Lotusphere 2011 – press conference notes

Finally, I am coming around to blog my notes from the Lotusphere 2011 press conference.

I won’t regurgitate any press releases, you can easily find them at the IBM Lotusphere press room, rather it’s notes about the questions (and consecutive) answers (with an occasional snappy remark by me, of course).

So what was in there? First, recapitulations of the things we’ve heard already at the opening session, ie. the importance of mobile social business (stressing that clients will be there for all major mobile platforms), the upcoming Project Vulcan-enhanced new Connections next, Sametime next and everything next, and the announcement of new programs to help partners embrace the “growing social business market opportunity”.

I think that “embrace to leverage” is good, needs some coaching and education and IBM is stepping up their efforts, see eg. the Become a Social Business site, aimed not only at customers but also at partners et al. Fitting that they’re taking great efforts at also educating and motivating IBM staff. As Paul Greenberg tweeted: “They are not only eating their own dogfood, they’re breeding their own dogs!” – yes, and it’s a great investment too: “IBM aims to train 50K of its employees on #socbiz this year, so they can be more effective and help others” as Larry Hawes says correctly.

In the question round it started off with an analyst asking how IBM prioritizes open standards – and which ones?

Alistair Rennie chose the safe road and answered that – whether inside or outside the firewall – with standards there’s always a spectrum (or as I would say, there’s legion to choose from and some of them don’t catch on even if they are very cleverly devised and all). So, for IBM HTML5 is a big one, OpenSocial, OAuth, Activity Streams and more. This parallels what eg. RIM is thinking (there should be no Apps needed for the web, native access is cool because it also allows you to employ your existing tools) and is mirrored as well in the provision of the Social Business Toolkit (more on this later, I have to sort out some things on this, like seeing through my notes from Charlie Hill’s sunday morning talk “Executive Insight: The IBM Social Business Platform”)

How long will it take for widespread adoption?

Again Alistair Rennie took to it – explaining that IBM sees it as a business-driven thing (and I say is obviously grounded in it’s approach, you better be when you’re that old …, no need for too much revolutionary /missionary zest), where you need to be able to act sensibly and contextually relevant. But the social business mindset can be applied to a wide variety of business processes and the advantages are tangible (sure, they are I say) so he’s optimistic about adoption.

What are the ideas to help people filter through the information avalanche? (this wasn’t the exact wording of the question, but close enough -I thought it a bit awkward, ie. remember the notion of Clay Shirky – filter failure, not information overload)

Two elements – one filtering (yes, analytics, applying semantic analytics to extract meaning and act upon it), the other (predicitive) analytics – especially important when you think of the synchronization of activity streams on mobile devices. You don’t want all info tidbits presented there, so you need to differentiate the super-important or urgent from the rest. So you filter stuff in the back, then push the best onto the device. The exact methods to do this are in the working, but it’s essential that this filtering and high-lighting is done in an open and transparent way.

Concerning organizational change management – what is IBM doing to help people understand the importance? Does it reshape fundamental (departmental) organizational processes? What are IBM’s experiences?

Hmm, here I didn’t get the whole answer, but I am pretty sure it revolved around demonstrating benefits, educating and coaching (see above on what IBM is doing, yes) and the need for an (internal) team of ambassadors (think what the BlueIQ team has done for IBM) who explain, show and tell, … Alistair also pointed out that while it always depends on the context, ie. industry and business segment, IBM has brought a row of clients to #ls11 that can give insight into what they’ve done, so go ahead and talk to them.

So what is part of Project Vulcan?

Short answer: last year it was a project not a product, this year there’s tweaked products, ie. Notes next is heavily Vulcan vision influenced. Equally the mobile solutions (there was talk about this at ls10 for sure, see eg. my write-up of last year’s analyst briefing), the provision of the Social Business Toolkit etc. So basically Project Vulcan is everywhere …

There were more questions on Symfony, the dangers risks of social software, ie. downsides of transparency, and also on how much IBM is investing and expecting to earn. Needless to say that this last one was asked by a guy from forbes.com (I bet you knew that already, huh?). He got a short answer, ie. core focus, big play, big expectations (I bet you knew that already too, huh?). The longer answer involved some grounded reasoning around the benefits not alone being in saving money, but eg. also driving down cycle-time, time to market etc. And there was a nice remark on CSC seeing social business is working and consequently not putting the numbers on close scrutiny all the time. So much for this zombie-alike recurring theme of “We can’t do this as long as we don’t have numbers” (aka the RoI discussion et al.).
ps. very geeky picture above (“it goes to 11, we checked”) by The Original Turtle

Oliver Marks and Andrew McAfee at the Enterprise 2.0 conference

During the last two days I have spent the better part of my nights listening in to and participating in the discussion at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco. This wasn’t only Twitter, quite some documenting took place in Google Wave too (that’s global collaboration, me and Dan editing the same blip while being literally thousands of miles away from each other, for #nirvana we only need to sort out the time zone problems). Some notes and thoughts are still forming and may end up in a frogpond- or enterprise2open-blog post soon …

Until then this video is a good thing to watch, Oliver Marks (who happens also to be one of the headliners at next week’s E20SUMMIT) talking with Andrew McAfee (new book here: Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges) about the conference, it’s target audience and about the current state of the discussion around Enterprise 2.0.

We discuss the strengths of the event – the evangelists and middle ranking employee success stories – but also note the need for impressing on senior ‘C’ suite decision makers in organizations the business value of these modern ideas and associated technologies.

There are at least two interesting things to notice in there, one: the discussion is evolving quickly and the experts have since long stopped to mull over questions of definition, why even of questioning RoI. The real topics are now the necessary steps we all should take to get the C-Suite from “being interested” to becoming active sponsors – and how to explain the tangible benefits of collaborative performance. Systems are ready and able, experienced consultants ditto and may work for the satisfaction of being the change you want to see money. Gentlemen, please let your projects start.

The other thing is the obervation I absolutely second that middle-level people aren’t the roadblock, in fact they are the necessary ingredient of Enterprise 2.0 success and make out most of the participants both at the Enterprise 2.0 conference and the upcoming E20SUMMIT. This isn’t by chance or “because they were told to go” but because they feel the need and the willingness to change with and by Enterprise 2.0.

Upcoming: re:publica 09


Die re:publica beginnt kommenden Mittwoch in Berlin. Das sieht wieder sehr spannend aus, einige Highlights aus dem Programm:

The social media experiment is over. Now is the time to extract value for business and society (Adam Christensen, IBM)

Individuals and organizations have been experimenting with social media now for the better part of this decade. Given the economic conditions in which we currently operate, experimentation without clear connection to corporate strategy is all but dead. Today is the time to move from experimenting with social media to extracting value from social media, for business and societal gain. This session will share perspective and ideas from IBM’s own social media transformation over the past six years.

Social everywhere – wie das Web 2.0 die Unternehmen erobert mit Peter Schuett, ebenfalls IBM (in meinem Interview mit Jeff Schick hat er einen kurzen Gastauftritt …).

Gerade angesichts eines verstärkten Wettbewerbs unter aktuell schwierigen Rahmenbedingungen erkennen immer mehr Unternehmen, dass „Wissen“ ihre entscheidende Ressource ist. Wie lassen sich Mitarbeiter motivieren, den Wissensaustausch innerhalb von Unternehmensgrenzen aktiv voranzutreiben? Welche Web 2.0 Anwendungen sind dabei für die interne und externe Zusammenarbeit von besonderem Interesse? Wo liegen die Hemmnisse und wie lassen sich diese beseitigen? In dieser Break-Out-Session zeigen wir anhand von konkreten Beispielen aus dem Alltag auf, wie aus einem “starren” Unternehmen ein dynamisches und flexibel agierendes Enterprise 2.0 wird.

Open Everything mit Andrea Goetzke und Christine Kolbe

„openeverything“ is a global conversation about the art, science and spirit of ‘open’. It gathers people using openness to create and improve software, education, media, philanthropy, neighbourhoods, workplaces and the society we live in: everything. It’s about thinking, doing and being open.

Open source software, wikipedia and creative commons are open projects that have become mainstream. Beyond these well known initiatives, principles of openness increasingly form part of innovative initiatives and are entering debates, in very different areas of production, of social organization, of business models, and of cultural expression (just look at how many sessions in this re:publica programme relate to open approaches). Many times, open changes the game, challenges traditional business models, perceptions of property, and structures of organizational processes

Wikipedia, Wikia, and the future of Free Culture mit Jimbo Wales

Mr. Wales will discuss the history of Wikipedia and Wikia, and give his thoughts on the lessons we can draw from how high quality online communities produce value. He will discuss, in particular, the impact of online communities and the free flow of information for open-government initiatives.

How to survive the Web without embracing it mit Cory Doctorow

What does a “copy-native” business-model look like? Is it possible to embrace copying and still succeed? Is it even possible to reject copying?

Habe ich schon erwähnt dass IBM die re:publica sponsort und auch einige der BlueBlog-Autoren nach Berlin kommen?

In unserer Subkonferenz spricht Dr. Peter Schütt darüber, wie Web 2.0 die Unternehmen erobert. Ed Brill berichtet aus der Praxis eines Corporate Bloggers – zugeschaltet per Videokonferenz aus den USA. Dass es im Unternehmen nicht immer ein Microsoft-basierter Desktop sein muss, zeigen Andreas Pleschek und Philipp Königs in ihrem Workshop. Thomas Wenzel-Haberstock erklärt das Prinzip der IBM Innovation Jams und Michael Hoffmann zeigt, was Mobility und Smartphones im Unternehmensumfeld bedeuten und bieten. Und nicht zuletzt gibt es dann noch einen Mashup-Workshop, wo die Besucher zusammen mit Bernd Beilke und Torsten Hoffmann Business Mashups bauen. Alles in allem ein buntes, vielfältiges Programm, dass vielfältige Möglichkeiten des Enterprise 2.0 aufzeigen wird. Ich freue mich auf jeden Fall unheimlich darauf, durch die Subkonferenz führen zu dürfen.

Nein, habe ich bisher nicht gebloggt? Na dann wird es aber wirklich Zeit – ich freue mich schon sehr euch alle wieder zu treffen … und vielleicht schaffe ich es auch zu einem Interview mit Ed Brill um über Social Media als Werkzeug innerhalb von Unternehmen zu sprechen. Das wäre auch mehr als interessant für die aktuelle Diskussion rund um “Collaborative Performance”.

Zuletzt – das diesjährige Motto ist ja “Shift happens”, Steffen Büffel hat für die Blogpiloten einige Blogger dazu interviewt – neben Oliver Gassner, PickiHH, Vivian und Dr. Jan Schmidt findet ihr meine Antworten hier: “Shift Happens für … Martin Koser _ frogpond“. Ein kleiner Auszug, in dem vielleicht auch deutlich wird warum ich den Themenmix der re:publica so spannend finde:

Als digitale Webworker gestalten wir die Zukunft auch selbst mit. Welchen Themen liegen Dir am Herzen und warum?

Wichtig ist mir vor allem, dass die Möglichkeiten, die sich durch das Social Web in Organisationen ergeben können, mehr genutzt werden. Das dahinterstehende, grundlegendere Ziel (und mein Antrieb) ist die Mitarbeit bei der Schaffung einer humaneren Arbeitswelt. Ich weiß, das hört sich hochgestochen an, ist aber in der Tat das ganz tiefsitzende Motiv. Das Themenspektrum reicht dabei von der Schaffung von Arbeitsumgebungen und -infrastrukturen, die den Anforderungen von Wissensarbeitern angemessen sind, bis hin zu nachhaltig und ethisch akzeptablem Umgang mit Mitarbeitern, Kunden und Zulieferern in der vernetzten Arbeitswelt der Zukunft. Man könnte fast sagen, dass ich mehr an sozialen Innovationen als an Technologieinnovationen interessiert bin 😉

Für dieses Jahr werden wohl mehr als 1300 Teilnehmer erwartet und viele jagen noch nach einem Ticket – meines gebe ich aber nicht aus der Hand sondern hüte es gut. Kein Wunder auch dass sich die Konferenz dieses mal auch auf umliegende Gebäude, wie den Friedrichstadtpalast (sic!) ausgedehnt hat. Wohlan denn, auf drei anregende Tage in Berlin. Und schließlich, der Soundtrack zu Neverending Shift, did you know?: