I spent the last couple of days in Wroclaw (pronounced vaguely like "Vrat-slaf"), Poland, with 60 IBM business partners from across central and eastern Europe. To demonstrate the importance of the forum, we brought another 25-ish IBMers (maybe it was more) for sessions, roundtables, and meetings with the various partners from across the region. There was also time for a bit of social business as well, making friends with some of the locals.

Image:Another good event: Central/Eastern Europe collaboration partner summit in Wroclaw

I've been asked but unable to go to this event the last few years, though I was at an earlier incarnation of it back in 2000 in Krakow. I found the trip, though difficult getting to/from Wroclaw, very useful. The partners were open, honest, and direct, and had a lot of good input on where we are at in the Notes/Domino and messaging/collaboration market.

The good news for me -- as with other stops along the way the last few weeks, reception for the new IBM XWork Server is very positive. We are already setting up and closing deals with XWork Server, weeks out of the gate. I've approved my first deviation from the published license restrictions, putting actions behind words of our willingness to be flexible when working with the channel on getting this new offering right. I also had a lot of good feedback on our plan to deliver Update Packs for Notes/Domino 8.5.3 which will add supported XPages functionality -- things that started out life as OpenNTF.org projects. And there is very good reaction to the decision to build Notes/Domino "Next" (or to blog readers, "foo") on top of the 8.5.x codestream, delivering new features without a requirement for an architectural upgrade.

Given the typical customers size in this region, we had a lot of discussion about the Domino Express offerings. The good news is, without crossing the line of financials I can discuss in public, sales of Domino Express are up noticeably during 2011. It seems like the decision to add 2-way clustering, remove restrictions on things like directory catalogs, and now with 8.5.3 change the deployment limitation for Messaging/Collab Express to 1000 users per domain have all had the intended results in the market. Over the last few weeks, I have had a few requests to go yet further, but to be candid, I am done with modifications to the Domino Express offering for a while. There is a lot of flexibility in the existing offerings, I am sure that we can find the right solution for any customer situation. We still need to come up with a new approach for Domino Utility Express, something not defined by the number of employees in the purchasing company...no good ideas on that have surfaced in the last few weeks of public discourse.

My colleague Phil Buckellew was a surprise addition to the "demo boy" circuit at the end of my session, where he connected his iPad to the projector and was able to show the room IBM Sametime for iOS, currently under development and something we hope to ship this year. It is really a cool implementation, with power management, tap-to-call, graphics/emoticons, and other advanced features. I will blog more about this in the coming days.

Thank you to the partners who traveled to Wroclaw and made this event a success. It was two days well-spent.

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