IBM View: Lotus Notes Is A Part Of The IBM Workplace Family
IBM Workplace is the evolution and convergence of Notes/Domino, WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Everyplace, and the IBM Workplace Collaboration Services.
Editor's Note: There has recently been much controversy reported here at Messaging Pipeline and elsewhere about exactly what sort of future IBM Lotus plans for Notes/Domino and that venerable e-mail and groupware environment's customers. The company's introduction of IBM Workplace has led many customers and analysts to the conclusion that Notes is scheduled for the scrapheap, but others have strongly maintained that IBM Lotus plans to keep its Notes/Domino customers happily supplied with their product of choice. The fog has been lifting a bit in recent weeks as reported by David DeJean yesterday, and a week ago.
But I thought that IBM deserved the chance to tell you its own view of the situation, and invited Ed Brill, a senior IBM executive and a very fine communicator, to explain the company's messaging and collaboration strategy. As a key member of the IBM Lotus Notes/Domino sales group, he is in a terrific position to tell you what IBM Lotus plans to offer to its customers, and how they can best plan their futures to take advantage of the strategy embedded in the Notes/Domino and in the Workplace product road maps. -- John Dickinson
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Notes Has A Long And Strong History
After over fifteen years in market, IBM Lotus Notes has established itself as one of the defining software products of our time. It's #1 in the e-mail/calendaring market according to Gartner Dataquest, and over 120 million Notes licenses are used by 60,000 organizations globally. And millions of Notes applications have been deployed to provide mission-critical business communications, and group coordination and collaboration.
While often challenged as yesterday's technology, Lotus Notes continues to have a strong -- and growing -- presence in the market. In 2004, IBM reported growth for Notes and Lotus overall that included a 2% year-to-year increase for Notes/Domino products in Q4 2004. Also during last year, 1468 customers took advantage of IBM's "Trade-up" program, moving from competitive products such as Microsoft Exchange and Novell Groupwise to Notes. Though the market is mature, IBM is still winning new customers with Lotus.
Some of that market momentum is due to new Lotus Express offerings. For example, KMT Waterjet Systems found that a Lotus solution cost 15% less than a similar Microsoft solution. Another factor is the success of the Notes/Domino 6.5 release. Innovative features such as contextual instant messaging, included at no additional charge, have provided demonstrable value and clear reasons to deploy the latest version.
Tracking studies show the results by indicating indicate that approximately 80% of Lotus's customer base either has upgraded or is in the process of upgrading to that release. It's been one of the most successful upgrade cycles in the product's history.
An important hallmark of Notes' fifteen years in the market is IBM Lotus's continuous and strong commitment to forward and backward compatibility. Notes/Domino has never required a "rip and replace" architectural migration in order to upgrade. Domino 6.x, for example, included significant new features for directory and application design centralization. As with every previous release, these architectural upgrades are optional, which allow IT organizations to gradually take advantage of the new features.
Notes/Domino 7, in beta now, continues this commitment. Domino 7 is designed to increase server scalability 50-70% on existing hardware --simply by installing the new version. Domino 7 will support the use of IBM DB2 as a data store, allowing Notes applications to be fully relational for the first time -- but this new capability is also completely optional. This kind of flexibility is key to helping Notes/Domino customers continue to lower their messaging total cost of ownership.
Integrating Notes Into Workplace To Protect Customer Investments
IBM Lotus is also focused on long-term investment protection for Notes customers. While making major enhancements to Notes/Domino on an incremental basis, significant work is underway to integrate Notes/Domino into the IBM Workplace family. IBM Workplace is the evolution and convergence of four major IBM technologies -- Notes/Domino, WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Everyplace, and the IBM Workplace Collaboration Services. IBM is focused on integrating all four technologies, with a special focus on bringing Notes/Domino forward.
This work started in Notes 6.5, with the introduction of a Workplace "welcome page" as the Notes startup user experience. The Notes/Domino 7 release includes several features designed to provide integration and interoperability between Notes/Domino technologies and Workplace, including the previously mentioned optional DB2 store and web services capability in Domino Designer.
Notes 7 will also start the next phase of Notes evolution, by providing an optional ability to run Notes as a "plug-in" to the IBM Workplace client technology. This plug-in will allow customers and partners who are deploying Workplace to continue to use native Lotus Notes applications as part of their desktop. Over time, this plug-in will become the primary means of delivering Lotus Notes.
Since the Workplace client technology is built on the Eclipse framework, Notes will benefit from Eclipse's cross-platform client architecture -- delivering Notes applications natively on Linux for the first time -- as well as an expanded role as a front-end client for more than just Domino applications. It will still be 100% Lotus Notes -- maintaining that long-term commitment to compatibility. But it will be more -- Notes will become a rich client portal and front-end for all end-user productivity, communication, and collaboration.
Customers, partners, and industry analysts have strongly endorsed the IBM Workplace strategy and direction for Lotus Notes/Domino. After Lotusphere 2005 in January Ferris Research said, "IBM plans continued investment in adding capabilities to Lotus Notes Domino 7 and later releases. Integration between Notes, Domino and IBM Workplace is already very strong, and will become more seamless with each subsequent release of Domino and Workplace." Ferris analyst David Via also said, "What I believe all this means is that IBM has cleared away the confusion and uncertainty that their installed base had been experiencing. It is now very clear that Notes technology (and most importantly millions of applications) will live on, effectively embedded in the new Workplace Client." Gartner's "First Take" was entitled, "IBM's Workplace Strategy Gains Credibility at Lotusphere ". And META Group's bulletin was entitled, "IBM Domino/Workplace: Clarity Tops Confusion".
Bottom Line: Notes is a component part of Workplace
The bottom line is that IBM is investing in Lotus Notes/Domino, as part of the IBM Workplace family. The intent is to protect existing investments, continue to focus on lowering IT costs, and most importantly, provide a platform of technologies that are modern and innovative. Workplace represents a strong commitment to the present and the future, and to the next fifteen years of productivity and collaboration software solutions.
Author's Note: Market share data from Gartner Dataquest, June, 2004 -- report G00121354.
Further thoughts about collaboration and messaging technology, and everything else, from Ed Brill can be found at www.edbrill.com.