Industry Updates

Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams Report … Lotusphere 2008 Special Edition

IBM’s annual Lotusphere customer and business partner conference is being held this week in Florida. I was invited to attend by the IBM Analyst Relations team (thanks!), but had to decline due to the recent arrival of a special little lady into my house. Here is a summary of the main news coming out of the show:

  • A few days before Lotusphere 2008 started, ComputerWorld prefaced the conference by talking about the tying together of collaboration pieces by IBM as a major theme for the show. This includes integration between the mainstay products and the newer ones out of the starter’s gate.
  • Ed Brill live blogged the Opening General Session, as did Alan Lepofsky and Ross Mayfield.
  • IBM talked about its roadmap strategy for collaboration software. Key points: (1) there is a small point release of Notes and Domino due in February (the addition of widgets, and wireless sync to Windows Mobile devices), and a bigger release aimed for the middle of the year (“IBM previewed Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5 software, the next major release that includes enhancements to the Lotus Domino Web application environment. New features planned for IBM Lotus Domino Designer 8.5 will allow applications to utilize Web 2.0 techniques such as AJAX, style sheets, and RSS or ATOM feeds.“); (2) IBM announced IBM Protector for Mail Security, an appliance for anti-virus and anti-spam services (see Ed Brill); (3) the fourth beta of Lotus Symphony (“Lotus Symphony Beta 4 allows independent software vendors (ISVs) to wire capabilities into the documents that access and manage business applications such as issuing a shipping order or an invoice directly from a spreadsheet.“); and more (an improved UI for Domino Web applications, a new Web-based Forms play).
  • Lotus Sametime has been in the market for 10 years, and the future looks bright. There is renewed marketing activities with Cisco and Nortel, and Carestream Health will integrate Sametime with its radiology technology. Two new editions of Sametime were demoed at Lotusphere, those being Sametime Advanced and Sametime Unified Telephony. “Plans for Lotus Sametime Advanced also feature sophisticated collaboration features such as persistent chat, enabling users to keep a continuous chat discussion running on a specific topic with a related community of people. The instant sharing capabilities of Lotus Sametime Advanced let users start a screen or application sharing session and allow other participants to “drive” and make changes to documents. Additionally, users will be able to save time and effort by having the location of colleagues pre-populated highlighting where users are located and the last known location of off-line contacts.
  • IBM announced plans to better support small and medium sized business customers. Part of this is the planned release of a new line of servers (Lotus Foundations) for onsite installation, and part of this is a new hosted extranet collaboration environment code-named Lotus Bluehouse (available 2H2008). On Foundations, IBM says “The first component of the Lotus Foundations family is currently expected to include a pre-loaded, one-stop-shop solution for small companies: Lotus Domino mail and collaboration platform, file management, directory services, firewall, back-up and recovery, and office productivity tools. Designed to accommodate growth, customers will be able to easily add more users or servers as needed. In addition, as planned, Lotus Foundations will give system integrators and independent software vendors the opportunity to integrate their new or existing applications into the Foundations platform with minimal effort.
  • IBM and SAP announced a new joint software product, codenamed “Atlantic”, for linking their respective products. “For more than 35 years, IBM and SAP have collaborated to bring joint customers cutting-edge solutions to improve business efficiency at more than 13,000 client sites for their millions of users. Currently planned for inclusion in the first release of project “Atlantic” is support for SAP workflows, reporting and analytics, and the use of roles from within the Lotus Notes client. In addition, tools are planned to be included to provide the ability to extend and adapt these roles and capabilities, as well as leverage additional collaborative and offline capabilities inherent in Lotus Notes and Domino products. The initial release is planned to ship in the fourth quarter of 2008 and will be sold by both companies.” Ed has some other details.
  • The public beta for Lotus Notes 8.5 for Mac is already available.
  • IBM’s Open Collaboration Client Solution (Notes, Sametime, Symphony, Websphere Portal, Connections, Quickr and Expeditor) will be made available on additional platforms during 2008, including Ubuntu.
  • Lotus Connections 2.0 features new integrations with Socialtext and Confluence wikis, enabling wiki information from Confluence, for example, to be accessed within Connections. Mike Gotta shares his thoughts about what this means for Microsoft.
  • RIM talked about a host of Lotus-oriented improvements in its BlackBerry offering. Key ideas for mobile users: document downloading and editing, remote message searching, free-busy calendar lookups, and better integration with Lotus Sametime. There is additional goodness for IT administrators, and application developers.

Thursday Update on Lotusphere

  • The video of the <a HREF="” TARGET=New>Opening General Session is available. You need RealPlayer to view it.
  • IBM announced IBM Lotus Mashups, which allows enterprise users to link disparate systems to help answer current information and decision needs. Lotus Connections 2.0 was also announced; due for release in 1H2008. “The new homepage — based on Lotus mashup technology — aggregates and filters social data from all five services of Lotus Connections into a customizable view. Using the widget-based homepage, users can quickly see what has changed across their professional network and easily search for the information they need to get things done. Customers or IBM Business Partners could also create widgets that link information to other social networks such as Yahoo or LinkedIn.” Finally, Version 8.1 of Quickr was announced, with new content integrations and plug-ins discussed.
  • Five mobile partners to IBM will have their software on a bonus CD that will ship with Notes and Domino 8.0.1.
  • Mike shares his notes on the social computing keynote. A number of client accounts are discussed.

Categories: Industry Updates