Lots more to write about Lotusphere 2012. Someone asked me yesterday where I had been all week; this was another year where I spent far more time in meeting rooms and back offices. One such activity was a real privilege -- on Wednesday morning, I hosted a press briefing/panel (yes a panel) highlighting the role of social business in small business. The three panelists were Roxanne Reynolds-Lair, CIO at Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising; Ken LaVan, President of LaVan & Neidenberg, and John Roling, IT Director at Czarnowski.

The panel was a lot of fun and the reporters/analysts that attended rated it highly. We had an informal discussion about how IBM can provide social business solutions for smaller organizations. Bill Ives captured the event really well, both topics and answers. Comments from the reporters/analysts afterwards said that it was the best event of their week, and that (with hindsight) we should have opened the press conference up to other Lotusphere conference attendees.

Ed asked about the role of business partners for SMB. Roxanne said having a trusted partner is critical. These are co-creative relationships. Kevin said the partnership was critical for close support and John said they have a trusted partner to supplement their own efforts. Roxanne invites IBMers and partners in for timed presentations and sharing. They also do conference calls with multiple partners for idea sharing. John said they know the relevant IBM people on Twitter and they can ask questions from these people, usually getting quick responses.
I thought this session demonstrated the value of the IBM partner ecosystem and of how our solutions scale down as well as up. Thanks again to the IBM Communications team for the opportunity to moderate the panel.

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