Conference Notes

IBM Connect 2013 – Some Thoughts

I’m attending IBM Connect as an analyst, so heres’s my thoughts:

1. This isn’t Lotusphere anymore. Lotusphere was about Notes and Domino. The conversation has shifted – without necessarily throwing away that foundation (since there’s a lot of Notes and Domino sessions) – to include many other capabilities from IBM. A name change for the conference was necessary, and the content is reflective of the change. This means there is a lot of new material for long-time attendees of the conference; and the quietness during the OGS when the newer areas were being discussed is indicative of the newness of the ideas.

2. The conversation is growing up. In comparison to last year, the conversation feels more mature, more customer-oriented, more about what customers are currently doing with IBM social business and collaboration technologies. There are a lot of customer case studies being presented at IBM Connect; I’m looking forward to hearing as many as I can. Even the beach party was more subdued than last year – reflective of a changing demographic attending the conference.

3. There’s a huge opportunity in engaging beyond the IT suite. Earning the right to engage with other business leaders within organizations – that oversee how people work and act – is essential to future success for business partners. That’s going to take an investment in learning, trying things out, and building credibility. This is the new battle ground, and a strong recommendation to IBM Business Partners at the Business Partner day was aligned with this opportunity.

4. Adoption is essential. A few years ago I wrote the book on user adoption strategies for new collaboration technology, so the importance of adoption is not lost on me. It is great to see IBM emphasizing the importance of this, including the release of a three part adoption process. I haven’t looked at the details of the offering, but have hopes that it is content appropriate to the challenge at hand.

5. The call is to grow up and build new skills. Analytics. Watson. Kenexa. Lots of new technology to learn, and how to apply that to business opportunities. This presents each business partner with an investment challenge – when do we invest in the new areas, to what degree, and on what timeline – vs. keeping investing in the current core.

More later.

Categories: Conference Notes