Lotus targets unified comms, collaboration

New software, new partnerships allowing users to work from one unified interface, says IBM

IBM’s Lotus division is touting a revitalised Domino suite as the centrepiece of its platform for collaboration and unified communications.

IBM’s head of Lotus for Asia Pacific, expat Kiwi Edward Orange, told users around the country this month that new versions of the software, new partnerships and new links with other IBM software products, such as Sametime, are allowing users to work from one unified interface, and to “communicate in context”.

Orange cited Singapore Polytechnic as one organisation making use of Lotus’ new capabilities. The polytechnic is using the software to reach out to alumni and engage them in mentoring and to drive endowments, he says.

Another recent win for Lotus is Sri Lankan telco Suntel, which is moving from Microsoft Outlook and Exchange to a Notes/Sametime combo to deliver unified communications and improved collaboration.

Sametime allows employees to communicate using instant messaging and delivers online conferencing and visuals such as PowerPoint presentations.

During Lotus’ “Lotusphere comes to you” roadshow around New Zealand this month, Orange showed how the different products and partnerships allowed users to create mashup applications and to work “in context”.

He demonstrated how external services such as Linked-In or reporting tools from the likes of Salesforce.com could be integrated into a single user interface, to allow users to work and communicate inside a context relevant to their own business activities.

New features in Notes 8.5, due soon, include the Linked-in tools, a drag and drop sidebar containing customisable information, feeds and widgets and the ability to work with other people’s calendars.

The Notes functionality can also be delivered in a lite client or through a browser, with users able to flip between modes to the one that is most appropriate at any given time. Wikis, RSS feed readers and generators and other social media tools are also provided.

At the roadshow, Matt Paddon, IBM messaging and collaboration specialist, demonstrated Sametime unified communications and collaboration, dubbed UC2. He says the imperatives behind unified communications are cost savings, accelerated business processes and faster response times.

By using Sametime, he says users avoid a “rip and replace” approach and to leverage their existing investments in video conferencing and other technologies. He adds that Sametime integrates into Outlook as well.

Paddon says Sametime has boosted its customer numbers 30% in the past year and a third of these are using Outlook as their email client.

He demonstrated how people could be added to a phone call on the fly, through the ability to sense presence and integrated calendars to set up an online conference. Conferences can also be recorded.

Paddon says Lotus has partnerships with major telecommunications platform providers, including Alcatel Lucent, Ericsson, Avaya, Nortel and Siemens among others. These facilitate integration of IBMs desktop and business unified communications and deliver functionality such as “click to call” and “click to conference”.

Chat sessions can be similarly converted into a call by clicking a button in the interface.

Orange says adoption of version 8.0 has been the swiftest seen for Notes, with 55% of users now on version 8.0 or better.

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Tags Networking & Telecomms ID

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