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June 19, 2008


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Luis Benitez

Hi Mike,

Thanks for giving us more context as to what happened last week. It gives me a better perspective as to what was expected from speakers. Based on all the press this session got, it seemed to me that there was a huge disconnect as to what was expected from the speakers and their level of preparation. This blog entry, however, clearly shows, in my mind, that it was a product win and not a speaker winning over another.

Chris Stanley

Whats the licensing structure look like for Connections? Will there be a free version with limited functionality similar to what Microsoft's Windows SharePoint Services offering is?

Steve Kuhn

Hi Mike. Thanks for the writeup. I was supposed to be at the session but was stranded in Chicago...

I also heard from many that Microsoft and Sharepoint did not acquit themselves well at your session, and I'm no personal fan of Sharepoint. But I would also point out that, to my mind, the most impressive real-world examples at E2.0 came from companies using Sharepoint.

Paul Fields' presentation on Wachovia's move into E2.0 was pretty great. And those that attended Lockheed Martin's case study on their implementation (and heavy customization) of Sharepoint saw audience members practically standing and cheering. (I heard one person call out: "Sell it! We'll buy it!") (Anyone interested can see my notes of the Lockheed Martin preso here: http://tinyurl.com/44xmwe)

Anyway, I heard a lot of casual Sharepoint-bashing at E2.0, but let's not write it off just yet.

Mike Gotta

Steve - it is true that the user case stories you list were leveraging SharePoint and outside the social computing tools, SharePoint is incredibly popular. But I would also suggest that there are a decent number of organizations leveraging non-SP tools such as Jive, Socialtext, Atlassian, Traction Software, Awareness Networks, and so on. With Connections 2.0, I expect IBM to make a more serious run.

I am not writing SharePoint off, but I am pointing out clear deficiencies and the need for partner solutions to augment what SharePoint offers overall.

John Heckendorn

I do think there are a couple of underlying issues at work here. The main one is that Connections and SharePoint are fundamentally orthogonal in purpose and usage, at least currently. They are both interesting tools, but one is a hammer and the other a saw. When you ask IBM and Microsoft to show what their tools can do, they will play to their individual strengths, and woe be to the one expecting the audience to appreciate clean woodcuts when they really want to see clean nail driving (MS should have known this, and were foolish to participate). Presented with the proposed scenario precisely as you described, if they knew anything about Connections and how its sweet spot coincided with the intentions of the "challenge", they should have declined outright.

Although you brush off the varying quality of speakers/presentation as immaterial, having seen both Lawrence and Suzanne present their stuff, they really are orthogonal as public speakers. C'mon, which one would you rather represent your company or product in public? Although judgement shouldn't hinge on perception, Microsoft's second serious mistake was not sending their most effective set of presenters (even on a hopeless mission).

I'm positive news of this debacle has penetrated into the upper firmament at Microsoft (perhaps even to Ray Ozzie himself). I think it would be interesting for you to have a post-massacre debrief with Lawrence et al. -- I assume he still returns your calls :') -- to compare notes as to what they heard vs. what you were proposing. There had to be a tremendous disconnect somewhere (the results demonstrate that). My guess is that when you used the word "platform", they thought of the whole Microsoft ecosystem and that they wanted to show how Enterprise 2.0 capabilities are getting gradually integrated into a CM platform that is already widely used. I also suspect that Suzanne et al. understood "platform" to mean how IBM is developing something quite unlike anything else they have ever done (a new "application", if you will).

BTW, couldn't agree more that for now (and perhaps for ever), third party products/integrations are crucial for extending SharePoint as a platform to address E2.0 objectives. Fortunately for enterprises that have developed collaborative environments on the SharePoint platform, there seem to be a growing number of imaginative third parties looking to make a living from providing those goods and services. In fact, one question some potential customers may soon ask is how Lotus Connections can be made to closely integrate with SharePoint (and if so, whether purchasing Connections now is better than waiting for MS and its partners to provide equivalently interesting functionality).



A really clear, well written description of the event. I'd love to know more. Is it possible to download a video or something similar?

Brian Kellner

Thanks for doing the tutorial and the write-up Mike – both were very informative.

I think the ability to augment SharePoint via third-party solutions is part of its strength. And if the audience had seen something like this quick video of how Social Sites enhances social computing within SharePoint, I think their perception of the gap with Connections would have been very different.



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Aajf 6

I completely agree with the above comment, the internet is with a doubt growing into the most important medium of communication across the globe and its due to sites like this that ideas are spreading so quickly.

Air yeezy

Thanks for executing the tutorial and also the write-up Mike – equally had been really informative.

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