LotusLive & Lotusphere

So today was D-day. The Lotusphere 2012 abstract acceptation/rejection messages were being send out which meant lot’s of people (including me) got disappointed. At the same time it means others that really deserved it got really happy so I’m not to bummed out about it. I know I’ll be seeing lots of great sessions and I’m really looking forward to that. It also means I have more time to concentrate on all the good stuff Lotusphere has to offer so I’m just going to sit back and enjoy it!

One of the session that I submitted with my co-worker Roland Driesen was on LotusLive. More specifically on how we, for the last year, have been actively using it at Silverside. Not just to collaborate internally but more importantly externally. Silverside really put the pedal to the metal by not just trying to get our customers to engage in LotusLive by using Guest accounts but by doing an experiment where we gave a large group of them (payed) accounts & training so they could fully collaborate with us in projects using activities, file sharing and IM. Not only did this allow for better project collaboration, it also allowed these customers to have the full LotusLive experience for themselves.

The results were mixed. Some really got the idea and used it actively, others looked at it and dismissed it more or less right away.  

The one thing that was really loved and turned out to have most ROI effect was the fact they now had Sametime access to us directly. The people we gave the accounts to in general were project owners, decision makers and IT managers. In stead of having to rely on mail or phone calls they could now easily and quickly connect to us….. and not just during office hours!
Yes, it may sound weird but most revenue was gotten from informal Sametime chats outside of office hours, sometimes late at night or in the weekend where an IT Manager needed to know something quickly and used LotusLive Sametime. In more then one case those informal chats resulted in concrete projects or opportunities.

So was it a successful project? Yes and No… It did help us connect better to our customers but there is still a lot to improve on LotusLive. For instance try explaining to a user that when he uses the search box in the right upper corner to search for a document he first has to switch to the Files section to actually find anything relevant…. If I get a search box, I expect it to be able to search through all of the content within my system (LotusLive), not just in the section I’m stuck in at that moment.
On the up side the project certainly helped us connect more to an important group of our customers, becoming a better integrated partner to their organization.

For now I’m just looking forward to announcements for LotusLive at Lotusphere. The one I really hope for is the addition of Sametime to the guest accounts as I really think IM/chats is what can open lot’s of organizations to the idea of Collaboration. So that could really be a big benefit when getting external partners on LotusLive….. and of course that search option, simply because it bugs the hell out of me!