Monday, June 16, 2008

36 hours in Rio de Janeiro - Part III

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This is a continuation of Part II.

Lunch with IBMers

I met an ITA (link to Marcelo person card) who has been blogging internally for about 2 years. He strictly blogs in Portuguese because he feels he needs to target his local peers and evangelize social software. He communicated that he was a bit frustrated because people were commenting on his blog by email, instead of posting a comment directly on his blog. I encouraged him to set an example and comment on others' blogs and show people how it's done.


Meet with a customer's IT department

Challenge: Convince customer not to use various open-source solutions and instead use Lotus Connections

Result: Success! Customer wants to start a pilot!

This was another 1 hour meeting that became 3.5 hrs due to the customer's excitement. I had no presentation for this. I used 1-2 slides from various presentations (perhaps I need to combine them into one?). I started talking about the IBM-recommended 12-step adoption plan and emphasized the principles of social software architecture. Here were my talking points (in somewhat order of importance):

  • Don't go at it alone! Partner with the business side to understand pain points
  • Use tools that integrate to everything
  • Use tools that work from everywhere and anywhere
  • Choose the right pilot audience. IBM has the international experience of how to do it right. We've learned from our failures and the failures of others.
  • Use tools that are intuitive and easy to use
  • Use tools that work in your native language
  • Start slow and let your pilot audience become your evangelizers

The inability for disparate open-source solutions to work together and integrate seamlessly was, I think, the deal breaker for them. Lotus Connections, like no other, integrates seamlessly with pretty much anything. No other tool in the market can claim that! (It also helped that they are a big BlackBerry customer!)

I suggested starting with a 6-8 week pilot, which customers usually frown upon because it's "too long". They, however, insisted that that was too short! And they want to plan a pilot that lasts at least 3 months. I see success in their future.

Next steps: Customer wants to know which customers in their industry are using Lotus Connections and more about the Microsoft disaster at the Enterprise 2.0 conference. I'm going to create an Activity, of course, in the Greenhouse to continue my collaboration going forward. Oh, and I told the customer that I would be glad to come back, especially during Carnaval .

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