By Mick Moignard
For all that we discussed the demise of the Lotus name after Lotusphere 2011, the Lotusphere name itself has not yet gone away. Planning at IBM for 'Sphere 2012 is gathering pace, and a Lotusphere 2012 Web site has appeared.
That means that it's time to start preparations. First up will be to get the authority to go from the boss -- and I suspect that may be as hard as it ever has been in the current economic climate. If you've been before, you'll need to be able to show him just what value you got from being there.
If 2012 is going to be the first time you've been to Lotusphere, you'll need to research what resources are likely to be available to you at the show. Relate those resources to issues and problems you have back at work, as well as try to look forward to what skills and knowledge you're likely to need in the the next 12-18 months that you don't have now.
Think back to last year's conference
Which sessions or lab experiences have helped you make a difference since the show? Were you energised by Mat Newman's Where is the Love session, and able take back some ideas on how to make your users more productive with Notes and also make less help desk calls? Can you show that Notes-related helpdesk calls have fallen as a result?
Or did you go to some deeply technical session that improved your coding skills and knowledge, such that you were able to shave a couple of days off a project?
Or were you able to configure a new Sametime server more easily and improve the reliability of it? If so, show the boss how the time you saved there saved the company money, and enabled you to do other things that you might not have had time to do otherwise, and generally made you more valuable than the money spent to send you there.
If you didn't go -- or if you did, and want to go again -- look at the skills and knowledge that you think you're going to need over the next few months.
Could XPages be a part of your next development project? Are you using DAOS -- if not, why not? If you are, are you getting the best from it?
Do you need some help to get more from Lotus Traveler? Are you wondering how to better deploy Connections, both from technical perspective but also the need to understand the likely cultural and business change issues that will surface and have to be dealt with?
Learning at Lotusphere
Lotusphere is the best place to find these things out, not just by attending sessions, but also by cornering the experts -- people who've been there already -- in the developer labs, at Birds of a Feather sessions, or just in the hotel lobby or in a bar somewhere.
Spend a little time before you go making sure that you know what you want to find out and which people are likely to be able to help you, and then be ready to search them out.