Lotusphere 2008 – Day 3

January 24, 2008 at 3:12 pm | Posted in collaboration, IBM, Lotusphere2008, social software | Leave a comment

I’m headed to the airport now (so no day 4+ postings from me), but here’s what I heard at the Social Computing Keynote before leaving Lotusphere.

Social Computing Keynote

I’ve noticed that Web 2.0 zealots often distinguish themselves by their evangelical zeal, tying broad sweeps of history to the fundamental nature of man; characterizing social software not as just something you should do, but something that people inherently yearn for, like democracy.  Look through these Web 2.0 binoculars and you can see coming a tidal wave of Facebooking, twittering young millenials that will crash upon the shores of the Enterprise, destroying existing siloed structures and washing old, unprepared, beached whales away.

I consider myself a Web 2.0 advocate, although not a zealot.  Learning how to apply these principles to existing structures will be the key to successful adoption for organizations that are not able to blow up what they have and start again.  This keynote on social computing worried me a bit at first by starting way up in the clouds (more like in the stratosphere), but then got closer to reality, and eventually poked a little fun at empty rhetoric and brought it down safely to Earth.

But first, Jeff Schick started out at the stratospheric level.  Phrases washed over me such as “Collaboration is how we hunted and raised villages” … “we collaborate better than any other animal” (actually I think ants may have us beat and they don’t complain as much) … “the forward march of civilization” … “epic sagas helped us to transmit knowledge over time” … “we transcend time and distance as we work together”

Whew!  But just when the oxygen was getting a little thin up there he started bringing it closer to Earth.  He talked about the need to have a common repository across content management and collaboration, alluding to some upcoming integration with FileNET. 

Next he brought up a set of customers to bring the higher level goals down to real life with good examples of how pilot programs for Notes, Quickr, and Connections can make a real difference. These are new products, so it’s hard to establish a track record quite yet, but these were useful examples including Teach for America, Bank of New York Mellon, Rheinmetal, and Colgate-Palmolive.

Then came Innovation Idol.  It was a cute way to give a few over the top humorous examples of social computing followed by some real demos of business-relevant functionality. 

I think that since Microsoft stumbled with KN, Lotus really has a point they can hammer home about actual, delivering social computing products.  They did a good job of this at the conference and in this keynote, spanning the high-level guru talk that some people still need to hear and the practical applications that others now need.

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