Messaging Pipeline | Nemertes: IBM Announcement Moves Lotus Collaboration Deeper Into Real-Time

Messaging Pipeline has some coverage of IBM Real Time adventures by Melanie Truk of Nemertes Research. I though I’d take a look at the highlights of this :

IBM gave customers a first look at the future of its Lotus Notes client this week, and the software bodes well for both the vendor and its users. Code-name ‘Hannover,’ the application has a dramatically new look, but it also boasts some welcome (nay, required) feature changes, too.

Need to read more into what ‘Hannover’ actually is. What I do find funny is that the Microsoft RTC Productgroup uses names of cities as codenames for thier solutions (Vienna, Budapest, Istanbul, etc). I think Microsoft’s Real Time Communication solutions have already continued the journey beyond Hannover …

The key words for IBM are ‘activity-centric collaboration.’ In Hannover, users will get access to collaboration tools regardless of where they’re working within Notes. And the company has caught up with the competition on presence technology, making it pervasive within the application. Whenever Hannover users see a name, they can also see the presence information about the contact, then click to start an IM session, write an e-mail, or call over an IP-enabled phone.

mmm Presence integration / contextual collaboration, where have I seen that before …

‘Activity-centric collaboration’ is IBM’s term, but it boils down to contextual collaboration–a concept Microsoft, Nortel and others have been promoting for some time. The goal in either case is to let users create, manage and share information regardless of type (e-mail, IM, PowerPoint, voice call)–around a particular issue or group.

… oh that’s it, in the whole of Microsoft Office System. So IBM is following Microsoft’s vision on this more or less

Frankly, it’s high time IBM got into the real-time collaboration game. The good news is Hannover promises more content-management capabilities than its competitors, which bodes well for collaborative companies whose employees routinely share documents across projects or teams. Hannover will let them store and manage all the information affiliated with a project in one place (one that is decidedly not the user’s inbox).

ok, so it promises more content management capabilities; lets’s wait and see, afterall the competition is not waiting and doing nothing afterall, it is not 1st half of 2007 yet ..

The new software also supports composite applications, so developers can integrate Lotus Notes with line-of-business application components to solve specific business problems and create role-based tools for employees. And the vendor hasn’t lost sight of its roots: some of the upgrades are e-mail centric, and include new ways to view, sort and filter e-mail.

Wonder how this compares to Microsoft’s initiatives like Information Bridge FrameWork and developments like Mendocino, a joint intiative of SAP and Microsoft ? IBF and Mendocino are true examples of a contextual approach, providing information workers with access to relevant information from backend systems directly in their MS Office environment.

IBM Lotus’ news has the following impacts:

  • For IT executives: IBM users waiting for their version of a real-time communications dashboard should get it soon, and it looks great. The one downside today: no federation with other presence sources, such as Microsoft’s Live Communications Server or AOL.
  • For vendors: IBM has been relatively silent on the presence-driven front. As that situation changes, they will no doubt become more of a threat to both their traditional and non-traditional competitors, especially among their (often loyal) installed base.

  • So seriously lacking federation support, not a strong point for a collaboration solution. Here’s some information of Microsoft’s Live Communications Server 2005 and it’s Federation solutions