Random thoughts from an unusual company

Connect 2013 - New Tracks And Things You May Not Know

Gabriella Davis  17 October 2012 11:59:32
So everyone knows by now that the Call For Abstracts for Connect 2013 is open and ready for your abstract submissions.  The timeline for submissions is short, they have to be in by November 1st but two and a bit weeks should still be more than enough time to get your ideas in.  Other key dates are - December 1st, by which time all speakers should be notified (some will be notified earlier) and December 30th, by which time all sessions must be complete.

Past the news everyone knows, unless you have gone to submit an abstract you may not have noticed the appearance of some brand new tracks alongside Best Practices, Jump Starts and Show and Tell. These are both tracks you, as non-IBM'ers, are encouraged to submit into and I think they both deliver really interesting approaches we weren't covering previously.

Track 04: Technology Overviews and "What Now?" Sessions
Sessions in this new technical track will focus on technology overviews, strategy and roadmaps, mainly delivered by the IBM subject matter experts responsible for that area of our product portfolio. And new this year, we're featuring a new set of sessions that take it to the next step beyond strategy to the "what now?" Some examples are planning considerations, deployment preparation, blueprint design, training and more! These sessions will provide useful best practices and ideas you can take back to your organization and implement right away.

Don't be misled by the phrase "IBM subject matter experts". A few people have asked me about this as they assumed it meant "people who work for IBM", it doesn't.  It means YOU - someone who is an expert in the technology.  So what's the goal of this track?  The idea behind this was that many of you are being given projects with vague deliverables like  "Deploy Connections" "Make us more social" "Look at Cloud" and where do you start with that?  What we hope to do is walk you through a checklist of what you need to consider to get started.  If it's Sametime or Cloud or Connections, what are the pre-deployment decisions and considerations you need to make before you can start planning.  Hopefully you'll walk away from each session with what you need to do that.  These won't be deep technical sessions, they are more technical planning sessions.

Track 09: NEW! Spotlight on IBM Business Partners
New for 2013, the sessions in this track will showcase the highly-acclaimed solutions that our partner community is known for! Whether your focus is social collaboration, mobile, analytics, content management, creating exceptional web experiences (or other!) - whether sophisticated or surprisingly simple, we want to hear from you!

So if you're a Business Partner who has deployed a great solution for your customer or have a great solution you think people need to hear about, here's your opportunity to share it.  You need to walk a very fine line, don't try submitting a marketing session to sell your product because the smart Connect 2013 audience will see right through that but if you're excited about what you have to share and it's innovative or just really clever, here's the perfect place to share it.

.. and the other side of that coin, if you're a Customer and have deployed an  IBM product and want to share with others how you did it from a technical perspective, Track 8 is aimed at you.  You went through the planning and implementation, blood, sweat and possibly tears to get your solution in place - why not share with others what you did, why and how.    

Track 08: Customer Case Studies (from an IT perspective)
These sessions will feature leading companies, large and small, from a variety of industries and will detail how each is utilizing IBM solutions to drive business results and empower people - but all in YOUR language, from an IT perspective! Presented by IT practitioners, this track showcases how they've built or deployed IBM software to enhance collaboration and socially enable business processes within and outside of their enterprise. Direct and candid, these sessions outline both successes and challenges - across a range of solutions.

All of this plus Best Practices, Jumpstart and Show and Tell.  The Lotusphere Program in Connect 2013 is shaping up to be the best technical program we've had yet.