Lotusphere 2009 Trip Report

By • Jan 22nd, 2009 • Category: Blog

I just returned from spending the first 2 days of the week at Lotusphere in Orlando, FL. Again, IBM Lotus threw a terrific bash! Dan Aykroyd as guest speaker, terrific entertainment from the Blue Man Group, excellent logistics … and yes, some of the technology wasn’t bad either!

As every year there was an avalanche of announcements both by IBM Lotus and by its partners, I will not try to update you on all of them but I will try to focus in on the themes/topics that stood out the most to me:

1. LotusLive – wow! IBM Lotus is finally entering the SaaS space with an extensive strategy that brings their impressive portfolio of collaboration services together with the cost advantages of hosted services. While one may be tempted to think that this as “yet another hosted service”, just a few months on the tail of Microsoft’s BPOS release, we think it does successfully leapfrog BPOS in terms of its inclusion and extension of some very important partners: Skype which plans to integrate its voice and video with LotusLive for a seamless communications experience; and Salesforce.com for fast, easy integration with one of the most widely used business suites on the market today. The intent to include these important partners as part of their outsourcing ecosystem from day 1 presents a significant step ahead of what most other hosted collaboration services on the market are able to offer today. LinkedIn was the 3rd ecosystem partner announced, and while we think this may be a little less interesting (since it is easy enough to access even without full integration) it may in the end prove to be the “perfect cupholder” on the $100,000 car. So well done IBM Lotus! We now look forward to hearing more about pricing, and worldwide rollout availability. There is a lot more I could say here about the relationship of LotusLive with BlueHouse and the whole idea of communities of organizations interacting together more efficiently through a common hosted environment but I will leave that for a future longer discussion.

2. Domino 8.5 – this new release went out almost “under the radar” during the recent Holiday Season, so it deserved to be re-introduced and presented more fully at this event. There a many improvements in Domino 8.5 but the one we think is most significant are the improvements in performance and scalability of the system. IBM Lotus believes that large scale customers that migrate to Domino 8.5 can achieve significant cost savings due to server consolidation and improved overall performance. We know from our research that many IBM Lotus customers have not yet upgraded from Domino 6.5 and we believe that many of these customers should now take a look at moving directly to Domino 8.5. If IBM Lotus’s cost savings analysis is correct these customers will likely find that the cost improvements in Domino 8 alone help offset the cost of migration. We would love to do a project to research this …who knows maybe IBM Lotus may even fund us to do it?

3. The availability of Sametime UC Telephony services in 2nd half 2009 – this is a key set of features under development which had already been announced last year and was originally due to be released in 2008, but has now been re-scheduled for mid-2009. What I saw in terms of demos and feature design was excellent and very well thought out from a user interface perspective. We believe that once it is finally released it will position Sametime as the feature leader in the enterprise IM/UC space.

There were many other interesting announcements and partnership announcements at Lotusphere 2009 – the overall theme being the broader support for Notes/Domino across a wider range of wireless & mobility options, as well as tighter integration with industry leading business software – all of this makes the IBM Lotus portfolio more attractive and “inclusive” than it’s ever been before.

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