The role of an IBM Champion

IBM Champion

To kick off, I have been truly honoured to be selected as an IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions this past year, and I think Joyce and the team did a brilliant job in bringing the program to fruition. I sincerely hope that I am doing a good job of representing the program in all that I do.

However, there has been lots of discussion around the role of an IBM Champion. I know that the attributes of an IBM Champion were listed when nominations were opened, but I wonder if the requirements of active IBM Champions are as clear?

  • Is it to be a positive representative of the brand from a sales/marketing perspective?
  • Is it to encourage use of the technology through blogging, user groups and education?
  • Is it to be willing to hold IBM to account (privately and/or publicly) when it falls short of what customers want or need?

I personally feel that the role involves all the above and more.  However I’m really interested in your opinions…

We’re a year into the program. What do you want or expect from your IBM Champions? What do you think of the program so far?  Has it been beneficial to IBM, to IBM customers or to you as an individual?

Please do leave a comment if you have an opinion.

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!
  • Mike McP

    Just be honest and vocal. Remember, you succeed as Champion by helping to better IBM/Lotus, and sometimes you’ll need the courage to tell them when they’re wrong.

  • David Stephens

    I agree with your comments Stuart. Your third point is interesting in providing feedback to IBM. I sometimes wonder why there is not more input from Champions. Yes, Joyce and certain product managers (Luis, Ed, etc.) are listening, but many times, it seems that more could/should be done.
    In addition to your points, I would say that Champions would be expected to be more engaging (social?) than others. Our position out front should provide an place for those we interact to provide their thoughts, suggestions and criticisms with the idea that we can promote these issues forward. I have been privileged to serve in this role and look forward to continuing in the future. I am proud that I see others like Gabby, Chris and Duffburt (and most other Champions) so engaged even when it doesn’t affect their business. These are true champions!

    • I’m not sure if “expected” to be more social then others is something I would agree with. Most of us are of course more social by definition. Without it we wouldn’t have been noticed to be selected in the first place. Remember some champions like myself did not self-nominate. That doesn’t mean I didn’t want to be one, or don’t want to continue, but my opinion is more to just keep doing whatever it is we did when we were chosen.

      That’s at least my philosophy. I’m not going to take on a lot of new things for IBM since I’m pretty busy and to do so would take away from what got me chosen in the first place. Plus some of the champion stuff seems a little more focused on the Business Partner Champions then the customer Champions like me.
      So my thoughts are to just keep doing what I do and whatever happens happens. I’ll continue to produce XPages learning soltutions whether it’s videos, cheatsheets or something else.

      Just my 2 cents

      • Thanks David. Please do keep doing the Notes-in-Nine stuff, we’d be lost without it!

        You raise an interesting point re: not taking on any more. I certainly feel that I am under pressure from all angles to take on more – the business is getting busier all the time, the user group is growing, more requests come in via the social networks and so on. IBM quite reasonably ask for assistance on some things as part of the program and its hard to know which ones are right to take on.

        You seem to be doing a great job right now so don’t change what you do.

    • Thanks David. Really good points about engagement and “being out there”.

      I’ll come back to the feedback element once we’ve had a few more comments 😉

  • Hi Stuart,

    I’m nobody other than myself. I’ll loudly applaud IBM and I’ll critique IBM. I’m a customer. I’ve been vocal with and without the Champion tag and will continue to do that in the future. Providing feedback is a great thing. Without it, we can’t learn and grow.

    Has it been beneficial? Absolutely, based on the results seen for many of us.