Day Three started out with a social software keynote that introduced several customer case studies where Quickr and Lotus Connections have been deployed to provide collaboration among diverse sets of users. In one case, Teach For America, the customer used IBM Lotus social software to support a dynamic workforce that is marked by high turn over, geographically dispersed members, and users with an average age of less than 30 years old. It was a sort of amplified version of the next generation information worker.
More meetings in the morning which included some lively discussions about SMB channel and the overall Notes/Domino market and uptake of N/D 8. My conversations indicate that it is very interesting time and I believe we're in for a dynamic market in the next few years. 2007 was what I consider a "release to the market" year where vendors focused on releasing new and upgraded products to the market. Much of that time was spent explaining the new products and the product strategy. Since both IBM and Microsoft release major upgrades of their core products the discussion has shifted from being application space focused (i.e., Notes Mail vs Exchange/Outlook) to platform focused ( i.e., IBM Lotus vs Microsoft). I feel that this new conversation has driven customers to re-evaluate their collaboration assumptions and solutions. Much of 2007, evidenced by customer questions, has been spent doing this evaluation and I believe that in 2008 we'll begin to see the results of their decisions. I'm expecting a fun ride.
Lotusphere 2008 reflected that dynamic. There were many new solutions, partnerships, channel programs, and product updates announced at the event. Some were significant updates to tools, such as porting Domino Designer to the eclipse rich client framework in the 8.5 release of N/D (currently not expected until later in 2008), and some announcements support more significant IBM Lotus market directions, such as Bluehouse and Lotus Foundations, that support IBM Lotus' SMB strategy.
I'll be back later with my thoughts on Day Four!