Summarizing Lotusphere 2012 in Three Words: Social, Mobile, Watson
By Jim Lundy
It seems that one of the trends over the last five months is that the major tech titans are honing their messaging and upping the quality of their events. That was certainly true this year at IBM’s Lotusphere and Connect 2012. This blog reviews summarizes the event and some of what we observed. We’ll also be analyzing some of the announcements in an Aragon Research First Cut.
On the Event itself, this wasn’t your Father’s Lotusphere. The atmosphere was upbeat and the opening day featured some fun music from the band: OK GO. There was a buzz from the beginning and IBM Executives, such as Sandy Carter and Alistair Rennie were not only on stage but interacting with attendees on Twitter – a lot.
The IBM Executives, particularly Mike Rhodin and his GMs were all on Message. The products appeared to be better integrated and the emphasis on Lotus branding was softened. In addition to being on stage, some of the executives, such as Sandy Carter and Alistair Rennie were interacting with attendees on Twitter – a lot.
The marketing has come a long way too and that is probably because talented young executives like VP of Marketing Kristen Lauria were allowed to come up with creative campaigns like Social Business (and a few years back Lotus Knows).
Social was IBM’s Lead message and it is clear that Connections has advanced significantly over versions from as recent as two years ago (note, we will be reviewing Connections in our upcoming Aragon Research Globe on Social Software). What was most noticeable about Connections and other products is that Customers like TD Bank, Colgate and Children’s Hospital Boston did most of the talking during the event.
Social Content Management was also discussed quite a bit and enterprises will like the fact that IBM can tie its Enterprise Content Management (ECM) as well as Microsoft SharePoint into their social platform.
Mobile was also front and center at Lotusphere and many demos were done natively on an iPad or Android device and it was fun to see that there was no hype needed on the devices, since they are part of everyday life in the Post PC era we are currently in.
Finally, innovation jumped out both in some of the innovation lab tours that were provided, but more importantly with the Wednesday Keynote by Manoj Saxena that featured IBM Watson, which initially is focused on Healthcare (Doctor Assistant). IBM Watson opens up the potential for unheard of computer to human knowledge assistance and we’ll discuss this more in a separate First Cut and other premium research.
Lotusphere and IBM Connect were just hints of what appears to be a re-invigorated IBM Software Group. While known for some clever software acquisitions over the years, IBM is also demonstrating that it is innovating with organically developed products like Connections and Watson.