Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Working Better Together

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I arrived here at the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya this afternoon, where the IBM Industry Summit is being held.

But this morning, I worked remotely from my hotel room.

Something I’ve done a lot of this year. Working remotely.

Away from home. On airplanes. In coffee shops. In bars. On vacation (but not very often).

Via my BlackBerry. And now my iPhone.

What is work? Where is work?

Work is definitely not someplace I go, although I go a lot of places.

Work is definitely not constrained by a clock or calendar, at least not in the way it was during the Industrial Revolution.

Work is definitely not bounded by an office or even a country.

Of course, this is a far cry from when I started my career in 1991.

Back then, work was mainly an IBM office, with my IBM white shirt, going to an IBM location in Southlake, Texas, working with mainly my IBM colleagues.

We were still international back then — that’s been a part of our name almost from the outset — but I would argue we hadn’t been “globalized.”

Working remotely with colleagues was limited to some amigos in The New York Times Custom Publishing Company, an IBM partnership with whom I worked on several IBM customer publications.

Want to know how we collaborated across great time and distance during that Jurassic Age?

One, via FedEx.

Two, via a mainframe terminal session in VM/PROFS. (For you of the Facebook generation out there, VM was a much more reliable social collaboration tool without the relationship status updates and no graphics.)

Oh yeah, and via Ma Bell.

A lot’s changed since then.

Most of the people I work with now don’t work in an office.

Many of them aren’t located in the U.S.

None of them on my team are in Austin, where I live (or, as I like to joke, where I visit).

How is that possible?

In a word, technology.

In a more specific word, software.

Starting with Lotus Notes back in the mid-1990s, and later our instant messaging product, Lotus Sametime, and most recently, using Lotus Connections, I have transcended time, space, and location. And so have 400,000+ of my IBM colleagues around the world.

Because work is no longer a time or a place or a clock or a date.

Work is a neural network.

Work is a collective human organism, billions of neurons connected together, sharing information and knowledge, wisdom and resources, expertise and insights.

With Lotus software, work is wherever you may be in the world, because it connects you to whatever or whomever in the world you may need.

Work is available increasingly on whatever device or contraption you wish to carry around, including the mobile ones, for the rest of you who are on the go.

Work defies time because it’s always there.

It defies space because, unlike me, it doesn’t need an airplane to arrive.

It brings out the best of IBM and allows us to find and share the best with all our constituents: our partners, our suppliers our customers.

That is something that will increasingly distinguish the best organizations around the world.

I work for one of them.

You can read here how you can use Lotus Software to become one of them, too.

Dateline: My Barcelona Office, Palau de Congresso de Catalunya, Sala A….for now.

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