IBM Connect in Review
Now that the dust is settling after IBM Connect, it’s time for a brief review.
Last week was a hectic time, my fourth Lotusphere/IBM Connect. During my first, I was shy and finding my feet, so my main takeaways were technical. For my second I was a speaker and made contact with a number of people I was familiar with online from blogs etc. For my third I didn’t have a session, but was an IBM Champion and heavily involved with Team Social. This time I had a session (It’s Not Herculean: Twelve Tasks Made Easier with IBM Domino XPages) with Mike McGarel, was an IBM Champion with the various events that encompassed, was part of Team Social (I gave a talk in the Social Cafe, wrote a post for the Social Business Insights blog and more), had a book signing for XPages Extension Library, had Notes Client cheat sheets in the User Experience Lab (I’ve already had offers to translate them to German and Italian, and I’m open to offers for other languages), as well as meeting lots of friends from the community both old and new. Thankfully I still had time to make a number of sessions, including a few I especially earmarked.
So what were my insights on IBM Connect?
The OGS was good, with an interesting and relevant talk from Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It was fast-paced and kept the audience engaged. But more than ever before, the OGS was clearly not aimed at IT professionals but marketing and C-level execs. There was little focus on products, more on what those products could do when combined. Kenexa was as significant a presence as expected and I’m sure that’s a trend that will continue. For me, the lack of focus on the technology stack was not a problem because there was plenty of technical content in the rest of the conference. But there were clear different streams. This brings a strong benefit for me, namely that decision makers are enthused by the possibilities the technology brings and at the same time technical experts get sessions that give them the confidence to maximise those technical products and a clear understanding of the roadmaps in order to engage in discussions at the appropriate time.
The roadmaps made a number of strong points.
- Technical experts need knowledge beyond a particular product stack, e.g. IBM Domino
- IBM Domino and ICS has a strong future, no matter what the FUD may tell customers
- IBM Domino has received considerable investment over recent year. Compare Social Edition 9.0 to IBM Lotus Notes 8.0. Compare it to Lotus Notes 7.x and it’s almost unrecognisable in its power and breadth. And yet IBM have done what Microsoft deliberately eschews, namely the underlying skills Notes users have gained over years of use are as relevant today as ever before. Take someone who used Lotus Notes 7.x and, once they got past the different UI, they would be as productive with IBM Notes 9.0 within a few hours. Do the same with a user experienced in Office 2003 or Windows XP, give them Office 2010 and Windows 8 and they would be lost. That is definitely true of me.
- XPages is in a very healthy position, with a host of sessions for beginners and experienced developers. The XPages books also sold very well in the bookshop.
- iNotes 9.0 looks amazing with rich functionality (pay attention to live text and widgets) and very strong fidelity with the Notes Client.
- The browser plugin is a great piece of kit. The 9.0 release is just the first gold release, so we should expect more goodness in the future.
- The VMWare thin app functionality demoed by Scott Souder looks very powerful and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on it later this year.
- I didn’t get to sessions on the roadmap for mobile, Sametime, IBM Docs and Connections, but I’m sure they will be just as interesting. I will be reviewing the slides.
- Lotus Quickr has no future roadmap, other than migration to Connections platform, for which there will be migration tools. But I would expect additional effort if customers have customised Quickr to add additional functionality or forms.
It was a great conference on the whole that leaves me with lots of ideas for the year ahead. It also gives me a clear idea of where my focus will lie over the coming year.
For those who attended my session, there are a couple of tasks I hope to work on over the next week or so. First is to clean up the sample application and post it, along with the final slides. The second is to take a couple of utilities from the session. I plan on tidying up the CSV import function, that allows a file to be imported with a field mapper, all with just a couple of lines of code. I will then add that into Tim Tripcony’s extension library on OpenNTF as well as putting it in a separate OpenNTF project for those who want to pull it into an NSF. I will also put up a full video of the final demo. For those not there, it is an XPages control in its own library to allow users to start a Sametime chat with anyone who has edited the current document, as well as anyone in additional fields selected by the developer. I will then also be cleaning that up and putting it on OpenNTF.
As ever, there are a whole host of additional things I want to do over the coming months. I guess I should also book in time to sleep!