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IBM Lotus Community News - In case you missed it!

I thought I'd take a few minutes to highlight and comment on several of the truly things you should know news items and upcoming events in the IBM Lotus Community lately.

May 10th, 2009: Nathan highlights the Bob Picciano vs. Lotus Online Community Bloggers conference call, which took place on Friday, May 8th, 2009. I had the privilege of not only attending the call but asking Bob the following question:

You'd mentioned that collaboration was the heart of the Smart Work initiative.  Do you see certain products in the Lotus portfolio coming to the foreground? And conversely do you see some products falling to the background?  Would we leverage more cloud services?  Or are we looking at streamlining Domino?  What's the break down as you see it to really drive this initiative home?

At least that's what Nathan quoted me saying, which sounds a lot smarter than anything that normally falls out of my mouth...

Bob fielded each question - including this one - like someone who actually gets it. This was my first interaction with the current General Manager of IBM Lotus, and the impression that I left with was that Bob is one of us.

A few things that you should absolutely take away from the call:

  • Mac as a client alternative is shaking people up to understand that there's no reason I couldn't have the same level of proficiency with a slick client like Ubuntu.

    Nathan highlighted this one as well - the BYOOS attitude of the Lotus product portfolio really shines through with this statement. Lotus products are a cost-savings alternative to competitive collaborative technologies - in part - due to their non-dependancy on Operating Systems, Hardware, etc.

  • The other aspect of the applications is that it's not necessarily the traditional apps -- they can be apps that come through SaaS, web services, widgets and gadgets which are much less dependent on underlying technology, and as a consequence act as an enabler.

    I'll step back here and bring up a topic that was just discussed on the latest episode of The 1352 Report. In this episode, the gang discusses potential marketing to the end user customer.

    The thing that I have always found in these Lotus sucks arguments that arguably helped spawn (or at least contributed to) the Lotus Marketing discussion is this: the main reason people complain about Lotus Notes is that they perceive a better usage experience with a different technology. They know the other technology. They've seen what it can do. They've heard good things about it. Whatever the case, the driver isn't something personal against a given Lotus product (again, in most cases) but the want of the day-to-day customer to have a better experience and ultimately an easier work day.

    Now, in that context, consider Bob's statement. Lotus products can be used to deliver enterprise level, real-business issue-addressing solutions via SaaS, cloud solutions, widget and gadgets as well as traditional web browser or fat client applications without pushing a given technology. Hell, the technology should be seamless and transparent in the usage experience.

    Does this change how you're building your Lotus product-based applications?

  • There's so much more potential on what we can do today.  We've got to get the word out.

    This - to me - was the biggest take away from that call. IBM understands - like every yellowbleeder knows - that we are working with an absolutely amazing product portfolio. IBM - more importantly - understands that they need to make customers know that too. And IBM is really starting to push initiatives to make this a reality. I think they understand that their marketing may be missing their targets. They understand that there is a lot of talent outside of the IBM organization and are looking to leverage it with new strengthened community interactions. And while it's not something that can happy overnight, it is happening!

May 12th, 2009: OpenNTF, just this past week, announced their Steering Committee members and released their new online web presence.

OpenNTF's mission statement (if you will):

OpenNTF is devoted to enabling groups of individuals all over the world to collaborate on IBM Lotus Notes/Domino applications and release them as open source.

Browse the catalog to find the projects, components and controls you're looking for which have been made available under the Apache license (ALv2).

Get involved in OpenNTF by contributing code, discussing technical topics or submitting ideas for OpenNTF improvements.

In the midst of this re-launch, long-time OpenNTF contributor Declan Sciolla-Lynch published the following observation: Is OpenNTF In Danger Of Jumping The Shark. Interesting points and concerns that I'm certain are shared amongst contributors and users alike, but the thing that I want to point out here - which serves to drive my earlier point home - is that IBM is engaging the community. In this case, it was by through the OpenNTF Steering Committee members and those IBMers who commented on the post. Definitely a must-read for anyone who leverages the amazing contributions, thankfully contributes themselves, or is especially concerned about IBMs involvement in the Open Source Lotus Notes/Domino community initiative.

May 13th, 2009: And speaking of community initiatives, the Lotus Technical Information & Education Community Kickoff meeting is scheduled for May 26th, 2009.

Join us for the first monthly meeting of the Lotus Technical Information and Education community! Our community consists of IBMers, business partners and customers who contribute to or use technical information for Lotus & Websphere Portal products, as well as those who have worked with the Lotus Information Development Center to provide feedback to help improve our offerings.

In this kickoff meeting, you'll hear about our community building strategy, meet some of our advocates who've agreed to help drive contributions, and learn how you can participate in our community to help keep technical information accurate, comprehensive, easy to find and relevant.

If you have product expertise to share or have opinions on how Lotus technical content can be improved, please join us for this important kickoff meeting! If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the audio replay which will be posted following the meeting.

To accommodate schedules, we've setup two meetings:

  1. May 26th, 2009 @ 9:00AM - 10:00AM Eastern (-5:00 GMT)
  2. May 26th, 2009 @ 7:00PM - 8:00PM Eastern (-5:00 GMT)

We will be updating the Lotus Technical Information and Education Community (Greenhouse Login required) with more information on the meetings as we get closer to the date! If you're not on IBM Greenhouse (or are and haven't joined the the Lotus Technical Information and Education Community yet) there's still time to join before the call!

Those of you on Facebook can get more information via the following published events on the Lotus Technical Information and Education Facebook page:

About the author: Chris Toohey

Thought Leadership, Web & Mobile Application Development, Solutions Integration, Technical Writing & Mentoring

A published developer and webmaster of, Chris Toohey specializes in platform application development, solutions integration, and evangelism of platform capabilities and best practices.

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