2012 NewsGator Collective Brings Together Social Computing Vanguard for Networking, Education and Best Practice Sharing

Accenture, American Family Insurance, Merck, OppenheimerFunds, General Mills, Oakley and others offer case studies spanning over 20 different vertical industries at annual user conference.


Hundreds of enterprise social computing champions from over 20 different industries and representing organizations of every size converged in Denver last week, reporting that social computing is yielding some dramatic benefits.

The second annual conference brought together NewsGator customers, partners and executives for networking, education and sharing of best practices. It featured case studies from Accenture, American Family Insurance, General Mills, Merck, Nalco, Oakley, and OppenheimerFunds. 

Presenters covered a wide range of enterprise social computing topics, including the state of enterprise social computing, user engagement strategies, success stories, product integration, and measurement of enterprise social computing adoption. Microsoft speakers Jared Spataro, senior director of product management for SharePoint, and Jason Haggar, senior director, marketing for ISV partners in the US M&O DPE, were also on hand to answer questions about Microsoft’s approach to social as well as updates and advancements regarding Office, Office 365, SharePoint and Lync.

“Working day to day within your own company to drive social computing doesn’t always present the chance to step outside of your comfort zone to explore new ideas for increasing user adoption,” said Steve Brantner, manager, learning & communications at consumer packaged goods company General Mills. “As strange as it may sound, driving social business can actually be a little isolating in the corporate world because it’s still early in the adoption cycle. That’s why events like the Collective are so valuable because, in addition to seeing best practices live and getting unique ideas that I can bring back and implement, I also make so many great connections with people who are dealing with similar challenges.”

The conference kicked off with an in-depth “Boot Camp Workshop for the Social Enterprise” facilitated by Dr. Mike Prevou, president and co-founder, and Mike Hower, chief learning officer, with Strategic Knowledge Solutions (SKS). SKS specializes in expertise development, organizational learning, and knowledge management practices that have evolved in elite companies and military organizations providing organizations with increased competitive advantage. 

Attendees later experienced hands-on lab and demonstration stations, one-on-one consulting with NewsGator and its partners, and glimpses into NewsGator’s product roadmap. A distinguished panel of customers, vendors and partners also explored one of the more timely topics at the conference: governance, risk and compliance, and how customers can securely and confidently implement social computing while mitigating risk and staying in compliance with existing and new regulations. An inspiring keynote from Jim Blackie of consulting company LRN kicked off the last day of the conference. Through some thought-provoking dialogue and compelling research data, Jim provided the Collective audience with frameworks for governance, culture and leadership driven by the company’s HOW approach to principled performance. 
Awards were given out to several highly active users of NewsGator’s customer and partner extranet “eNGage” for being Street Team participants – those customers who go beyond the call of duty to evangelize and promote the benefits of enterprise social computing. eNGage participants as a whole met a challenge from earlier in the year to reach 100-percent profile completion by the start of the 2012 Collective. To reward the achievement, NewsGator announced it would make a significant charitable donation on their behalf. eNGage participants chose The Nature Conservancy as the recipient. NewsGator’s Partner of the Year award went to PointBridge (now Perficient).

“This year’s Collective demonstrated what we’re seeing globally, across industries; that social computing is now a strategic competitive imperative for organizations. Rolling the ‘social fabric’ out to the entire enterprise is now a must-have, not a nice-to-have,” said JB Holston, president & CEO of NewsGator. “A lot of the organizations at the Collective are well along their social computing journeys, so their insights, examples and best practices help fellow attendees learn from one another. We have seen the exchange of valuable, practical knowledge attendees can immediately use in their own organizations.”  

NewsGator extends a special thank you to the Collective sponsors who made this year’s event possible: Aspect; Avanade; AvePoint; Cardinal Solutions; Cognizant; Colligo; HiSoftware; Kontiki; Microsoft, Orbital RPM; Pariveda Solutions; PointBridge (now Perficient); Portal Solutions; Rightpoint; STATERA; Strategic Knowledge Solutions (SKS); StoredIQ; and Vizit, Inc.


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