Confessions of a conference newbie: IBM Connect
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  paul_band ibm_redbooks ibmconnect lotusphere domino
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The weekend had started in a freezing England teaching my three-year-old how to make snowballs in the local park. Just 36 hours later I arrived to a balmy Florida evening to attend the IBM Connect 2013 conference. This was my first time at Lotusphere or IBM Connect and I was extremely pleased that I came!
If you have never been to this conference then all I can say is that you simply must come next year. It is amazing! It offers the single best networking opportunity for social business enthusiasts. I have met with so many new customers, business partners, technical experts and product managers, as well as making new friends.
The opening general session (OGS) started with the energy of a rock concert and set the scene for the next few days. The actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt introduced his initiative, Hit Record, where artists submit ideas, create content, collaborate and vote to identify the best submissions to produce works such as short films. This collaborative approach to creative work draws parallels with IBM Docs. IBM Docs facilitates working jointly with other contributors to create documents, both inside and external to your organization.
Overall from the OGS it was clear to me that integration of our social business and collaboration software is a key direction, as is access from mobile devices. This is very interesting since it reflects what customers have been telling me in the last few months—particularly around mobile.
In another session, social analytics were demonstrated using a climbing gear company, Greenwell Sports. I began to think about how using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter would work to test new ideas around promotions and product ideas. These social tools would also provide a channel to receive live product feedback from the community. Companies should, however, take care in this approach to prevent reputation damage.
On the subject of networking, I had breakfast with a partner from the Midwest region of the United States who manages a team of Domino developers. Being from a Domino development background myself, we got talking about some of the more (pause for thought) unusual design challenges that we had come across. We shared some great ideas and exchanged contact details, so I now have another expert in my community network.
During a “Sametime Deployment Best Practices” session my question to the presenter instigated a discussion between myself, the developer and members of the audience. One of the customers in the presentation had experienced the exact deployment challenge that I was trying to find the best approach to. Not only did I find the answer but I also know that someone out in the world is actually doing it.
I also attended some very practical sessions around Domino administration best practices that I know I will be able to put into practice in my work with customers when I get back home.
That about sums up my experience of IBM Connect 2013. I hope to return next year if possible, so perhaps I'll see you then.
Paul Band is a technical consultant for IBM Software Services for Collaboration in the UK. Paul specializes in the implementation and administration of collaboration systems. Paul is especially passionate about using social networking to find expertise and widen his network. Paul co-authored a Redbooks wiki publication on Domino administration best practices and enjoys cycling and crazy golf.
Paul is an IBM Redbooks thought leader