Lotus Collaboration in the Clouds
April 7, 2009 Dan Burger
IBM Lotus has been a bee hive of activity ever since the idea of applying social networking to enterprise business passed that “what if” moment. The goal is a good one: improve information sharing and the way people work. Productivity is in the eye of the beholder, especially if that’s the person who signs the checks. So in the name of productivity beyond the firewall, IBM is introducing LotusLive Engage, an Internet-based tool shed filled with collaboration software.
LotusLive Engage is generally available as of today.
Open the doors to the shed and you’ll find features to facilitate online meetings, profile and contact management, file sharing, instant messaging, and lightweight project management tools.
IBM is trying hard to hit the integration target that it’s missed so many times in the past. (No, Big Blue is not the only IT vendor that finds this target out of range.) With LotusLive, it’s devised a software as a service model that is based on open Web-based standards and an open business model. Some may debate whether this is a bull’s eye, but, at least, LotusLive hits the target. Its services will enable “Click to Cloud” a catchy way of saying integration of Web-based services with existing on-premise Lotus software.
“Companies coming together in the cloud quickly and easily to use powerful communication and collaboration tools that integrate with existing applications is key in the market today” said Sean Poulley, vice president of IBM’s online collaboration and cloud services unit.
Thanks to the emphasis Lotus has placed on collaboration (and the alternative products and services being introduced by multiple competitors) tools other than e-mail are available to help team projects run more smoothly and efficiently. This comes under the category of working smarter–as the IBM television commercials are fond of saying.
LotusLive hatched from the Bluehouse initiative that was first reported about a year ago. That’s when IBM turned up the volume on topics such as how software as a service shrinks up front investments and reduces configuration time–two pain points that organizations are sensitive to.
Software requirements for running LotusLive Engage include: Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 SP2, 6.1, or 7 on Windows XP, and Windows Vista (with service packs); Mozilla Firefox 2.0, 22.214.171.124, or 3.0 on Windows XP and Windows Vista; or JVM versions of Sun 1.5, Sun 1.6, or IBM 1.5.
A multi-tenancy software architecture is used in LotusLive Engage. That means all users (or tenants) sign in and collaborate within a single instance. An advantage of multi-tenancy is that it protects business data and remains flexible during routine updates or customizations.
Web addresses adhere to fine access control so that content, such as files and contacts, can be shared and access controlled both inside and outside of your company. Instant messaging messages, shared files, and other shared content are protected with end-to-end encryption.
IBM will be hosting a Webinar titled “Collaboration in the Cloud: The IBM Lotus SaaS Strategy” on Wednesday, April 22, at 11 a.m. EDT. To register go to https://www.lotuslive.com/webinars.