Blogger: Bill Pray
The theme for IBM Lotusphere 2010: Lotus Knows.
The lead speech in the opening keynote by William Shatner was entertaining.
It has been an interesting year for the IBM Lotus folks – the market has become more crowded with new and significant competitors (often, who are also partners – e.g. Cisco, VMWare) entering the communications, collaboration, and content technologies market via acquisitions and the software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model. IBM has responded, albeit the market perception is that they have been a bit slow in their response.
A few observations from today’s opening keynote:
- The keynote to Lotusphere led off with the IBM’s assertion that since the release of Lotus 8.0 in August 2007, IBM has garnered 18,378 new customers. It is not clear how this translates to market share. Burton Group does not perform specific market share research, but other research firms have been quoted as saying that Lotus Notes market share has declined over the past two years, especially in the North American market. However, Panasonic’s debut as a new reference account for LotusLive.com heralds IBM’s viability as an enterprise SaaS communications and collaboration vendor.
- There is a new general manager for Lotus – Alistair Rennie. I overheard a comment from someone in the crowd that the GM position for Lotus seems to be a revolving chair.
- Much of the keynote was, to quote a colleague, “underwhelming.” The direction and efforts announced are expected, given current market conditions and enterprise requirements. For example, demonstrations of the ongoing development of mobility and Lotus showcased features needed for Lotus to remain relevant in the current market when compared with competitors. The good news is that IBM is doing what it needs to do to keep up with market requirements, however, nothing jumped out as extremely innovative.
- A promising “Lotus Knows” message was that IBM clearly understands that the hybrid environment for the delivery of communications, collaboration, and content (3Cs) is the new model for enterprise’s leveraging the SaaS delivery model and requires work by IBM to better enable the interoperation between the services in the cloud and those that remain on-premises.
- SaaS delivery of the 3Cs by IBM is clearly strategic to IBM now. Much of the effort throughout the next year will be centered around enabling and enhancing IBM’s SaaS 3C offerings.
- In the reference account / customer presentation from Sylvia Steinmann from Zurich Insurance Company, Ms. Steinmann articulated the question that I often hear asked by enterprise customers: “Should we stick with Notes?” The answer for Zurich Insurance Company was to stay with Notes and upgrade to 8.5.1 because they “could not make the business case to move 60,000 employees” to another solution. This is precisely how enterprises should answer that question - through a strategic business case.
- Kirk Gutmann from General Motors arrived in style for his reference account / customer presentation in a brand new yellow Corvette convertible. One of the more interesting statements he made was “virtualization of the backroom is essential – a mandate for GM” in reference to cutting costs and creating more efficiency for the 3C infrastructure.
- Project Vulcan is IBM’s answer to Google Wave for the IBM customer. I am not sure about the name – it makes me think geek instead of collaborative. However, conceptually, (like Google Wave, Novell’s Pulse, and Cisco’s Inbox-Centric Collaboration) project Vulcan shows real promise for evolving the inbox into a virtual work environment that intelligently aggregates the information needed with the tools to communicate and collaborate.