Some thoughts around our IBM Lotus Community #in #getsocial11 #socbiz #ibmpartner #ibmexperience
Like many others, I’ve digested the impact of the most recent Lotus Technical community call held by IBM. Since Lotusphere 2011, there has been an underwhelming sense of where we are heading with Lotus collaboration and it’s been amplified by the Lotus Community who seem to be feeling that the writing is on the wall in terms of the path we, as Lotus technologists, are heading down. The IBMers on the community call maintained that the direction is clear and that IBM is committed to the long-term health of the Lotus Software stack. I certainly have no reason to believe otherwise however the message is simply not clear and there are a number of factors that are quickly bubbling to the surface that have been voiced by both Partners and Customers.
So here are couple of points that I’d like to reiterate but I think that are important to keep in mind:
- IBM is committed to the Lotus Notes and Domino stack. They have decided not to go toe-to-toe with the top performers in the software collaboration space (in terms of marketing) but have committed to continue to support the products and evolve them into this Social Business and Vulcan concept that they hope will transform the way we do business communications. For those customers not invested into the Lotus stack, the options are abundant and competition is fierce. Turnkey, cloud solutions are creeping up as organizations big and small are realizing that a heavily staffed IT department is not always the default way to evolve business technology. IBM’s response to this will be interesting however if 80% of their time is spent with their enterprise customers, then it’s quite clear to me the target audience they are trying to satisfy.
- IBM Partners need to partner not just within our community but ‘with’ IBMers. With SVP now in play and influence clearly in the hands of partners who perform at a high level in renewals and net new software, it has made it more obvious to me that 'technical’ partners as important they are, need to become more visible to those IBMers who are at the table signing software deals with customers. Why is this important? Partnering with the Product Team at IBM is a great way to share customer experiences and technical vision however it is in Sales that influence happens with the majority of the relationships that are built. It’s time to move in this territory and play a role in the software deal to build our business and relationships with IBM. Personally, we at the RockTeam have made end-roads in this strategy and I would be happy to share my experiences here.
Now that we are a couple weeks past this challenging Community call, I say lets not just point the finger at IBM but also take accountability for how we influence our customer base. Most importantly, engage and find the 'right’ IBMer. Create a dialog that will result in positive momentum for your organization. This is a two-way street folks and we can pontificate till we are out of breath however what is the end-result we are seeking? This isn’t an IBM question but a question for us Partners and Customers. Stop and take a look around and evaluate the options and more than likely, you’ll know how to move forward.