2012 in review

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.

edbrill.com Statistics:

  • 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.

Post a Comment

  1. 1  Per Henrik Lausten http://PHL-Consult.dk |

    - DanNotes was held in the city of Korsør :-)

    Looking forward to a great 2013!

  1. 2  Damian  |

    Thank you for you blogging in 2012.

    I`am particularly pleased

    to have this opportunity

    to wish you,

    a most happy and prosperous New Year 2013

  1. 3  Lisa Duke http://www.simplified-tech.com |

    Congrats on the year and especially the book!

  1. 4  Christer  |

    Your blog has been a very fruitful information channel for me and others in an operation team for Lotus Domino.

    Thanks for that.

    One thing I wondered about. Why is IBM not spending money on marketing Lotus Domino in Sweden? This in order to increase the use of Domino.

    Two of the largest hospital associations is now leaving the Domino platform. I think one reason is the lack of good marketing of the product in Sweden.


  1. 5  Tom Driver  |

    It isn't just Sweden...

    Lack of good marketing isn't helping here either.

  1. 6  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    The question is, what do you mean by marketing? IBM doesn't do a lot of product specific marketing. We do campaigns, we do events, we do a lot of other things that are marketing. Some of it is local and some is not. I don't see any marketing for Microsoft Exchange these days, so what is compelling people to think about it? What kind of marketing is Google doing? I realize I am inviting some flames by asking these questions, even rhetorically, but I just want to understand what it is that is somehow missing. Does someone think IBM is not committed to a product that IBM has shipped continuously now for nearly 17 years?

  1. 7  Don Semloh  |

    Ed, I've been following your blog and meaning to ask you about the GSA move off IBM Domino and the recent problems they've had. I figure a post regarding 2012 might be a relevant place. Do you think there's any chance IBM can get back in there during all this?

    { Link }

    Thank you. I feel the GSA is a huge lynchpin for other Federal agencies.

  1. 8  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    Don, it's really hard for me to comment on an individual customer situation on the blog. Am aware of this one.

  1. 9  Don Semloh  |

    Thanks Ed. i just want to say that I believe decisions/implementations by the US Federal Government drives the world, essentially. Whether economically, technology, etc. Everything propagates to their thousands of contractors whom carry it to private industry. Lotus products are totally dismissed and scoffed at in meetings now. It's never a consideration. Yet with the drive to the "centralization" of cloud, it seems like they all would have been (or still are by their fingernails) leveraged with Lotus/IBM for such centralization. Sharepoint for example has many aspects of the "old" Lotus Workflow, yet it seems Workflow, granted with a couple of bugs, as ahead of it's time it was, was left out there to dry. I just wanted to say that I think IBM should be flooding the Federal Government with all it's IBM cloud resources at this time rather than on disparate private entities. The Federal customers were the first back in the early 90's which led to the boom. Again, I don't know if they do or not but as I said, I'm just passing on my observations. Thank you very much for reading this.

  1. 10  Don Semloh  |

    Ed, i'm sorry. Just one more thing I wanted to add. Another huge buzzword, particularly with Federal agencies, is SOA. I worked a lot with J2EE and Domino was one of the first to implement web services non-open source. It was rough in 7 as one had to morph Axis libraries with Domino drivers to create the consumer classes but the fact is, I don't think any customers realize this (as they look at it all as legacy). So I would stress SOA (obviously in addition to the in-place security, mail) and it's ability to easily integrate with other systems. For another thing they want to hear is "leveraging what they have to the max", but unfortunately they're mostly thinking in terms of rdbms, jee stacks, etc. Thanks again.

  1. 11  Kelly Schmotzer  |


    Thank you for so many things you do, you did, you are.

    IBM and our loyal customers are lucky for your dedication.

    I am blessed to have worked with you.

    Since my retirement from IBM this past year, besides missing interaction with our amazing customers and IBM people...

    I miss Notes/Domino and Sametime EVERY day.

    It's only when you cease using these amazing products...you realize nothing compares.

    Best wishes for an exceptional 2013 and congrats on the book! I am very excited to get one.

    Kelly Schmotzer

  1. 12  Kelly Schmotzer  |

    Just bought "Opting In. Lessons in Social Business" for my Kindle Fire from Amazon this morning... ;-)) Thanks Ed.

    Best wishes at Lotusphere/Connect next week in Orlando!!

  1. 13  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    @11/12 - Kelly, thanks so much! Looking forward to your review!

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