Lotusphere 2011 – My Thoughts

It is now two weeks since Lotusphere ended. After I got back I was thrown into a project initiated by the CEO, to be presented this morning during a manager meeting. Now when the presentation is over, I will try to put my thoughts about Lotusphere down.

As always, the conference is busy, fun and overwhelming, and it have been taking me a while to wrap my head around everything.

Let’s start with the sessions. I was not able to attend nearly as many sessions as I wanted, but I managed to catch some great ones. Thanks to Ben Langhinrichs’ excellent Lotusphere session database the planning was easy. I attended a number of sessions on Xpages, a jumpstart session, a show-and-tell as well as several Xpages-related sessions. I also purchased a copy of Mastering XPages during the signing on Monday. I been stuck on an older version of Notes for a long time, but it seems like we will get to a current version shortly, so I decided to spend the time and effort on learning Xpages.

There was very little classic Notes development at Lotusphere. Kathy Brown had a great session (as always), this time on @Formula language. Scott Good and Henry Newberry had several sessions about web development, covering subjects like CSS and JSON. SNAPPS had Rob Novak and my fellow countryman Viktor Krantz had their 10th Great Code Giveaway, with loads of useful code. Julian Robicheaux (also from SNAPPS) had a session about feeds that I attended as well.

But if I have to single out one session, it would be Mat Newman and BP206 "Where is the Love?". I love the energy, the humor and enthusiasm of Mat. IBM should hire him right away. He gave me a few things to think about, and many things to bring back home to the people responsible for end-user training…

Social Business 
As I was participating as member of the media, I had meetings with several IBM executives. One of the most interesting was with Uffe Sorensen. He is responsible for the messaging and collaboration business in eastern Europe, Middle-East and Africa, and he focus on social media, mainly Connections, but also mobile applications.
Uffe made a very interesting observation. Most companies are already using social networks, they just don’t know it yet.
As we all know, the tagline of Lotusphere this year was "Get Social. Do Business.", and while some executives see it s just the buzzword of this year, I think IBM actually get it.
Jeff Schick, who I also got to meet, is the Vice President of Social Software at IBM. He told me that IBM have been a social business for many year and that the employees "eat their own dog food". The tools have been modernized, and Jeff talked about how the employee catalog evolved into the social portal it is today, with expertise search and much more. I think this is crucial, that IBMers actually use social tools. Some critics recently pointed out that some IBM executives are not on twitter or Facebook. To a certain level I agree with Ed Brill, who said that not all IBM executives need to or should be on twitter. A Swedish journalist, who was not at Lotusphere, wrote an article during Lotusphere where he called IBM "a giant who got tired" (in Swedish, Google translation here) , because Sam Palmisano was not attending, thus indicating that IBM does not care about Lotus. That is about the same argument.
I think that highly visible representatives for a company that push social networking and business should have some activity on public social networks. But I can understand that Jeff Schick may not have time to be on twitter (he is on Facebook), just like I can understand that Sam Palmisano really do not need to be at Lotusphere.

Take the Lotus out of Lotusphere 
A lot of comments have been made from the fact that the Lotus branding was almost nowhere to be seen this year. No "Lotus Software" signs, no yellow labels on the water bottles (they were white instead, for the first time since 1998 when I first went), and the badge holders just said "IBM". Well, I am not sure that is a bad thing. We all know that "Lotus" have gotten a bad reputation. I talked to Ed Brill right after the closing session about this, and he said that Lotus lost business because of the name and people pre-conceived notions about the brand. I think everyone will win on a re-branding of the current Lotus products. IBM Connections, IBM Notes, IBM Quikr… Does not sound too bad. Just keep the name Lotusphere.

To the cloud! 
Cloud computing is still important to IBM, and a strong push for LotusLive was made during Lotusphere 2011. LotusLive Symphony was announced during the conference, and IBM also announced strategies for Domino applications in the cloud. Since I work for an insurance company, it is very sensitive where we store information. As far as I know we have no plans to switch from on-premise to cloud computing, but I can see it making sense for other businesses. IBM even support hybrid solutions, part LotusLive and part on-premise.

Being Social 
Part of Lotusphere is meeting and reconnecting with my many friends in the community. It started Saturday with BALD, followed by The Turtles party at ESPN. I dropped by Kimonos a few times, but I also had a number of other events going on in the evenings. I was invited to the Penumbra "Ice Cream Tuesdae" reception, as well as dinners with IBM Nordic and CDW. I also participated in the Blogger Open, where I played on the same team as Mat Newman. Friday, before I headed to the airport, I toured Downtown Disney with Paul Mooney, Mark Myers and Julian Woodward. This is a big part of Lotusphere to me, being social IRL.


You can find some presentations from Lotusphere 2011 on SlideShare.



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