With no offense to the other user groups I've spoken at in the last three months, the Dallas gathering on Tuesday night was probably the most interesting -- and challenging -- such meeting.  There were 46 attendees, apparently the largest turnout they have had for some time.  A lot of questions.  A lot of debate and discussion.
There was a lot of discussion about the kind of focus IBM is putting on the Notes business today.  I'd assert, and I think I can back with data and evidence, that there is a lot more focus on the Notes market than there was a year ago.  My job was created in part to do just that.  Lots of other data points, including expansion of the Notes/Domino-focused sales specialists in 2005, marketing programs, more Notes/Domino content at Lotusphere, etc.
There's also the level of investment IBM is making in integrating Notes into newer technologies (where newer is only a statement about age). Domino Application Portlet, common PIM portlet, Bowstreet tools for WebSphere Portal.  Notes client plug-in for the IBM Workplace client technology.  These are major efforts to protect existing skills and investment...and continue to provide a relevant platform for those Notes applications for a long time to come.
Still, it's change.  And it takes time to understand change and be ready for it.  Thus, good discussion.
Last night here in Houston was a little different.  Workflow Studios generously hosted the meeting at the Houston City Club.  Thus, this was probably the first presentation I've ever given where a glass of red wine was my refreshment beverage.  At some point, I wondered if that was contributing to a level of candor (and, apologetically, color) that momentarily crept into the dialog.  Thankfully, someone in the audience had been with us in Dallas the previous night, and was able to support my assertion that I was equally candid with y'all up north.
One interesting point from the Houston crowd is that we had two companies represented where the official corporate IT policy is "Microsoft everywhere", yet the self-described renegades have been able to maintain Notes deployments as departmental solutions.  It happens, folks.  I'm not a fan of that kind of blind vendor loyalty, though, regardless of who the vendor of affection is.  Hopefully, they found some nuggets that they can use to propose expansion of their efforts, or increased integration with other parts of their organization.
Having completed my Q4 customer tour, I'll be writing up a summary of my observations on the road in the next few days.  My primary audience for that report is internal to IBM, but if I can sanitize it a bit, I'll post it as a future blog entry.

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