Whatever we call it, part 2

November 26 2012

Up early as I am about to embark on what potentially could be my second round-the-world trip of the year, in equally short time. First stop, New York City. Then Copenhagen and the DanNotes event. Then, perhaps, Seoul. All great stuff and worth the trip.

Two weeks ago, I hosted a webcast to unveil the public beta of IBM Notes and Domino Social Edition. Viewed live by 2000 people, and thousands since, the feedback on the upcoming release and its key messages was nearly 100% positive. Over 1000 companies signed up for the public beta in the five days after the broadcast. In short, the event was a success, and those of you who make your living using Notes and Domino have told me that you are ready to start working with 9.0 Social Edition beta.

The blog entry I wrote to go along with the webcast received several thousand hits more than normal, in part due to the interest in the announcements. However, in a bit of a surprise, much of the traffic was generated by an inaccurate meme making its way through the industry press. It seems to have started with this unfortunately-headlined Computerworld story, which -- even though neither their story itself nor my blog entry said so, linked to my blog and claimed that IBM was killing the Lotus brand. I suppose if I hadn't written that blog, they would have just linked to the webcast itself to tell the story they wanted to tell

This may be a subtle point, but it is important to state it clearly: the Lotus brand of IBM software will continue to be in-market for many years to come. IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.x, for example, will be supported through at least 2016. There are several other Lotus-branded software products still available.

Nobody is killing anything, surely not me in a blog entry or webcast or anywhere else. The branding move for the next release of Notes/Domino, Social Edition, is an evolution being done with the needs and wants of clients and business partners in mind. Similar evolution has already taken place in moving LotusLive to SmartCloud for Social Business to align with the broader IBM Cloud Portfolio. All of the smart industry analysts who Darryl Taft interviewed in the eWeek story about the brand evolution confirmed this need for the product to align with the higher-value requirements of the market, including Judith Hurwitz:

"If you look at IBM's software strategy, it is clear that collaboration services are no longer standalone services," Hurwitz said. "In fact, we are seeing that collaborative and social business services are embedded in everything from data services to converged infrastructure. ... It is a good move and will definitely help IBM."
And it's important to recognize that those collaboration and social business services are a market where IBM has been recognized as the market leader, three years running, by IDC.

In my forthcoming book Opting In (book, 39% off at present | ebook, use discount code BRILL) , I speak to the role of social media in product management, and the sometimes unintended results of speaking broadly to the market. There is no way to "slimcast" a message in social business today. While those of you in the "Lotus community" clearly understood the message, the evolution, and provided positive feedback on the name of the forthcoming beta release, the mainstream press went for headlines and obituaries. Those of you working with Notes and Domino have indicated, as we discussed many moons ago, that your work continues "whatever we call it." In the next couple of weeks, we have a lot of "it" coming out of the labs: IBM Docs on SmartCloud, IBM Mobile Connect 6.1.5, Lotus Notes Traveler 8.5.3 Upgrade Pack 2, updated IBM Connections Mail, and IBM SmartCloud Notes GA7. All of this will be punctuated by the IBM Notes and Domino 9 Social Edition Beta.

The new Notes/Domino beta has given us all a chance to reflect, with some very good memories and history. As we head into IBM Connect 2013, I've never been more excited about the future of Lotus Notes, and of the community around IBM collaboration solutions. Our collective mission and carries a lot of opportunity and innovation in the months ahead, whatever name(s) appear on the label.

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