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Looking Back at THINK 2019, and EXCITED for the FUTURE

Mat Newman  February 20 2019 18:46:10
IBM Think 2019 clearly demonstrated two things. First, regardless of what the event is called, the Collaboration Solutions Family is an amazing group of people, and I am honoured to count many among them as my friends. Second, that group of people are genuinely excited about the future of the Collaboration Portfolio, and their response to the announcements and sessions targeted at them this year clearly demonstrated that they are energised about the future for this platform, regardless of the company who owns it.

Both IBM Collaboration Solutions and HCL representatives were out in force at THINK, and it was obvious that the connections made between current IBMers and those former IBMers whom have moved to HCL - as well as some of HCL's new hires - and the Yellowverse is healthy, and will continue well into the future.

The conference formerly known as Lotusphere was the place that I went to for many years to get my "Annual Injection of Yellow", and while this year it was held in a city that tried desperately to dampen our spirits with it's chill temperatures and constant rain, I came away from San Francisco with the same feelings as previous years, absolutely exhausted, better educated, and totally energised about the future of the products we know and love.

The following is a summary of the week as I saw it.

Ok. I've re-read it. It's not really a summary, 18 hours on a plane back from THINK gives one plenty of opportunity to reflect on the week that was! ;-)

The Prelude:



As always, many members of the Yellowverse began to congregate one or two days before the conference. This is the social gathering of friends - new and old - that I look forward to every year. In many cases, our only opportunity to meet in person, and have a chat before the crazyness of the week begins! This year it was a pleasant surprise that two of our Community members who no longer work with our software happened to be in the same city as the conference during the week. Amanda Bauman (formerly the IBM Champion for Collaboration Solutions Programme Manager), and Mitch Cohen, my long term crowd warmer, keeper of the key, eater of ice-cream, great mate, and ubiquitous @CURIOUSMITCH cry respondent, were both in the city on business and we were fortunate that they were able to spend some time with us; as the saying goes: "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!". It was wonderful catching up with them both!

First Social Selfie of the week with Mitch, Rob and Femke
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To friends, Near and Far, who joined in the conversation as the masses assembled, I felt for you. We miss you all, and we look forward to seeing you all again really soon!

Monday, Business Partner, Champion, and ICS Rehearsal Day:



For me, Monday morning would kick off with a session that I really could not miss. So I put on the 'Big Boy' clothes and headed down to Moscone to congratulate (at least one) of our newest inductees as an IBM Lifetime Champion. The look on his face was classic. The Applause reflected his contribution, as did the congratulations for the other inductee - who could unfortunately not attend this year - ... more on those folks later.

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend some of the mornings Business Partner sessions, as well as the Champions Group Photo (of course I photo-bombed that one!).

For the ICS Community, their week would kick off on Tuesday morning with the ICS Community Day, and the IBM ICS team gathered on Monday to go through the event for the first time in person. Months of planning had gone into the Community Day agenda and events to ensure that if this was the only opportunity for the Community to get together during THINK, that we would be able to give everyone at least an insight into what was coming in the week ahead, and deliver some important information that was relevant to them. Monday was spent organising tables, packing backpacks (YES - WE HAD BACKPACKS!) full of ICS Collaboration Schwag. I was initially intrigued about the inclusion of the DominoV10 umbrella in the list of items, but by this stage I had spent a couple of days in San Francisco, and it was obvious why they were there (LOL!). Some of the IBM speakers gathered some items to give away as prizes during the Q&A section of their sessions during the week, and the umbrellas were to become a sought out item for unsuspecting foreigners who were not familiar with San Francisco weather.

Andrew Doing his Sound Check
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With the venue ready, presentations successfully converted to the hotel AV's required format (believe me, that was not fun!), speaker run-downs, Audio Checks (the Audio lady was extremely diligent!), and rehearsals complete, the team were confident that Community Day would be a success!

Monday evening, The Penumbra Dinner:



A highlight of Lotusphere, Connect, and THINK conferences for many years has been the annual get together between representatives of the Penumbra Group and Executives from IBM. Being held on the eve of the formal sessions, and ALWAYS at an amazing venue(!), the Penumbra Dinner is eagerly anticipated by the attendees. This year the meeting for the first time included Executives from HCL as well. The Penumbra Group are: "a group of select IBM Business Partners who pool technical resources and management skills to create an ideal IBM Software provider network. We offer the competence and breadth of much larger companies at a lower cost. In addition, we deliver the full attention of our principal professionals to each project. Currently Penumbra member companies worldwide provide a full range of IBM Collaboration Solutions services to millions of licensed users at hundreds of customer sites, covering IBM Notes & Domino, IBM Verse, IBM Connections, IBM Sametime and IBM WebSphere. Our members' clients are located worldwide, across all industries and sectors."  LINK

The Penumbra group themselves are overseen by a Board with new members appointed every year, and this year the dinner was hosted by the incoming Chairman: Tony Holder. Congratulations Tony!

One of the highlights of the dinner is when The Penumbra Group present their annual Prism Award: "The Penumbra Prism Award is presented annually in recognition of people who have made an outstanding contribution to partnering with IBM Business Partners, or to the wider IBM community, or to Penumbra itself."

I am honoured and humbled to say that this year, the award was presented to me for: "'Outstanding Dedication to the Collaboration Business Partner Community'. Mat has been the the worlds leading Notes & Domino advocate for many years. Tony Holder, Penumbra Chairman, handed over the Award at the annual Penumbra Group dinner in San Francisco on Monday, February 11th, 2019"

Tony Holder, Penumbra Chairman, and Adam Brown, presenting Penumbra award
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A video of Tony's speech has been posted HERE, which explains why later in the week I was presented with a second award. It's a pretty funny story :-D

Tuesday ICS Community Day:



Community day kicked off with Alan Hamilton and Dawn Herndon providing introductions as the day's MC's, before handing over to Bob Schultz, IBM Collaboration and Talent Solutions (CATS) General Manager who provided a high-level summary on the success of the V10 launch and the health of the business overall. Bob introduced Richard Jefts who provided an overview of the work HCL had executed upon over the past year, and Richard made a commitment that that effort will continue as we plan for the Launch of V11, Sametime 10, a new release of Connections, and new releases of the other software that are part of HCL's acquisition plan.

Dawn then introduced Domino customer Matt Seeberger, who spoke about some of the amazing work that his organisation is doing with Domino, and what the V10 launch and Roadmap Jams meant to him personally and for his company. Dawn then welcomed Andrew Manby on stage, who discussed the inspirational "Year of Yellow", how it began with the Domino V10 Jams, lead all the way through progressive announcements at events such as THINK 2018, Engage, DNUG and Collabsphere, and then culminated with the World Wide Launch of Domino V10 which was officially GA'd on the 10/10/2018. Andrew explained how we didn't stop there, we launched straight into the Jams to collect ideas and input from customers and partners for V11, coming later this year (2019). Andrew invited everyone to come along to his Thursday morning theatre session where he would cover the V11 roadmap in detail, along with Richard. Andrew then invited Carey Henke from Jacobs Engineering on stage, who gave a teaser of her session later in the week, previewing just some of the amazing stats that she would talk about regarding Jacob's Domino deployment in her upcoming session.

And then it was back to the old days of Lotusphere, where Ron Sebastian would walk out on stage and everyone would shout "RON!" because demo's were coming. And that's exactly what happened when Luis Guirigay took the stage and asked if anyone would like to see some demo's. This year, it was all about Open Platforms, Integration and Innovation. And what a demo it WAS! We saw Domino exposed to capabilities that no one previously thought possible, with a Domino App Running on an iPad initiating a Work-Flow which triggered a phone call to an approver who could approve the Work-Flow by replying with voice commands. It didn't stop there with Phone integration, as Luis demonstrated a Domino Administrator calling his server, asking it for it's health and status, and then issuing a voice command to restart a server task that had reported a "critical" status. We were shown new capabilities in Lotusscript, some fantastic new features in DQL (Domino Query Language), new platform capabilities, better integration with open platforms, it was ALL Awesome Stuff! Luis' demonstrations were all recorded, and I will post an updated link (HERE) when they are available.

After the break Dawn introduced Amy Stonesifer from Memorial Hermann Health, who gave a preview of her session later in the week to explain how Hurricane Harvey had driven adoption of IBM Connections at her organisation, and the amazing power of an open cohesive Enterprise Social Network to enable people to effectively Communicate, Co-Ordinate and Collaborate in the face of an Emergency. Dawn handed over to Danielle Baptiste who discussed a summary of all of the new capabilities which are about to be released with IBM Connections CR5, and again invited everyone to her full session later in the week where all would be revealed, including the roadmap and plans for Connections moving forward. Danielle then introduced Darren Cacy, who gave a fantastic demonstration of some of those new features, including the incredible power of IBM Connections Customizer to be able to quickly transform the look and feel of your Connections implementation, before launching into a demonstration of IBM Connections Engagement Centre, and it's ability to quickly enhance Connections as a complete Intranet/Extranet Portal with some fantastic personalisation capabilities. There was so much included in just a short amount of time! Again, I will share a link to Darren's demonstrations (HERE) when they are posted online.

Alan then came back on stage to present to the Collaboration Day audience the newly appointed IBM Lifetime Champions for Collaboration Solutions, Richard Moy, and Daniel Nashed. Neither of those names within the Community will be unrecognised as Richard is a prolific blogger on Application Development, who is also the leader of one of the most popular user groups in the USA (Collabsphere/MWLUG) and curates a number of online communities, and Daniel's consistent and copious contributions to the shared knowledge within the Yellowverse regarding ANYTHING to do with Administration are surpassed only by our other Admin Lifetime Champion, Gabriella Davis. Of course, Daniel is also extremely well known for his Linux Domino scripts, that he shares and maintains freely, which are used by every Linux implementation I know of to help manage and monitor Domino running on that platform. Both Champions this year truly deserve their Lifetime IBM Champion status. Congratulations Guys!

We then had a little bit of fun as we recognised the people celebrating Birthdays in the room, by presenting Joerg Rafflenbeul, Maria Nordin, and Uffe Sorensen with some special YELLOW "DominoForever" shirts, before launching into a quick quiz, which tested some historical knowledge of the Collaboration Platform, as well as some of the key highlights that had been presented during Andrew and Danielle's roadmap sessions. Unfortunately, my instructions to take Uffe's phone off him went unheeded, and he answered a couple of the questions before anyone else, so we had to come up with a creative way to determine some of the winners for our prizes in lieu of them answering questions ;-)

Given that we were in San Francisco, and that I was wearing a Turtle-neck, it then seemed fitting that we would draw on a 'local' theme from the past to show the audience "One More Thing ..."

And what a thing it was! Luis and Andrew came back on stage and demonstrated an AWESOME capability that will soon be available to anyone who wants to download the code: "Domino Query Explorer"

There is just too much to say about the work that has gone into this little Domino Database that enables Business Users to build queries by clicking a few configuration options (no Programming Required!), choose the type of output they would like to display (Flat, or Categorised), return the results, and then export that information in common standard formats for further analysis or presentation. For Developers, Domino Query Explorer (DQE) not only enables them to do the same, Developers can switch into "Developer Mode" and DQE will output the code required to run that query in several different languages, INCLUDING Lotusscript and Javascript! It certainly was a "One More Thing" that the audience really reacted to! :-D

We closed out the session with an item that's been missing for the past couple of years and took a "Community Photo", something that I am very pleased we did, as I can now update the backgrounds on my social media sites ;-)

The Community Day Photo
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After lunch, we launched into an ICS Business Partner session, which Alan and Paula Furness-Fricker used to update our valuable Partners with some exciting new offerings, some new tools to help them manage their customer relationships, and we took some time to recognise the Partner Beacon Award winners; Joinhand from China for their fantastic Portal Solution which is built entirely on Domino, and TopLevel from Hong Kong for their outstanding success delivering customer satisfaction in 2018.

Without doubt, the most popular session of the Business Partner component of Community day was the appearance of Francois Nasser, from HCL, who outlined HCL's intentions for the Partner Programme they are introducing, with almost every announcement generating spontaneous applause from the Business Partner audience. Of course, the largest cheer from the audience was when Francois announced that the HCL Business Partner Programme was NOW LIVE and accepting nominations to join. If you are interested in having a look at the HCL Business Partner programme, use THIS LINK (http://www.hclpartnerconnect.com/)

We wrapped up community day with a LOT of excitement and enthusiasm from the attendees, and it was really fantastic to get feedback from many of you over the following days about how much you had enjoyed the programme that we had put together for you. At this point I have to mention the AWESOME work put into this event (and the entire agenda) by the amazing Carol Samuel and her team (in no order): Andy Bossley, Garrett Gomez, Mimmi Lindquist, Morgan Moubayed, Rebecca Bauer, and Sharon Kang. Carol is a fellow Aussie, so for the others of us out there, it will come as no surprise that her team responds to nick names like "Shaz" and "Gaz" ;-). Thank you ALL for the effort that you have put into their entire ICS programme at THINK, and for the enthusiasm with which you have all embraced this Yellow-Bleeding community, enough to WANT to please them, and to go above and beyond in your efforts to ensure this event's success. Thank You! (HUG)

Tuesday afternoon: The Chairman's Address with Ginny Rometty



This was where I had a personal stroke of luck! "Someone" included me in the VIP Executive reserved area at the front of the auditorium, so I knew I didn't have to rush from Community Day to get back to Moscone to get a seat, or stand in the HUGE queues that were waiting outside as we approached the venue. That line went for BLOCKS, and I'm glad I didn't have to wait outside in the freezing San Francisco weather! The other bonus was our area was just in front of the IBM Champion section, so I had plenty of hecklers within close proximity to keep me amused before the session started. It was also fortunate as I was able to play a small part in helping David Hablewitz reconstruct his famous Photo-Bomb of the Boss from last year. This year's is even better Dave, well done to yourself and Joerg on such an excellent result!

I was able to say "Hi" to and chat with former colleagues Inhi Cho Su and Liz Urheim, whom I am sure all of you remember as being part of our recent leadership team within Collaboration Solutions. It's was great to catch up with them.

The Boss Ready for the Charimans Address
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What a whirlwind 90 minutes! Ginny and IBM clearly have their sights squarely on the Cloud and Cognitive market, and have the ability and technologies to execute in that space. We heard - from the horses mouth - how IBM are targeting their strategic imperatives, and how they are working with customers and partners to deliver on that vision. One of the things that I love about IBM is the way we engage with customers in a manner that no other company in the IT space does. From our GBS teams to our amazing Institute for Business Value, through our Business Value Assessment engagements, I have learned one thing is very, VERY, CLEAR. Companies that ask for feature/function comparisons, or who's only criteria is focussed on "who checks all the check-boxes, for the lowest price" are not necessarily looking at the total business value inherent within a solution. One thing that we have constantly strived towards with our Collaboration Solution engagements with our customers is to emulate the wider IBM, and raise the discussion beyond the "check-box" to a point where we are listening to the customer, addressing their unique requirements, and delivering business value with REAL Return-On-Investment! (footnote: read our The Forrester Study: Total Economic Impact of IBM Domino!)

Other themes that Ginny echoed throughout her presentation were grounded in IBM's core values: "Trust and Personal Responsibility", "Innovation the Matters", and "Dedication to every clients success". The very essence of "Being Essential". Yes, I am a card-carrying member of that club!

The customer stories where Ginny engaged with Greg Kalinsky (EVP and CIO, Geico), Ted Chung (CEO, Hyundai Card Co., Ltd), Jim Whitehurst (CEO, Red Hat), Bernard Tyson (Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Permanente), and John Donovan (CEO, AT&T Communications) all had clear take-aways that reverberated with IBM's key values, and how each of their organisations are able to leverage their IBM relationship to the betterment of their organisations, their stakeholders, and their customers. One thing that was clear from all of those interviews, these people are clearly friends for a reason, and not just because IBM is their technology vendor. (And the selfies were hilarious!)

The session concluded (as had the CES keynote earlier this year) with Ginny discussing the "New Collar Worker" programmes that IBM has been involved with, and introduced some of the people who had benefitted from mid-career retraining (Apprenticeships), or attending (or Administering!) the IBM sponsored Associate Diploma programmes running in over 20 schools throughout the USA.

I really enjoyed Ginny's session, and that was clear from the fact that the only photo I shot was when she walked out on stage. I surprised myself by pulling out my phone later to take another photo, looked at the time and thought "wow, that's gone quickly".

Wednesday: Sessions, Sessions, Sessions!



One of the great things about the way the ICS stream was organised this year is that all of the sessions (besides the Hands-on Labs in the ThinkTank) were all conducted within the Hilton's premises, which meant that one could spend the entire day in one place immersing yourself in the sessions we had selected for Think. Unfortunately, that also meant if you did want to see one of the general sessions, you either had to wait for the shuttle, or do the 20 minute walk back to Moscone in the freezing cold. (Hey, I'm from Singapore, and yes, I've acclimatised to MUCH warmer weather!)

There really are too many highlights from Wednesday to go into detail, so I wont. But I do want to thank Keith, Jarred, Christophe, Henning, Stefan, Beni, Thomas, Miki, Barry, Chris, Scott, Drew, Mohamed, and Bill for delivering some excellent and engaging sessions that other bloggers have covered in much more detail.

My Highlights for the Day:

Barry and Drew presenting the IBM Verse-On-Premises roadmap session, literally bulging with new features and functionality. The best quote from Barry: "We ARE going to achieve feature parity with iNotes!" That drew a huge round of applause from the packed audience, as did the news that the next feature update will include .ICS file handling! There was again a firm commitment that the VOP release schedule will be quarterly, in order to ensure delivery of new capabilities in an more agile manner than shipping it as part of a Feature Pack install, and also a commitment that VOP would simply require an Administrator, as Barry said: "To unzip a file into the VOP directory, and restart the HTTP task". There was a question from the audience about whether this could be automated in some way, and Barry said he would consider that for a future release.

As previewed in her "customer interview" sneak-peak session during community day, Amy Stonesifer from Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, presented "How Hurricane Harvey Pushed Memorial Hermann Healthcare to Connect and Collaborate" which is an amazing story to tell around user adoption with IBM Connections. Her quote was one of the funniest moments of the conference for me: "I don't recommend you have a Hurricane to drive adoption!" delivered completely dead-pan, but it had the audience laughing in stitches. The story Amy told I have actually heard over, and over, again. IBM Connections is often implemented with specific use cases in mind, but it REALLY proves it's value - literally - in a storm. Amy's story is one of tragedy and adversity, that was battled with IBM's Collaboration technology at it's core, that resulted in millions of people being better off. Thanks Amy, excellent session!

Not to mention; the applause that filled the room when Amy advised that her organisation had a plan to turn off Sharepoint in the coming months was thunderous!

The other quote of the day came from a session that was supposed to be presented in conjunction with Luis Guirigay "How a Domino Developer becomes a Web-Developer within One Hour", Luis did do the opening, introduced Thilo Volprich, and walked away. And I am so glad he did! Thilo has one of those unique presentation styles which engages the audience with facts, raw information and humour. It was an entertaining hour, punctuated with his quote, "remember guys, Bullshit In, Bullshit Out!" that left the developer leaning audience laughing and quoting him way after the session concluded. I have seen TeamWorkr sessions presented before, but none that have been able to deliver the concepts and possible results with such flair, precision, and a confidence in the product that it does exactly what it says it will do. Thilo; "Remember guys, we are Domino Developers, this is all built on Domino, and this stuff just Works". It certainly does mate!

Wednesday Evening: SPIN BABY!



The marketing team wanted to do something fun for the Official ICS reception event, and boy did they NAIL it!

In the absence of the nearby theme parks available when our conference was in Orlando, the marketing team found a really fun location very close to Moscone that offered something entertaining and a little different, while still providing the live music and refreshing beverages that this audience is known to enjoy. And that venue was SPIN, an entertainment venue with plenty of space, great music, ample opportunity to acquire a refreshing beverage, and ... Table Tennis! :-D

Arriving early I noticed Wannes Rames and Maria Nordin enjoying a "social" game together and thought: "There's no way I'm joining THAT table!" :-D

For those of you who weren't aware, Wannes is quite the accomplished Paddle-Handler, and has played at a league level in his spare time.

I managed to join a table with my colleague, Randall Koczara, who is also quite handy with a paddle, but neither of us are in Wannes' league. We spent a little time together, and as Randall started stripping off his jacket, then jumper, then rolling up his sleeves, I realised that this was getting quite serious. To the point that I also remembered that I was wearing thermal underwear (Hey, I'm from Singapore, remember!) and that things were getting hot in here. On reflection, I probably should have removed the thermals before playing a game.

Hats off to Kevin Pettit for taking some amazing action shots of the whole event (you can find them HERE: https://lightroom.adobe.com/shares/182c88937e7e40429b9b730b2480f85f )

SPINNING!
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One of the funnier moments was later in the evening when at the table next to where I was playing, two members of my China Team - Kevin Qi and Xu Gang Xg - had also started playing. Now I mentioned earlier that Wannes is a Table-Tennis Star, but Xu Gang is absolutely Pro-Ball Baby!  I was playing a game against someone for a little fun, and one of the professional guys (employed by the venue to 'entertain' the 'punters') who was observing our game asked if he could join in. After getting my ass whooped for a few moments by the professional guy I grabbed Xu Gang and asked him to swap tables with me. Now it's important to note here that switching with Xu Gang to play Kevin was also not a good move, as Kevin was also making me look like it was the first time I had ever picked up a Paddle, but that was more than compensated for by the way I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the professional guy was being soundly beaten by my friend and colleague Xu Gang. A few minutes later the professional guy left, and I gave my spot back to Xu Gang to play with Kevin. Ever heard the expression "Go pick on someone your own size!" ;-)

And SOME of the Awesome marketing team that put this all together!:
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Of course, all good things must come to an end, which leads us on to ...

Wednesday Evening ... a little later: Oh Yeah, That Aussie Party ;-)



For a number of years one of the most sought-after tickets in town has been "The Aussie Party", hosted by IBM Business Partner Tiny (previously Ephox). This was attested to this year by the lines forming at the Tiny booth on the Showcase Floor at the Tuesday evening welcome reception as the notoriety of the Aussie Party spread among THINK attendees and people were clambering for tickets. Andrew, Rob, and the team have done an amazing job year after year to secure the best venue, and ensure that the 'Slouch Hat', Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos, and Holden Cars (Aussies will get it!), along with the Aussie Flag are waved High and Proudly at 'OUR' event. There weren't any meat pies (They were replaced with Lobster Rolls and Chowder) or Football (That was replaced by something as equally as entertaining in one of the best cover bands in San Francisco), so it was important to arrive on time as the Lobster Rolls and Clam Chowder were sure to disappear quickly, and the band would start shortly thereafter. Sorry Carol!

When the event was Lotusphere and it was hosted at the Swolphin, the Tiny team year after year successfully secured "Jelly Rolls" (otherwise known as the "Duelling Piano Bar") to host the Aussie Party. It wasn't unusual for lines to start forming early, and for them to be queued late into the night while everyone attempted to join the party. For the second time that we've been in San Francisco for this event, the guys hosted the Aussie Party at "111 Minna Gallery", a spacious but intimate location with fantastic staff, and again, one of the best cover bands in town, and again, there were crowds lined down the street attempting to get in after the party started.

My mate, Terry Boyd, has posted a couple of Photos and Videos of the event on Social Media. Suffice to say this party lived up to all expectations, and as it could quite possibly be the "grand finale" of the traditional Lotusphere country parties, not only did it live up to expectations, I am sure that the Tiny guys will be looking for any excuse to continue the tradition. (Wink, Wink, Hint, Hint, HCL!)

Of course, we were all tucked up safely into bed early, because the following morning was:

Thursday, First Session, 08:30: The Beat Goes On, and It Goes to 11



At 07:30 on Thursday morning Google Maps told me that it was 10 minutes by car to get to Moscone. I went and got a take-away coffee thinking I had plenty of time to get to the session. At 07:45 when my Uber confirmation came through, it reiterated that it was still only 10 minutes to Moscone. When I had finished my coffee, in the cab, and we were still stuck on Howard street hundreds of meters from the Moscone Lobby at 08:25, I knew I had to make a dash. That is why, at 2 minutes and 50 seconds into the session recording (HERE: Thanks Graham Acres) you see a Yellow flash in front of the camera as I dive into an empty seat in the front row.

The BEAT GOES ON!
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Andrew Manby and Richard Jefts again put on a session that was informative, entertaining, and full of announcements. Unlike last year, the "Doc and Marty" show was replaced with a more 'corporate', a more confident, and a more convincing style delivery of the roadmap. This year there was no need for the window dressing. There was no need for the showmanship. IBM and HCL together didn't need to 'hype-up' that they were going to deliver on their promises. 2018 proved that the partnership worked. That we delivered on promises made as the roadmap progressed through the V10 Jams and evolved as IBM Offering Management, in conjunction with HCL development, stepped-up on the deliverables that were first announced at THINK, and accelerated through Engage, DNUG, Collabsphere, through the Beta's, and on to GA on the 10/10. The cadence was clear. We are here. We will deliver. And here is what's coming next. There was no need for theatrics, Andrew outlined what was delivered post GA with 10.01, discussed what's coming soon, and confirmed a 1st Half delivery for Sametime V10.

There were confirmations on deliverables for XPages, Language support for all platforms, the roadmap for Verse-On-Premises, and a special shout out to a Simplified deployment of Sametime V10.

The BIG announcement at the beginning of the session was the upcoming capability delivered through a partnership with Panagenda to enable a FREE, SIMPLE and RELIABLE upgrade option from any version of Lotus Notes 6+ to IBM Notes Version 10. This is HUGE!

Fabrice Langlois from Teradyne joined Andrew and Richard on stage to discuss how modernisation of the Domino platform helped Teradyne to provide more flexible deployment options for their solutions to their customers. It was AWESOME to see someone on stage that is SO passionate about the platform they work with and the solutions they deploy! Possibly the best part of Fabrice's involvement was how his relationship with the development folks at HCL has evolved. "Every time I walk into your office I'm like HRRRGGGG, and when I walk out, Im like AHHHHHH!" (Watch the recording, it's a CLASSIC moment!) :-)

Andrew discussed the re-positioning of Domino in the Market, and the effect that educating the press and analysts has had - in just a few short months - on the recognition of the presence of IBM Domino in the marketplace. Again, this is significant. Customers for years have heard the cry: "You don't want to be the last customer on Domino". By engaging with Analysts and the Press, we are ensuring that Domino's presence in the market is recognised in reports and recommendations, and our INTENTION is to be in position in a few short months not only to have that existing "presence recognition", but to ensure that we are seen as Market Leaders in many segments. There is still a lot of work to be be done, but that journey has begun, and it is being won.

Andrew and Richard then did a recap of the V11 Jams, what we had heard, and how we understood that our focus needs to be laser sharp on the deliverables for V11 that YOU want us to get into the product.

The numbers from AHA are staggering:
  • 32,000+ Votes, on
  • 2300+ ideas, from
  • 670+ idea contributors

It is compelling, the feedback that we are taking from our customer base on what needs to be included in the product. One of my short term goals is to see that last number rise. I want every customer. Every User. Every Developer. Every Administrator. ANYONE, who has EVER has a "wish list" item for Notes/Domino/Verse/Sametime/Connections, to join in on the AHA portal, and help us make our products BETTER. It's a brand new day folks. We are Listening, and we want YOU to be heard!

Andrew and Richard then focussed on the long-term roadmap, and outlined the themes for V11:
  • Intuitive,
  • Invaluable,
  • Lower TCO

Andrew: "We want to deliver the next generation of the Notes client". You can't really hear it on the replay, but the audience really responded positively to that announcement. Equally encouraging was Richard's follow-up comment on a more tightly integrated Sametime client, something that was integral as we move the portfolio forward, that gained similar praise from the audience in attendance.

A BIG departure from the past was the commitment from Richard that delivery of language packs and the group languages would not longer be staggered. Some customers had to wait for weeks after GA of V10 to get hold of a version in their local language. That will change in future.

Also confirmed by Richard was the intention to simplify Domino Designer, to make it easier to deploy and "Snap-in" capabilities as they are required. This, again, is HUGE, and a big departure from the monolithic Designer deployment currently available.

Again, Andrew raised the intention that "Templates" that address core business requirements (Think back to the Nifty-50) will be part of the core product, and then Richard expanded on that model by outlining how we are thinking about how an internal app store (Templates Approved by your Organisation) could be easily selected and deployed by users, and then went further to throw out an idea on how external apps (Business Partner and Third Party solutions) might be integrated into that. Please note. This item IS a WORK IN PROGRESS and is not committed for delivery within the current V11 roadmap, but it is something that is being SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED, your feedback on this particular item is requested!

The presentation then moved on to how Notes and Domino evolved in a few short years from a "Low/No Code" platform to something that was most definitely "Pro Code" (Think back to 1999, and the release of R5, when a separate Designer client was required to change Forms/Views - vs it's predecessors - where accessing the design was as simple as selecting the "Design" Twistie in the Database outline!). As Andrew and Richard discussed, this actually went against the original philosophy behind Notes as a platform, and they also identified that in the intervening years, Business Users requirements have actually swung the pendulum back towards the "No/Low Code".

Quote of the Day: Andrew Manby "We have to Go Back, We have to address the needs of the Business User!"

And THEN there was THE Demo. Everyone has seen and/or used Domino Mobile Applications on iPad. Andrew Davis joined Andrew on stage to demonstrate the upcoming releases of Notes on Android Tablet and ChromeOS! That means that almost any device in your organisation, Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, Mobile, will soon be capable of running an existing Notes application with ZERO, NOTHING, NADA Code Changes. That's really cool!

And THAT is on top of your new capabilities to modernise applications in a few minutes with TeamWorkR, or to Roll Your Own Interface with Modern Developer Javascript Tools like Node, React, Angular, etc.

There was additional reminder for the upcoming web-cast on the 14th of March, which will feature even more detail on the V11 roadmap, and an early preview of the next generation Notes client experience. (I will post details HERE when they are available!)

Great session Andrew, Richard, Andrew and Fabrice, Thank You!

Thursday Morning: My Time at 'The PED"



Ok, I learned something this year, the folks in marketing call The Pedistal "The PED". All week, the Collaboration Solutions team had been manning the booth and speaking with Customers and Partners. Whomever decided to place the ICS PED next to Panagenda made a great descision, as the Panagenda team are famous for their give-aways that people actively seek out and this year was no different. (It was a new version of their wonderful Anker charger - thanks Christophe for organising one for me!). We had quite a few people come and speak with us during my time on the booth, and our give-away wasn't too shabby either given the location and the weather, yes, the Domino V10 Umbrellas were disappearing at a rate of knots. I had some wonderful conversations with people who had attended Community Day, and the feedback that we received was again awesome. The questions were mostly around roadmap, and of course, the Business Partners asked many questions about the HCL programme (note: read the announcement and link above from Francois folks. I don't work for HCL, and it's Business As Usual!).

Unfortunately, my time on The PED meant I missed some sessions that I really would have liked to attend, sorry: Luis, Sagi, Daniel, Eric, Thomas, Fabrice, Femke, Scott, and Heather!

Thursday Afternoon: Sessions, Sessions, Sessions!



Thursday afternoon was again punctuated with a number of sessions that I was really looking forward to, especially The Connections Roadmap full session "IBM Connections: The Future is Bright" with Danielle and Adam, and "The Power of Domino at Jacobs Engineering" with Carey Henke.

Danielle and Adam did a stellar job in explaining exactly what will be delivered in CR5, but the highlights from the session are all about what's coming in CR6. I will share those slides HERE as soon as they are posted!

And then it was time to become immersed in Facts and Figures about a Domino Deployment that is out of this world. On Community Day, the audience had received just a teaser from Carey about Jacobs Engineering, now they were about to get the Fire-Hose!

Carey launched into her session making it very clear that the Domino environment at Jacobs Engineering has nothing to do with Mail. They use another provider for email, so Domino is purely there for their Applications. And Jacob's Domino Applications literally run their business.

I posted some slide-shots during Carey's session, because the numbers are absolutely AMAZING!
  • 87,000 Application Databases
  • 16,855 Projects
  • 221TB of Data, with 3-5TB replicating per week
  • 4 (FOUR) web-servers
  • 200,000+ connection requests per day
  • 20,000+ Transactions Per Minute
  • 1GB of Web Traffic per Day
  • 1 Preferences document per project instance (yep, the 16,885 number above)
  • Contains 800 fields and options
  • Approx 406,535,035,200 combinations of options

FOLKS THAT'S: FOUR HUNDRED AND SIX BILLION, FIVE HUNDRED AND THIRTY FIVE MILLION, THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND, TWO HUNDRED configuration possibilities!!!!

And that's supported by
  • 1 (ONE) design template globally supporting all lines of business

As i visit customers and partners all over the planet, I am constantly amazed by the way people are using our incredible platform. I've seen numbers like this before, but it's sessions like this where our customers tell their own stories that you get to understand exactly HOW GOOD IBM Notes and Domino really is.

As I looked around the room I could see that Carey had everyone's full attention. No-one was looking at their phone with their heads down, they were all just soaking it in, and many shaking their heads in disbelief. Slide after slide we were captivated by the sheer scale of the Domino environment. But those numbers really aren't the only thing that blew all of the attendees away. It was then Question Time.

Q: "How Many Developers do you have?"
Carey: Three!

There were audible gasps from the audience. And that was followed up immediately with:

Q: "How many Administrators do you have?"
Carey: Three!

Now there was a room full of "Wow's!" and a burst of instant applause.

Yes folks, Jacobs Engineering has a HUGE Global Domino infrastructure, and it's all managed by an Admin/Developer Pair each located in the USA, Asia, and Europe. Carey explained that they work on a "Follow the Sun" principal, and the location of their teams means that at any one time the entire global Domino infrastructure for Jacobs is managed by just 2 people.

Yes. This session was just ... WOW!

I finished off the afternoon with Darren Cacy in his "Learn IBM Domino Query Language for Fun and Profit", which was a great introduction to how the whole thing is structured and exactly what you can do with it. Great job Darren! Then I headed over to Adam and Scotts excellent session on "Connected, Committed and Collaborative: Driving Success through an engaged workforce" which concentrated on Connections Customiser and ICEC to demonstrate how simple and effective it now is in a Connections environment to create a simply stunning looking, Socially Engaged Intranet. Connections certainly has come a LOOOOOONG way from the days when customising it meant digging through .JAR files and modifying Javascript, HTML, and CSS.

Then I had to head over to a meeting, so unfortunately I missed the day's remaining sessions, the one I had really been looking forward to was Jared Roberts session on Modernising Domino Applications. By all accounts, he covered some great stuff, well done mate!

Friday: Sessions, Sessions, Sessions!



The end of the week, and the final sessions with Wannes, MArtin, Darren, Karel, Ralph, Miki and the one I had been waiting for, Tony's session on "IBM Domino: Why One of the First Rapid-Application Development Platforms is Still the Best".

Tony did a fantastic job in putting together a deck that explains complex themes in such a simple and visually appealing manner. The session concentrated on Domino's strengths in an increasingly competitive environment and discussed how even if you have tools like Salesforce, Workday, or Office365 in the mix, Domino still provides a COMPELLING environment for Low Code, Rapid Application Development (remember the Jacobs Engineering story from earlier!). Great job Tony!

And then ... That was that!



One of the things that I really liked about the Lotusphere conferences of times past was how the final day was structured. It began with a few sessions, went through two "Ask the OM's" and "Ask the Dev's" panels, where the crowd was always HUGE and ready to ask questions, and then the whole conference closed with a BANG with the Closing General Session that year after year delivered some amazingly talented folks who provided really engaging talks. Prof Brian Cox and Dave Lavery are still my favourites :-D

That's something that I understand you couldn't do with a crowd of over 20,000 people, bring them together for one final mega-session. I get that. But the nostalgia of the CGS, and then meeting one more time at the Dolphin Rotunda to say farewell to those departing early, before heading over for mini-golf. Well ... I guess I'm just a little nostalgic and a huge fan of the Lotusphere format.

One last beer with my mate!
Gathering

Closing thoughts: The Future is BRIGHT!



IBM THINK 2019 was a fantastic event. From the moment the Community started gathering over the weekend, through the many social events, and the awesome sessions, it was - to me - a punctuation mark on one theme that was actually a title on one of the key sessions: "The Beat Goes On, and it Goes to 11!".

What is clear looking back on everything beginning with the IP Partnership announcement in October 2017, is that there is a new focus, new life, and new energy around the Collaboration Portfolio. 2018 saw the "First Instalment" of that delivered, and another announcement of HCL's intention to acquire the Collaboration Portfolio from IBM. The roadmap sessions presented at THINK 2019, and my discussions with the HCL Developers at the conference about the level of innovation in the Domino and Sametime portfolio - that will now be carried over into Connections and Digital Experience - says mountains about a newly re-invigorated platform. To hear how our customers and partners are ustilising these amazing capabilities NOW, and how excited they are about the NEW capabilities in V10 and those announced for future versions, well ... THAT was the Annual Injection of Yellow that I needed!

As I said on stage during Community Day, Version 11 is just the next step, after that it's: "To Infinity and Beyond!"





Comments

1Horacio Benedicto  02/21/2019 1:18:21  
Looking Back at THINK 2019, and EXCITED for the FUTURE

You are the BIG BIG BIG Yellow Man !

Thanks for take photo with me.

A big Hug !

Horacio

2Michael  02/21/2019 7:34:33  
Looking Back at THINK 2019, and EXCITED for the FUTURE

Mat

If that’s a summary, I’d hate to see you write a novel.

Keep up the great work mate.. you have made a huge difference to guys like myself and others, who keep pushing the brand and keeping it alive... all hail B1 :-)

3John Dalsgaard  02/21/2019 9:34:32  
Looking Back at THINK 2019, and EXCITED for the FUTURE

Thanks for the resume, Mat!

I miss the atmosphere of LotusPhere....! I have not attended "Think" yet.

I hope you're right about the future of Domino and Notes.... Being a Mac user I've kind of given up reporting obvious errors as they seem not to be fixed over several versions.... And I cannot go to V10 yet due to problems with partial refresh in XPages (still!!)....

So, I really hope that you're right - but so far I have not been able to react on all the "new" stuff - and neither have our customers....

Hope you're well back in the summer and better weather than what you had in San Fransisco ;-)

/John

4Mat Newman

02/21/2019 19:17:13  Looking Back at THINK 2019, and EXCITED for the FUTURE

@1, Horacio: It was a pleasure to meet you too! Glad we found one in your size 😉

@2, Michael: LOL. That was how I originally wrote it. It was only when I went back to proof read it that I realised it wasn't a summary any longer. 😀 And Thank You mate, we do it because we love the technology and want to see people use it. Glad to help in any way I can!

@3, John: Thanks for the heads up, I will reach out to you directly mate. Hope to see you at an event real soon!

Mat Newman IBM Champion

5Todd Carpenter  02/23/2019 8:20:40  
Looking Back at THINK 2019, and EXCITED for the FUTURE

Thanks Mat,

Reading your post I felt like I was there! Hope all is well with you my friend.

Take care,

Todd

6Mat Newman

02/26/2019 21:40:01  Looking Back at THINK 2019, and EXCITED for the FUTURE

@5, Todd: Missed having you around this year mate. Hope to catch up again soon!

Mat Newman IBM Champion

Mat Newman

THE Notes (formerly IBM/Lotus Notes) Guy. Productivity Guru. Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. Former IBMer. HCLite. Views are my own.

#GetProductive #GetIBMNotes

Mat Newman

New to IBM Lotus Notes? START HERE





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