I may be in Boston, but unfortunately I'm not attending the Collaborative Technologies Conference going on across town.  Yesterday, IBM's Mike Rhodin gave a plenary address, which has been covered in a couple of blogs.

Stowe Boyd writes:

But it is strangely bizarre and at the same time sensible to hear the old spun as new, since it is the venerable IBM, now struggling to make the 15-year-old Lotus Notes seem to be innovative and well-suited to the challenges of a new century with its Hannover release. While Mike is saying some words that I strongly agree with -- that is all about people, and not so much about information -- at the same time, the majority of his slides are really about moving bits around. I applaud his efforts to help companies leverage ideas like mashups, and other web 2.0 ideas, but the Lotus model is just not going to be the answer to the questions enterprises are going to be asking in the immediate future.
I left a comment on Stowe's site -- asking why exactly he believes that the Lotus model is not going to be the answer.  I think the notion of composite applications at the desktop is a very compelling model for moving collaboration forward.  It isn't just positioning old-as-new, it's truly an innovative move forward for the Notes platform.  I hope Stowe will clarify his thinking.

Ross Mayfield covered the session details:
Organizations have been investing in productivity through very formalized systems,but that profit has been maximized, and they now are looking to collaboration for further gain.  Personal productivity in the 1980s focused on standalone use and authoring tools.  Team productivity in the 1990s was driven by LANs with proprietary client/server, doc formats, multi-year development cycles and a focus on email and documents.  Open standards and open source are about to break this open.  Next is what they call the Dynamic Workplace.  Standards, open source, composite applications across boundaries, SoA, etc.
But his very next sentence captures something that I've been concerned about:
The slide lists lots of buzzwords, but doesn't say what the focus of this era is.  
We've been talking internally about the need to have simpler, cleaner vocabulary to talk about composite applications, activities, the open Eclipse-based platform that the future Notes is being built on.  There's so much innovation coming all at once that I believe the concepts are becoming almost overwhelming.  And there needs to be some clear definition of why the Notes proposition is unique and compelling.  We're not to those words yet.

Alan Lepofsky was at CTC, and covers a number of sessions in his report.  I talked to Alan later in the day, and he was still jazzed about how Ross ran his session.  Very interactive.  Alan came away realizing how far ahead IBM is in adopting social software tools to our own enterprise, but that we need to do more to evangelize using these tools (such as blogs and wikis) on top of the Notes/Domino platform (esp. with the coming tools in 7.0.2).  Of course, if you are reading our blogs, you may think we're there already -- but it's clear from what Alan heard that the vast majority of companies aren't there yet.

Alan also had a lot to tell me about the session that Peter O'Kelly and Mike Gotta from Burton Group conducted, comparing IBM IBM and Microsoft in the collaboration space.  I think they gave a very balanced report out (though I do wonder why there's no mention of MS's aborted "Kodiak" project), giving points and criticisms to each vendor fairly.  Worth checking out.

The conference is still in progress, so maybe we'll all have more goodies to take a look at, and start envisioning the future of collaboration.

Update: The video of Mike Rhodin's keynote is now available.

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