Conference Notes

Breakfast with Alistair Rennie in Sydney – Some Notes

I’m in Sydney this week, and it just so happened that IBM Lotus is running a breakfast session wih Alistair Rennie on IBM’s Advanced Collaboration work.

Here’s some notes on what Alistair commented on:

  • There is an opportunity to move beyond automation to enable better agility in organizations – e.g., new intelligence, smart work, and dynamic infrastructure.
  • Enabling people to do better work is a key driver for better organizational productivity.
  • There are transformational opportunities – a new way of working, place independent working, customer service and intimacy.
  • Research finding: companies who outperformed their industry are more than 3X as likely to have adopted smart work practices – faster at being able to build skills to new markets, more likely to identify people with needed skills, more likely to gain insights and losve problems by rating and commenting, more likely to integrate and deliver data from multiple sources.
  • Last few years have been good for Lotus – new customers, better products, innovative developments (Vulcan, Northstar, etc.), and better partnering ecosystem.
  • Matt Cain from Gartner (2009 conference) commented that the “future of email” could be Lotus Notes – because the Notes client integrates into a single interface. It becomes a “collaboration dashboard”. Sounds a bit like my collaboration super client research paper from 2004.
  • Social software is a core part of collaboration.
  • Universal access has become “more interesting” over the past couple of years. Alistair believes that mobile will drive a lot of innovation. I agree – see my September 2009 article on Messaging News.
  • Alistair is seeing a lot of interest in Android. Believes Android is “where the iPhone was 18 months ago.” He comments that many people like the open access application distribution model.
  • Sametime is significantly better. Key aim: wherever you see a name, you should be able to click to interact.
  • Some Microsoft shops are putting in the Lotus Sametime platform for integrated presence and interaction modalities.

Stuart Duguid gave a demonstration of Sametime and the integration into other IBM products.

Alistair continued with his presentation comments:

  • “Social” is the new mode of work. But it’s an attribute of software, not an application. Enables key business changes, around leveraging innovation, mobilizing people, improving business process, and societal intelligence.
  • Social networks in the enterprise enable much richer personal profiles – beyond a name, title, and phone number in the corporate directory.
  • Individual sharing through blogs, bookmarks, and other tools … enable the building of team spaces for interaction.
  • Customer Example: Sogeti – were not getting the right people in front of customers. They used Lotus Connections to improve knowledge sharing and collaboration, and enabled better team formation for customers. See Sogeti (which notes there is some Sametime and OCS in there too).
  • Customer Example: Sun Life Financial – new collaboration environment to enable new employees to get up to speed quickly.
  • Lotus Connections is the key Lotus platform for profiles, communities, and social applications. There is new stuff coming in Connections 3.0, particularly around analytics.
  • Says that there are 8 million people collaborating on developerWorks.

Back to Stuart for a couple of demos:

  • Lotus Connections 3.0 – around recommendations and following. Could the recommendations be a step towards Pillar 7 (Collaboration Auto-Discovery) of the 7 Pillars framework? Recommendations on people can be based on shared bookmarks, activities, etc. A user can “follow” a community, rather than joining it directly. Enables a more subtle level of interaction.
  • Connections enables interaction with external people too. Helps with moving beyond email as the default option.
  • LotusLive gives online meeting capabilities.

Alistair then made some comments on other areas:

  • IBM WebSphere Portal provides a single platform to address many different business needs.
  • Project “Northstar” is a new investment area for IBM, for engagement with customers on the Web. E.g., content creation, targeting, socializing of content, optimizing, etc. Some of the work in this area is due to the CoreMetrics acquisition.
  • Project “Vulcan” is a “blueprint for the future of collaboration.” IBM’s work is being driven by four mega-themes: continuity (of past investments), convergence (mix of on-premise and on-cloud), innovation (such as analytics and co-editing – see Pillar 3 in 7 Pillars above), and opportunity (for new applications that integrate collaboration and processes).

Stuart gave two demos: one of Lotus Concord (co-editing on the Web – with paragraph-level delegation and editing rights, there is letter-by-letter updates on screen, which was the Google Wave model, and is different to the Microsoft approach in Word 2010), and Project Vulcan (seamless integration of multiple things in one interface, a “share” metaphor rather than a “forward” metaphor, shows relevant / recommended people and locations around new projects).

There were 80-100 people in attendance.

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