IBM Trumpets LotusLive Successes, New App Partnerships
January 31, 2011 Dan Burger
IBM is feeling particularly social this week. That’s what an event like Lotusphere will do for Big Blue. To set the stage for Lotusphere–IBM’s week of social network and collaboration software celebration–the company put the emphasis on LotusLive. That’s IBM tools for collaboration–you know, email, Web conferencing, social networking–in a public cloud, or, if you prefer, an IBM-managed stack of systems and software running at your location. Let the fanfare begin.
Cloud computing is on the rise (more on that in just a minute) and IBM shared a list of companies that are already onboard with LotusLive. That list includes the Australian Bureau of Statistics, C&D Foods, Crawford & Company, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, General Milling Corporation, General Motors Component Holdings, and the Zoo and the Aquarium Association of Australia.
LotusLive Notes (hosted email) and LotusLive iNotes (hosted Web-based email) are the headliners in the opening volley of press releases from IBM at Lotusphere. They carry the tag “enterprise-grade” email and calendaring by IBM, which considers all competition to be less than enterprise grade. One of the big reasons the hosted services aspect of cloud computing is expected to gain advocates in the coming years is because it eliminates the purchase and maintenance of infrastructure by organizations that take pleasure in getting those things off their plates (and books). The goal is not only to reduce internal management of IT services (email security is one of the most frightful nightmares), but also to improve daily business interactions and reduce computing costs.
Beyond email, calendaring, and collaboration tools such as Web conferencing, LotusLive offers integrated applications designed to simplify and improve everyday business activities. A few items that fall into this category are project management, content management, and file sharing. Two new examples that are integrated into LotusLive are a customer relationship management application courtesy of SugarCRM and a commerce package developed by Ariba.
SugarCRM for LotusLive is an integrated online collaboration application designed for working with prospects and customers during the lead-generation, lead-to-cash, and issue-resolution processes. Users can set up online meetings and share files and information quickly and easily.
Ariba’s commerce application is called Discovery. The benefit to LotusLive subscribers is access to a network of sellers, which streamlines the process of finding and selecting vendors leading to significant cost savings. More than 325,000 sellers in over 400 commodity categories are accessible. Its collaboration features include the capability to schedule online meetings, create Web conferences, interact via chat-type collaboration, and share documents.
Microsoft Migration Matters
One of the new LotusLive customers noted in the IBM announcement–C&D Foods, a dog food producer based in Longford, Ireland–decided LotusLive was a quick and cost-effective way to move employees at its canning facility in the Netherlands off Microsoft Exchange Server. Yes, off Microsoft Exchange. It was the only migration project noted. This is worth mentioning because the rivalry between IBM and Microsoft in the collaboration market is very intense. Each side enjoys talking about migrations. For a quick look at the fireworks, check out Lotus Focus and Some Hocus Pocus, from August 2010.
The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) is another LotusLive implementation. FIDM is a private college in the Los Angeles, California, area specializing in the fashion, interior design, and entertainment industries. It purchased LotusLive iNotes to provide 7,500 students with Webmail that provides students with FIDM domain email accounts and allows the administration and faculty to effectively communicate with the student body. The college has an eLearning program, heavily dependent on the electronic communication between students and teachers.
FIDM has a history of being in the forefront of innovative projects backed by IBM technology. It’s been an IBM midrange customer since the days of the System/32, the AS/400, iSeries, and System i.
The deployment of LotusLive at General Motors Components Holdings is said to have met that company’s requirements for performance and reliability without the capital expenditure necessary to run email in-house. The company was looking to improve collaboration among its employees in plants in New York, Michigan, and Indiana.
Although cloud computing can be defined in a multitude of ways, the research and analyst groups’ expectations are high.
Big Predictions for Cloud
For example, MarketResearch.com in late November 2010 predicted $25 billion will be spent on cloud computing in 2013. That figure includes software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and integration as a service (IaaS). It pegged the fastest growing segments of cloud computing as ERP, CRM, supply chain management (SCM), and content, communications, and collaboration (CCC).
Recent research from IDC forecasts worldwide spending on cloud services reaching $44.2 billion by 2013.
IBM, which has a broader interpretation of the cloud market, calls it a $68 billion business now and predicts it will hit $150 billion by 2014. By 2015, cloud computing will become the dominant way organizations acquire IT, according to IBM’s survey of 2,000 developers.
Another IBM survey of more than 2,000 midsize companies indicates two-thirds of those companies are either planning or currently deploying cloud-based technologies.