Untangling IBM’s Messaging Strategy

I was playing around with the new iWatch application by Tom Duff that was posted to OpenNTF the other week and I created a new News Alert for the word IBM. After a little while a whole bunch of articles arrived into the database that contained the word IBM and one of them caught my eye…

According to Server Watch IBM’s messaging strategy is a tangled mess and that IBM may have its work cut out for itself as it attempts to sell customers simultaneously on its Lotus Domino/Notes and Workplace Messaging offerings.

Obviously the message that I got at Lotusphere is different from the one that they have been reading. I was under the opinion that IBM had two totally different markets for the WorkPlace Messaging and Lotus Domino offerings. WorkPlace messaging is designed for large workforces that wouldn’t necessary have access to a computer all day, it’s web based and with a nice clean interface allows this type of worker to walk up to an open access terminal, enter their credentials and access their email while the Lotus Domino offering is aimed at companies where people work at desks and have computers infront of them all day.

Another problem for Workplace is its lack of consistent client integration. No one component of workplace integrates with all four of client options (Lotus, Notes, Web browser, mobile, and Microsoft Outlook), and no client integrates with all of the Workplace components, Takahashi explained.

Another message that was missed by the Radicati group at Lotusphere… They haven’t seen the Workplace client yet and obviously haven’t heard of the plans to make the Notes client access the Workplace server. My personal opinion is that by Domino V9 the server we know and love today will be a MAJOR component of the Workplace server and thus provide Workplace with the Domino Applications stack, better POP3 and IMAP stack ( for outlook integration ) and even contain parts of Domino Everyplace so mobile clients can also connect to one solidified server solution. The DB2 access we are seeing in the new Domino 7 beta is the stepping stone to this integration into WorkPlace server.

Notes V10 will then see the Notes client being replaced with the super client. This falls in line with the new alternating Server, Client major update release phases that were announced also at Lotusphere.

The long-term plan is for Domino to be part of Workplace. IBM has yet to reveal the specifics of this, however, and has not announced plans beyond version 8.0, which is set for release in 2006.

Maybe I’m wrong but just because IBM haven’t mentioned plans for the future versions of Domino ( Domino 9 and 10 were promised at Lotusphere ) that doesn’t mean we can’t see where it is heading ourselves…

Opinions Welcome…

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4 comments on “Untangling IBM’s Messaging Strategy
  1. Yep, I think I heard what you heard at Lotusphere, and I think these Radicati guys either weren’t there or they weren’t listening.

    What I don’t get is how anyone can (with a straight face) criticise IBM for “not announcing plans” and “specifics” for a version of a product that is two major releases beyond what they’re currently on, and at least two years in the future. Why are they supposed to be expected to do that? What other software vendor anywhere does that? Hell, Microsoft can’t even get their story/schedule straight on the very next version of Windows, and IBM is supposed to be giving details about something that’s three releases down the road?

    Gimme a break.

    – Julian


  2. Chris LeRoy says:

    We have purchased Workplace and are planning on migrating the majority of our 4500+ seats off of Notes clients. This isn’t to say we are abandoning Notes and Domino. But webifying apps and centralizing both applications and mail. IMO, Radicati really missed the mark on this analysis. While it may not be a right move for everyone, it isn’t a move that every current customer is being forced to make. Fiscally, this may be a right move for more organizations, especially where they can leverage some other existing platforms (provided platforms like Oracle are added to the mix).

    Ed Brill’s response speaks more clearly to a budget conscious executive than this “research” analysis.(http://searchdomino.techtarget.com/originalContent/0,289142,sid4_gci960741,00.html?track=NL-201&ad=481004)
    Not failing to recognize the expectation that IBM will deliver better products and support in the future by leveraging their resources as the Workplace and Notes/Domino roadmaps converge. This is a HUGE benefit to me as a customer/administrator, and was another positive point with our execs.

    Yes, Workplace is a work in progress, but it has already improved dramatically since the release of v1.0. In Radicati’s defense, information on Workplace takes some digging to find. However, he isn’t looking into even the near future with already published information and recognizing what Workplace can do to lower the TCO and as an analyst, he should have the current information in front of him before he begins to make statements..


  3. Ed Brill says:

    Chris –
    Thanks for your comments. FYI, Radicati didn’t conduct their analysis simply from digging — they had direct access (I don’t want to be more specific in public).
    Hadn’t seen your blog before…would be interested in a chat offline about your Workplace decision etc. –Ed


  4. Chris LeRoy says:

    Ed –

    I’m sorry, I didn’t see your comments until this morning. I am going to be out of pocket May 1-12, but I will be periodically checking email or we could chat after I get back.

    FWIW, I still feel that his analysis off the mark from the product that I am looking at.


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