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Sheila McGee-Smith
Sheila McGee-Smith, who founded McGee-Smith Analytics in 2001, is a leading communications industry analyst and strategic consultant focused on the...
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Sheila McGee-Smith | March 21, 2014 |

 
   

Reflections on the Enterprise Connect 2014 Locknote

Reflections on the Enterprise Connect 2014 Locknote The cloud, PSTN, customer service, and Lync were among the topics that wrapped up the show.

The cloud, PSTN, customer service, and Lync were among the topics that wrapped up the show.

Locknote: the last presentation in an academic or business conference, with a broad thematic overview.

If you are like me, you may have attended many Enterprise Connect (and before that VoiceCon) conferences and never made it to the locknote. The session is moderated by Fred Knight and Eric Krapf, co-chairs of Enterprise Connect, with a panel of industry analysts and consultants.

The locknote is literally the last session on the last day. Given that the show floor closes the evening before, most of the vendors have headed home. The locknote takes place at 11:00 am, so there are a few sessions to choose from earlier in the day, but the conference formally ends at noon.

This year I attended the session for the first time, as I was invited to join the group on stage. My expectation was that there would be 20-30 diehard conference attendees, mainly comprising those who couldn't get earlier flights anyway. My first surprise was when I walked into Sun A and saw a crowd of 200+ waiting for the beginning of the session. The second was that while many sessions have a healthy dose of vendor attendees, most of the locknote audience appeared to be enterprise customers.

The locknote is different from other sessions in several ways. One is the absence of vendors on the stage. Certainly updates from vendors, and especially customer case studies, are a great source of the information enterprise attendees come to Enterprise Connect looking for. But the insights of analysts and consultants without loyalties to specific vendors--more interested in the direction of technology than who specifically delivers it--is also what Enterprise Connect is known for. And one gets that in spades in the locknote.

There was some great participation from the audience, as Fred and Eric worked the crowd Oprah style. They agreed with some of our points and challenged us on others. We talked about cloud and over the top applications. There was an interesting question and discussion about the future of the carrier network as we know it. Not surprisingly, there was some spirited debate about Microsoft Lync. Finally user and customer experience was an issue raised by multiple panelists as well as audience members.

The tweet shown here is from a major enterprise customer attendee who apparently learned the secret of the value of the locknote years ago. If you attended this year, you may want to go back and listen to the audio recording when it becomes available. But it's more fun to be there, and even more fun to participate--either on stage or in the audience. I plan to make the time to attend the locknote every year from now on.

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