Zollar's focus at Lotus is furthering development of the "dynamic workplace," in which services and tools are built around the employee. In that model, presence awareness--the ability to immediately determine whether a person is online and available--provides people with ubiquitous access to one another no matter where they are or what they're doing, much the way employees stand up in an office and look to see whether a co-worker is at his or her desk.
Lotus is moving closer to this reality with the latest refresh of all of its collaboration tools--the Domino application-development environment, Notes E-mail and collaboration client, Sametime instant messaging and Net-meeting application, and QuickPlace online workspace tool. The new suite will introduce stronger integration with IBM's WebSphere suite and DB2 relational database to ease the development of collaborative apps. The goal, says Zollar, is "to help our customers put collaboration where it's most useful."
But Zollar readily admits there's only so much a vendor's technology can do. "At the end of the day, cultural issues within the company are driven by management," he says.
That's where Zollar sees a lot of companies falling into a trap. Vendors are doing a good job of creating collaborative applications and embedding them in their own proprietary technologies, he says, but many customers still fail to view collaboration as a unified enterprise initiative and instead will make 15 decisions on collaborative applications that are poorly integrated and cost way too much. "Those companies," he says, "are ready for us."
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