGain: A Mashup of Content and Software

Magazine article Information Today

SIIA NetGain: A Mashup of Content and Software

Article excerpt

The Palace Hotel in San Francisco was the site of the premiere SIIA NetGain conference May 18-21, a grand mashup of the software and content divisions, topped off with the 23rd CODiE Awards and Gala.

According to Ed Keating, vice president of the content division at SIIA, "The timing was right for the content and software divisions to meet. For the past few years, the divisions have been working more closely together and their interests are converging more and more. The collaboration was already there." Keating coordinated this year's conference with David C. Thomas, executive director of the software division, where "technology starts with innovation and turns into excellence."

Cloud computing/corporate clouds (sharing computing resources instead of relying on local servers or personal devices to handle applications), friction, social media, SaaS (software as a service), and mobile were the latest buzzwords, setting the stage for software and content to interact and collaborate. But growth is never without pain points.

John Hagel III's opening keynote (sans PowerPoint slides by choice) focused on the "profound transition in the industry," where connection and collaboration are keys. Software as a product has turned from software as a service to software as a platform. As co-chairman of the Deloitte Center for Edge Innovation for Deloitte Consulting, LLP, Hagel says the technology we've known and used in the past has now become less secure, noting that "products have morphed into servers, and servers have dissolved into clouds." But the real value for the industry at this turning point is in making more business partners and "creating environments where relationships happen."

Even the question of "where's the money?" has changed. It's now harder to capture revenue and profitability over time. Hagel's leading indicators today are ROA (return on attention), ROI (return on information), and ROS (return on skills). He says, "Value is not in the software or the information itself. The value is in connecting people and enriching relationships." The industry is in the middle of a big transition, a new innovation of growth where the players are getting more social and moving from transactions to relationships.

People and Information Want to Be Free

People don't want to be tethered to their desks for information, according to Jason Maynard, portfolio manager at Credit Suisse. And people are experimenting with new and innovative business models. Take a look at Adobe, for example, with its long history of making "free" a success with its Adobe Reader. Building a trusted brand generates a continuous wave of new customers while retaining the old ones.

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"You have to figure out where you are in the value chain," says Morris Panner, CEO of OpenAir, Inc., and ask what's driving the decision making. For Barry Bealer, CEO of Really Strategies, the key is "Experiment, experiment, experiment, and someday you'll get it right."

Judging from the BlackBerries in motion during the conference, the emergence of mobile technology is here to stay. The beauty of mobile is being able to immerse yourself in your local environment wherever you roam, whether you need directions, a restaurant, or the best bakery in town. …

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