As part of the Box World Tour, a thought-provocating event ‘Business Without Boundaries’ (#BWBLondon) was held in the Lancaster London Hotel on Wednesday afternoon 6th November.

In a few hours we learned how Box, Jive, DocuSign, Good, MobileIron, NetSuite and Okta are partnering with leading enterprise technologies to help organisations break through boundaries and grow.

The networked enterprise

Opening the conference was Box‘s CEO, Aaron Levie, who flew from America to present the latest developments of his company’s product, as well as the value and logic behind its service.

The story of Levie is quite outstanding. Currently aged just 28, he created Box in 2005 as a college business project with the goal of helping people access content from any location. Basically it is a very powerful project collaboration tool where team members can store, swap and update files in real time.  The idea has clearly caught on: today Levie is rumoured to be personally worth a cool $100m, and he presented like a tech rock star in his red shoes and miming to the Spice Girls.

He took the audience through the massive shift of technology with mobile and cloud. 50% of knowledge workers now use three or more devices. “Today the enterprise looks like a network without boundaries,” Levie said.

His message was that information sits at the centre of our systems, and “ultimately it is about getting the most out of your information. Right information, right people, right time.”

He made the case for organisations to have tools capable of allowing a new way of working, where the content moves to the cloud. This move to the cloud is motivated by costs, but also efficiency and simplicity.  Tools like Box make sure that management, security and compliance (a big worry for most organisations) are aligned with the ‘sync and share’ approach of the social enterprise.

Levie also presented one of his company’s latest development, Box Notes, that “lets you capture, share and build on ideas in real-time with anyone,” in a completely secure way, and by “putting the user at the centre of the universe.”

Systems of engagement

How do you follow a tech rock star?  Well, by going to the other end of the age spectrum and having high-tech consultant, author, guru on disruptive technologie and chairman of The Chasm Group, Geoffrey Moore. He could be Levie’s grandfather, but his ideas and insights were as bright and up-to-date.

Moore explored the transition “from systems of record to systems of engagement.” The enterprises of the 20th century were strongly dominated by the global deployment of systems of record, with data often valued over people. The 21st century instead is marked by new business dynamics through differentiation, specialisation, optimisation, outsourcing, and ultimately the recognition of the power of networks.

Moore’s speech was insightful, especially when he reminded us of the emotional dimension that digital can possess. “In the 21st century our organisations rely on systems of engagement, where digital becomes emotional, not just intellectual. Invest in collaborative systems of engagement.”

Today, technologies are driving change through the cloud, big data, mobile, analytics, web and social. Taking in consideration those elements, our organisations should try “reengineering their own critical moment of engagement”, Moore claimed. This means planning strategies and piloting tools where change does matter to the specific organisation.

As Levie had done before, Moore also emphasised the urgent need for our enterprises to change the way they work by investing in mobile, social and real-time. “It’s a lot of cheese to move”, he said by recalling the popular book by Spencer Johnson, and implying that our organisations have to go a long way from where they are standing now.

This need for change is made by different factors including the rise of the big disconnect (the digital gap), the advent of bringing your own device at work (BYOD), the emerging collaborative imperative and a latency crisis, by which he meant the slowness with which traditional software is developed and updated on the customer’s PC.

Inefficient communication and collaboration hurts productivity

The following speaker on stage was Sean Winter, Strategy Consultant at Jive. He talked about pursuing “a new way to work” which unites conversations, information, and collaboration with the enterprise. This is what Jive has been currently helping organisations to do.

During Winter’s talk we could hear of companies increasing 15% of their productivity thanks to this new social approach to work.

He presented some great case studies of companies successfuly adopting Jive. One of these is Thomson Reuters. After having replaced their internal social systems with Jive, the company saw an increased engagement of users on the platform with pages per visit going from 1.88 to 9.48. Also, the average time spent onsite grew from 5 minutes to 12 minutes.

Winter also told the story of CSC – global consulting firm with 98,000 employees – experiencing a 30% decrease in bid proposal creation time, as well as Deutsche Bank that saw a 50% decrease in IT application support.

In a sense, Winter’s speech reminded me of the importance of ‘putting the user-experience at the center of universe’ (heard earlier by Levie).

“Leverage existing systems that employees need, sunset those that they don’t, and give employees an App they will love to use to help them.”

Before concluding, Winter shared with us some valuable lessons on how to adopt social media such us Jive succesfully inside the large enterprise:

1. Align business strategy

2. Gain strong executive sponsorship

3. Select the right group and engage the right people

4. Use low hanging fruit design solution

5. Build guidelines for engagement mindfully

6. Model and mentor through content and interaction seeding

7. Communicate bottom up and top down

8. Measure

Keeping up with the flow

Gatwick Airport was another informative case study shared by their Chief Information Officer Michael Ibbitson, during the last panel session.

A few months ago, simply-communicate published how Gatwick has been successfully using Yammer since London 2012. Yesterday, it was fascinating to hear how the company continues to invest in internal social technologies, keeping up with the digital flow and the high pressure coming from a volatile external environment. To complement the usefulness of Yammer, the company have started adopting Box which currently enables stronger project collaboration across 2,500 employees working on the second Runway project.

Overall, the day left us with stimulating insights and the feeling that we have to speed up, and lead the change in a thoughtful way if we want to thrive in this undeniable digital era.

For innovation to happen in these ‘business without boundaries’ times, mobile, social and real-time seem to be organisations’ biggest priorities.


Thia article originally appeared on simply-communicate