For the last two weeks, most of my working hours have been in customer engagements or related activities.  It almost feels like the rush to the end of the year business close, perhaps even having something to do with June being Microsoft's fiscal calendar close.  Major travel challenges mix in additional stress (six hours to get from Boston to Toronto and another seven from Toronto to Chicago).   Any which way, this weekend is a chance to breathe for the first time in several days.

My customer meetings in the last two weeks have had a heck of a lot of diversity.  Some have been tremendously successful -- brainstorming sessions, comprehensive executive presentations, tactical updates.  Others have been flawed in ways that I've not experienced before -- being deliberately decieved by the customer, reprimanded by an IBMer for typing too loudly, or just stood up entirely.

One point of clarity is how relevant the discussion prompted by Monday's "Domino 'versus' SharePoint: Asking the right question?" has been.  There has been ongoing online discussion of that post, and it's happening offline, too.  I walked into one customer meeting earlier this week where I was repeatedly asked to differentiate the Lotus portfolio (not just Notes/Domino 8) from SharePoint.  I endeavored to bring the discussion back to business requirements but simply couldn't get there.  This, Peter, is why I say that there's a "SharePoint is the solution, what's the problem" phenomenon happening, and even the Wall Street Journal picked that up a few weeks ago (noting, wisely, that this is a problem for IT rather than a solution).

As a sales executive, I obviously have a product to sell and want to talk to customers about that product.  When we can have that conversation in the context of business objectives and requirements, though, it's such a better engagement than vendor/customer "I have something to sell".  The customer meetings I had the last couple of weeks proved that out over and over again.  It also showed me the difference between an IT organization that engages with its line-of-business as partners versus those that are more-or-less service organizations.  No surprise, there's a correlation between those that are partners and those that are successful in their use of technology today and their evaluation of technology solutions for tomorrow.  

There has to be a book I can recommend on the subject of IT as partner...Duffbert?  Anyone?

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