I see from my referrers that Ben has beaten me to the punch, but it's all about activity-centric collaboration. Back in January, I said that I was blown away by the demo of Activity Explorer, and a few days later I said this:
Activity Explorer rocks! It is a breakthrough product. It will sell IBM Workplace. Forget about Workplace's value proposition in centrally manageable provisioning and all the other stuff you've been hearing about. CIOs will buy that; surely they will. But CEOs, COOs, CFOs, line managers and end-users will buy Activity Explorer because it has sex appeal. Because it has real value. Because they will see that it will improve the way work gets done. It's important, but the big bang is never in cutting support costs. We have 15 years of Lotus Notes and Domino customer experience that proves this. You can only cut costs as far as you are actually spending. You can't save any more than that. The bigger savings are on the productivity side of the ROI equation. Change the way people collaborate, and change it for the better, and the upside is much, much bigger.
Sure, Hannover looks great, and yes... there's the contextual collaboration and the composite applications, too. They're all neat, and they'll save some clicks, but really leveraging their power in applications is going to take effort. As a development consultant I can appreciate that :-), but as a strategic consultant it means that I have to look a little skeptically at the ROI. I do like what IBM is showing for the composite applications, and it even looks like they might finally even be showing something other than awareness as an example of what contextual collaboration can be... but it's hard to say just from a couple of screenshots. I'll need to know a lot more about how this all looks from a programming point of view before I get really enthusiastic about it.
Activity Explorer, on the other hand, will change the way people organize their collaborative work -- and while it will take some training, it's going to be an easy win in comparison to everything else. And it's pretty obvious from what we see of Hannover that IBM has heard the chorus of IBM's Restaurant calling for doclink support in Activity Explorer as a result of the movement that I started back in January. Done right, activity-centric collaboration will bring an immediate value-add to the Notes and Domino customer base. Done right, it will change the way people work more than any other technology since email. Remember that, and remember that you heard it here. I don't know if I'm the first person to predict this, but I seriously doubt that I will be the last. It's going to be a while, probably, before it's released, mature enough, and widely adopted enough to know for sure whether I'm right or wrong, but let's come back to this two, three or four years down the road. It will be interesting.
1. Stuart Downes06/17/2005 09:11:22 AM
I found it useful to read the following papers from IBM Research. They show the history to their Activity-Centric Collaboration which I think will be a key element of both Workplace and "Hannover".
Each article has a host of reference papers most of which can be run through a search engine and found.
2. Richard Schwartz06/17/2005 09:25:56 AM
I have both of those papers in my "Read This" bookmark folder already. Just haven't gotten to them yet.