Tools & Technologies

7 Pillars Analysis of IBM

I was on a call tonight with a client, and among other topics, we talked about the business and user adoption challenge of having the latest and greatest collaboration and communication technology from IBM. He described what he was facing, and it made me recall a couple of paragraphs that I wrote in December 2008 on the same topic. The following is lifted from an internal working paper doing a 7 Pillars analysis of IBM:

IBM offers a tremendous range of technical capabilities to support shared access to team data that is stored in its products. And from a user and group perspective, this variety of approaches presents a huge problem—the cost of infinite opportunity! If a user has all of these capabilities available to them, how do they make the right choice about which product should be used, and which part of which product, for creating a shared place for a new team project? Should it be a Notes database—through an out-of-the-box template or a custom developed one? Should it be a Quickr place, and with what constructs? Should it be an Activity in Connections, or a wiki in Connections? Or should it be a persistent chat thread in Sametime? It will take a very well-versed and technically-savvy individual to make these choices in an appropriate way, rather than throwing their hands up in despair and reverting to email. It is incumbent on IBM to simply the range of options, whether that is through technology rationalization, very clear guidelines on when to use what constructs vs another, or through offering seamless migration capabilities from one offering to another … so that what starts as a Sametime persistent chat can be transformed into a Quickr place; or what starts as an Activity in Connections can become a shared Notes database.

One of IBM’s mega-themes is “UC2”, for unified communications and collaboration. Most of the focus, however, is on real-time interaction through Lotus Sametime, and its integration with both telephony systems and IBM’s collaboration products. What’s missing is an intense focus on helping individuals make sense of the range of team data places that they are involved in, and helping individuals avoid being sucked into an uncoordinatable blob of messiness that degrades into meaninglessness. This is IBM’s greatest challenge within its own product set: delivering coherence for the individual across its products.

So, two questions:

  1. If you are an IBM customer, are you experiencing this problem? What are you doing about it?
  2. If I finished my 7 Pillars analysis of the IBM product range, would you be interested in it?

Categories: Tools & Technologies