Lotus Techjam @ IBM Southbank – 7th Apr ’09

This Techjam for System Integrators had a packed agenda covering the latest and greatest news from the IBM Lotus Brand.

In the month of the LCTY events in the UK, this was a great primer for those events.

The agenda for the day was as follows:

Introduction and welcome message
Jamie Goodhead – Business Unit Executive, Lotus Software
A welcome message from Jamie to introduce the team and give a brief overview of the event.

Lotus strategy update
Brendan Tutt – Portal & Social Networking Business Leader UK & Ireland
An overview of Portals and Social Networking discussing the current software offerings and planned releases.

My Notes:

Brendan gave a summary of the Lotus product portfolio and their focus on the themes of ‘collaboration in context’ and the breadth of integration and delivery mechanisms available through the Lotus software stack.  He highlighted the continuing interest for customers to explore and take advantage of more social and community based collaboration tools while leveraging their existing data sets and business processes.

He made reference to the current Lotus Connections 2.5 beta programme, estimated for gold release around Q3. In particular the continued evolution of services that Connections will offer.  And of course to the launch of LotusLive Engage the Lotus SaaS collaboration offering, which currently includes elements of Connections and Quickr and in future will incorporate more of the IBM Lotus product set.

Lotus Domino XPages
Chris Moore – Technical Professional
Creating XPages to bring Domino Web Applications into the Web2.0 arena. A deep dive into what XPages are and how this will impact  customers.

My Notes:

Chris gave an excellent overview of the advances in web application UI and design efficiencies provided by Lotus Domino XPages technology. XPages is a web application feature bundled in the Lotus Domino 8.5 server release and equivalent development tools provided through the Lotus Notes 8.5 designer IDE client. XPages allows the rapid design and deployment of a modern Web2.0 UI (look & feel) to Domino Web applications, with extensive re-use and leverage of existing design elements and techniques but without requiring extensive training or additional knowledge for Domino application developers.

The Lotus Domino server now comes with XPages and dojo options available for selection through the server set up wizard. The Lotus Notes 8.5 designer client, is a full eclipse based IDE (still only available on Windows – more platforms to be released). The designer client provides all the tools and elements to create the XPages design elements within the Lotus Domino database.

Relative to traditional methods of delivering a web application XPages demonstrated how easy to was to take existing design elements (fields, forms & views) and create new presentation elements, and methods and events linking those together. Within 10 minutes, Chris showed a simple workflow of adding documents to a view through an XPages form, and the options to select and delete documents through the view all via XPages elements in a web browser.

In future releases we should see elements of XPages extended to other Lotus products for rapid UI customisation and development.

A reference to Declan Lynch can’t be missed when discussing XPages for more information look here: Declan Lynch’s Blog

Lotus Connections
Stuart McIntyre – Collaboration matters 
Stuart will provide valuable insight into how customers have implemented Lotus Connections.

My Notes:

Stuart gave an excellent presentation of experiences of Lotus Connections implementations.  He provided a good overview of how the need for organisations to evolve into a more collaborative culture could be supported and enabled through the use of software such as Lotus Connections.  He described clearly how each facet or service of Lotus Connections played a key part in enabling a particular area of collaborative working; and introduced how other elements of Lotus portfolio such as Lotus Quickr and Lotus Sametime played a vital role in supporting collaboration.

He often referred to use cases, where a single service or couple of Lotus Connections services was of primary importance to that particular client. As well as how that service had then enabled that organisation to evolve it’s method of working or overcome business challenges to increase time to market or introduce a more innovative business culture.

He also shared that how important it was to try and get as much data and content as possible into the Lotus Connections Profiles service as possible, even for pilots or POCs.  Pre-populating that service though the use of TDI is a vital booster to aiding  user adoption and participation within the environment.

Apart from a great technical overview, Stuart also stressed the importance of user training, and helping clients progress through the necessary cultural changes to enable a successful implementation.  Much of the user training focusing on the why and value of participation rather than the how to do it.

For those wanting to know about Stuart and his excellent work check out : http://collaboratewith.me/

Lotus portal
Rob Enright – Technical Sales specialist
Rob will provide an in-depth discussion on Lotus Websphere Portal and how portal can surface valuable data in Lotus Domino and Lotus Connections and the new features of WCM.

    My Notes:

     Rob gave a good summary of evolution of use cases and technology of IBM WebSphere Portal.  Citing the main stages of Portal use:

  • Aggregation – bringing separate applications together a single presentation layer, combining tailored user access through the use of role based security and personalisation.

  • Integration – using portlet technology and client-side aggregation to wire-link together different applications to provided contextually relevant data to the user. e.g. a financial and CRM applications delivering information about the same customer within the portal to the user (financial – invoices, dates, amounts, CRM – contact details, last interaction)

  • Innovation – the use of mashups & widget technology such as ‘live text’ to provide a technology platform to enable a more innovative culture (accessing social software application, Google widget data), and allowing Line of Business to make situational relevant applications; without the burden and overhead of working through the IT organisation as well.

Lotus Foundations
Ray Davies – Technical Sales specialist
Lotus Foundations 1.1 was released last week. This in-depth session will discuss Lotus Foundations.

My Notes:

Ray gave a fantastic and insightful introduction and overview to the recently released class of autonomic and appliance based Lotus product called Lotus Foundations.

He outlined the various options that are currently available, especially focusing on the Branch office version. Describing the phenomenal about of technology crammed into such a small, robust and self-contained device. Particularly interesting elements being the autonomic features, centralised configuration and management, extremely rugged & robust, deployment, back-up, self-heal and upgrade processes.  Another feature of interest being the appliance has the potential to receive customised application packages that once delivered, are included into automatic deployment and configurations processes; so that end-users literally receive new  application features or elements in a transparent manner. 

Lotus Foundations devices are specifically designed to serve business processes in the field where reach and reliability of network or power can compromise business processes, interactions or revenue streams.  But where on premise skill sets are not IT orientated and therefore deployment, and operational support activities  need to minimised & simplified in the extreme.  These appliances can become the ultimate field end point, providing a reliable service point to that location without the burden or overhead local delivery of IT administration and support, and with a truly robust remote configuration management and self management features.

For more about Lotus Foundations visit: Lotus Foundations

Conclusion: It was a great opportunity to meet up with some of IBM Lotus innovators and discuss the products and the business challenges they helped to solve.


Disclaimer: Elements of this blog post relating to Lotus products features current or future, are subject to change at the discretion of IBM and should not relied upon.  For further information about these products, please contact your relevant IBM representative.

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