Friday, February 24, 2017

Day 2 of Connect was Road Map Day for me

The day opened with Mat's AdminBlast session which was so full of tips and ideas he could barely get to all of them and he laid out how he manages his team and uses all the resources he can from Notes, Domino, Connections, Watson, etc. Great effort and valuable training for new managers to get a great view of how they could be working.

Usually the sessions are a secondary benefit, for people like myself that are involved in the product line for so long. We have various meetings, briefings, side chats, commitments to other partners and so our time is used quite well. I admit to barely getting to 2 sessions a day, but this is average for me over the years.

Not being a developer, a number of sessions didn't work for me. Road map and hands on sessions are what I look for to expand my knowledge, especially around what is available now or soon to be available. The future products that are a year or more away are nice to know about, but I have time. Plus, as an IBM Champion we get private briefings during the year as products progress.

I tweeted about the IBM Notes and Domino Road map session(links below are to the slides I caught on camera), which by the way was one of the best in years. Okay, we didn't get hard dates, but we did get end of Q1 for feature pack 8 and end of Q3 for FP9 see this slide. I know IBM said they want to issue updates quarterly, and I think they will, but my expectation is two updates a year for now. Once they iron out the process to handle quarterly updates they should hit the four.

What made this session so great was Barry Rosen Offering Manager for Notes and Domino took the time to see it from our view. And he did pretty well with it.

We, the customers, partners and community at large need to know definitively what is coming down and that there are plans. He laid out the change in future support for some servers and client operating systems. Various slides outlined what was coming even the development updates and ideas was discussed. There was even a mention of Quickr! Well it really was about CCM (if you don't know what this is, don't worry) and should interest people who need it. The committing support through 2021 is nice to hear.

Suffice it to say, for now we see into 2018 and that should work for many people who will, and should, at some point start looking at Verse on Premises for mail users. Why? Because I got the impression Watson and cognitive abilities will be baked into Verse instead of over the Notes client as will more pieces of the overall puzzle that IBM is putting together around the future of how we work. Like I said a few months back, we are in the 3rd or 4th level of change in the messaging/communication/collaboration/social and we need to evolve and look towards the future, while maintaining the current architecture.

I did not get into the session on Pink so one of the other Champions or bloggers I am sure will cover that and better than I ever could. I will reiterate what Jason Gary said, Pink is not meant to rewrite IBM Connections but augment it with more, newer features in a simpler more modular method.

One session I really wanted to go to, we had to commit to attending before the event, was the Docker 101 hands on class. Unfortunately, due to network configuration issues at the site we did not get that far but with the guidelines in hand I look forward to playing with this technology, especially as Pink is being designed to run on it. Curiously I found out Websphere today can be run on Docker. This could be very useful for some of you.

You can learn new things, you can also meet new people. Lots of IBMers have changed positions and moved out of ICS or back to it. Always be open to talk to anyone and everyone. One of my client issues with a Connections plugin was raised to the owner of the plugin. It can be hard to do this not in person sometimes, here is why.

I started with an Offering Manager (OM)I knew and asked who in the room, we were at a reception, would own the plugin which led us to two more people that led us to the right person who happened to be talking to my friend Mac. Since I never met this OM before I now had a known and a newly met OM introduce to me to the right person. If I had not done this in person, I would have still called/emailed/Sametime one of the OMs I know and find the right person. And then start a conversation. Maybe it is easier this way but if I didn't know any OMs I would search online to find some presentations on the subject then go to IBM Whois and look up the presenter and email or call to get on track.

As Eric Whitacre, the closing speaker, said, make issues your features. If you don't know someone, keep asking till you do.