January 2 2013
This felt like one of the busiest December closes in a long time, and as such, even in the midst of last week's Christmas-to-New-Years semi-vacation, finding the time to look back on the year was somewhat challenging. Still, even if this exercise continues to primarily catalyze gathering statistics for my professional annual review, it is, as the American TV commercial once said, time to make the donuts.
2012 was defined by big decisions. My team and I decided to adopt a new branding approach, new version number, and public beta delivery for the new release of the Notes/Domino product family. We decided, like the rest of IBM, that analytics were important -- and invested in a tool, Trust Factory's DNA, to help customers analyze their existing Notes/Domino investments. We decided that cloud delivery of collaboration services needed some innovation, so we continued to iterate IBM SmartCloud Notes, and added IBM SmartCloud Docs and IBM SmartCloud Archive Essentials. We decided that mobile was an area where we could do even more, and the Collaboration Solutions mobile team delivered -- 60 releases during 2012. In Sametime, we decided to change the game to focus on social communications. The big news about Sametime "next" should be pretty exciting when we start talking about that roadmap later this month; that team has been working hard this year to put some impressive plans in place.
My biggest decision in 2012, though, was Opting In. Twelve months ago, the thought of writing a book was not even on my radar. Sure, I had occasionally commented that I would like to write a history of Lotus Notes, but it is hard to write a history-in-progress. That idea sat on the someday/maybe pile. Today, I sit three weeks from my first book's on-sale date, with the only milestone left in the production schedule being to actually hold a printed copy in my hands. At the start, I felt like if I was going to expend the nights-and-weekends effort to write a book at all, it had better be a good one. The manuscript previews say it's pretty good. (Relief!) I couldn't have done that without great editors and peer reviewers, and a half dozen contributors who told their own stories of opting in. Thanks to all.
2012 was a year well-balanced between vision and execution. We began work on Notes/Domino's next big release, while getting the word out about the now-in-beta one in some impressive ways. The November webcast for IBM Notes/Domino 9.0 Social Edition beta attracted 2000+ live viewers, and the resulting public beta downloads number in the tens of thousands. IBM Docs and SmartCloud Docs attracted mainstream press, analyst, and customer attention, as this project finally materialized into a shipping solution. The whiplash of product management, a good thing, continued on a daily basis as activities went from extremely tactical to very long term in mere moments....sometimes simultaneously.
I visited 29 customers in person this year, plus participation in a dozen events, but increased e-meeting use to at least one a week with a customer or partner. In the last 100 days, I've only been away from home six nights for customer-facing travel. My travel numbers for the year (below) are still "big," mainly as a result of two trips to Australiasia and a lot of Europe, but I was traveling far less than in the past. The book project, planning for Notes/Domino beta, and getting ready for IBM Docs kept me much closer to home. Things change in the next few months, with plenty of events and activities lined up culminating in the release of Notes/Domino 9 Social Edition, but increasingly the travel is travel that matters, not of convenience.
- 112 blog posts (half the 2010 volume), 1547 comments...13.81 comments per post (vs 15.86 in 2011). I think the slightly lower comments-per-post is the result of my occasional blog about social business topics, not as connected to Notes/Domino. Struggling a bit with personal identity at times. Still, the blog is still good for "long form" discussions; Twitter/Facebook fan page for short form.
- 202,096 visitors (nearly the same as 2011), 367,034 visits, 505,789 pageviews. Only the number of visits is really down from 2011, despite 30 fewer blog posts. Interesting.
- Top five blog posts: Notes and OS X Mountain Lion, Notes and Domino 8.5.4 Social Edition - a single release, Arigato Gozimasu (still over 10,000 hits/year!), Lotusphere 2012 Notes/Domino Social Edition, Notes Domino 9 Social Edition public beta planned for December 14.
- Busiest day: the Tuesday of Lotusphere 2012 (January 17), followed by Tuesday November 13 - the day of the Notes/Domino 9 Social Edition beta webcast.
- Top five countries: United States (29%), Germany (9%), United Kingdom (7%), Australia, (4.4%), Canada (3.9%). The same pattern as the last several years. India, France, Netherlands, and Switzerland follow.
- Traffic sources: 47% from search engines (96% of this from Google), 27% from other referrals, 26% direct. 53% were new visitors. Press coverage of IBM Notes/Domino 9 Social Edition public beta generated a few thousand referrals, but otherwise the referrers were all the usual suspects.
- Browsers: Firefox 34.5% (down 5%), IE 24%, Chrome 22.6%, Safari 12.7%. Chrome the big mover up this year, taking share from both IE and Firefox.
For Twitter, my Facebook fan page, LinkedIn etc., I have been watching Klout.com and Kred.com. They are by no means perfect indicators, but it's been cool to watch my audience on all of these channels grow and change. I still worry about a single identity on Twitter - IBM exec, social business guy, local opinion writer, etc -- but I have worried about this for three years now, and the follower count (without spammers) keeps growing. I think I'll keep it this way for now.
Some travel data for 2012:
- A lower number of nights away - I think about 75 this year. Over 100,000 flying miles, thanks to multiple trips to Europe, one to the Middle East, two to Asia. 15 countries overall.
- New Countries: Qatar. I also visited Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Indonesia, UAE, England, France, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Denmark, and Mexico, and was 8 hours away from adding a 2nd round-the-world and a stop in South Korea.
- New cities: Neuchâtel, Jakarta, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Dover, and whatever the name of the place where DanNotes was held was :-)
- New airports: DOH, CGK, HND
- New airlines: Qatar Airways, Emirates, Garuda Indonesia. Special thanks again to ANA in Japan for amazing customer service!
- New memories: A stressless return to Stresa and the Lake Maggiore region, including the single best meal I've had in Italy; being welcomed by name at the Mandarin Oriental in Jakarta, despite never having been there; freezing at the unheated ice rink in Neuchâtel while my niece's team won the trophy (a cowbell!), shabu shabu in Tokyo, including my job as nabe-bugyou; many, many dinners with friends - Italy, London, London again, Munich, Melbourne, and all over the US. The human element remains the reason for all this wonderful travel. Looking forward to reconnecting in 2013.
Looking ahead in 2013
Sitting here on the first business day of 2013, I'm excited about the year ahead. At Connect 2013, I'll be presenting both a Messaging and Collaboration Roadmap, as well as a session/interview with Marcia Conner on social business/workforce engagement to coincide with the release of Opting In. In the weeks after that, we'll finish what we started--the release of Notes/Domino 9.0 Social Edition. Beyond that, IBM Docs in a private cloud/on-premises configuration, new SmartCloud Notes features, a huge new release of Sametime, and a whole host of new projects come into focus. Somewhere in there, I'll be promoting the book, but this is unlikely to hit the New York Times bestseller list. I have a day job to do, after all.
Technology-wise, I think this year will be the absolute breakthrough year for mobile and tablet devices...moving from "only the cool kids" to mainstream, and with IBM leading the way on all of the capabilities and management and security that IT needs to be comfortable with the adoption. Notes clients and desktop browsers will continue to be important, don't get me wrong... but the original Project Vulcan vision talked about making these all equal components of a "bring your own client" approach...now reality. More to do to make it all better and to lower management costs and to make it more seamless, but all in the realm of doable.
As with every year since I started blogging a decade ago, I close the year in review by thanking you--the community, for your participation, engagement, and friendship. The "lessons in social business" that are described in Opting In come from the real world -- from work with you. The success of IBM's collaboration business today comes because you all opted in -- to be part of the solution, to be part of the ecosystem, to be part of the success. Thank you for making that choice, and believing in your collective strength as much as in IBM.