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Inside Mobile Design and User Experience

Thoughts on mobile and social business applications, design, and user experience, by Chris Reckling.

Last week I had the pleasure of providing a keynote address to the Netherlands Lotus User Group in Amsterdam. The venue was the Ajax ArenA football stadium and the opening was actually on the field! I spent days trying to boil down what I needed to say into the allotted time. It's much harder doing a strategy talk than a technical product presentation, for sure, because you are mostly dealing with concepts and you only get one chance to say it (and most people probably only retain 10% of what you say anyway...). There is so much more to talk about so I saw it as my job set the baseline for the 2 days that were to follow.
So, I divided my time up into 3 major areas:
1. IBM Smarter Planet strategy and how Lotus relates to it, specifically around how people fit into the picture. I do think that Smarter Planet is a very good campaign and covers a lot of ground. It is both inspirational (save the planet) and practical (build better energy grids). My primary link was that people are becoming instrumented (thru their phones, mostly), interconnected (thru social networks, teams, and groups), and intelligent (the wisdom of the crowd).
I forgot to mention the appropriate sports analogy I had planned, where it is usually the better play of a team that wins vs. the individual players acting alone, even if they have the so-called better players. But it is true - this is why we work in teams to begin with - to get to a better outcome in the end, as a unit. And this is what Lotus enables - more effective communication between individuals and teams or communities to accomplish a business objective - produce a report, win a client, deploy a website, make a smarter building.
2. The second section was a review of recent product updates. For this, I created one slide per product. This sounds easier than it was....first, I had to find info about all these products. Lotus Connections to the rescue!! I was able to search IBM's internal deployment of Connections and found all kinds of interesting information. From this, I boiled it down to the essence of what each release was about. Most people at the event probably knew all of this, but you never know.
Image:Get Social with Notes at NL LUG
Me. On the field.

3. The last section of the talk was on the 2 future strategies that we have laid out - Project Northstar and Project Vulcan. These are major initiatives in our division, one focused on helping our clients deliver 'exceptional web experiences' to their customers through multiple channels and the other focused on next generation collaborative capabilities, or 'exceptional work experiences'. Both efforts build on existing technology that IBM has in market today, so they can be seen as an evolution and updates from what customers are deploying now.
My talk was followed by Pieter Koenders from Imtech, one of IBM's largest European business partners. It tied nicely to the Smarter Planet theme, as Imtech is one of the companies actually providing technology implementations for things like Smarter Cities, Smarter Energy, and Smarter Traffic. Imtech also has a large practice around Lotus technologies and I got to speak with Edwin Kanis during the product showcase. Entertainment by the Tiburg Tigers got the crowd to wake up while the speakers lounged in our players' comfy chairs on the field. Yves van Seeters from IBM Belgium followed with an entertaining talk about social media, all while not mentioning Lotus Connections (too much). He had a cool interactive tweets program built into his slide deck for instant polls and feedback.

After the opening session, the crowd settled into the 4 tracks that were going on to get the details on admin, app dev, and business strategies. As far as I could tell, everything ran smoothly thanks to the efforts of Marnix Kemme and no doubt many others. The breakout rooms were nice and there was enough room for everyone. The product showcase was packed with partners and customers. I really got the sense that these partners had embraced the social software message and were actually implementing it in products and with their own clients. One partner I talked to, e-office, had gone as far as creating a solution that blended a Domino based intranet with Lotus Connections. They had a clever marketing mantra, "Intranet says NO!" that seemed to drive some interest.
Image:Get Social with Notes at NL LUG
There were some fun activities in the partner showcase, including a crazy photographer who got people to pose in all sorts of embarrassing scenes. (I was actually tied together with CheeChin by our neckties!! And Bill Buchan was blindfolded and given a drink to hold, surprisingly.) I'm guessing the sponsors, Lotus Loves People, were collecting material for use at a later date. :)

I went to Maureen Leland's XPages session and Stuart MacIntyre's Connections technical session on Thursday. On Friday, I attended 2 sessions from BASF (The Chemical Company) on their experiences rolling out Lotus Connections this year. I met up with the speakers, CheeChin Liew from the business side of the equation and Tim Kerschot from the IT side. It did seem like they had a great partnership and the rollout has been going smoothly. One interesting customization they had to do, because of privacy laws in Germany mostly, was to provide a custom opt-in page for users before they could access the system. They must have done a good job because the ramp-up of users is exponential. I love hearing these stories in the field about how people are really using the software we produce.

On Thursday night there was a speaker dinner in a suite overlooking the Ajax field. It was a fun time and we even discovered the elusive Dutch spork - fork on one end, spoon on the other. The relaxed conversation and socializing was an ideal way to end the day. It was great to hang with Chris Miller, Paul Mooney, Bill Buchan, CheeChin Liew, Tim Kerschot, Femke Goedhart, Martijn de Jong, and of course, my IBM colleagues Suzanne Livingston, Mary Beth Raven, Sean Brown, and Maureen Leland. I also ran into IBMers Cees van der Woude, who used to be in Cambridge, and Reynout Adrichem Boogaert.

That's all for now! On to the IBM Experience event today.


Chris Reckling | 15 September 2010 05:39:12 PM ET |

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