Each year IBM invites a group of customers and business partners to its Leadership Alliance to share its visions for the future and facilitate networking between IBM executives and attendees. Red Pill NOW was fortunate enough to have two invitees at this year’s event, Nathan T Freeman and myself. Most of the technical content is covered under an NDA so we are not allowed to share details of much of the discussion, other than to say most of the content is likely to be shared at IBM Connect 2016 in January.
While I cannot talk about what was presented, I can talk about what was NOT presented. There was absolutely no plans shared for either the IBM Notes client or XPages in any of the sessions. At MWLUG Pete Janzen indicated that the next release of Notes/Domino would not happen in 2015. The last version of Notes/Domino (9.0.1) was released in October 2013. Connect the dots….
Note: A lot of the extensions of XPages now takes place via the IBM Extension Library available on OpenNTF. Johnny Oldenburger has written a comprehensive summary of the many new features added in 2015 via OpenNTF.
Ed Brill gave a presentation about his effort to drive Verse adoption across the entire Organization. IBM now has 300,000 of its 400,000 employees using Verse, including its CEO Ginni Rometty. IBM have now refined the on-boarding process to the point where they have been able to migrate up to 90,000 users to Verse in a single month. After completing the Verse migration IBM’s efforts will focus on migrating Connections to the cloud. This is very good news for customers as it means that by making itself the guinea pig, IBM have refined the migration process to the point were customers will benefit from a much more pleasant experience with their own migrations.
On a related note, I was advised by several IBMers that Outlook client access for Verse is available “now”.
Editor note: Its seems “now” does not mean at this minute but rather sometime soon.
The event coincided with the public launch of a new IBM Connections Editor for iOS and Android. (insert facepalm icon here…) This part of IBM’s strategy I just don’t get. Time after time IBM have failed to deliver content editors that are able to gain the market position necessary for them to be sustainable. If I upload Microsoft Office documents to Connections and I have need to edit them on a tablet I am not going to trust the integrity of my content to an IBM editor when I already have access to a free content editor from Microsoft. This seems to be a product whose target is a very small audience that is so committed to the IBM stack they are unwilling to reach outside for other (non-IBM) solutions.
During the event a number of sessions were conducted by the IBM Design team utilizing their Design Thinking approach to gather input for various projects under development. These not only gave attendees the chance to provide input into the design of future IBM products but also provided a chance to experience this new approach first hand. The sessions were fun and a great way to interact with other members of the community and IBM should be congratulated for making this part of the program.
Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to look very closely at the offerings of Google, Microsoft, and IBM. I have spoken to a lot of customers, business partners and analysts. The insights shared by IBM at this week’s event demonstrate to me that IBM will have a very competitive offering in the Enterprise Social Software space for the next few years. I see many advantages in what IBM are offering from a technical perspective. The real question is can IBM convince enough existing customers to invest in this platform as well as attract a significant number of new customers? Can they also convince enough business partner to integrate their own products into this eco-system to ensure its success? IBM was preaching to the choir at this event so it was only natural it received a very favorable response from attendees. I will be looking forward to seeing how those plans resonate with a wider audience when details are made more public at Connect 2016.