Intranets at Work 2010 – the launch of a new conference series by JBoye
Over the last ten years there have been a number of intranet conferences in the UK but most have been just a succession of presentations about individual intranets. The first JBoye Intranets at Work conference took place in London on 21 September and was a great success from 9am to 6pm. The format of the conference included presentations, round table discussions, parallel themed sessions, brief presentations of intranet innovations and good networking opportunities. Just having round tables rather than theatre style seating made for interesting conversations.
Having a good format is one thing, finding good speakers is another. JBoye brought in not only excellent UK presenters but also intranet managers from Switzerland, Austria and Belgium. Patrick Walsh (BBC) opened with a challenging paper about the needs to take a lean approach to intranets, and then Stephen Emmott described the way in which the LSE web site also acted as a combination intranet/extranet. Ernst Decsey (UNHCR) gave a very thoughtful paper on how the UN agency had transformed its intranet governance, with a little help from Jane McConnell. The Great Intranet Ideas Slot took us up to lunch. In the afternoon there were tracks on social media and on SharePoint. I chose the SharePoint session and was rewarded by just about the most elegant and amusing presentation on SharePoint I have yet seen given by Carolyn Clarke (EDF). James Lappin (Thinking Records) then talked about some aspects of SharePoint from an information management perspective. Ria Breuer (Oce Technologies) and Geraldine Segre (Metropolitan Police) were the presenters in the social media track.
A set of round tables (I ran one on mobile access to intranets) was followed by Michael Hafner (Erst Group Bank) giving a particularly interesting account of how his organisation supported collaboration. The collaboration theme was continued by Angela Ashenden (MWD Advisors) on how to build online communities for enterprise collaboration. Some great ideas but about six slides too many for the 30 minute slot. Caroline Coetzee (Cambridge University Hospitals Trust) then brought everyone down to earth with a paper that highlighted the need to be resourceful and self-confident when finding that back at the office things were not as simple as they seemed at a conference. A drinks reception finished off the day.
Overall I can say with confidence that it was the best intranet conference I have attended in the UK in the last ten years, but then that”s like comparing a Ferrari to a Ford Focus. It was courageous of JBoye to start up a new conference in the UK at this time, and it paid off handsomely. I have no doubt that London will now be added to Aarhus and Philadephia as a setting for an annual series of JBoye conferences. If 2011 is even better than 2010 you really should be there.