Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lotusphere 2011: the strands of change

LOTUSPHERE ANALYSIS

By Mick Moignard

While much of Lotusphere 2011 stayed the same, this was a Lotusphere that heralds profound change. Over the next few years, we're in for an interesting, challenging, but also fun time in the Lotus collaboration world.

This is a different Lotusphere report than from previous years. It may well not say what you were expecting it to say at all. There may be stuff in here that you'd rather not read, but I'm sure that there's also a lot that will give you cheer.

That means that this report isn't going to be about detailed product announcements, because there weren't very many. For sure, there are feature changes and updates in Notes and Domino 8.5.3 coming in the near future. I will spend a little time on those later, but that's not what's important.

This year's theme was "Get Social. Do Business", and the whole conference revolved around that theme. Fair to say that this was really the first time that the whole show has acted out its strapline. 2011 is to be the year that the social revolution in the IBM Lotus collaboration family takes off and becomes mainstream.

Unraveling the strands of change

To explain this, we need to separate the strands of change to see them more clearly, and then weave them all back together to see the complete picture.

Last year, we were introduced to IBM's Project Vulcan. Project Vulcan was not a product then and is still not a product today. Vulcan is a strategy, or rather a philosophy, that is guiding and shaping the way that IBM's collaboration product set will evolve over the next few years.

Vulcan itself has four strands, and while this all runs the risk of starting to sound like a marketing piece, I do need to explain them.

The first is Innovation -- striving for new and better ways to make ever growing amount of data both accessible and meaningful, but without overwhelming us. The way that's going to happen is through increasing use of analytics, and using that to ensure that we are presented with the information we need now, depending on what we are doing, what we have been doing, who we've been doing it with, where we are now, and how we are accessing that data.

To do that requires Convergence between the existing products. They'll lean on each other where they can, and will present the user with a seamless experience that blends the capabilities of the individual products together (depending on which are installed and available) as the user works.

That Convergence will not be at the expense of Continuity. The existing products will, largely remain in existence and largely look and work as they do now, so that we won't be faced with rip and replace migrations. They'll just work more closely together, including complete SSO between them, including the Notes client.