January 4 2011 Tuesday

Academic Institutions and IBM Lotus

Academic relations and universities are hot-topics these days. We were already discussing this issue for a long time, with local IBMers, region and other partners. Two months ago we decided to take an action (seems as a better idea than whining all the time...) We decided to focus this issue in Turkish LUG...

Let me explain my humble opinions about this issue. I am actually posting this entry because I am very curious about your comments...

Many IBMers and bloggers expressed their opinions about 'universities'. First of all, I have to clear a point here: They all may be right about their countries, but things are not always relevant for Turkey. Because;
  • Most of the university education is still state-owned. Many universities don't have enough budgets to invest in everything. Even a university is determined to invest, it is not an easy process because of their bureaucratic structures. Even they can, they would not. Because our competitors don't want any money :)
  • Universities, especially MIS and programming departments are either out of date or overweighting other technologies like Java/.Net
  • There are problems in relations between universities and vendor corporations.

We have to separate the whole issue into actionable parts here. I know we are aligned with IBM in many ways. However, IBM's agenda is mainly brand-independent.

1. Lotus Software technologies in Academic context.

A friend with an important knowledge about specific MS product, got paid for giving courses (I am ready to do it for free) on MS technologies in his former university. MS is also funding universities to be attached to thesis projects of students.

- Helping academic institutions to include these tech's in curriculum,
- Reaching academic staff to align Lotus in students' thesis projects (financial support, mentoring, real business cases, etc.),
- Project competitions with grand award,
- Funding academic institutions to establish micro-labs for post-grad studies (for topics like Social networks, advanced collaborations, etc.)

2. Expose Lotus products with future prospect customers

Graduates are our prospect customers. Combining the facts that senior students are generation-y and the positioning of Lotus products is targeting them, I see opportunities here.

- Funding using Lotus products inside universities (without buying). e.g. Lotus Connections to build a university community, Lotus Sametime for multi-campus universities, Lotus Forms for student affairs, etc. (I mean, free license! Implementation may be funded)

3.Transforming graduates to technical specialists

As in many countries, we have also a serious absence of specialized professionals around. It's good for specialists because they are over-waged compared to others. However, in the long term, companies are considering their IT investments due to inflated costs of human resources. The result is not promising for partners as well. We are being forced to use uneducated or unskilled employees to keep prices under our non-lotus competitors.

Microsoft is funding some activities. For example, I recently listened to some MS partner who told me 'MS requested to recruit a newly graduated guy. They have paid his 3-months wage. They told me that if I am not happy with him, I could fire after three months. I just gave a shot and the guy did it.'

- Low-priced technical trainings and certification for senior students,
- Funding first job in partner organizations or customer projects,
- Organizing student-targeted technical events,
- Free tickets to local IBM technical events (workshops, bootcamps, etc.)

As we are recently reorganizing our user group, one thing we decided is to be closely involved into Academic programs of local IBM. We are aware of that one of problems of Lotus brand lies in the perspective of supporting universities. Thereby, yesterday I had a meeting with local IBM about possibilities. They are experienced in university relations but with brand-independent activities. We have discussed what LUG may assist IBM in academic activities related to Lotus brand. We came up with several decisions. One to-do is going to be creating an academic corner in the conference to refresh the network with the latest position of IBM Lotus.

Now we have a large agenda for the conference. What is your opinion about the interaction between the community and universities?

Serdar Basegmez   |   January 4 2011 05:15:00 AM   |    LUGTR    |  
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Comments (1)

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Serdar Basegmez    http://www.developi.com    07/13/2011 5:12:05 AM

We are seriously sad about this post has no comments ever.

This year, IBM University Relations focusing on Social Business with several activities and we (as LUGTR) are trying to help them.