So is Lotus conceding the government cloud email market to Microsoft and Google?
The news that the USDA is consolidating all their email systems onto Microsoft's hosted offerings hit the webs today. Mary Jo Foley had an interesting column titled Microsoft and the USDA: May the best incumbent win:
Microsoft execs have been crowing about the company’s big cloud win this week with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), via which the organization will be moving 120,000 users to the Microsoft’s hosted e-mail, collaboration and conferencing products.
It appears that a number of their various email systems were Microsoft to begin with, and they decided that there's some level of comfort in migration when the vendors are the same. But it also means whatever level of Notes mail used in the organization was lost, and that's where I really have to wonder about IBM's commitment to the government sector.
Here's what we hear from IBM concerning that particular loss:
An IBM spokesperson made it sound as if IBM decided against bidding on the deal, given the USDA’s requirement for Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) compliance. A spokesperson said that “IBM has chosen to not address FISMA compliance requirements and instead is focused on commercial requirements addressing cross-company collaboration with a focus on security and enterprise integration.”
Google has achieved compliance, Microsoft is working on it, and IBM "has chosen not to address FISMA compliance requirements"?
The government released a 25 point Federal technology plan today, which has an interesting emphasis:
Shift to “Cloud First” policy. Each agency will identify three “must move” services within three months, and move one of those services to the cloud within 12 months and the remaining two within 18 months.
Email will likely be one of those "must move" services, and I'm going to guess that FISMA certification will figure in to more than a few of the RFPs. And IBM has chosen to "not address" certification and instead focus on something that has enough buzz words to say little and win big in buzzword bingo?
I'm going to hold out hope that the IBM spokesperson was talking only about the USDA contract and not the LotusLive strategy going forward. Because if that's the case, Lotus's strong presence in the government market is about to be slashed dramatically...