I have been very fortunate to have recently become involved in the the Design Partner Program. It has been an interesting and somewhat confusing time to join because the program is moving towards the release of 8.5.1 at a great pace and there is a huge amount of stuff that has already happened.

As with any project of this scale ( and particularly being a newbie ) it is always possible to find things that could be better but by far the biggest thing that has impressed me is the way in which IBM is prepared to listen to its Design Partners, not just for 8.5.1 but also for 8.5.x and beyond – imagine a scene where IBM Engineers pitch ideas to customers and business partners, taking polls and actively looking for feedback on open mic conference calls.

Over the last few days you will have seen some pretty clued up people beginning to blog about 8.5.1. They are not only very clued up on the technical aspects of the release but also have good insights into where IBM can best add value to organisations and end users. They are all working closely with IBM to ensure that Notes is as good as it can be and for each person that does blog there are quite a few others that are not able to blog.

Why am I blogging this ?  Well I am genuinely really impressed ( and pleasantly surprised ) at what I have seen. The Lotus Knows Idejam was really impressive but it has also been good to see that there are other long established collaborative processes already in place.

I am not sure why people don’t blog about the process ( as opposed to the secret content ) more. I guess that the Design Partners have been instructed not to release any IBM confidential information and the existence of such successful collaboration between IBM and its customers must be seen as confidential 😉