Best Practices in Savannah—What You Can Expect

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JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc.

The agenda is solid, the speakers are in place, and it looks like we’ll have a great experience ready for all our members and participants. Here’s a run-down of what you can expect from three days of solid learning, social networking, and good fun.

At the beginning—We are privileged to have an exciting keynote speaker to start off the festivities. Allison Cerra, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Alcatel-Lucent, challenges us to understand the generational shift that is not only changing the way that our customers think about the information they need but is influencing the ways that our employees contribute.

I’ve just completed Allison’s latest book, Transforming Business. In it, she analyzes the “sweeping technology trends affecting enterprises of all sizes, including employees’ increasing appetite for mobility, the role of the cloud in transforming business economics, the significant opportunities and challenges precipitated by seemingly infinite data, and the dynamic pace of workflow brought forth by collaboration.” The data she brings to bear on the challenges comes from the 2012 Alcatel-Lucent study, in which they interviewed 2,800 people from every walk of life in the US. The participants included tiny and large companies, as well as new graduates from the top 100 universities. I invite you to get a copy before the conference so that you’re familiar with the ideas and the data.

Monday—September 16

Throughout the day on Monday, we follow Allison’s lead by continuing the discussion of customers, employees, and technology innovation. Here’s the layout:

Joining In: Your place in the customer conversation. This panel with Chris Gales (Splunk), John Frazzini (VMWare), and Michelle Marquez (BMC), challenges you to learn what the customers are saying about your products and to use their perspective to create what they really need.

Don’t Talk Nerdy to Me. Jessica Reading and Doug Kim tell us the story of their program to change the “voice” of Microsoft’s customer content. They explain the business case, customer insights, the ROI, the fun, some tears, and their years of experience managing teams.

Jim McQuaid on Creativity. Jim is a videographer who comes from an early career in technical communication. He claims that video communication helps you tell your story. He’ll reflect on storytelling and the future of technical communication.

Moving from customers to employees takes us through the day.

Beyond Teamwork. Daphne Walmer (Advisory Council) and Ron Hickman (Siemens) lead us through the concepts of our theme book, Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy (Amy Edmonson, Harvard Business School). Teams are no longer static. They are formed and reformed as the business reacts to new demands. Learn how to encourage or shut off the rich collaboration of dynamic teams from experience teamers.

To close the day, we introduce a new concept developed by a group of our CIDM members.

Collaborative Writing Playbook: Process Scripts to Foster Collaboration. Charlotte Robidoux (Hewlett-Packard), Colleen Smith (Teradata), Steve Ballard (Intel), Patricia Burrows (EMC), and Andrya Feinberg, Content Strategist. This group demonstrates that writers need new mental models to interact collaboratively. A collaborative playbook provides the essential direction for effective teams.

Tuesday—17 September

Tuesday begins with an Interactive Collaborative Experience. You are invited to build your own playbook. Begin with the generic set the group has developed, customize them, or start your own.

A Story of Agile Translation. Glenn D’Amore and Susan Loften (ADP) share their story of using agile methods in information development. They point to their own Information Development Center of Excellence SharePoint site that provides resources that writers need to participate effectively on agile development teams.

Challenges in Management Content Across the Enterprise. On Tuesday afternoon we move from teams to the enterprise. Ken Jercha (Hitachi) and Jamie Roberts (IBM) present the benefits, challenges, and pitfalls of moving content management from information development to diverse areas in the corporation. Jamie introduces the new IBM Knowledge Center and Ken describes creating a collaborative content environment for developers of a wide range of content types and user expertise.

Information Portfolio Management. Do you have a stock portfolio? Are you working with a financial advisor to plus your savings in the best places for optimal gain? If so, you know what Palmer Pearson (Advisory Council), Catherine Lyman (NetApp), and Joe Gollner (Gnostyx) are talking about when they end the afternoon with an exchange on information portfolio management. They challenge us to look at our resources, options, and opportunities in a new way.

Best Practices Showcase. Following the presentations, we move to the much-loved Content Showcase where CIDM members and colleagues highlight their best ideas and innovations over the past year.

Wednesday—18 September

Building a Staff Model for the Future. On Wednesday morning, two panel bring together the concepts of customers, teams, and portfolio. The first session’s panel includes Mike Eleder (Alcatel-Lucent), Paul Perotta (Juniper), Sid Benavente (Microsoft), and Bill Hackos (Comtech). They explore the need for a new staffing model if we are too effectively innovative to meet diverse customer needs and accommodate the new digital natives (the Millenials) into the workplace.

Communicating with Senior Management: Speaking their language. Ben Jackson (Juniper), our 2012 keynote speaker with Paul Perotta, and Jack Johnson (Alcatel-Lucent) focus our thinking on how to speak the language of senior management. We come with new customer data, new ways of working for our staff and team members across the enterprise, and innovate approaches to our content portfolio. Now—how do we get the support and resources required to meet our commitments and make everything happen? With Ben and Jack leading us, we should come away with a fresh and successful approach.

Open Discussion. Our final session is our traditional open discussion. We ask every member of our CIDM community and colleagues in attendance to discus their ideas and concerns with the members of the CIDM Advisory Council.

Riverboard Ride. Once the discussion is over, we invite everyone to join us on a boat ride around Savannah River, a pleasant and relaxing close to a very full conference.

Dr. JoAnn Hackos is the CIDM Director.

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