Collaboration Without Boundaries in Chicago

The IBM Lotus Competitive Services group brought their Collaboration Without Boundaries event (not to be confused with Collaboration Summit) to Chicago this past week. This event is probably the best kept secret amongst all the events that IBM puts on. It boasts remarkable quality of information that is very relevant to the competitive market place of today with topics covering everything form the messaging market to the OOXML vs. ODF debate, to social networking. If you consider that IBM serves both breakfast and lunch and that there is no cost to attend the event — it hardly gets better than that. Of course, the underlying theme of all presentations is to define how the IBM/Lotus software offerings stack up against those of Microsoft. This event can greatly benefit IBM partners in tough markets like Chicago by giving them the much needed ammunition to compete. For customers in the midst of evaluating their IT strategy and defining direction for the future this decision usually means IBM or Microsoft. An event like this is a great place to get the real scoop on how these two competitors measure up against each other.

For all the apparent benefits of the event in promoting the IBM’s message, the attendance in Chicago was disappointing, even pitiful. It would seem that the local team did nothing to promote the event in the community. There were maybe a dozen people attending the event. Out of those, 2 were from a Business Partner, PSC, and 1 person from one of my clients. The rest were IBMers.

I talked with some of the people on the Competitive Services team. According to them, the event in Chicago is one of the worst-attended events that they do. They see better attendance even in cities like Milwaukee, not to mention the events in Asia, which attract 100 to 150 attendees.

It is unfortunate that this valuable event and the effort of the Competitive Services group was wasted in Chicago.

If you missed the Collaboration Without Boundaries, but would still like to see the material that was presented, the presentations can be found here. The Competitive Services team constantly updates these, but the general material is the same.

And if you get a chance to attend this event in a city near you, do so — you won’t regret it.

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