Monthly Archive for Januar, 2007

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About this years Lotusphere

On board of DL78 from New York to Berlin it is time for me to review Lotusphere 2007. First of all: With all that Web 2.0 buzz it seemed to be more of a Blogosphere than a Lotusphere. People were so excited about social software arriving in the business world – and about the Web 2.0 like new cool tools from Lotus.

But what is realy new looking at all the announcements from a few thousand miles away? Some assorted thoughts:

1. IBM refocuses its Lotus brand. And thats the best message they can send out to the customers and the community. The Workplace trial period is over, it failed, they kicked it off the portfolio. Lesson learned. Not only customers and partners celebrated the end of Workplace, even the IBMers seemed to be very happy about the end of the „two ways to the future story“. For my company this is not realy bad. We spent a lot of time in Workplace trainings, we offered trials and „Workplace Installation Parties“, but thank god nobody purchased that stuff. I would be in trouble now. Anyway. With the Websphere Portal 6 and its Express product line there is still a great offering in the portal market.

2. Refocusing the Lotus Brand means: Lotus Notes and Domino are (and ever have been) the core product in the Lotus brand. Messaging and Collaboration are based on Notes technology. With the official branding of „Hannover“ as „Lotus Notes 8“ IBM made that very clear again.

3. Lotus Notes 8 might be the most important release since Notes 4. The Eclipse based so called „Standard Client“ is a major improvement. The user interface is a quantum leap, and I can see no reason why anybody should prefer MS Outlook over Lotus Notes 8 because of the UI. And in fact there never had been any other reason to prefer MS Outlook. As I work now in my daily work with the Notes 8 Beta 1 I can say: This is surpringly robust code, and the performance is much better then I expected it to be. There are so many improvements that made life so much easier with Lotus Notes 8. But this should be a separat blog entry.

3. And then we have all that Web 2.0 stuff. Lotus Connections is – I mentioned it before – what I have been looking for since two years. Finally Lotus delivers its approach to activity centric collaboration. At Lotusphere I had the chance to play around with „Activities“, and because Lotus Connection went live as a Beta platform for all Lotusphere attendees I could integrate it into my Notes 8 sidebar. It works as intended, even if there are lots of strange behaviors in the web frontend. It is beta code, but I can´t wait to set up our own Lotus Connections server. But Lotus Connections is not only about activity management. There is a powerfull profiling engine in it (I could not find out which technology is behind it, I remember some Raven stuff which did the same), it contains a bookmark engine which IBM calls dogear and is in fact a inhouse clone of

With Lotus Connections IBM adopts many of the well known Web 2.0 technologies, including blogs and wiki templates. What is in for my customers? Well, the activity centric approach is key for me, and I already started evangelizing my customers about that. Blogs, Wiki, Bookmark server? OK, its nice to have. Even if I am very familiar with these technologies and I know predictions like „in 2020 everybody will have a Blog like everybody today has an email adress“, but I am a little bit scepticall about this.

I know Microsoft is offering Sharepoint now with blog and wiki templates, too. They try to be cool, too. From my point of view Microsofts customer community will take much less advantages of these capabilities then Lotus customers. But anyway, on both sides it is still a small target group.

Looking at Lotus Quickr, the next big announcement at Lotusphere, there is another „cool toolset“. Basically its a Quickplace update that comes with a document management template and – yes, you name it – blog and wiki templates. The Quickplace components evolves from two sides: The classical Domino based Quickplace will be enhanced with the Document Management features, and IBM tries to make the old Workplace Teamspace look like Quickplace and enhanced this with the Workplace Documents DMS features. So customers who come from Quickplace will get an easy upgrade and stay with the Domino platform, even if the DMS functionality is not as rich as in the Workplace/Websphere Portal environment. The goal is to support both codestreams in the backend but integrate in the frontend. The frontend with its MS Office and Explorer-Integration will be the same for both codestreams using a common web services interface. This is a good idea, and in the labs I had a short look on Sametime integration in the future: Lotus Sametime will take your Lotus Quickr collaboration teamroom live with one mouseclick – switching between synchronous and asynchronous collborative work will be easy as never before.

Again: What makes me excited is the Lotus Quickplace plus Workplace Documents enhancement, not the „cool“ blog and wiki stuff. Looking at the Blog capabilities I learned that each new product has its own blogging engine. They don´t share the code. Domino comes with an own template since Domino 7, Lotus Connections uses an open source blog engine, and Lotus Quickr comes with an own Blog template, too. Maybe this will change when IBM releases all that new stuff, but the question is still: Is there real business value for my customers? I don´t see it yet.

I don´t want to sound to sceptical about social software entering the business world. It is in fact a major step forward for Lotus and IBM. And in an IBM ecosystem with hundreds of thousands employees tools like blogs, wikis, profile applications a la MySpace or openBC and bookmark servers a la might have an enormous effect on organizational development. It will change the world in large ecosystems like it changes the world right now in the world of freelancers and entrepreneurs in the Web 2.0. But in the SMB world, where IBM wants us as their business partners to make business, these tools are nice to have – today.

But maybe tomorrow these tools will become a kind of common standard like email is in these days or instant messaging is about to become. Like Mike Rhodin quoted his daughter: „email is for my grandfather“. And these young people will enter our business world very soon.

Return to Germany

This years Lotusphere was extended by adding two days of Pelican watching at the gulf coast. Beautifull and relaxing.

Back at Orlando International Airport I realize all these black and yellow Lotusphere backpacks. It seems lots of attendees spent a few days more over here – even if the weather was not as good as in the past years.

Heavy Duck Traffic


See you next year

See you next year

Bob did NOT ask the first question…


…and he will have to fix the LSX stuff now for himself 😉

„Ask the Developers“, one of my favourite sessions on Lotusphere.

Ask the Developers

Don´t try this at home

Quickr Flickr

Ever wondered about all these missing vowels in cool Web 2.0 product names? Caterina Fake explains how it realy was:

We tried to get „flicker“ with an e, but the guy who had the Web domain wasn’t willing to give it up.

Just checked Not available. Even for IBM. And Taken, but not connected.

Just thought about registering It´s free. Hurry up, if you have a product that fits to that name 😉

via Oliver

Flying Kluge

Yesterday at the SkyVenture. Thanks IT Factory. It was big fun! And I performed better than last year

Does it pay off?

Visiting Lotusphere does pay off. No question. Meet the people you need to talk to. Understand new products and your vendors strategy. It does pay off without question.

But: I receive two or three invitations per evening/day for a special event sponsored by one of our suppliers or the suppliers that want to deal with me. It is always a very expensive dinner, sometimes it is a real event like last years SkyVenture visit with IT Factory – which will be repeated today 😉

On the business partner reception last night one of our partners explained he is paying 100.000 US$ per Lotusphere day. Booth, special events, catering, staff, sponsoring and so on. I met some smaller german partners who realy pay lots of money for the booth and all that stuff to start business in the United States. And I wonder now: Does it realy pay off?

Full House

IBM says over 7000 people attend Lotusphere this year. This is a significant growth compared to 2006. Maybe IBM will have to split up the next opening session in 2008 like in the good old times when over 10.000 people attended Lotusphere 😉



Cool Tools

Lotusphere Opening Session is over, the Eagle has landed. Time to review the announcements.

So it´s all about collaboration. It´s about connecting people and knowledge. Bringing together teams to work efficiently on projects. Help people becoming more productive, fighting the email flood and finding their ways throught the information djungel. Nothing realy new to the Lotus community. That is what this community has done for years. But now collaboration seems to be recognized by CEOs as the big challenge. And collaboration finds its way up from all these succesfull web 2.0 projects to the IBM product portfolio.

So what have we seen today?

  • Sametime 7.5 seems to be very successfull. IBM sold over 1 Million seats of Lotus Sametime. Many partners contribute plugins to the new Eclipse based clients. Furture Direction: With video chat support, tabbed chat, voice and telephony integration Lotus Sametime will become THE Unified Messaging tool for corporate usage.
  • Hannover is Lotus Notes 8 now. Public Beta will be available next month. Some partners like our company is part of the Managed Beta program. And what I can say: This Beta version is extremly robust and easy to work with. We saw some features I did not know about like ghosted calendar entries or the integrated PDF converter for documents.
  • Lotus Quickr is a Web 2.0 like collaborative content server. It looked like a mesh-up of Workplace Documents, QuickPlace and some Blog and Wiki solutions.
  • Lotus Quickr Personal Edition supports Document Management functionality within the Windows Explorer, Lotus Sametime Client and Lotus Notes 8 Client with MS Office integration. They said nothing about Open Office integration, but this should not be a big deal. Cool feature: Drag´n´Drop of documents between Quickr and Notes Mail plugin in the new Lotus Notes 8 client. And the best thing: It comes for free to all Lotus Notes users. Lotus Quickr will make the daily work with documents much more easier within the collaborative environment of Lotus Notes and Lotus Sametime. And it shares information with the standards like RSS and Atom support.
  • Lotus Quickr Standard Edition adds Teamspaces, Blogs and Wikis. And it comes with lots of templates. So you can start with a project management teamroom right away. The Standard Edition will be for free for owners of a Quickplace license. Interesting: Quickr apps will be available offline by NSF support. So it replicates. There is a Java based local store too and connectors to Filenet.
  • With Lotus Connections IBM finally makes the Activity server available. The call it the „First Ready-for-Business Social Software“. And this is something I waited for since a long time. The activity centric appoach to collaboration was integrated in several products like the old Workplace Managed Client, and last years Lotusphere visitors could see very cool code in the labs running on top of a simple Tomcat server. IBM now delivers the Activity toolset including a bookmark server á la, a powerfull profiling engine and social community support. Of course it integrates into Eclipse based Sametime client as well as in the new Lotus Notes 8 client. Last year they showed a Lotus Notes 6.x and higher integration for the Activity server, but today I have not heard anything about the support of older versions.
    Lotus Connections will be be available to Lotusphere Online users this afternoon. I am very curious how it works.

IBM promises to build cool tools. Why cool? Because cool tools will be pulled into organizations, you don´t have to push it. Just like Instant Messaging made its way to the corporate world, because it was cool and people wanted to use it. IBM speaks about „viral adoption“. And from what I have seen, there is a good chance for things like Lotus Quickr and Lotus Connections to be adopted exactly this way. These solutions realy look cool.

Lotusphere 2007 in Second Life

Lotusphere in Second Life – fountain
Originally uploaded by ed brill.

This is amazing. If you are not her live at Lotusphere, visit Lotusphere in Second Life. Come to the Dolphin virtually, or watch the Opening Session.

Visit the Lotusphere Complex in Second Life ( 9/34/58/23/).

Lotus Notes 8 has landed

Neill Armstrong @ Lotusphere 2007 opening

In fact Lotus Notes 8 has not landed yet, it is arriving. But it has been named officially Lotus Notes 8 now. And public beta will start next month.

But the man who realy landed at Lotusphere 2007 a few minutes ago is very special: Neil Armstrong, the man who first landed on the moon.

More announcements later on…

22 ounces

Yesterday evening we were invited to Shula´s Steakhouse in the Dolphin Hotel. While the waiter offered his premium product, a 22 ounces cowboy peace of meat, we discussed if we realy should order it. The waiter estimated the 22 ounces to be approximatly 290 gramms, while other german analysts at the table estimated the 22 ounces to be aoround 1000 gramm.

Today in the morning I know: it must have been more than 1000 gramm 😉 The baby cow in my stomach went around with me all the night. Puhhh


It is strange if you have to decide: Should I stay at the beach or go to the pool. Right in the middle of January. Sun is shining, weather is great, people are happy. Welcome to Lotusphere.


Finally I made it. A little late, but I arrived safe and sound. This year for some reason I had a stop over in Milano, then headed to Atlanta. Flying over the alps with clear weather was great. Delta reps were unsual friendly these days, and food was great. Maybe because the catering company was italian 😉

Had a very warm welcome in cold Atlanta with hot Mexican food and celebrating a great birthday party – thanks Rusty.

Then headed today at 6:00 a.m. to Orlando. Unfortunatly too late for the Business Development Day opening session. From what I have heard from other attendees everybody is realy excited. A streamlined product portfolio (Workplace, anyone?), Sametime 7.5 buzz and of course Lotus Notes 8. Some announcements around the Activities, Document Management and Task Management expected to hear tomorrow. And a strong focus on social software and Web 2.0 stuff that will find its way to the Lotus product portfolio.

Official numbers say there are much more attendees than in the last year. From what I can say Hotels were sold out much earlier than last year.

And I am here only for a few hours and ran into so many well known friends and colleagues. This shoud become a great week here at Lotusphere.

Off to Atlanta

Home of KES L.L.C.

On my way to Lotusphere now. With short stopover in Atlanta to visit old friends. See you at Lotusphere.


Orlando Weather

And it´s T minus 3 days.