Evolution or Revolution?

When faced with a choice between a smooth, managed change program, spread over time, or a violent upheaval that causes chaos and unjustifiable expense, the vast majority of people will opt for the first choice. So did we.

IBM is committed to providing an open standards future for its customers. In the area of messaging and collaboration, a smooth and structured Notes and Domino migration path has always been our strategy. Why? Because the alternative is just not good for business. Forcing our customers to rip and replace has never been an option.

At IBM's annual Lotusphere technical conference in January, we reaffirmed our commitment to Notes/Domino, continuing our three-year $US1 billion plan to develop Lotus collaborative offerings. We also expanded on our Lotus Workplace strategy, which combines our integration platform, WebSphere Portal, with Lotus’ collaborative capabilities, to create a dynamic new work environment that integrates collaboration, information and business processes in role-based views. There are many intersections and crossovers available to our customers within the Lotus strategy, which provides our customers with flexibility and choice while maintaining existing investment.

So while there may be innuendos by our competitors that IBM is walking away from Notes and Domino, that is absolutely not the case. We have just shipped the 6.5.1 release of these products, including the industry's first integrated collaboration and Instant Messaging client. Notes/Domino 7 will enter beta shortly, designed to further lower operational costs and improve integration. Lotus has also publicly discussed the goals for Notes 8. It is clear to the market that Notes and Domino have a long life ahead of them.

Notes/Domino 6 requires little to no architectural changes to be deployed, and the same is true for 6.5 and the upcoming version 7.0. As such, current Notes/Domino customers can continue to use Notes/Domino 6.x, upgrade to 7, and follow that path in the future. And our customers are getting the ‘evolutionary’ message. Upgrades for Notes and Domino 6.0 are running six times more than R5 at this point in the cycle. Over 1500 companies worldwide have migrated to Notes/Domino from other platforms over the last two years because they’ve realised that IBM's story is, in fact, one of evolution, coexistence, and customer-controlled migration.

IBM’s use of portal technology within Lotus’ collaborative portfolio does not in any way diminish Notes and Domino. In fact, it extends the reach of existing collaborative investments.

Furthermore, with the underpinnings of J2EE, we open a new set of opportunities for our customers to exploit open standards and bring collaboration to all areas of their business. IBM has built tools to leverage Notes/Domino applications within WebSphere and WebSphere Portal without modification.

Ultimately, the goal of our new collaborative platform, Lotus Workplace, is to give our customers simplified access to all the resources they need – a single environment where they can interact dynamically with integrated business processes, peers, partners, suppliers and customers, in the context of what they’re doing. Customers want to improve collaboration and protect their existing investment and this is what we will give them. Lotus Workplace products are already available, and we'll see more this year.

So while the benefits offered by Lotus Workplace are indeed revolutionary, the path towards them is not.

Hala Batainah, Lotus brand manager, IBM Software Group, A/NZ

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