Opening Session Lotusphere 2009

Time to wrap up the announcements from this mornings Lotusphere opening session. First we had a great start. Seated in beanbags right in front of the stage with access to a fixed LAN and power for our laptops was really great. IBM and especially Erica did a great job to make us feel comfortable. Beeing treated as a important person feels not that bad. And it was so much fun watching Twitter stream while having all the bloggers around me and commenting things that happened on stage.

This years OGS was different. This year IBM did not split the OGS like last year in two separat sessions. There was only one OGS, even if IBM claims to have 2% more visitors this year. Looking at the economic situation these are very good figures.
Although there was no big announcement this year nobody seemed to be bored. It was a well timed show, Blueman Group was really great – and Dan Aykroyd was, ok, at least a little bit funny. I enjoyed the OGS very much on my beanbag.

So what was in it this year:

  • It was Bob Picciano´s first Lotusphere as a Lotus General Manager – but probably not the first time he hears about the communities pains. His wife Deidra works – yes – as a Lotus Notes developer! I think he did a good job this morning introducing himself to the crowd.
  • I find it quiet unusual to put customers on stage to sing the Lotus song, but they did it short. One song for Notes (Coca Cola), one song for WebSphere Portal (Warren Buffet´s NetJets). That´s democracy.
  • Mobility. Yes. Last year I complained about IBM focusing to much on RIM when IBM announced the strategic partnership for the mobility market. This year it was a RIM only Show. Co-CEO Jim Balsillie on stage at the OGS and on stage at the Press & Analyst meeting. Blackberry client for Connections, ODF rendering on Blackberry aka Lotus Symphony support, new Sametime client for Blackberry, xPages support on Blackberry. Well, Symbian anyone? Did I hear iPhone sync support? Unfortunatly not. Nobody asked about Traveler, nobody talked about iPhone support in Domino. Talking about 10 billion mobil web users in 2010 I would doubt if they all will use RIM devices.
  • Kevin Cavanaugh did a great job announcing this years 20st birthday of Lotus Notes. 20 years is not an easy age. 20 year old boys hang around with their disruptive friends. They don´t know where they belong to. They are in search for orientation on life. A little bit like Lotus Notes. But unlike those 20 year old students Lotus Notes will save your companies money. Nice put.
    Lotus Notes 8.5 shipped this month. Many new very cool features that I missed since a long time: iCal support in calendar, calendar federation, vCard handling in address book, (adress book federation coming in future releases!), and much more. XPages really revolutionizes the way of web development with Domino Designer. Mobile Device support in Domino Designer by helping developers easily manage different device resolutions and fit content for each device type. Lots of good news.
  • Lotus now has an App Store, too. Apple has an app store. RIM has an app store. Now Lotus opens an app store for partners and announces a partnership with OpenNTF.org. A good idea to push applications to existing and new customers to show them the power of the platform. Very good idea.
  • Unified Communication with lots of good news. Sametime 8.5 with a really good telephony integration, call forwarding with rules, instant audio conference rooms, permanent meeting rooms, record meetings and save the recorded meeting in Quicktime format, instant client side conversion of documents which you drag and drop into the meeting room and much more. Very good demo. Just select contacts from your Sametime buddy list, instantly open a conference room, and if you need your boss to make the final decision: simply drag and drop him into the conference room. Well done.
    Breaking news for me: No Plugin download anymore when using the Meeting Center! This was in some customer situations the show stopper. Now it´s gone. Good move! And they did some improvements to cope with the firewall issues. I don´t know what exactly, but firewall issues have always been the second show stopper when offering Sametime as a webconferencing platform. Good news for those who compete with WebEx & Co.
  • Social Software for the enterprise: Yes, it looks like Lotus Connections grew up. Microblogging features with Twitter integration, a good looking Wiki feature, a much better UI. Many updates on Quickr. Lotus Mashups targeting the LOB users. Build your own Mashup, even build mashups with your private data without talking to IT. Remembers me of the good old Lotus Notes times when exactly this user group drove the success of Lotus Notes.
  • The Cloud. Lotus Bluehouse is not blue anymore and bleeds yellow now. And with the acquisition of Outblaze it was rebranded to – no, not Outhouse – it was renamed to LotusLive. LotusLive comes in different flavours, and LotusLive Engage contains all the service Lotus delivers as a product now as a service in the cloud. “Click to cloud” is the buzzword, and the offering is targeting enterprises who want to extend the reach of their Lotus products from the intranet to the extranet. And new customers, who talk today with Google and other SaaS companies. The killer argument is here: Lotus partners with LinkedIn for integrated contact management, SalesForce.com for CRM and Sykpe for telephony integration. Managing mail will be Outblazes part of the game.
    LotusLive is available, I logged in and was really impressed. Have to check out later. But still I have my doubts how the channel should earn money with this. Will write a separate post about my thoughts.
  • Alloy. Branding is the hardest part. Atlantic is now Alloy. Only god knows why. I would like to invite the marketing guys to Germany explaining customers this new name. Alloy is the result of two years hard work. SAP and IBM worked together on the tight integration of Notes and SAP. They will offer a joined support for customers so it does not matter if they talk to SAP or IBM. IBM has the chance to push the Notes 8 client with its composite app features to SAP customers, and SAP will probably benefit from the Web 2.0 feature set of the Lotus portfolio. Sounds good, makes sense. Except the brand name.
  • So thats it for today. Will now join the Media Party and afterwards the JAMFest. Unfortunatly missed the Executive Q&A, but will read everything on Twitter, read it on blogs or hear the podcast lateron 🙂



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