Friday, June 27, 2003

Lotus Workplace Strategy

If you want to understand where the Lotus product strategy is going, you should spend 30 minutes and watch the webcast mentioned in this Lotus Workplace announcement. You can download the slides as a PDF once you have signed in.

Lotus Workplace is:

Provided as a Platform containing a Portal framework and all the collaborative and human interaction capabilities for a complete implementation. Capabilities present within platform but ACTIVATED and purchased as needed. Flexible utilisation: Per User, By Usage or Access, By Processor.

So, you install the Lotus Workplace Platform, which contains all these components, and then enable (and pay for) only those components that you require. Lotus will also deliver a number of specific horizontal products from the platform, such as Messaging, Instant Messaging, Learning, Document Management and more.

The Lotus Workplace Platform is delivered using a Portal Framework, with components from either Domino-based or WebSphere-based Application servers delivered through it.

This is a screenshot (click to enlarge) from the presentation showing what a more advanced version of Lotus Workplace Messaging might look like, delivered through a browser. This richer messaging tool is integrated in a portal window with Instant Messaging, Document Management, Calendar & ToDo, Discussions and Meetings.

This slide (click to enlarge) shows the clients that can interact with the Workplace Platform. As you can see, these include the Notes 6.5 client, a Web Browser, a mobile device and something tantalisingly called Rich Client.

The above is all public, via the Webcast mentioned above, but yesterday I went to a Briefing at our local IBM Office, where more details were forthcoming. Obviously, I'm going to respect what was told to us in confidence (Craig says I'm OK), but the story was all good. I think there has been some serious thinking going on over at Lotus and the results are impressive. They have not just been sitting around, painting things purple, and telling everyone to brush up on JSP. I was very impressed - this is a great story.

At the moment, my view is that the effort to produce a sophisticated web-based collaboration applications with Notes/Domino is much greater than to create the same thing targeted at the Notes Client. With the new Lotus Workplace strategy in place, creating web collaboration apps will much, much easier.

Notes is not dead, but there is a new dawn on the horizon.

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