January 30 2014
I'm on my way home from my 18th trip to Orlando in January, leaving behind friends and memories from IBM Connect 2014. This was my first time at the event outside of the brand/division running it, and it definitely felt a little bit different. I didn't know what was being announced or previewed in the general sessions, had no dog of my own in the hunt. Of course, I continue to be enthusiastic about IBM's Collaboration Solutions, but I watched from the perspective more of an alumnus with far less of the emotional attachment. Thank you to those of you on Twitter and in hallways who wished for our collective prior experience, where I would blog about those announcements with summary and clarity. It's just not my expertise anymore. IBM "Mail next" looks pretty exciting, and I am pleased to see that what started in a small conference room in our labs back many months ago has taken shape rather nicely into a compelling design and user experience.
What I did do at this conference was speak, exhibit, and meet. IBM MobileFirst had a significant presence in the product showcase, with our product managers, marketing, and sales team staffing a quadrant of the social/mobile/cloud/big data strategic center of the show floor. Those that visited had the opportunity to speak to us about Worklight, Fiberlink MaaS360, Tealeaf CX Mobile, IBM Interactive, our Global Technology Services mobility offerings, and several other offerings. Right in the middle of the show floor was a Range Rover demonstrating the concept of the "Connected Car," featuring IBM MessageSight technology to provide instantaneous response to mobile device-based control of heating, entertainment, and other in-car features. Cool stuff.
David Marshak and I spoke yesterday at the conference, providing an overview of the IBM MobileFirst portfolio and solutions. I was pleased that I knew very few people in the room. The whole point of taking mobile to Connect was to reach new audiences, and it appears we were successful at that. There was also a Worklight + Domino/Notes session going on at the same time from Mat Newman, so attendees could get the strategic or tactical point of view.
Offline from the session and exhibition, my team and I participated in about a dozen meetings with clients and partners. These were good discussions that validated where we are at in the market with products like Worklight, and opportunities to continue to expand their reach in 2014 and beyond. We also seem to be progressing in awareness and consideration in the market, though the question "what does IBM do in mobile" is still fairly common. During 2014 we will continue to push MobileFirst in places where we aren't anticipated, growing overall awareness of our solutions on both the software and services side. We'll have some new announcements next month to help expand the reach of the technology, too.
Of course Connect is a conference on familiar turf, so it was great to spend time catching up with so many clients, partners, and IBMers who have been part of my journey. I made a few more Fitbit friends, and received so many kind words about what a difference a year makes. Thank you all for continuing to connect on the human level. That's what makes this conference unique.
I get to go home for about ten days then on to Las Vegas for IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference 2014, then another short break before Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. From there, I am hoping to get to Japan and help accelerate our mobile story in that market. Impact 2014 is around the corner at the end of April, too, and that conference will be heavily focused on IBM's mobile enterprise solutions. Good thing we have them - because I'm going to be mobile a lot in the next three months :-)