Behind in my blogging but maybe just in time...

Last Wednesday, a standing-room-only crowd attended the Chicago IBM Get Social 2011 roadshow (actually in the suburbs, which may have been the reason for the sellout crowd) to hear my colleagues and I cover the IBM collaboration and social business strategy and solution areas. Marcia Conner was the guest keynote and gave attendees much to think about on why they should pursue being social businesses. Speakers with well over a century of combined experience in collaboration and knowledge sharing then followed, demonstrating the deep expertise that IBM has in this area and how we are helping provide social business solutions.

OK that was all good stuff, but the stars of the show were my IIT Stuart School MBA students. While they've been doing a great job of researching the Notes/Domino marketplace on an academic level, the opportunity to come talk to customers, partners, and IBMers about real life was too good to pass up. Three of the students from the team attended the event, and as far as I can tell, they interviewed about half the attendees. Their questions were standard market research input, which was actually more impressive considering that they had not consulted me in how to build the questionnaire. They just came, saw, and did.

Not all of the group was able to make last week, so good news is that come morning here in Chicago, I'll be speaking at the GRANITE (Chicago Lotus user group) meeting. My presentation on Monday will be more like my Lotusphere session on messaging and collaboration strategy, versus the social business view that I provided at last week's event. Thus the students will get an opportunity to hear both business and technical level presentations, and talk to audiences of varying levels as well. If you are at GRANITE on Monday, please make ten minutes to talk to the IIT Stuart students, it will be worth all of our time.

After these two research opportunities, the students and I will be discussing their outside assessment of the market and some recommendations. Very worthwhile time investment to get some fresh eyes on this space. Hopefully, I'll be able to share what I learn.

Beyond the Chicago GRANITE meeting on Monday, I'll be in the UK the rest of this week, mostly for customer meetings. On Wednesday, I'll be at the Lotusphere Comes to You in Warrington, so looking forward to seeing some of the British crowd at that time. Oh, and in a couple of weeks, I've got one more chapter of the Get Social roadshow on my calendar -- Dallas, April 26.

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