InsideLotus - Lotus, Portal and Social Collaborative Software
Last week at Lotusphere I was pleased to help announce that RIM will be providing a mobile solution for Lotus Connections. Lotus Connections helps you build out your social networking inside your company and now you can extend your capability to mobile devices. It has always made sense, and really only a matter of time before a mobile solution was available for Lotus Connections. With Lotus Connections profiling service, you can quickly and easily find experts and resources across your company. Viewing someone's profile allows you to find out more information about that person such as projects they are working on or have worked on. You can surf up, down, and across the reporting structure and find all the business relevant information to contact them. I can't tell you how many times I've been on my mobile device and wish I had profile access to my entire corporate directory. Well guess what, now I will with RIM's solutions as I can easily search by name, job, keywords to find the right people and start an email or phone call with them.
Dogear, our social bookmarking service can also be leveraged from Blackberry devices. I love to use Dogear as I can easily manage and find my bookmarks as well as others regardless of the machine or browser I use. Now I can use my Blackberry device to get access to my bookmarks when I'm on the go. I am extremely excited to be working with RIM on their solution.
For more info - read RIM's press coverage at http://www.rim.com/news/press/2008/pr-23_01_2008-01.shtml
This week Google and IBM announced an initiative to promote the open standards and new software methods that will drive the growth of the next generation of the Internet. The initiative aims to help students and researchers address the challenges of internet-scale applications in the future.
The objective of this initiative is to help students build advanced skills and tools to develop next-generation computing infrastructure and applications to drive the Internet’s next phase of growth. Google and IBM have built a virtual IT lab based on the Cloud Computing model and released a complete suite of open source-based development tools for writing massively parallel applications. IBM and Google are teaming up to provide hardware, software and services to augment university curricula and expand research horizons. With their combined resources, the companies hope to lower the financial and logistical barriers for the academic community to explore this emerging model of computing.
More informatino here.
I tried to post this in a more timely manner, but had to wait until I made it home from Karlsruhe. I see that Mr. Brill already picked it up. This post will provide more info.
At DNUG on May 16, Maureen Leland stepped into her previous previous role (I think Vowe called her the "mutter of Designer") and gave a talk on Domino Designer 7. The format of the presentation was to talk about what is in release 7.0, what's coming next with Hannover, and the future vision -
First up was what is in Designer 7.0:
DB2 Query Access Views
Productivity enhancements like shared columns and design list updates
She demo'd each of these in turn.
Then she moved into a discussion of some new things coming in with the Notes client "Hannover" release, primarily around supporting composite applications. For instance, with composite apps, we'll need a way for the Domino app to produce and consume component properties, so we'll include new design elements for that. What this means is that a you can pass data from one Notes component to another, even if they don't know about each other beforehand. That's because the architecture allows for late-binding of these connections. (In addition, you can pass info to/from Notes and any other application component written to this model.)
Maureen then said, "What if we could provide:
A better source code editing experience;
like a class browser for your code;
or, to make it easier to develop for a client platform that blends Eclipse and Notes?" Such a tease! I don't think anyone in the audience knew what was coming next: a prototype of Domino Designer running on the Eclipse platform!
We'll already have Workplace Designer, Forms Designer, Portlet Factory, and Rational App Developer in Eclipse...so, the obvious thing to do would be to also evolve Domino Designer into the Eclipse platform. This means that the current Domino Designer design element "editors" (Form, View, Agent, etc) can be rendered inside of an Eclipse perspective. In fact, she started with the same plugin that the Notes client uses to re-parent inside of the Workplace Managed Client today. We have been discussing this for a few months and support within Lotus is there to do it - plus, Maureen has a good idea of HOW to do it, which always helps. (Executives Kevin Cavanaugh and Jim Russell were on hand at the DNUG session to gauge reaction - I'd say it was very exciting, even applause.)
So, what we will have is the power of Eclipse as a development platform applied to advancing the Domino Designer development environment. You can imagine using the Eclipse script editors (such as the one in Workplace Designer) for coding up agents or any other place a script exists - and using that handy code outline view - a.k.a a class browser. Or, using the same Web Services consumer code as WP Designer; or, the same Navigator, to replace the Dom. Designer bookmarks; or, putting the infobox properties into a properties panel... I'm pretty certain that what will remain the same are the primary editors for the Form and View and probably other areas that are very specific to Domino development - in other words, we are not re-writing Domino Designer in Java. Repeat after me - "Lotus is not re-writing Domino Designer in Java". What we are doing is smartly adding features to our product set as we go forward in time, as we always have. (Who really cares what language the formula engine was re-written in, as long as you got new features, right?)
The demo that Maureen showed was in the Workplace Designer Eclipse perspective, mainly because that's the other project we both work on. It included opening a db by right-clicking in the WP Designer Navigator and choosing "New Domino DB" or "Open Domino DB", thus popping up those native dialog boxes; then, opening a form for editing. When I saw the demo last week, it was really hard to tell that what you were using was the same Domino Designer form editor - I had to ask, "wait, is that the Domino form or the WP Designer form??" But there's the infobox (aka properties box), there's the formula pane, the menus, and all the other great aspects of Domino Designer you know and love.
Here's what it looked like:
Productization will happen in stages and at the moment there is no official commitment to timeframe or features, Some things will have to be discussed later, but you could expect to see this in a product AFTER Hannover is released. I know that some people have already jumped to the conclusion that now we'll have a Linux and Mac Designer auto-magically - folks, there's real work needed to do that, since Designer has been Windows-only since R6.
Let me take care of a few other FAQs, while I'm at it:
Q. When will next release of Domino Designer (using Eclipse) be available?
A. There will be an update to Domino Designer, as there always has been, to coincide with the updates to Notes and Domino in the "Hannover" timeframe. After that, normal updates and feature releases will be planned and announced at the appropriate time.
Q. Do I need to have Workplace Designer in order to use Domino Designer with Eclipse?
A. No. However, developers who use both tools together, may do so, as they build and roll out composite applications, which may include NSF based apps, web apps, SWT apps, etc.
Q. Will I have to learn Java to use Domino Designer now?
A. No. As has been proven before with Workplace Designer, you do not have to know Java, just because Eclipse is being used.
Q. Is Domino Designer being re-written in Java?
A. No - see above. This proposal means Notes/Domino application developers will have improved tool(s) to create and modify applications for Notes and Domino.
Q. Will I be able to open my existing Lotus Notes/Domino applications?
A. Yes. Backwards compatibility is a hallmark of Notes/Domino and will continue to be, in the future. IBM Lotus Software remains committed to lowering the TCO of Notes/Domino and this includes preserving customer's current investments in Notes and Domino applications. Applications that run today in Notes/Domino will run in future versions of Notes/Domino and be accessible through the tools IBM/Lotus provides for Notes/Domino application developers.
Q. Does this proposal mean that Domino Designer will also be ported to Linux and Macintosh platforms?
A. It does not necessarily follow that Domino Designer will be on a platform other than Windows, at least for the first release. The request is duly noted.
Q. What specific features will be added to Domino Designer?
A. As many of you know, at this early stage of the product release cycle, IBM Lotus cannot commit to any particular features being in the release. Some ideas that have been proposed are in the text above, but they do not represent a commitment to provide them.
I'm sure you will have other questions. Please post them here or in the partner forum. The most important thing to understand that Lotus is continuing to enhance Domino Designer, which demonstrates a commitment to Domino as an application platform.
Product Manager, Workplace Designer (and other app dev stuff for Lotus Software)
My first week on the job as the Americas Sales Advocate for Lotus Connections and it was a busy one. I'm no stranger to long days from my previous positions, but it's always tough to come into a new role and try to hit the ground running. The good news is that I'm well versed with Lotus Connections. The bad news is that the sales cycle process is new to me. The easy part of my week was all the customer meetings around Lotus Connections and the business value of social software. The majority of these meeting I covered how Lotus Connections integrates Microsoft applications like Outlook, Office, Sharepoint, and Office Communications Server. I've always enjoyed customer meeting and our software stack makes the time go by quickly as the product is extremely easy to demo. Customers quickly see the feature capabilities of the product and engage in a dialogue. I much prefer to demo over slides.
The tough part of the week was getting through some of the initial tasks in joining the sales organization. There is a whole new set of weekly conference calls, events, meetings, and deliverables. I'm lucky that I have a great manager that is exposing me to the high priority items first instead of throwing everything at me. I'm also lucky that many of the people I work with on a day-to-day basis are people I used to work with sporadically. This is where social networking and social capital provides me the flexibility to easily adapt into this new role.
The weekend is here, weather looks good in Boston and the beach is calling my name. Have a good one :-)
This week was exciting as we announced IBM Atlas for Lotus Connections. Atlas is designed to help organizations maximize their investment in social software by answering questions such as who the key experts are on a given topic, how they are connected, and whom a user's contacts know that they do not. Internally, we have been using Atlas technology for a couple years. I'm extremely glad to see this research technology turned loose for customers and partners to leverage. Read more about the 4 components of Atlas here.
Also - Don't miss what the press are saying.
eWeek - Visualize Social Networks with IBM's Atlas
InfoWorld - 'Atlas' tools extend Lotus Connections
NetworkWorld - 'Atlas' tools extend Lotus Connections
ComputerWorld - IBM's Atlas adds visualization tools to social networks at work
TedStanton 0600014754 Tags:  connections collaboration portal accelerators 1 Comment 4,693 Views
This week I'm down in Orlando, FL for the WebSphere Portal Technical Conference. This is my first time attending this conference and I'm very impressed. Coming down from Boston, this is real treat for me as the weather has been great. The opening session with Larry Bowden and Chris Crummy set the stage for the week as we are going to see how the newly announced IBM Accelerators were going to accelerate the time to value across the Lotus portfolio of products.
The current set of IBM Accelerators consist of:
IBM Dashboard Accelerator
IBM Self-Service Accelerator
IBM Content Accelerator
IBM Collaboration Accelerator
IBM Enterprise Suite Accelerator
For me, I'm more focused on the IBM Collaboration Accelerator which consists of Sametime 7.5, Quickr, and Lotus Connections. I've already presented one session on "Delivering the Value of Social Software to Portal Users with Lotus Connections" and hosted a BoF on "Social Networking: Will it work in your organization?" Both were well attended and I was extremely surprised to see how many Portal customers wanted to bring social software solutions into their Portal environment. Many saw great value in using the content in Lotus Connections to build out personalization. For example, one customer had plans deploy Lotus Connections and use the personalization builder to better target employee content.
For example, John is an sales rep at Renovations. Currently when he logs into Portal, he receives sales related content. However, John is a sales rep that only focuses on kitchen designs. John uses Lotus Connections to blog about ideas and projects he has worked on related to kitchens. He also bookmarks may URL's related to kitchen renovations, has created a community related to that topic, and tagged himself with kitchen redesign. Using the personalization builder, Portal can now get more information about John so now when he logs into Portal, he receives sales related information related to kitchen redesigns.
The Lotus Connections R2 reviewer's guide has now been published to developerWorks. Yours truly is one of the authors of the guide that provides an overview to the latest version of IBM's social software, Lotus Connections R2, and its five components: Profiles, Activities, Blogs, Dogear, and Communities. This guide also covers integration with other applications, such as Lotus Sametime, Lotus Notes, and Microsoft technologies.
I've read many analyst reports around social software. Just like other collaboration technologies, most analyst advise customer to go with the well known and established vendors like IBM, Microsoft, BEA, Cisco, etc. I agree with that as these vendors are typically the companies that can survive the bumps and bruises the economy can put on technology companies. Especially with technology changing so much it adds to the risk of choosing a vendor that may not be around in 5, 10, 15 years.
I posted a blog entry almost a year ago when I was doing some competitive research around Lotus Connections. The same still holds true today. The top vendors in social software are still the well known and established vendors and IBM is still leading the pack. There has been much publicity lately as Lotus Connections went head-to-head at Enterprise 2.0 with the closest competitor Microsoft Sharepoint. We were the clear winner and still #1 with social software.
Read more about it here.
"IBM was the clear winner across the board."
Mike Gotta, E 2.0 Conference: Social Computing Platforms, June 19, 2008, Collaborative Thinking Blog
I got tagged by Chris and so here are some personal facts:
1. I never used a computer until I was 19. I got my first computer when I was 21. I am now 27.
2. I was a Beverly high school varsity letterman in the following sports: Cross Country, Indoor Track, Tennis, Soccer, Basketball, Lacrosse (capt.) and Golf. I continued on to play Lacrosse at Virginia Wesleyan College. I still get out for an occasional round of golf and play second base on the Franco-American men's softball team in Danvers. I'm no French.
3. I cried after Bill Buckner's error in the '86 World Series. I didn't cry when the Red Sox won in 2004.
4. When I was 22, I achieved my first software certification (Microsoft Certified Profession -Windows 2000). Since then, I have railed off nineteen IBM software certifications including Sametime, Portal, and Domino.
5. Lotusphere 2007 will be my first time attending the event. When I was 18, I did stay at the Dolphin during Lotusphere and hit up the theme parks with a friend while my father attended the event as a customer. I recall seeing hundreds of people walking around with bags and Lotus badges while I was swimming in the pools. I also recall watching John Elway beat Brett Favre in Super Bowl XXXII on some large projection screens that I think were on sand.
And as a bonus - I was debating about buying tedstanton.com, but instead some bird lover beat me to it.
I tag Steve Castledine.
For the last couple of months, IBM developerWorks has been launching group and expert spaces. Group spaces focus on a specific technical topic and maybe led by multiple administrators and editors. Visitors to a groupspace can request membership to the space to stay informed with thegroup. Expert spaces are owned by experts in the developer community andinclude links to each expert's favorite resources, including blogs,forums, podcasts, and more.
For those of you interested in social software, come view and join the social software group space.
As expected, this year there will be some great product announcements and features related to Lotus Connections during Lotusphere. It's been about a year since we first announced Lotus Connections and about 7 months since we released the first version. With thousands of customers using or trying Lotus Connections, we have gotten great feedback and are building that into the next version of Connections. I don't want to spoil the fun down at Lotusphere so to get the latest information, you'll just have to wait a couple more days.
TedStanton 0600014754 Tags:  connections competition socialsoftware ibm 3 Comments 4,101 Views
There should be no mistake. IBM is the lead innovator for social software in the enterprise. IBM announced a suit of social software services in January 2007 at Lotusphere. As promised, we delivered Lotus Connections in June. IBM has a clear competitive advantage as we have been using all five services (Profiles, Communities, Blogs, Dogear, and Activities) internally for years. This has allowed us to make the appropriate business changes to social software such as security, scalability, authentication, and integration with existing business applications. Some companies are building solutions from the ground up and promising to deliver them by year end, other companies had to go through acquisitions in order to even relate themselves with social software. If you have any doubts as to IBM's position in social software for the enterprise, read some of the quotes below.
Boston Globe and Gartner - "The initiatives represent an ambitious bid by IBM to become a leader in importing social networking into the workplace"
ITWeek - "IBM is leading the rush for enterprise software companies to adopt consumer web capabilities with Lotus Connections, a set of tools that brings MySpace-like social networking to big business."
Gartner, IBM Bets on Social Software for Business - "The inclusion of social bookmarks and tagging in the initial release represents another smart design decision. These social software applications have a high "value-to-effort" ratio, as is evidenced by the popularity (and value) of consumer space equivalents. Through 2008, these capabilities will give IBM a significant competitive edge over mainstream competitors that still lack them."
BusinessWeek and IDC, IBM's Social Networking Push - "IBM's is the first and only suite that brings together all these capabilities in a single package"
Gartner, IBM Begins to Reinvent Itself at Lotusphere 2007 - "All users interested in social software in a business setting (including Microsoftcentered IT organizations): Evaluate Lotus Connections."
Mark Levitt, an analyst at IDC - "Lotus Connections is superior to SharePoint in terms of social-networking functions"
Another key advantage that separates IBM from the competition is probably our definition of social software and social computing. We view social software and social computing as a means to connectioning people with people and people with information. For example, Profiles allow users to find experts in a certain area based on tags, background information, about information, titles, and more. Once the right person is found, pivoting to that person's social information such as their blog, bookmarks, and communities they are a member of provides instant updated information. Adversely, people need to connection with information by searching blogs, bookmarks, and communities. When finding information through these services, they need to easily be able to pivot to the people responsible for contributing such information and maybe invite them to an activity.
Other companies use the terms social software and social computing very loosely. If you want to compare how IBM stacks up against other players for enterprise social software, just turn to google search results. It is clear that IBM has a social software product as compared to some of the competition. Some of the links below just refer to research projects and press releases. I couldn't find a single product on the first page of the google results with the exception of IBM Lotus Connections.
Google Search Results for:
social + software + IBM
social + software + Microsoft
social + software + BEA
social + software + Cisco