A year ago, part of the presentation I delivered to audiences in Australia emphasized the importance for IT to recognize that the younger generation entering the workforce would bring different requirements.  It said, specifically, a "technology savvy generation is entering the workforce".  At that time, some of the feedback I heard from attendees and partners was that this was an important and thought-provoking observation.

A year later, I couldn't have a single customer meeting in ANZ without the phrase "Gen Y" entering the discourse.  There is clear recognition throughout this region that IT must change, rapidly, to adapt to the changing requirements of their users.  Two of the key principles of the Lotus strategy map to this quite well --

  • People work in different ways
  • Participation creates value
I met with several people in the government and academic fields, and they are unwaveringly cognizant of these tenets.  I talked a lot about how we are seeing them play out at IBM and at other organizations...everything from segmenting users to provide the technology solutions and tools desired to how our IBM internal "Beehive" project rewards participation through points, merit badges, and even an occasional tangible benefit.

It feels to me like the entire region "gets it" and that this bodes well for the kinds of solutions that IBM Lotus offers.  I spent so little time talking technology details and so much time talking about capabilities, implementations, and successes.  I discovered that the technology adoption curve is accelerating...with greater than 50% of customers indicating that they are well on their way with Notes 8 rollouts.  I learned that some customers are thinking twice about following through with decisions made to try to migrate to other technologies.  And I learned about bandwidth.

My American readers will be surprised to learn that the Apple iPhone is sold by all three main wireless service providers in Australia -- Optus, Telstra, Vodafone.  Further, a huge difference from the way AT&T sells the iPhone in the US -- there is no such thing as an unlimited data plan.  Sitting in the IBM office in Wellington today, I was reminded that dreams of pervasive, fast bandwidth are a long way away, still, from significant portions of the world..  The Intercontinental Hotel there -- no slouch of an establishment -- automatically slowed my in-room Internet connection to a crawl under a "fair play" rule -- after I had only used 50 MB.

This was another incredible week in the ANZ region.  While I was running nonstop and averaged less than six hours of sleep per night, what has become an annual spot on my calendar is one of the highlights of my business year.  This trip had the added bonus of making new friends, seeing old ones, and a few nice meals.  My colleagues asked me over and over if I will return next year, and when am I bringing my family.  Both sound like great ideas (though I am not sure when we'll have the practical opportunity for the 6-year-old to be out of school/camp long enough for a trip to be worthwhile), so it is only for now that I wish the hundreds in my extended Aussie/Kiwi family a wistful g'day -- and see you again, soon.

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