SWG Analyst Briefing: Emerging Tech Showcase


My main assignment for the event was technology which resulted in the ETS.  It was the opportunity to show new technology from each of our area’s and the Lab’s and combine it with an opportunity to interact.  Early reviews from the analysts say it was a great success, especially because we had an open bar during the event.

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My favorite demo was the Second Life IBM 3D web experience shown here to Mary Taylor by Katharine Frase.  This was just way cool.  I’m going to get into this as there is just too much opportunity.  Not that the other demo’s weren’t great, as they were, but I got caught up in this.

Oh BTW, it was great to see many of my analyst friends and catch up.  I even got an autographed version of SOA for Dummies…..more on that next week.

SWG Analyst Briefing, 1:1's

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Steve Graham and Chris Wong was one of the 1:1 briefings I attended.  I started to notice a theme with the analysts on the subject of Software as a Service which dominated the 1:1’s I was at.  We need to define what the SaaS framework is going to be and have the competition design their work to fit into the framework. If we’re late, we have to fit into someone else’s. So we’ll either be the skeleton or the skin.
I promise that SaaS will be a big issue for us in the upcoming few months and we’ll have much to say.

For now, it was Chris jumping into the foray of IDR analyst briefings and he held his own.  My job just keeps getting better getting to work on this type of strategy planning and getting good execs to work with.

SWG Analyst meetings 1:1’s

Since I’m in ISV and Developer Relations, I attended the Ecosystem Breakout hosted by Buell Duncan and Kristof Kloeckner.  When I think back on all the execs I’ve supported, Buell has to be one of the best.  He understands the value of analysts, how to speak with them and not at them and he knows his area WELL.

Having the Head of Strategy supporting the story by explaining how and why the ecosystem is important to IBM is just frosting on the cake.

Needless to say, it went well and the partner message that we work with them instead of competing with them continues to resonate.

SWG Analyst event underway

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I’m sure you’ll hear about what the analyst’s say about our meeting, but the prep was a job in itself. Here’s a shot of the prep meeting where Catherine Manley and Sarita Torres laid out the meeting for everyone. I ran this meeting 2 years ago, and it’s a job by itself let alone your regular job in analyst relations.

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Rod Smith and Gary Barnett taped a video podcast for Web 2.0 to be published in a series that Amy Loomis is putting together…more on that later.

All this and we haven’t even started the main event.

Analyst meeting Pre-Day one

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After months of preparation, we’re ready for the big event.  Here are the ladies getting everything ready for the IBM and the analyst teams.   Kudos go to Monica Wells Grace and Tom Morrissey who stayed up until 3 am getting the schedules ready, and to the entire resource team without whom the event wouldn’t run.

Today begins the “big show” with all the IBM SWG GM’s who will cover their area’s and Steve Mills who is the host of the event.

I wish everyone good luck and Godspeed John Glenn.

Beautiful Bikini’s at the beach

Once again, I’m satirically inspired. This post is brought to you by a walk on a beautiful beach in Florida, in a winter coat. These guys were the only other beach walkers besides us. We were hoping for a Jimmy Buffet oriented post like “The weather is here, I wish you were Beautiful“…but alas, not this year as the weather didn’t cooperate.

We’ll make up for it with a huge family gathering and shrimp boil today to catch up on everything, which is always a pleasure as was Thanksgiving with my Mom yesterday.

And next week I’ll be in the other summer wonderland of Stamford Connecticut for the SWG analyst briefing we’ve put so much blood, sweat and tears into. At least it’s hunting and striper season when I get home.

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m off to see the family for the rest of the week for the holiday, then will be at the SWG analyst event the following week.  I’ll see many of you there.


More on Blogger Relations

This seems to be a topic that has legs, as they say. I first noticed this on James Governer’s blog, then on Net-Savvy both in the context of Blogger Relations and Defining Social Media Relations.

This will involve a different way of thinking, mostly because blogging to be effective gives up control, which causes fear and uncertainty in the realm of traditional communications. It’s going to be about managing the process of the message coming to and from communities rather than the corporate marketing machine. It’s also going to be about how to communicate and integrate with the various blogging communities.

These communities (ok for IBM in this case) include the technically inclined group such as IT analysts, the Investor and Investor Relations crowd, IBM watchers from the outside, and making sure that it doesn’t become a part of the spin machine from the inside. Yes, PR has a place in the blogosphere, but one must be careful not to use it as a place to post a press release. So the ability to work with the communities on behalf of the company while respecting the social rules is imperative to this cause.

We have some very technically capable bloggers, some that are more brand specific, and well respected company leaders, so there is no shortage of IBM bloggers, but other than developerWorks, we haven’t coordinated as much as evolved. We’re blogging, podcasting, delivering web 2.0 tools, but I sense there is more work to do.

Having started blogging for Analyst Relations at IBM, and over seeing it’s initial growth, being made lead by John Mihalec, I was able to develop the program for IBM in it’s infancy.

So the deal will be how to speak to bloggers as bloggers, and deal with them on this basis, even if they have a job title of analyst or something else. I also sense that it is going to morph from just blogger relations to social relations and deal with social computing, web 2.0 at the tools, technology and social levels, and much more.

It will be interesting to watch the evolution. Stay tuned.

The Waterproof Cell phone – NOT

My last moving detail was to bring over the fish tank, without killing any fish. This required having them be in a bucket of water for the trip between old and new house. I carefully placed it next to me to avoid any issues, and anticipating the call asking when I’d get home, I got out my cell phone.

I’m sure you can figure out the rest…one quick stop, and cell phone goes for a swim with the fish. Since there was crummy coverage where I live, I switched from Nextel to Sprint to finish out my contract. But I had the Jack Bauer, season 5/Habib Marwan season 4 special which is now a paperweight. Instead, I have a used basic phone to get me to the end of my contract without the extra charges they kill you with.

This is the second phone to take a swim for me, the other went into the bilge in my boat. It didn’t survive either. My son says they need to invent a phone that’s waterproof and Dadproof.

A CEO with a Second Life

When you think of corporate culture or corporations, it’s hard not to mention IBM in that sentence. One doesn’t think usually think of having a CEO of a multi-billion dollar company as a facebook/myspace junkie, which ours is not, but I’m very pleased to find him with his own Avatar and living in Second Life which is well publicized in Business Week.

There is a range of CEO types from Corporate stiff to major geek (name your startup here) and a million and one flavors in between. I’ve been on record saying how good a job I thought Lou Gerstner did (an 18 billion dollar turnaround is nothing to sneeze at) and Sam is doing an equally good (or better) job, albeit different given the hand he was dealt being different than Lou’s.

What’s great about this is that he can cross over boundaries to understand Second Life and actually be in a virtual world is unknown to CEO’s in his class. How great is that. I think of the virtual reality/video games lifestyle as a generationally younger (probably hipper than me) characteristic, yet the head of a 90 Billion dollar global enterprise can understand and participate. One man’s opinion here, but I always saw how much he interacts with our customers to understand and work with them, and this to me is further proof he’s not an ivory tower hermit like some CEO’s.

I’ll still bet my son can beat him in From Dirt to Daytona, or Star Wars, Empire at War, but Sam could understand and talk to him (as he does customers – the big key here) about it with the fluidity he can with Services or System Z….

Happy Birthday Eclipse

Pretty grown up for a 5 year old.  Here are some details that describe it’s status:

Lotus Sametime 7.5, WebSphere Portal 6.0, and the upcoming IBM Lotus Notes “Hannover” release are all based on the Eclipse open source framework, helping to nurture a rich ecosystem of partners around these offerings.

Just last week Lotus announced Expeditor, a development platform for creating Eclipse-based and Web 2.0 applications that enables enterprises to integrate existing and new applications and deliver a personalized user experience across a range of devices.

The Eclipse Process Framework (EPF) is a resource for guidance on software development stemming from IBM’s contribution of portions of the Rational Unified Process to the Eclipse Foundation.  It comes as no surprise that the EPF has emerged as a widely trusted source for developers worldwide, with thousands of downloads recorded since the first EPF assets became available in February 2006.

IBM this year contributed software to both Eclipse and Mozilla Corp. that allows developers to work with and debug Ajax applications.

Higgins, another new Eclipse project this year, is the code base upon which IBM, Novell and others will build commercial ID management software so that it can integrate and interoperate within organizations.

In May, the Eclipse Modeling Project was formed to focus on the evolution and promotion of model-based development. More recently, IBM partnered with Cisco, Intel and others to propose the COSMOS project, which aims to provide an extensible, standards-based platform upon which software developers can create specialized, differentiated and inter-operable offerings of tools for system management.

IBM, along with other storage industry players including Brocade, Cisco, CA, Emulex, Engenio, Fujitsu, McDATA, Network Appliance and Sun Microsystems, announced the Aperi Project in October 2005 to promote the simplified management of storage infrastructures through an open source community.  The mission of the Aperi project is to create a standards-based, open source storage management framework and to cultivate an open source community and ecosystem for complementary products, capabilities, and services around the framework.

Blogger Relations, Where does it go?

I’m intrigued by a blog that James Governer wrote on Blogger Relations which he described as active tracking of blogs to identify and foster relations with influencers, traditional or not.

When I consider it for IBM (disclaimer, I am not the person who gets to decide this), the first question after what it is, is where does it sit (ok, the usual like mission, action, direction are assumed decided….defer to James here).  We have dedicated disciplines at IBM for Public Relations, Analyst Relations, Internal, Investor, Community and so on.

Unless you are at my blog for the first time, you know I sit in analyst relations.  AR has done more with the blogs than any of the other external communications functions.  This is due to the audience we deal with, desire to move this forward by John Mihalec, VP of IBM analyst relations to name a few.

So one would think that it belongs in AR, but the Internal and Corporate folks (remember when IBM introduced its blogging strategy – Corp. Communications did it and has an extensive function here).  So who’s to say?  I’d seek advice here.  If it is to attain equality to the other communications disciplines, it should be its own function.  If we are to stay where the focus is right now, it falls under A/R.

James points out that any good developer relations function has to have a good blogging capability.  Interestingly enough, I was in IBM developerWorks when we started the first IBM external blog site. So maybe it sits in development, it would depend on the mission once again.  I’d say this one is doubtful as there are too many issues covered by IBM bloggers at this point.

We put up blogging at developerWorks as IBM is too large to notice the minutia, and the communications, which is led by the PR flaks in Armonk who can’t see past the major publications.  This allowed us to put the site and develop such a following that dW was the defacto site for blogging for a long time as the nincompoops in corporate PR can’t get it together to understand what blogging really is.

I saw this trend far in advance of those enlightened New Yorkers.  They were still stuck in the land of print (and online print) and never saw this coming and dW was put up right under their noses.  It was sand in their gears that they couldn’t control everything and we produced vital messaging and forced them to work on our platform because of their moribund thinking.

IBM is a different animal as we are sometimes viewed as an octopus…8 arms in every direction, so anything we do usually has consequences in area’s that other companies do not even have products.  SAP and Oracle have no hardware or Server divisions.  Others  don’t have dedicated Finance divisions, and still others have no services.

Typically, on issues such as this, we start slow and get our feet wet, then get into the pool….our entries have been somewhere between Greg Louganis and a cannonball so no telling.

I’ll end by quoting James as he writes it well…”How should corporate communications respond? In a word flexibly.” (see the comments earlier about the inflexibility of Corporate Communications).

Swamped by the Perfect Storm

Moving, on top of multiple analyst reports, on top of being on the planning team for the SWG analyst event, on top of hunting season starts Saturday, on top of my regular job…..has made me an inconsistent blogger, a blogging sin I know.

The good news is I’m finally coming up for air, and I can get back to life. Although moving in is a 6 month ordeal, most of the stuff is out of boxes (over 200) except of course the specific item I need at the moment which is either unpacked or put somewhere I don’t know and can’t find it.

The after summer onslaught of work was twice as much as last year. I ask others and it appears to be the same, there is more to do to just to hold your ground, then more on top to stay ahead.

The SWG analyst event is changing this year for us. More concentration on personal meetings and less main tent combined with more exposure to our offerings has landed me as the lead of the technology for the event. If you had one product, you’d have the demo, the messaging, the logistics, etc. But at IBM, we have one of everything, so keeping things straight tangles the mind by itself. Oh yeah, we have the SMB analyst event next week, so double your fun.
Throw in a couple of analyst reports that your group is microscoped on and I’ve got more on my plate than I have time for….enough kvetching for now.

On the good side, I’m taking my son on his first hunt this weekend, the opening day of deer season. We took the hunter safety class together and found that this group is one of the most ethical, safety and environmentally conscious oriented groups I’ve seen. All the actions are about preserving what we have and passing it on. What was very interesting was how they actually put it into action and not just talked about it. Keeping the herd and the landscape healthy was a major concern. If you don’t take care of the land, there is nothing in the future. Keeping the herd population managed makes for a healthier and stronger offspring. They even have a program to provide meat for the poor and the unsheltered.
Anyway, he’s amped about it as he’s already a good fisherman and he’s increasing his outdoor skills…

Next week is back to work and heads down to stay ahead, and better blogging.

Note: I had a great conversation with Ed Brill about using Notes as your blogging platform…type offline and replicate..I may go there