Thumbnail image for 2014-05-May-JeffreyMann SusanLandry Gartner.jpg

There was lots to learn at the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit this week, including the definition of "integration."  Thought you knew that one? Wrong.

Managing Vice President Susan Landry and Research Vice President Jeffrey Mann kicked off the conference by boiling-down the overused buzzwords of enterprise technology to just four bon mots: engagement, digital, content and integration.

They gave a unique spin to each. For example, they said that engagement is what happens when employees actually use workplace apps to do a better job. And content isn't just a stack of documents. It's a reflection of what your company thinks.

Digital technology isn't about digitizing everything in sight, but leveraging digital technologies to reinvent your business.

Sharing Insights

CMSWire wrote about the presentation on Monday, then caught up with Landry and Mann for a closer look at their vision.

Murphy: Would you review the four words you chose and tell me briefly why you picked them?

Landry: The four points were content, digital, integration and engagement. If you think about their comprehensive nature, if you nail each of those, you will have achieved all of the holistic aspects that we're going after in terms of the digital workplace. You could have gone after any one of the buzzwords, but those four in aggregate tell the complete story.

Murphy: You offered a made-up story of a salesperson who was completely connected. His car, his alarm clock, everything was part of his workplace and truly supported his work. It reminded me a lot of the vision for the Information Superhighway we heard back in the late '90s. So far, that hasn't come to fruition. Are we really close to this now or is this still somewhat of an IT fantasy?

Mann: I'm reminded of that quote from William Gibson: "The future is already here. It's just not very evenly distributed." All of those things are possible now. If you take any one of those items, we can do it. They can all be implemented. What makes that so slick is the way it's looked at in a holistic way, looked at in a complete way. It's also based around what that salesperson, Jeremy, needs.

What we've seen in the past is that everyone gets excited about this capability or that capability, and I think that's where we got a little bit distracted on the road from the Information Superhighway. We got distracted by point solutions. Now when it comes around to "What do I need?," it's all the design thinking. It's more of how can we tame the technology to do real things rather than get distracted by all the nifty possibilities.

Landry: If people sit back and wait for the Information Superhighway to wash over them in every corner of life, it will never happen. Our advice is to take specific scenarios, places in the business where that type of highly integrated digital workplace would matter, and build out from there. Don't expect to do the whole thing.

Murphy: You redefined integration in an interesting way. Would you explain that one?