Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Announcing MWLUG 2016: Defining the Art of Collaboration


We are please to officially announce that MWLUG 2016 will be held on August 17-19, 2016 at the Four Seasons in Austin Texas. We have secured a special rate for this event. With all the new innovations that IBM and IBM Business Partners are creating with our favorite technologies, we are "Defining the Art of Collaboration" which is our theme for MWLUG 2016.

We are expecting an even greater turnout this year at MWLUG 2016.  We are planning many activities and new formats to make this a special event.  For attendees that are interesting in coming earlier, we are also working on a special event on Tuesday, August 16, 2016.  We will need to determine if there is enough interest before we book this event.  More information will be coming soon.

Sponsorship for MWLUG 2016, will be starting very soon with presentation abstract submission in April.  We look forward to seeing everyone in Austin.

And yes, we are cooking up a few surprises.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

My Final Thoughts on IBM Connect 2016

Today I was able to spend an hour writing up my thoughts about IBM Connect 2016.  I have had no time in the past few months to blog and continue my current series, but made a special effort to write this article. Like many, I had low expectations this year for IBM Connect given the venue from last year.  For me the greatest asset of IBM Connect for many years has been networking with the ICS community whether they are IBMers, IBM Business Partners, or IBM Customers. Most sessions in the past became just IBM marketing sessions. This year, I was glad to see less of that and more sessions that I can learn and benefit from.

Moving IBM Connect to the Hilton was a big plus not just in the layout, but also for us who always stayed outside the main hotel. It was much easier to get to.  The Dolphin and Swan was getting very old and arrangement for attendees who stayed outside was a pain.  I hope they do it again at the Hilton Orlando.

I know some did not like the newspaper style agenda, but I liked it very much. I like to browse through and get a big picture of the agenda layout. I did not use the Connect app since I have a Blackberry Passport and did not want to spend the time to side load it. My suggestion for the Connect 2017 web site is to have a view just like what was available on the newspaper.  I don't like searching using filters, one needs to get a big picture for each day, before I decide which sessions that I will be attending.

Thanks to Amanda Bauman and her team and Tim Clark for organizing the World Alliance User Group booth and the support that they are providing to user group conferences like MWLUG.

If you did not attend any of the Design Thinking sessions at IBM Connect, whether you are management, admin, or developer, you missed out.  I thought this year, the sessions were done much better.  But if you missed these sessions at IBM Connect, there will be opportunities at MWLUG 2016. More information and announcements will be coming on this.

As an IBM Business Partner, the Business Partner Appreciation beer event was most welcomed. Special thanks to Penny Hill and her team for this event.  However, it was also depressing for me, since I was on meds and could not enjoy the wonderful beers that were available.  Of course I was off the meds a few days afterwards.  Damn planets were not aligned for me. I need to make it up in Austin.

Having the lightning sessions at the Expo has a very bad idea.  I understood the concept, but the sound quality was not good and sometimes defocused the presentations.

I thought the IBM Business Partner OGS speaker was very good.  The OGS presentation about how East African entrepreneurs were using IBM Domino/XWork to create a fair trade environment alone justified me attending IBM Connect.  I disliked the OGS Guest Speaker from the Brain Games.  He seem to be shouting the entire time and showing video of himself as part of the presentation which was very strange.  The closing session with Erik Wahl was very good and a great transition and inspiring message to the direction that IBM is heading.

As many of your know, our company's main focus has been our Domino-based iPhora technology which after IBM Connect and seeing the future direction of ICS will continue to remain our focus and growth. Continue improvement to the Domino platform is extremely important to us as an ISV. After attending a few of the Watson and Bluemix sessions, I see opportunity to extend our iPhora solutions with Watson and BlueMix. More to come about this in the future.

My overall experience with IBM Connect 2016 was very positive and IBM Collaboration Solutions is back and more focused. Just execute the plan in a timely matter. I was extremely happy with the name change back to IBM Collaboration Solutions. I have high hopes for the new General Manager, Inhi Cho Suh. Hope to see you next year at IBM Connect 2017. Remember to continue the ICS conversation both online and by attending the many up and coming user group conferences to learn more, network and share. Hope to see everyone at MWLUG 2016, Austin TX.

  • DNUG 2016
  • Engage 2016
  • Inform 2016
  • ICS User Group Conference 2016
  • ICON UK 2016
  • MWLUG 2016
  • SnoUG 2016
  • Social Connections 2016
  • SUTOL 2016

I apologize if I missed one.