Friday, April 3, 2009

@CherylMcKinnon actually brought the daisy along ! #aiim09 #aiime2

Yes, yes I did.

Was honoured to be invited to represent Open Text on the annual AIIM Vendor Panel Showdown this week. Moderated by the energetic and thought-provoking Dan Elam, the audience had the opportunity to hear first hand from senior management from the big guys: Open Text, IBM and EMC.

Why the odd blog title today? On Tuesday I strolled through Reading Terminal Market on my lunch break from the show. Lo and behold just around the corner from the most excellent Hershel's East Side deli was a floral shop with buckets and buckets of lovely daisies and gerbera. Our Bloom team at Open Text has adopted the white daisy as our personal commitment to the Enterprise 2.0 program we launched last year. It's a symbol of spring, flourishing, unleashing potential, of hope and renewal. I twittered jokingly about whether I should stick one in my hair for the vendor panel.

So I bought some. And I stuck one in an empty water glass and brought it up to the panel podium with me. It was my personal reminder to speak the language of the customers in the room. To tone down the buzzword bingo jargon speak, to do my best to be authentic, honest and represent my company credibly.

It reminded me to talk about what's important in the ECM world. That compliance is a natural outcome of doing good business. That the human voice is important. That getting users engaged with the system and USING IT is the best metric of success. And I was really glad to read some of the backchannel tweetstream comment favorably on my approach.

And it reminded me to look at the positive. I didn't want to bait the competition by answering the very last question about why I would discount a competitor and not worry about them. The other two companies are forces to be reckoned with in the ECM world, and have successful customer deployments just as Open Text does. I have too much respect for my former colleagues who now work with those companies, and for many of my recent new colleagues who have come from those organizations.

A strong, educated diverse vendor community demonstrates health of the industry. I wasn't in the mood for a pot shot.

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