With more than 1,600 in attendance at the Boston Enterprise 2.0 conference, execs heard from the top intellects driving Enterprise 2.0 and Social Business strategy yesterday. Here's a look at four of the industry’s thought leaders and their messages from Boston.

Frame Metrics in a Way that’s Relevant

In rapid-fire style, John Hagel III kicked off a 15-minute keynote address that boasted the importance of measurable metrics in social software. Hagel, the co-author of The Power of Pull and co-chairman at the Center for the Edge for Deloitte & Touche, talked about performance, passion and creating new connections.

So, does social software really matter, Hagel queried? “The way it’s framed,” he says, "defines the magnitude of the impact and the pace of the adoption of which social software is received in the enterprise.”

The metrics that matter depend on the users’ role within the enterprise. The enterprise’s goal should be to find a way to frame the metrics in way that matters at each level of the organization, which will, in turn, determine where to deploy the social software.

Hagel also discussed the notion of how to deploy, indicating the ones that are the most successful follow a common pathway. He suggests beginning with a specific problem or barrier in the workplace that is relevant to the job that needs improvement. Once the solutions formulate, build forward based on those reputations and draw people toward the problem solver. Relationships start to form in a significant way and people come together around a more sustained collaboration, which provide workspaces and platforms that work for their constituent group.

However, the race to stay ahead will soon fail if the proper steps aren’t taken. Executives are feeling as if they’re sprinting to keep up with the pace. He says, however, that executives are more likely falling behind, which is why catalyzing a passion within employees is necessary to gain a performance improvement at a sustainable rate.

Examine Social Insights

Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President for IBM Software Solutions Group, discussed the notion of collecting insight from the collected data. So why does social software matter to the enterprise right now? Rhodin says it’s because social networks should be a means to build brand advocacy. 

Rhodin compared the social media craze to the initial Internet boom. He encourages the enterprise to be proactive rather than reactive. “Now we are starting to think about how social businesses are going to evolve by infusing intelligence by the way people interact in the companies,” said Rhodin. “The enterprise should start to detect the will of the crowds and find intelligence to make better decision-making. Use social networks to build social advocacy in a way that is more of a conversation, more than a lecture, and they will become the people that do your advertising for you.”

Although several challenges are emerging, the problems don’t outweigh the opportunities, he believes. The knowledge within the business is cultivated from an everlasting medium that hosts an employee’s ideas through social software, even if the employee walks away.