back from the States and from Canada, a couple of people asked me about my impressions from Connect 2014. Well, here they come:
- First of all, for us, it was an extremely successfull event this year, mostly related to the business meetings we had during the event, less because of session content or announcements. So was it worth the trip ? Yes absolutely.
- Is MailNext appealing to me ? From what we have seen yes, but it's still all smoke and mirrors. I am looking forward to see an actual implementation of what's the real deal, then we will see.
- The OGS ? Well, sort of OK but somewhat boring for me. Interesting customers, but I was missing the vibe. The hosts and special guests were boring for me, and personally, I don't like jokes about killing Osama Bin Laden in a business conference opening session. Please, spend some money on special guests that have some personality or leave it completely !
- What about Connections ? A lot of new features have been announcend, which is great, the biggest change however for me is, that, if you really want to deeply customize Connections from a UI perspective, you now know how IBM wants you to do that: Install Portal and WCM on top or besides of the whole connections caboodle and use social rendering. That is expensive but it will leverage all the investment IBM took regarding web experience management, analytics and campaign management. This will also extend the reach of Connections to the extranet and brings WCM and Portal back to the intranet stack. I know some business partners that haven't been amused about that. Connections to me is more and more becoming a middleware service layer for social components, which I think is actually the way to go forward with this product. There is no use in investing tons to build a custom Connections UI - there are so many tools out in the market that do this way better than that.
- ND ? Well, XPages it still is, the rest is loosing traction. It pretends to be a renewal cash cow and is so far part of MailNext, but we will see how this plays out.
- Softlayer becomes more and more important and is an interesting hosting solution for us as well. Besides some hurdles in their setup process, to me, the offerings work very well from a pure technical standpoint.
- Sessions ? Some cool ones, lots of stuff that was not new - I would love to see some fresh faces and new topics on the technical part instead of a lot of the re-cooked stuff from the past years. The marketing sessions and Jumpstarts were really well done this year for me.
- The audience: very little amount of actual customers (by counting colors of badges), tons of IBMers, which, for me, is not bad per se. Less partners or different ones. Good talks though, so that mixture worked for me up until the Sales academy kicked in on thursday and each and wvery seat in the lobbies were taken by IBM sales guys with laptops and phones.
So, these are my five cents.