E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

TLE-2007: Attending IBM’s Technology Leadership Exchange – Social Computing in the Enterprise, Where Art Thou?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As most of you may well remember, this week I am going to be away from the office, attending IBM‘s Technical Leadership Exchange event, a.k.a. IBM’s TLE,. in Eurodisney, Paris. Right now I have just finished the first day where we have gone through some Lab sessions, an Introduction presentation for the speakers, since I am speaking tomorrow afternoon and, finally, a Welcome reception where there have been a whole bunch of poster sessions on different IBM related topics. I am not sure how much of it I will be able to weblog about during the course of the week since the entire event is just for an IBM audience, so I may as well continue writing a couple of weblog posts from the recent event I attended in Houston, the APQC KM & Innovation event. However, there is just one single thing that I have noticed and which I have found quite interesting and somewhat revealing. At least, to some degree.

And that is the fact that, after I have been checking out the program with the whole bunch of different keynote and breakout sessions, there are going to be very few sessions, in fact, so far I can only locate about five of them, that would be dealing with the subject of social computing and how it is getting adopted by the enterprise, whether it is for IBM internal purposes or externally with other businesses. Interesting, don’t you think? Well, it gets better, because I have been talking to a good number of people coming from all sorts of different places in Europe and to most of them social computing is something relatively new where there are actually getting acquainted with some of the concepts and whatever else. But there is still some more!

This IBM TLE event is one of the most prestigious and well known within IBM’s technical community, in fact, there are two of them. One always taking place in the US, this year in Anaheim, California, for an Americas and Asia Pacific audience, and then a second one in Europe for an European audience. The event taking place in the US had a whole bunch of different sessions regarding social computing and social software tools within the corporate world and while I have been catching up with most of the replays I have been looking forward to checking out what the TLE European counterpart event would bring together. And so far, just five different breakout sessions! Yes, I know, not too many! And also while I was hanging out at the main room where a bunch of different poster sessions were presented, none of them (At least, of the whole bunch I got exposed to!) were actually tackling items related to social software and how the corporate world has been embracing it all along. Which got me thinking really about the kind of impact that social software is having all over the place, but in particular here in Europe. Not much, you would imagine, right? Yes, that may well be the case and that is something that I thought we were in the brink of making things change, and for good, but apparently, it may take a little bit longer than what I had expected.

I thought we would be having several dozen sessions during this particular event on how people are adopting social networking tools in order to help knowledge workers collaborate and share knowledge easier with other peers along with customers and business partners. It looks like things are a bit slower here in Europe, as far as slow adoption is concerned. And I know a whole bunch of you folks out there would probably agree with that statement as well. This is something that I have experienced myself in the past for the last few years and time and time again I have managed to sneak myself in these sorts of events to show and demonstrate to different people coming from different backgrounds how social computing is a new area worth while exploring and which will always help improve people’s productivity by allowing everyone to produce, and manage, more of their own content and establish different connections with others. This is the whole purpose of the breakout session I will be doing tomorrow afternoon, just after lunch.

And, for once, I thought I would not be as alone as most of the times for the last few years, but somehow I have the little suspicion that it may be just a few of us who will be showing everyone the true potential of what is coming, or, better, of what is already there, ready for all of us to make good use and extend our own capabilities in order to become smarter at what we do. For instance, I had a fascinating conversation during the reception with a couple of folks on the many benefits of Second Life and how its further adoption may not be as easy as what some of us would have thought, specially for the older generations of the workforce, who are already quite comfortable with making use of their own collaborative tools suite in order to share knowledge and communicate with others. Very enlightening, to say the least!

I wish I were able to share the slide deck over here, so that everyone out there would be able to see what IBM is currently doing at the moment adopting some of the most prominent social software tools and driving the next wave of interactions. Alas, most of the information contained in the slides provide a good bunch of sensitive information, including screen shots of the different applications, and therefore would not be able to share it. However, if you have been reading from this weblog for a good number of months you will probably know how IBM has been evangelising on the extended usage, and adoption, of weblogs (Blog Central), wikis (Wiki Central), Social Bookmarks (Dogear), Podcasting and social media (With the Media Library), People portals (with Fringe), social tagging to drive innovation (with ThinkPlace amongst others), Collaborative Group Instant Messaging (With Lotus Sametime 7.5.1 and Web Conferencing) and a whole bunch more stuff I have been sharing over here all along, including the coming together of most of them under the about to go live LotusConnections, where some really exciting news are currently taking place as well!

Thus stay tuned, because although I may not be able to weblog about some of the stuff I will get exposed to I will certainly share some of my experiences over the course of the week, based on the different conversations I may be having along the way, specially in the different areas I would want to enquire people about. And you probably know what I mean with that. To summarise the impressions from today and, perhaps also this lengthy weblog post that I started at 33,000 feet while travelling to Paris, I can probably say very safely that there is still plenty of work to be done in helping knowledge workers understand that if there is anything good about social computing, and its adoption within the corporate world, is how it empowers them to be control of the conversations and share what they know with others, when they would want to and choosing from a wide range of options so that there is always a social software tool out there that they would be benefiting from it a great deal. So the exciting battle is still there! And I am all ready for it!

Tomorrow there is a fully packed agenda with some keynote speakers and breakout sessions. I will be doing one of those breakout sessions and then later in the evening hanging out at Eurodisney, the theme park, which I am sure is going to be great fun ! Free wireless and Wi-Fi have not been very good at different intervals today, which is why I am creating this weblog post now, so I am hoping things would improve tomorrow a great deal. We shall see. Oh, and before I let you all go, I want to take this opportunity to thank you all sincerely for the great comments you have been leaving in multiple of the weblog posts I have been creating the last few days. Things have been very busy with attending multiple events and catching up with everything else, so I haven’t had a chance to respond properly to them. It is certainly my intention to do so, probably when things would slow down a bit, so please bear with me while I am getting through this week attending this event. I will eventually be sharing some further thoughts on some of the great insights shared so far so that we can get the conversations going as they should. Appreciate all the valuable input and hang in there while I am getting through this event and share some more of my experiences around it.

Now time to hit the bed and get a good night sleep for tomorrow. Long long, but very exciting day ahead of us! More tomorrow … of course!

0 votes


  1. Luis – Interesting observations! I’m wondering if anyone has done research on web2.0 adoption rates by regions of the world? I’ve seen the generational studies, but as global organizations rollout social-computing tools, this could greatly influence adoption success. Hmmm..I guess I’ll poke around and see what I can find! Enjoy TLE! Jen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *