On October 1, 2000, IBM's Lotus division released the long-awaited Domino R6 email and collaboration server. Beta versions of R6 have been widely circulated over the last year to both large and small organizations, and IBM's goal to bring Domino into line with its larger WebSphere strategies seems to have been successful. In addition, IBM released the newest versions of Lotus Sametime, QuickPlace, and LearningSpace.
During this climate of severe IT recession--when companies and organizations are reluctant to spend on new installations or upgrades--Lotus has crafted this release to address the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of collaboration suites. Simultaneously, the new and advanced features of Domino R6--combined with SameTime, QuickPlace, and LearningSpace Virtual Classroom--offer a new range of functionality that is more affordable to a larger market segment.
Domino R6: Reaching Beyond Email
Lotus' pedigree in providing collaboration services has been extraordinary. Starting with cc:Mail, Lotus intuitively understood that messaging would revolutionize the work place as PCs evolved. The cc:Mail product was followed by the original proprietary Lotus Notes messaging workflow server and--with the proliferation of TCP/IP--evolved its products and services around the concept of cross-platform servers that could facilitate Knowledge Management.
However, the consumer market seemed to view the Notes server offering only as a contestant against Microsoft's Exchange Server and Outlook email client in a race to establish the largest installed base for email client seats. How could Lotus, the press asked, compete against Microsoft's bundled Exchange Server and its free Outlook desktop client?
Instead of counting installed client seats, they should have been counting collaborative applications that could be quickly built and customized to meet the workflow needs of organizations. Here, Lotus has had a significant edge in automating the office workspace: Its established Business Partner and developer network continues to offer some of the most advanced capabilities at the least expense. Today, Lotus Domino Server installations exist in 96 of the Fortune 100 companies, nine of the largest U.S. chemical companies, 14 of the largest worldwide automobile manufacturers, nine of the largest healthcare/pharmaceutical companies, and seven of the largest U.S. aerospace and defense companies. R6 of Domino will undoubtedly continue to win converts. Why? As soon as companies reach beyond the email to automate messaging workflow, they instinctively reach for the functionality of Domino applications.
Lotus Notes and Domino 6 include new anti-spam features, increased security features, improved administration tools, and more than 1,000 client improvements to help users enhance their productivity. Domino 6 also includes a limited-use license for IBM WebSphere Application Server (WAS) to enable the reuse of Domino objects in J2EE applications. Lotus believes that this combination of new features and integration across IBM's software portfolio can provide a distinct advantage over Microsoft and will help IBM to build on its installed base of 95+ million users.
Other new features help to consolidate server hardware, reduce disk space use, and minimize network traffic. New policy-based administration and client-upgrade automation tools help lower administration costs while improving in-box management and advanced calendar and scheduling functionality. New information control features--such as improved mail archiving, mail journaling, and new spam control--help to increase worker productivity and conserve IT resources.
In addition, Lotus has brought its Domino R6 development environment into closer alignment with IBM's entire software portfolio and has provided greater support for Microsoft's Active Directory, which will allow customers to blend Notes and Domino 6 into their current infrastructure. Finally, customers will get a free copy of IBM's WAS, which will provide J2EE support.
Bundling Strategies for TCO: Sametime, QuickPlace, and LearningSpace
Lotus timed its release of R6 to coincide with the latest releases of its Sametime, QuickPlace, and LearningSpace products. Lotus says that Sametime 3 is the first enterprise instant messaging and e-meeting solution to offer the ability for community-to-community connection with security features.
Lotus QuickPlace 3 offers close integration with Lotus Sametime, enabling users to see which of their colleagues are online and initiate an e-meeting or a Sametime chat right from a QuickPlace. By building on the already robust features of Lotus Sametime and QuickPlace, these enhancements help to provide an even more reliable and stable platform for collaboration.
Lotus LearningSpace - Virtual Classroom is an easy-to-deploy and cost-effective e-learning system that helps enable real-time collaboration between instructors and learners and helps organizations rapidly implement an e-learning solution. It's an ideal solution for organizations that need to frequently and efficiently train geographically dispersed employees, business partners, and suppliers on critical matters such as industry regulations, product development changes, and business transformations.
Lotus' strategy is to either offer each of these products as standalone offerings or bundle them into attractive suites that can significantly lower the TCO. In addition, by making the suites run on a variety of hardware platforms, customers can choose the most cost-effective hardware profile for their sites.
Integration: How It's Employed in Collaboration Services
One good example of how Lotus is defining collaboration integration between its various products might be in Web conferencing. Using Lotus QuickPlace, Sametime, and the R6 Notes client, a Web conference can be scheduled to automatically appear on a participant's Notes client calendar. At the appropriate conference meeting time, a single click activates the connection for the user to participate with voice, video, and whiteboard across the Internet. The connection is secure, and the performance is skillfully controlled by virtual participants across the hall or across the country. A similar scenario might unfold for someone using the LearningSpace Virtual Classroom, where participants can ask questions of remote instructors across a virtual network. This type of seamless integration is the hallmark of a maturing automation technology, and in this era of restricted travel budgets for face-to-face meetings, integrated collaboration services represent a significant cost savings to large and growing organizations.
Notes and Domino 6, Sametime 3, QuickPlace 3 and LearningSpace - Virtual Classroom are now available through IBM Business Partner Channels. For more information visit the Lotus Web site.