After what seems like forever-in-motion, I'm finally home.  Looks like it will be for a while -- I've turned down almost all travel in September/October/November (other than the IBM Lotus Leadership Alliance, LoLA) with the baby due next month.  Flying MEL-SYD-HNL-ORD over a 24 hour period, followed by trains into and out of Chicago for the MWLUG event, granted me a lot of time to reflect on what I learned during the past two weeks.

In Australia, I learned that adoption of Notes/Domino 8.x is very high.  True, some customers are still back on 7 or 6.5 (or in one case, some R5).  But at both Sydney and Melbourne user groups and events, the vast majority of hands up were for 8.x in production environments.  From what I can see from support calls and other tracking data, it looks like we're up to about 60% overall adoption of 8.x worldwide, two years after 8.0's release.  With 8.5.1 looking like a winner for the long-term, I'm seeing all the right indicators that both customers who are holding out and also many already running 8.x are planning 2010 deployments of 8.5.1.

I also learned that we have a ways to go on getting Aussies deploying Symphony, either stand-alone or as part of those 8.x rollouts.  Conceptually, many of the customers and partners get it.  However, the barrier is inertia, mostly.  Some more reference stories and the beta of the next release of Symphony will definitely help.  On the other hand, I had some great conversations about Alloy and LotusLive Notes.  Cloud is in every IT conversation right now.  Clearly, we need to be more vocal about our plans for LotusLive Notes, iNotes, and how it all integrates with existing or planned Notes deployments.  

I also am starting to hear increased need to tell our vision around Notes/Domino for the future... clearly I'd like to focus on 8.5.1 for now and save the vision stuff for Lotusphere 2010 or later, but it may be time to start sharing a bit sooner.  There was a comment on this blog last week about how IBM seems to always be held to a double-standard -- even though Microsoft only ships major releases every 3-4 years, nobody seems concerned whether or if there is a roadmap for Exchange and SharePoint.  Google is presumed to have one, too.  So even with Notes turning 20 in three months, there seems to always be a need to prove it has a bright and innovative roadmap.  Which it does.

"Lotus Knows" will be coming to the Aussie market, very soon, and I am hopeful it will help fight against some competitive pressure.  In the US, I've been reading creative material for the first print and banner ads.  There's a new Taking Notes podcast featuring my boss Kevin Cavanaugh along with Alistair Rennie, going in-depth on where we are at today.

There are always ups-and-downs in the market, but it feels like we're on the cusp of another "up" wave.  There's a lot to get done in the next few months.  Maybe it's a good thing I won't be running through airports for a while.

I want to thank all those who sponsored or organized the user groups or activities in Sydney, Melbourne, and Chicago that I participated in last week.  Thanks to Richard Moy and Gregg Eldred (among others) in Chicago, Victoria Semmel and Nicole Keen in Melbourne, and Lotus's own Marty Buckley, Matt Trendinick, and Matt Paddon in Sydney.  You all made my travels worthwhile, enriching, and productive.  I appreciate it.

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