Collaboration technology has evolved to mean more than just email. Organizations are looking for sophisticated, flexible collaboration solutions to address the business objectives of a wide variety of corporate communities, including users, IT administrators, application developers, and the CFO. Companies want to employ collaboration to drive business. And at the end of the day, they want the technology to help increase productivity from the organizational level down to the individual knowledge worker. With the release of IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 7, IBM has just that in mind: making people more productive within the context of what they do.
The new version of Lotus Notes 7 provides users with more than 100 new features that allow them to manage an increasing volume of information and work more efficiently. New visual indicators help users organize and manage their in-boxes by highlighting high priority messages, as well as differentiating between group emails and messages targeted for specific users. New memory functions automatically save and return to open documents and applications upon shut-down and restart, which gives users additional mobility without worrying about losing data or hindering productivity. And instant messaging and presence technology, already integrated in the Lotus Notes client, has been expanded across the platform, including emails and calendar items, facilitating productivity and responsiveness by instantly connecting users with experts and key contacts.
Support for open standards, a high level of security, and lower costs of ownership have always been key factors in the continued success of the Lotus Notes and Domino platform. With Lotus Domino 7, the advanced administrative, performance, and security features can help lower the total cost of ownership. And native support for Web services, integration with IBM DB2 Universal Database software, and enhanced support for industry standards can help extend the reach of rapid application development and deployment.
More Productivity Features for Increased Information Management
- Attention indicators—Visual indicators specify recipient status and help users prioritize email messages. Attention indicators, represented by three types of circles, appear in a designated, sortable column of the in-box view, indicating the user's recipient status for a mail message. This visual cue helps users quickly determine which mail messages are directed to their attention and are likely to require a response versus those that may have been sent for information purposes only.
- Warning message—If users try to send an email with a blank subject line, the warning provides the user with the opportunity to enter the information prior to sending.
- Easier ways to flag messages for follow-up—Users can quickly flag messages for follow-up by using the quick flag feature or by dragging and dropping the message to the follow-up view. This option is also available using the right-mouse menu.
- Calendar filters—To decrease the amount of clutter, calendar filters let users selectively display information by a variety of means, including chairperson of the meeting, type (meeting, appointment, etc.), status (accepted, tentatively accepted), and private (private entries only).
- Auto-processing option—This option allows posting of invitations to the calendar even if there is a conflict. The user can later view the calendar and decide which meetings to attend or not attend. This saves time by not requiring users to manually process invitations and by enabling them to manage their day at a glance.
- Enhanced calendar cleanup capability—The option to delete items that occurred before or during a specified period of time is easily accessible from within the calendar view.
- User enhancements for rooms and resources—Users can send reminder notices to chairpersons so that a room or resource can be released in the event a meeting is canceled. They can also transfer rooms to another person without involving an administrator or requiring multiple steps.
- Auto save—This functionality prevents data loss due to software errors, power outages, or workstation crashes. Users can specify to have data saved at regularly scheduled intervals. When Lotus Notes restarts, users can then recover auto-saved documents or delete them. Application developers can also add this useful feature to their own custom Notes applications.
- Set or save open window state—Two options are available to allow users to choose which windows open automatically when the Lotus Notes client starts up: 1) Set a specific window state to be displayed each time the Lotus Notes client is launched, or 2) save the current window state when exiting the Lotus Notes application and allow it to return to that state the next time the software is launched.
- Confirmation prompt on close—This prompt allows users to avoid accidentally exiting the Lotus Notes client while closing other applications. If users choose not to see this confirmation, they have the option to disable it in the preferences settings.
- Enhanced right-mouse support—Many of the options available as keyboard actions, in action bar views, or in full menus are also available in right-mouse menus, reducing the amount of time and number of clicks needed to perform recurrent actions.
Security Features Help Decrease Threat of Viruses and Spam
Lotus Domino 7 also offers improvements to Lotus Notes ID management and enhanced security features. These include application programming interfaces for manipulating secure email and the option to use 1024-bit RSA encryption keys and 128-bit symmetric keys for the Lotus Notes remote procedure call (RPC) protocol.
Enhanced anti-spam features include improved custom blacklists and white lists containing public lists of acceptable sources. This means all messages from users in the white list would be accepted by Domino.
Instant Messaging: Beyond Person-to-Person Chat
Users can see who is online with expanded presence awareness that's extended beyond the in-box to be available in the calendar, the rooms and resources database, the address book, and applications such as team rooms and discussions. Additional convenience features include these:
- Paste Lotus Notes links into text messages.
- Save online conversations to a mail file.
- Multi-task with multi-threaded support. Instant messaging windows are contained in a separate thread, allowing users to communicate in real time while other Lotus Notes tasks run, such as background replication or printing.
Increased Interoperability and Integration
Lotus Notes 7 software offers tight integration with Microsoft Office 2003 or Office XP. Microsoft Word users can access Lotus Notes mail using Smart Tags, a Microsoft Office capability to recognize certain types of text, such as proper names. When a Microsoft Word user clicks on an identified proper name, a pull-down menu offers three choices for Lotus Notes users:
- Create a pre-addressed email memo.
- Create a pre-addressed invitation to a meeting.
- Show the details about the person in the Domino Directory or personal name and address book.
Lotus Domino 7 software also helps you extend the reach of your Lotus Domino data and applications through support for Web services and open standards and an option to use IBM DB2 Universal Database as an alternative data store.
In addition, Lotus Domino 7 server offers native support for Web services, including a Web services hosting environment based on Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). The Lotus Domino Designer 7 application development tool provides complementary enhancements, including a Web services design element and built-in support for Web Services Description Language (WSDL). The combination of these capabilities can help users easily extend and integrate applications with Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and Microsoft .NET environments—often with less time and effort and with existing skills. Support for open standards also makes it easy to integrate Lotus Domino solutions with other IBM software, including IBM Workplace Collaboration Services, IBM Workplace Services Express, and IBM WebSphere Portal software.
Lotus Domino 7 software offers the opportunity for enhanced integration with IBM DB2 Universal Database software, a relational repository that provides information management capabilities. DB2 UDB can be used as an alternative data store to Lotus Notes Storage Facility (NSF) on a per-database basis on Microsoft Windows and IBM AIX operating systems. DB2 software integration capabilities enable developers to build new applications that blend collaborative services with SQL-based relational data stored in DB2 databases. This integration also enables organizations to consolidate their data within a common DB2 store and then integrate it with other applications, including IBM Workplace applications.
Finally, a Lotus Notes application plug-in, provided with Lotus Notes 7 software, allows users to run native Lotus Notes applications within the context of the IBM Workplace Managed Client product. This plug-in allows you to extend the reach and viability of Lotus Notes applications—without design modifications—to an IBM Workplace Collaboration Services environment. The plug-in also provides the option to integrate Lotus Notes applications with the instant messaging capabilities of IBM Workplace Collaboration Services software.
Scalability and Performance: More Bang for the Buck
With Lotus Domino 7 server, organizations can typically support more users with fewer server and network resources. Based on IBM research and statistics from the Lotus Domino 7 beta program, Lotus Domino 7 uses up to 25% less CPU resources than the Lotus Domino 6.5 server, and Lotus Domino 7 software can support up to 80% more Lotus Notes users or up to 50% more Lotus Domino Web Access users on the same server hardware. By consolidating more users onto the same hardware, organizations can reduce their total cost of ownership in both hardware costs per user and administration costs.
Flexible Standards Support
Lotus Domino 7 server offers a new Linux-based Web administration client that runs on a Mozilla browser. And Lotus Domino Web Access 7 client now supports Firefox in addition to Mozilla. These two enhancements expand the Linux messaging and collaboration offerings from IBM and meet the growing demand for additional client options for Linux desktop users. With Lotus Domino 7 and Domino Web Access 7 software, companies can implement a leading-edge, end-to-end collaborative solution for Linux, allowing them to access Lotus Domino on a Linux server from a Linux desktop for messaging, collaboration, and administration.
Pricing and Availability
IBM Lotus Domino server software starts at SRP of $1145 per CPU, while IBM Lotus Notes software starts at SRP of $101 per client. IBM Lotus Domino Web Access 7, IBM's Web-based messaging client, starts at SRP of $70 per client.
Lotus Domino 7 is currently available for Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows 2003; IBM iSeries, zSeries (z/OS and Linux), and AIX 5.2 or 5.3; Sun Solaris 9; and Linux (x86), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 8 or 9, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 4, and Sun Solaris 10.
Lotus Notes 7 is available for Windows 2000 and XP. Support for the Mac OS is planned for future release of Lotus Notes. Lotus Domino Web Access 7 is available on Microsoft Internet Explorer (Win32), Mozilla 1.7x (Linux), and Firefox 1.0.x (Win32 and Linux).
For details on the entire array of Lotus Notes and Domino 7 products, please visit the Lotus Notes and Domino Web site.
Penny Scharfman is Program Director for IBM Lotus Notes and Domino Products at IBM.