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Snapshots from Lotusphere
1. I was focusing on the unified communications sessions, so may have missed some themes from other parts of this vast conference. But my observations of Orlando are summarized in two words: teeming and teaming. Teeming - I can't remember being at a conference with so many attendees. Not only were the session rooms jammed, some sessions went to overflow facilities, voracious hordes seemed to descend like locusts on the goodies put out between breaks, and when was the last time that you saw a line for the men's bathroom? Teaming - In the UC space, at least, IBM is really pushing collaboration and more effective ways of working together. They consistently talked about this notion, both as a concept and also backed up by capabilities that it's rolling out and that it's developing.
2. I have enough gray hairs to remember the previous golden days of IBM several decades ago. One of the hallmarks of their modus operandi then was the large number of R&D initiatives that they would launch - usually overlapping and often competing. I remember back then one strategist telling me, "We want to have at least three approaches under development to every possible alternative." The old saying is that "elephants never forget." Well, if IBM is an elephant, it seems that they haven't forgotten that concept. My observation is that they are at it again, at least in the social networking arena. We were able to spend some time in what they called their "Innovation Labs" and got some visibility into a couple dozen development concepts in social networking capabilities.. And this is just one of the several initiatives that I heard about at the conference. It's very clear that IBM is committed to figuring out how to incorporate into their product suites a variety of innovative collaboration techniques. Perhaps other suppliers are on similar paths, but I haven't had the opportunity to see anything comparable from anyone else. This elephant seems not only to be able to remember, but it dances, too.