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IBM announces their Federal Cloud offering just as GSA completes their migration away from Notes...

Category IBM/Lotus
Back on July 20th, Ed Brill announced that IBM was set to offer up a US Federal Cloud Collaboration offering consisting of FISMA-compliant data centers hosting Connections, Sametime, and Domino/iNotes.  Against that backdrop, GSA made the news in the IT press this week by completing their migration away from on-premises Lotus Notes to Google Apps for Government.  It apparently took Unisys six months to migrate 17000 employees over to the new platform.  I don't know if they migrated mail or started fresh or what, but six months isn't too bad in either case.  I know how slow huge organizations can be...

On one hand, I'm happy to see that IBM has finally addressed the market for government cloud computing.  In one of the battles they lost for a government contract, the IBM spokesperson was quoted as saying that pursuing FISMA certification wasn't overly important to their plans.  That told me that they were going to concede the government market for email, as moving government agencies to the cloud for email systems is a high priority now.  Someone either wised up or the original IBM spokesperson "misspoke".  Either way, it's nice to see that IBM now has the pieces in place to be allowed at the table.

On the other hand, are they considered a viable option?

In the various stories about the GSA migration, I've seen reference to 15 agencies who are currently moving to the cloud or who have made decisions to do so and picked vendors.  The only names I've seen mentioned are Microsoft and Google as the winning vendors.  Scattered around the online articles are links to stories that compare Google Apps with Office 365.  You even have this line at the end of the GSA article:

Google and Microsoft are in a heated battle to win government cloud contracts for agencies that choose a public option.

The press either doesn't know IBM even has a cloud offering, or they don't think it's viable.  Realistically, you mention cloud email to most people, and you'll hear either Microsoft or Google mentioned as the dominant offerings.  If you're not already on Lotus Notes, you probably don't even know IBM *has* a cloud offering based on marketing and advertising, and it seems that far too many companies that *are* on Lotus Notes want to move to the cloud with one of those other two vendors for reasons that may or may not be accurate or valid.  But that really doesn't matter, as their perception is their reality, and that's where the money ends up.

If people who aren't on Notes don't think of IBM for cloud email, and people who are on Notes are leaning to either Microsoft or Google, that doesn't bode well for market share unless you can raise your visibility significantly to businesses of all sizes... from government monoliths to the local medical clinic.  Ed has mentioned that he knows this is an issue and needs to be addressed, but that seems to be at odds with overall IBM marketing wanting to talk about "solutions" and not necessarily products.

With each passing week, more decisions are made, and money gets spent for long-term commitments to new platforms.  I hope the visibility issue gets addressed very soon...

Comments

Gravatar Image1 - "If you're not already on Lotus Notes, you probably don't even know IBM *has* a cloud offering..." OK, let's be honest. If you're not already on Lotus Notes, you probably don't even know IBM has *anything* for messaging, cloud or otherwise.

Thomas, you're dead on target about visibility to businesses of all sizes. Consider that 99.7% of all companies in the U.S. are small businesses. (check out more interesting facts at { Link } )

Innovation starts with small businesses (they produce 13 times more patents than big businesses) and they are the first to adopt new technologies. I have written and spoken on this topic often.

But hey, who are we to think we know more about marketing than IBM? How arrogant of us little people! Emoticon

Gravatar Image2 - I'm a Domino admin at GSA. IBM did bid on the GSA cloud migration. Their initial presentation was so poor (for example, no archiving component considered) that they were practically laughed out of the room. But we were used to being taken for granted. GSA put up with poor support, and ever-increasing costs from IBM for MUCH longer than most shops would have. I've been a Domino professional instructor, developer and admin for many, many years, and have strongly advocated the products. But I'm fed up. IBM JUST-DOESN'T-GET-IT-AND-DOESN'T-SEEM-TO-CARE. I must say I'm actually pretty happy to be bidding Notes/Domino/Quickr/Sametime/DB2/Websphere Portal/Websphere Application Server/DB2/IBM HTTP Server and Connections adieu. Those were but a few of the IBM products that GSA will soon no longer use. Thus far, our Google support and training have been superb. Unisys and Tempus Nova have done a pretty good job on the migration. (Yes we migrated the old mail.) And I'm looking forward to not working in a beta-max world any more.

Gravatar Image3 - So I'm curious where MS (or Google) cloud leaves a Domino Admin after a migration from Domino? What kind of admin is left is a 365 environment that isn't just an add/delete user?

Gravatar Image4 - If you're a mail-only Domino shop, then it leaves you pretty much high and dry. If you have apps, you still have to maintain an environment as well as potentially developing mechanisms for making sure your users can still access them. I think your bigger issue is what are you doing in terms of professional growth to add skills to your repertoire that would position you as being still valuable to your current employer? If you want to still be a Domino admin, it looks like you would need to move elsewhere. If you want to learn and branch out, then you have far more options.

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