Lotusphere2007

Leaving for home

Well that, as they say, is it. I stayed on for an extra couple of days mainly because I couldn't get a flight organised for earlier, but it's been good to wind down slowly. Yesterday was supremely lazy, I went out to run a few shopping errands for people back home, mooched around Downtown Disney, got some dinner. In short I didn't walk a lot or drink heavily which is a welcome change from the last few days.

It really has been a great week, catching up with old friends, making new ones and getting really hyped up for Notes 8. The concensus is that we should be seeing the public beta in the next month or two which will be great on two fronts, to get my greedy little hands on it for myself but also to start the build up with colleagues, we need to get the message out to our users and, more importantly, IT management that Notes is back in a big way.

The challenge normally after Lotusphere is to get myself back into the real world, it's always a little depressing going home and finding that the cool new stuff you've just spent a week looking at is unlikely to be seen in the wild for a long time yet but this year the aim will be to get it out there as quickly as possible.

I have managed to spend a little time thinking about the big announcements of the week and where they leave us. Of course this is all personal opinion, I have nothing to base this on other than my own experience. Of the two new products I think Quickr is the most likely to succeed. My reasoning comes from two directions, firstly it's free and presumably will be available at the user's desktop rather than requiring central IT departments to do anything to roll it out. I would imagine it will take some time to filter out into the general population but the benefit to users is going to be so obvious that I can't see why it wouldn't be used. My suspicion is that actually it won't be used by teams to start with but by individuals as an electronic briefcase, but as it grows the paid-for version will be used for more formal teamwork. The thought of being able to ditch shared network drives alone should be enough to convince people.

Connections future I think is less certain. The IBM W3 site looks great, as does the Lotusphere Connections site which was put up mid-week and the concept of social software is great when there is a large ecosystem to support it. On the web, del.icio.us and Digg work because there are millions of users. Even on W3, IBM has hundreds of thousands of employees who, by their nature are going to be interested in this sort of thing. Even so, in both cases the actual percentage of the audience who use the sites is tiny, I may be wrong but I think I heard in a session this week that less than 10% of IBM people use Dogear and this in a dedicated high tech company. The whole point of these sites is that they reach a critical mass but if you scale down the user base I'm not sure that point can be reached. I'd love to be proved wrong because I think that sort of interactive intranet would be hugely beneficial to many companies, I just can't see there being enough of an initial push to get them going.

So another Lotusphere bites the dust. Of course Lotusphere 2008 is only 51 weeks away, it's running from January 20-24, I'm starting to save for my ticket right away!