February 8 2010
I've read a ton of blog postings on IBM Project Vulcan since Lotusphere a few weeks ago... perhaps because of the iterative thinking in the community, or time to reflect, Richard Schwartz's analysis seems to me to be a good read on the project:
Five years ago, IBM introduced something with the potential to be quite revolutionary, but they saw that potential could not be realized on its own. They melded activity-centric collaboration into their Connections offering in order to tie a revolutionary concept into a larger framework of social collaboration first and foremost, and only secondarily tied it to Notes and Domino, and I think the reason for this is now quite obvious: IBM realized that the people who really see the value in changing the way collaboration happens in their organization were looking at the wide variety of social software offerings, and at all of the innovation happening in that space, and that's where those key trend-setting customers saw the future. My interpretation of Project Vulcan, based on what I've seen so far, is that it is targeting that advanced vision of the future in away that brings the full Lotus customer base along for the ride.Link: Richard Schwartz: Better Late Than Never, My Take On Lotusphere 2010 And Project Vulcan >
Vulcan fulfills what IBM wanted to do with activity-centric collaboration by presenting users with a FaceBook-like home page drawing on a full-range of social software technologies, aggregating both the explicit activities and information streams that users already know they need to know about along with the ones that they don't know about yet but probably should be aware of. It's the social analytics-driven aggregation that was the missing element in activity-centric collaboration, so that's where I get the idea that Vulcan is the logical continuation of activity-centric collaboration. It is an evolutionary step toward completion of a revolutionary idea that IBM showed us half a decade ago.
And that's what smooth sailing and full speed ahead are all about: being confident that the course you're on is the right one even in a rapidly changing marketplace, confident enough to embrace others' innovations that have found broad acceptance in the market, while continuing to advance your own revolutionary ideas even when customers need change to be evolutionary.
(Update: John Roling posted a similar kind of analysis just a few minutes later, "Why Project Vulcan from IBM Lotus matters" ) >