Conference Notes

Media Portrayal of IBM, Lotusphere, and SharePoint – What?

I’ve attended Lotusphere 2012 this past week. It was my first time, and as I wrote a couple of days ago, IBM talked about some big things. I was impressed as the vision casting – I hadn’t expected that as such, but felt it came across well.

Having attended (and live blogged) the Opening General Session at 8am on Monday, perhaps you can imagine my disgust at reading the coverage of the session in ComputerWorld NZ – SharePoint is a ‘document coffin,’ says IBM. In an article of 510 words, the author (Sim Ahmed) spends a third focused on just five words from Jeff – and a throwaway five words at best. I’m not denying that Jeff said them – they’re in my blog post – and it brought a laugh in an otherwise intensive session. My concern is that by making the review article first and foremost about that throwaway line, the author gives a myopic view of what IBM is doing and attempting to do. I feel it is morally wrong.

A couple of specific issues I have with this press coverage:
– second paragraph says the audience had “over 1000 developers, clients, and media.” That is true – 5000 people is more than 1000. But it’s bad reporting to say 1000 when the number was 5000 or more.
– fifth paragraph says Jeff made the comment about SharePoint being a document coffin before announcing product changes. If you go and read my blog post, you’ll see that some announcements – Connections Next and IBM Docs – came before the statement.

I “get” the competitive nature of the market – I work with clients that use SharePoint, and with those that use IBM products. I’ve written two books on SharePoint. I speak at conferences around the world on being effective with SharePoint. But to pivot IBM’s whole approach at Lotusphere around SharePoint being a document coffin – which in reality SharePoint is for some companies – is wrong. It writes history wrongly – it’s not accurate reporting. It portrays a myth. And it sets up competition between organizations that use SharePoint and those that use IBM, where I think each has a lot to learn from each other.

In this more social world, we need to hold those that write articles like this to a higher standard. I for one am disappointed in this coverage.

3 replies »

  1. I agree with you Michael. Unfortunately IT focused reporters all too often focus on a single bite rather than the full meal. In fact, not just IT reporters!