Jason Bedford and Gary Zuckerman, both from Blackboard, were like two folk singers on bar stools casually enlightening the group on the key principles of an effective communications strategy. Content, they told us, must be personal, real and relevant. Don't forget your employees are your biggest voice. This was the best non-vendor vendor talk with plenty of concepts, advice and interaction. A truly thought provoking session, brought to you without commercial interruption..
It was followed by Lincoln White from Seventh Generation discussing the strategy of their use of social media as an effective marketing tool. They post lifestyle content sprinkled with news and offers. Their advice; listen to your customers and be a part of the conversation. It will happen with or without you. The group responded well, contributing to the dialog with a number of fascinating war stories and running out the clock on this session.
After a break we were back in the room for the closing session (pictured here) on business intelligence. This was a large panel which at first seemed unwieldy. But Nick Eshkenazi was adept as moderator and kept the session moving while ensuring each panelist had an opportunity to contribute their knowledge.
For Gary Flowers, BI is driven by unanswered questions from the business while Geoffrey Stevens reported for him it was inward facing, mostly focusing on the preservation of company assets. There was a healthy debate over which side of the house should take the lead. Andre Gold maintains the business must push the demands and ultimately drives the technology needs. But others felt IT could lead by collecting, organizing and structuring data for the business to analyze. BI should move a company from reactive to proactive, says Gary. Alma Mendoza drives home the point that you have to view BI as a process, continuously improving. It is not, she says, a project or task at a single point in time. The entire group was truly engaged and the session seemed to be over in a flash.
Kudos to CDM for a fast-paced, interesting and inviting event. An awful lot of knowledge exchange and debate was packed into a few short days. Even if the weather had been a bit more inviting, no one would have ventured far from the action which was clearly inside the conference center.
Follow me on Twitter @JPuglisiLLC
The Panelists from left to right:
- Gary Flowers, Bisk Education
- Michael Lehman, Batteries Plus
- Andre Gold, AutoTrader.com
- Alma Mendoza, Trinity Western University
- Geoffrey Stevens, Otay Water District
- Nick Eshkenazi, SanMar Corporation