Lessons from SAPPHIRE06

The SAPPHIRE06 bloggers look like they did an excellent job and served as a great advert for the medium. I didn’t expect any less. Jeff Nolan noticed that bloggers collaborate:

I would have never thought about this had I not seen it in action but the bloggers on their own initiatives rescheduled their one-on-one meetings to double up rather than have exclusive time. This contrasts with traditional press people who demand exclusive access and jealously guard their Q&A, the bloggers conspire together about questions and have a rich dialog among themselves about what they are hearing.

This was predictable looking at the many links which exist between the enterprise bloggers. Jeff’s ability to respond to events is commendable. Try getting that out of a PR – don’t bother.

Here’s my take:

  • Each of the bloggers has a different but related focus. If there had been more than a couple with the same agenda then a little rivalry might have kicked in but I don’t believe the general spirit of sharing would have been degraded. Over the last couple of days, I’ve been at Innovate!Europe with a handful of bloggers and we collaborated in pretty much the same way. The press – notably – shared nothing. Looking at the results to date, I’d say there’s more solid inforfacts (informed facts) than you’d find in any Cnet. But then Dan Farber of ZDNet provides a wonderful montage.
  • There was a degree of self-organisation. My experience as a hack at these events is that the PRs want to manage press to death. That works for hacks as few bother to organise themselves. The really good hacks don’t allow themselves to be over managed and as a result tend to get the story no-one else does. Last evening I was discussing this issue in a different context with Fergus Burns of Nooked (BTW – Fergus is looking for some funding – he’s a good guy with a great story) and Brian O’Malley of the now award winning Enterprise Ireland. Bloggers self-organise as a way of cutting out inefficiency and/or just to get things done. Or, as in this case, to make sure they get the best result. Charlie Wood reflects on similar ideas.

Whether these trends continue remains to be seen. Blogging as press at such an event is novel. Reading the blogs, the ‘press like’ treatment was a new experience for many. What is equally interesting is that SAP executives were prepared to give the bloggers the time they EARNED through their collective knowledge, understanding and influence. That’s as it should be.

Check out the Technorati Tag for SAPPHIRE06. Then review del.ico.us. It even made it to the gossip oriented tech.meme (you’ve got to scroll down a fair bit)

I wonder how this will evolve. Will others follow a similar cue? Talking to SAPs PR in Europe (or rather one of its people), it’s clear the EU is relatively clueless on this issue. I know Microsoft Business Solutions people are tracking this. But then I hung my head in disappointment. I read about ‘the only true online…’ A hack just sucked it up and spat it out. No wonder the bloggers are being welcomed with open arms by SAP.

There are lessons here for other vendors looking to reach out. And for consultants like EDS, Accenture, Xanxa and the rest.

Cross-posted from AccMan Pro