Engage, Collaborate, Innovate: Thriving in the Digital Enterprise

How can businesses derive the most value from their investment in technologies that allow customers, partners and employees to collaborate? Ethan Maehl discusses the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Conference in London last September.


The conference was organised around four tracks that addressed what Gartner sees as the most important trends and themes in the digital collaboration space today.

Track 1: Great User Experiences via Portals and Other Means

Keynote speaker Anders Sorman-Nilsson (pictured) opened the conference by reminding the attendees that technology delivers its greatest benefits when it connects not only to people’s minds, but also to their hearts, and closing speaker Rory Sutherland of the Ogilvy Group reinforced the point by stressing the importance of our subconscious, intuitive and impressionistic responses to the world around us, and how they affect our decision-making process.

Ultimately, great user experience based on understanding of human behaviour are key to driving adoption of technological systems.


Track 2: Governing and Exploiting Content

Strong governance is essential to generating value from the massive quantities of information being generated by modern organisations.

Innovative organisations actively seek out new ways of using their data and content, often by opening up access to new collaborators inside and outside of the firewall.


Track 3: Social Collaboration

Online social collaboration is changing the way people work in fundamental ways, and can release enormous innovation and productivity gains when done well.


Track 4: Workforce Effectiveness in the Social, Mobile, Digital Workplace

The proliferation and convergence of different digital platforms (mobile, smart machines, the Internet of Things) is enabling futuristic experiences like virtual assistants, self-driving automobiles, context-aware advertising and more.


The Gartner POV on User Experience

As a UX practitioner, I was particularly interested in the User Experience track of the conference, and was pleased to see that their best practices align well with our own UX approach at b-i.

Gartner experts explained their “UX Attributes Framework,” which identifies three qualities necessary for a great user experience:

  • Desirability (appeal, usefulness, and surprise)
  • Findability (readability, searchability, and learnability)
  • Reliability (credibility, consistency, and responsiveness)

They also discussed a set of critical UX practices that enable teams to achieve the qualities above:

  • Personas and scenarios
  • Iterative prototyping
  • Focusing on high-value features
  • Usability testing
  • Applied analytics

Gartner speakers provided a wealth of case studies illustrating the benefits of these practices, and encouraged the business owners and IT decision makers in the audience to involve user experience practitioners in their projects from the beginning.  Otherwise, they risk the possibility that their expensive and business-critical solutions might go unused because they just don’t meet their users’ needs and expectations.

Visit the Gartner summit homepage: http://www.gartner.com/technology/summits/emea/portals/

Ethan Maehl is Practice Manager of User Experience (UX) at blue-infinity

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About the author

Ethan Maehl
Ethan Maehl

Ethan has over 17 years’ experience analysing business stakeholder and user needs, as well as designing applications for Fortune 500 clients in the US, Europe and Asia.

Formerly heading User Experience at companies such as Expedia and Razor Fish, Ethan has extensive experience with E-commerce, Mobile, Social Media and Enterprise Applications.