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IBM Should Ditch Lotus (this is an article title, not personal commentary... :) )

Category IBM/Notes
From BNet.com - IBM Should Ditch Lotus

Had to add that piece to the title lest I be accused (and probably rightfully so) of being an ASW...

The problem for IBM isn’t the quality of its products, or the impressive amount of research it puts into adapting Web-based collaboration for the enterprise (IBM doesn’t break out its research budget by category, but reports an annual R&D budget in excess of $6 billion on research and development). The problem, rather, is its corporate approach to piecing together application suites to suit its own goals rather than customer needs — never mind its clear lack of Web savvy.

While I don't agree with the "lack of web savvy" statement, I think there is an element of truth to the "piecing together" statement.  LotusLive incorporated a number of technologies that were purchased shortly before Lotusphere.  On one hand, you can say it shouldn't matter as the users are using cloud services.  On the other hand, it's not like the Notes/Domino flagship product was the core foundation of the offering.  And there's always the guessing game as to whether new Lotus products are going to run on the Domino platform or the WebSphere platform...

His observations about "enterprise" collaboration tools also bears some consideration.  Rarely do our collaboration needs end at the company firewall.  They also don't limit themselves to partner organizations.  My collaboration group consists of hundreds of people across the globe, working for a wide array of companies.  While Sametime has a use for me within the organization, my true collaboration environment involves Skype, Yahoo IM, AIM, and Twitter in addition to the Notes client.  If you try and bolt on these services and put boundaries on them, you'll never meet my true needs.

But while I think he makes some interesting points, his "solution" leaves much to be desired...

It’s time for IBM to move on. It could probably get good value from either spinning off its Lotus division as a separate company, or selling it to a competitor that would know how to get the most value from the products.

We already tried the "Lotus as separate company" many years ago.  Notes would be non-existent had that continued.  Selling Lotus to a competitor?  Novell? Sun? Like *that* would be better...  Sell to Microsoft?  Not with SharePoint around, although I'd love to see Microsoft-level marketing muscle push the Notes/Domino product.

No...  For better or worse (depending on your point of view), Lotus *is* part of IBM and I don't see that changing without a *major* landscape change...


Gravatar Image1 - so two things:

1) The guy admits he has never used a Lotus product other than being "given a look" at Sametime.

2) LotusLive is NOT a whole bunch of acquisitions stitched together. The only acquisition in LotusLive today is what was Webdialogs or Sametime Unyte..acquired quite some time ago. The announced acquisition of Outblaze (that's the only "shortly before Lotusphere" bit) fills in one of the gaps pointed out in this article -- cloud e-mail, and it will be introduced at a later point.

But Engage was/is built by many of the same engineers who have built Sametime, Connections, Quickr, etc. The front end capabilities are consistent between the on-premise and cloud versions, but we have optimized the cloud experience for extranet collaboration.

There is a LotusLive family offering built on Notes/Domino today (LotusLive Notes) which will expand much more over the coming 6-12 months.

Personally I do not see anything at all inconsistent in delivering a range of solutions that build on the brand's core competence in collaboration -- premise and hosted -- but doing so in a way that is appropriate for a particular solution or use case. Technologists will often pick apart a particular point where there's an inflection or seam in the way the product is delivered, but if it is seamless to the user (e.g. how Sametime, Symphony, and Connections are delivered within the context of the Notes client), that is what really matters to the end-user. Other cloud vendors are certainly thinking that way, too.

Gravatar Image2 - "But Engage was/is built by many of the same engineers who have built Sametime, Connections, Quickr, etc. "

Actually, I'll one-up Ed. The lead architect for LotusLive is the very same person that was the lead architect for Composite Apps in Notes 8.0. He moved to the Bluehouse team about the time 8.0 shipped.

The "sold to a competitor" line is just ridiculous.

Gravatar Image3 - One of IBM and Lotus' product and research stengths over time has been integration. The Sametime Gateway for example brings together the various IM products (except Microsoft). IBM could beef up its product line with integration/gateway products to bridge the gap between existing enterprise systems and new cloud systems. Cloud, connection and collaboration...perhaps?

Gravatar Image4 - Maybe IBM could remove all the brand names, ie. just call it IBM Domino, or IBM DB2 or IBM TSM. Maybe they should just lead with their power brand. It sure would save them a lot of money.

Nearly everyone has heard of IBM, but some people I speak to think Lotus is just a type of car.

Gravatar Image5 - I had proposed a while back that IBM sell Lotus to Google.
No one else out there would have a reason to buy it, aside from MS and that would be just to kill it.

Gravatar Image6 - Imagine that this video -> { Link } was Microsoft Lotus Notes instead Microsoft ipod....Emoticon

Gravatar Image7 - Way to set em straight Ed!

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Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

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