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Heading for the Clouds

IBM made a big splash today

IBM made a big splash today in advance of next week's Lotusphere conference by announcing that Panasonic is abandoning its Exchange-based e-mail infrastructure for IBM's LotusLive hosted e-mail offering. This news, coupled with recent wins by Google for its Apps and Gmail offerings may finally demonstrate that cloud-based collaboration services are starting to gain traction within the enterprise. It's important to note in the IBM Lotus announcement that while iNotes is the initial hook, Lotus expects iNotes adoption to lead to deployment of cloud-based collaboration and social applications including Connections and Quickr as well as project management.

We're starting to get a lot of questions from our enterprise clients about SaaS-based collaboration offerings. Key factors driving interest include potential for cost reduction, simplified infrastructure, and the ability to easily deploy a robust and reliable set of services across the globe. Key concerns limiting interest include the lack of customization, concern that customers will get a "lowest common denominator service" and concerns related to guaranteeing performance of Internet-based applications. I expect to spend a lot of time in 2010 following the rise of cloud-based collaboration.