AusLUG 2012 report

March 30 2012

The 2nd Australian Lotus User Group (AusLUG) has just come to a close. Over 300 attendees participated in 58 breakout sessions across the two days here in Melbourne. It was a fantastic event, and my congratulations to the organizing committee, lead by Mat Newman, for the event's overall success.

It seemed like about half the attendees had participated in the Sydney event last August. It also seemed like there were more developers than admins, along with a whole bunch of IT management, architects, and partners. Yesterday, my colleagues Ted Stanton, Stuart Duguid, and myself delivered a keynote on why social business matters; we featured customer stories from the Australian Bureau of Statistics among others. Also over from the US was Andrew Davis, who presented on Notes Social Edition and embedded experiences, a session that was educational for me and my IBM colleagues as well as the attendees. New Zealand's Michael Sampson day-tripped over to present about how to apply the principles of social business to an IBM Connections deployment; he also participated in the Nerd Girls Sparks session during Thursday's lunch.

The IBM team again delivered on an impressive set of technical demonstrations on-site, including early code such as the Notes browser plug-in. About twenty business partners were also exhibiting.

I'd like to overshare a bit of an important observation in terms of where the "Lotus" market is going.

Several years ago, we would participate in conferences -- and even our own Lotusphere -- and any attempt to expand the aperture to include the other IBM collaboration solutions was met with limited success or even resistance. We within IBM collectively wondered whether the yellowverse would embrace new solutions in the portal, unified communication, social networking, and other markets, or whether IBM would simply have to develop those market opportunities independent of the installed base of Notes customers.

In the last year, and specifically at events like this, some of the LCTYs I participated in in Germany last month, last week's successful Belgian Lotus User Group (congrats to Theo Heselmans and team), and others, I see a dramatic turn of events. Michael Sampson's session yesterday on user adoption for IBM Connections was packed -- almost every seat taken. Chris Miller ran a session titled "From Domino Admin to WebSphere Admin - in an hour". Mikkel Heisterberg talked about creating widgets for IBM Connections. Gabriella Davis presented system designs for Sametime.

Why is this important? Because there is recognition amongst you as customers and partners that success in the era of social business means more than just working with Notes and Domino, and that IBM solutions -- Connections, current versions of Sametime, IBM Forms, SmartCloud Social, etc -- provide you new opportunities to grow your skills if you are in IT or your business if you are a partner. And that is good for the entire market, as well as for IBM's investment decisions in sponsorship for events like AusLUG. You all are willing to adapt, grow, taken on new skills, and most importantly (as evidenced by the attendance at Sampson's session) -- be the champions for change and adoption in your organization.

As the vendor, I want to thank you the community for placing your bets on us at IBM and on our collective future together. It is an incredible validation of everything we are doing to come to an event like this and have you be so excited and ready to deploy and adopt and build across XPages and Open Social and Traveler and Connections Next and SUT and all of it. I hope the 300 of you who were along for the ride this week in sunny Melbourne feel as fortunate as I do to be part of the market and where social business is headed -- built on the foundation and investments we have all created together.

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