Lotus opens Workplace 1.1 doors

IBM Corp.'s Lotus Software will detail its vision for enterprise collaboration this week with the launch of IBM Lotus Workplace. Version 1.1 of the J2EE-based platform seeks to offer collaboration technologies as components that can be embedded into a variety of applications and business processes.

The first delivery in this strategy was Workplace Messaging, a low-cost messaging system based on IBM's WebSphere and DB2, unveiled at Lotusphere in January.

Lotus Workplace 1.1 will include four collaboration products focused on Web-based messaging, IM and team collaboration, Web content management, and learning management, IBM officials said.

The team collaboration aspect of the Workplace strategy sees the company offer Lotus QuickPlace and Sametime functions such as discussion threads, document repositories, Web conferencing, presence awareness, and real-time chat as a set of components that customers can use to build applications such as supply chain management, CRM, or portals.

"This is the next generation of how we see IM, and asynchronous and synchronous collaboration coming together in a collaborative environment," said Mike Loria, director of advanced collaboration products at IBM.

One driver behind the Workspace strategy is to leverage J2EE and Web services to combat the problem of complex and time-consuming application integration, Loriasaid.

Major vendors such as IBM and Microsoft Corp. are heading in the right direction with efforts to allow enterprise developers to stitch real-time chat and presence awareness into a wide variety of in-house or off-the-shelf applications, said David Ferris, analyst at Ferris Research Inc.

With regard to more advanced collaboration features such as IM and Web conferencing, "Lotus has a significant lead on Microsoft. (Lotus) has the most successful IM product in the enterprise world with Sametime. Microsoft is very late to the market here," Ferris said.

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