IBM Social Software
Suzanne Livingston 110000F23G firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  social-software ibm-connections 430 Visits
See you next week!
Suzanne Livingston 110000F23G email@example.com Tags:  ibm-connections social-software 460 Visits
Luis Benitez recently joined the IBM Social Software Product Management team, and we're excited to have him on board! Here are some of his thoughts on the new role and IBM Social Software.Today we have a special guest author who you are likely familiar with.
Luis, you are the newest member of the product management family in IBM Social Software, but you certainly aren't new to social software. Can you tell us how you got started in the field and what roles you've had?
>> I initially started with IBM as a Java developer based in Cambridge, MA creating our eLearning platform. I also was one of the developers for the Workplace Rich Client (what we know today as Lotus Expeditor: the base of Lotus Sametime v7.5+ and Lotus Notes 8+). From development, I jumped into consulting helping customers plan and deploy eLearning systems. In 2007, I started to move away from eLearning and into collaboration. At the same time, Lotus Connections v1.0 was born. In 2008, I became the Americas Evangelist for Social Software and now have joined in as a product manager.
What are you looking forward to most about being on the product management side of IBM Social Software?
>> I look forward to continue working with customers and being able to take their needs and challenges and provide them with viable solutions to help them accelerate innovation and connect better with their own customers and partners. I'm also very excited of taking everything that I've learned in the past 2.5 years working on-site with customers and be able to influence the product direction to not only satisfy customer requirements but also keep us ahead of the competition.
What aspects of IBM Social Software are you focused on in your new role?
>> Initially, I'm going to be focused on our Collaboration Agenda which was announced at Lotusphere 2010. I'm going to be working very closely with industry experts to see how we can tailor our solutions for various industries. On one hand, I will be mapping existing industry needs to existing product functionality. On another hand, I'll be learning some of the in-and-outs of the various industries to understand their pain points. With that information, I'll have to influence the product direction to address those challenges.
Your blog, SocializeMe, has become one of the most highly read blogs on all things IBM Social Software. Are you planning to continue blogging? You of course are welcome to blog on Synch.rono.us as often as you'd like!
>> Hahaha! I plan to do as much blogging as possible. Just like Ed Brill when he moved from Sales into Product Management, there will probably be certain things that I can't talk about such as new product features that are coming. Other than that, I plan on being as active as possible and continue to share tips, hints, and my views of what I'm seeing out there.
As an evangelist, part of your role was to evaluate our technology against other social software and collaboration technologies. How does IBM Social Software stack up against the others?
>> From what I've heard and seen from customers, our platform is very mature and ready for the enterprises; it's truly an Enterprise 2.0 platform. IBM social software was really born 12 years ago as an expertise location tool for usage within IBM, and that became the base for our product. 12 years!
Additionally, because of our global reach, we have the experience and the know-how of what it takes to deploy, for example, in countries with strict privacy laws.
Moreover, whether a customer chooses our platform or a competitor's, I think it all comes down to adoption. If the users don't use it, then it's hard to create value. For this reason, I'm really excited about the new social analytics and recommendations engine in the 3.0 release of Lotus Connections. Those features are going to be key in engaging users from day 1 and getting them to return.
Finally, one of the reasons I use and believe in Lotus Connections, it's because it works in **my** context. I really like the fact that the software adjusts to my needs and integrates directly into my email client, my desktop, my instant messaging client, and my BlackBerry. It's almost like the tool comes to me... as opposed to expecting me to go to the tool every so often to check what's new and contribute. It's like real-estate: it's all about location, location, location. And Lotus Connections works where I do (which is not the browser).
Thanks Luis, and welcome aboard!
Suzanne Livingston 110000F23G firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  social-software ibm-connections ibm 5,408 Visits
My first stop was Folgaria, Italy, which is in the northeast mountains of Italy in the Trentino area. The event â€“ DDIVE (Dominopoint in Village Event) - was hosted by athe leaders of the Italian Lotus community Dominopoint, made up of Giuseppe Grasso, Claudio Meregalli and Daniele Grillo, who in addition to being great partners write a fantastic blog. There were several session per day, having a single track which ensured that everyone could attend what they wanted. The theme for the conference was â€œVulcanâ€�, and Scott Souder was invited as well to speak on that topic. Vittorio Fosci covered Lotus Quickr, including what's new with 8.5, and I covered an overview of IBM Social Software with a deep dive on what's coming in the next release of Lotus Connections. I was happy to see that when I asked the audience who was using Lotus Quickr or Lotus Connections, the majority of the room raised their hands, and attendees showed interest in upgrading to Quickr 8.5 and Connections 3.0.
I knew this event was going to be a little different than most user groups when I received my invitation and saw that families were invited to join. Given the conference was over the weekend, this was a wonderful touch. In addition to the standard conference sessions, the team planned a set of activities for the families, such as golf lessons, nature photography, and nodic walking. The last night of the conference was very special, turning the main street in Folgaria to a food tour and going through various Folgarian specialty foods, wines, and desserts. Even the mayor joined us for the evening and participated in the awards ceremony. Hats off to Giuseppe Grasso and Dominopoint as well as Fabio Fabbi of Movantia, who they worked with on the event planning, for creating such a special and memorable event! Thank you Dominopoint for inviting me to speak at your fantastic event!
After spending the Labor Day weekend in Folgaria, I continued on to Helsinki, Finland. The next event was IBM Lotus Forum, hosted by IBM and several sponsors, and the event was all about social networking for the enterprise. I was invited to keynote, and I covered trends in enterprise social software, business examples relevant to the market in Helsinki, and of course what's coming with our next releases. The team in Helsinki kept me busy with several customer and partner meetings, and I am so excited to hear what some of them are up to. One of our top partners in the market are looking at new ways to our blend social software with custom-developed applications, and I spoke with customers about their current deployment and plans for upgrading to the latest releases. I was impressed with the event itself, which brought in a series of panelists to discuss social software for business. I had the pleasure of meeting Janne Saarikko who was a panelist well known in Finland for his Office Nomad experiment of working at a different company every month. He's taking the concept of coworking to a whole new level!
Of course, the Helsinki event was an interesting experience as well. The theme was a Cuban beach setting, and for the first time ever I presented in a room full of beach sand and beach chairs! In typical Finnish style, one of my business meetings was held in a (thankfully powered off) sauna, as it was one of the few quiet areas with wifi! After the event was over, we had Cuban food and entertainment. Thanks so much for the team in Helsinki for my new Lotus tietaa wear (Lotus Knows)!
The last and final stop on the tour was Amsterdam, for the Netherlands User Group (NLLUG) conference. This was another partner run event with the theme of social software. There was an entire track dedicated to social software, and a sizeable portion of the sessions were about Lotus Connections and / or Lotus Quickr. I presented a portfolio overview and focus on Lotus Connections Next. However, the highlight of the sessions for me was attending 2 sessions by one of our customers, BASF, who talked about the business benefits they have experienced using Lotus Connections as well as their IT strategy for rolling it out. In a very short time, they have gain considerable adoption across the company and had a great story to tell about how they were able to push social software forward.
One of the most interesting things about the Amsterdam event was the venue â€“ the Amsterdam Arena. This is the location where their football (soccer for us Americans) team plays, and the stadium is gigantic! The opening and keynote sessions were in the bleachers and grass area of the stadium, and general sessions / partner showcase was in dedicated rooms. What a cool location of have the event!
These 3 events showed me that the international presence of business social software is strong and growing. These were high-energy and enthusiastic conferences conducted by dedicated business partners and IBMers. Thank you all for inviting me to be a part of them, and for highlighting the value of social software for businesses!
Suzanne Livingston 110000F23G email@example.com Tags:  ibm-connections travel social-software 326 Visits
Stuart McIntyre got Bill Buchan, Chris Miller, Mary Beth Raven, Paul Mooney, and I together at NLLUG for a "This Week in Lotus" podcast session, covering all sorts of topics like recent Lotus User Groups, NLLUG, how we arrived there, and even some tips on Connections 3 and Notes 8.5.2. It was a fun session thanks to the ever entertaining personalities. Click hereThis morning,