Back in Canada after my swing through Europe. It all started with the annual BLUG event in Antwerp. The BLUG was followed by partner sessions near Rotterdam, and ended off with a customer round led by Silverside in Apeldoorn, NL. The round table participants were Dutch, and I found it very cool to sit through a slide presentation where the only word I understood happened to be our product name.

Throughout the entire trip the word “social” was a common theme. Social tools are great, but getting out of the office and meeting people face to face is in my opinion the best social tool at our disposal. Europe is different from North America and the UK. The cultural differences are often not respected when the dialog is reduced to text. A conversation over a Duvel bears more fruit than one that has a 140 character limit.

Reflecting on the past week I realized just how polarized the IT sector is becoming. Apple vs PC, Android vs iOS, Portal vs Sharepoint….the list goes on and on. Effy Shkuri and I were driving back to Amsterdam and he made the comment that people used to complete a business case first, then select the technology. More and more it seems that the process has reversed.

I have adjusted my DOCOVA demonstration style to take this into account. I run Windows on a Mac Powerbook, show integration with an iPad, and often demo the DOCOVA features and functions within the context of Sharepoint.

The Lotus partner community is following a similar path. For years IBM partners focusing on Notes/Domino flourished. The product was affordable, ran on every platform imaginable and could be used to solve a wide variety of business issues. It found its way into businesses large and small. Now, with the Lotus product name carrying so much weight in the buying process IBM partners who used to focus on Lotus are realigning themselves to offer IBM Connections, Sharepoint, and other solutions. That means a lot of investment at a time when revenues are dropping. Not something for the faint of heart.

DOCOVA is addressing this issue for Lotus customers and Business Partners. Don’t get us wrong, we support Lotus technology – but we’ve been able to completely removed the word “Lotus” from the discussion. Our partners are able to focus on the business issues and hopefully not get caught up on a discussion of what technology the product runs on.