The first day at Lotusphere is always a long one with keynotes and meetings jammed into our analyst schedule. In addition to the meeting schedule, Mike Gotta and I gave a presentation on Enterprise 2.0 to a well turned out crowd. Top that off, I've got a flaky laptop which means I've got a bunch of hand written notes to transcribe on the flight home.
The big event is the Opening General Session (OGS) where IBM Lotus announces new and updated products and show us its product strategy for the year. January is a good time to have an event like this, it can set the tone for the year and still get people in the new year frame of mind for positive change. The IBM Lotus theme this year is "Emergence" which comes with a disclaimer that the product strategy being presented "is subject to change without notice."
IBM Lotus made a number of announcements at the OGS, ranging from optimized performance of Domino servers and improved web interfaces for Notes/Domino applications, to iPhone support (some of the wind was knocked out of IBMs sails by an early report), to empowering users to customize their user experiences with widgets and the ability to build layered mashups of enterprise information and tools.
A lot was presented and there are many things for customers to consider. What didn't emerge at the OGS was a clear picture of the future IBM Lotus customer and user. We saw a lot of new technology and choices but no way to figure out which to use when. Still I think there is a compelling story in there, one that will be attractive to IBM Lotus installed base and new customers.
The product strategy is becoming more complex with tools and hosted delivery models that are focused on small and medium businesses. I found the image of the IBM Lotus product and solutions strategy dramatic; where the product strategy in 2007 was built around 5 pillar products and platforms (Notes/Domino, WebSphere Portal, Sametime, Quickr, and Connections) the picture in 2008 has over 10 solutions, including appliances, platforms, services, and end user customization tools.
To summarize the mood was upbeat although it wasn't a pep rally. I think people are having a really good time but I haven't really been able to spend much time with attendees today. Still, there’s a serious edge. I think it might be that partners are finally really busy and that customers have a lot to think about. From what I can tell attendance is up from 2007 and there appears to be a BIG international crowd here.