Lotus chief defines imminent battle plan

Bob Picciano will take his integration pitch to the people in January at Lotusphere.

IBM's Lotus Software division chief Bob Picciano

IBM's Lotus Software division chief Bob Picciano

In May, the company took aim directly at SharePoint by releasing Lotus Quickr Content Integrator, a tool for moving content in mass to Quickr from SharePoint sites and Microsoft Exchange folders, as well as, IBM-based repositories.

In September, the company opened the IBM Center for Social Software, that will tap IBM staff, clients, partners, students and others to research, develop and test Web 2.0 tools.

And in October, Lotus introduced a hosted Notes option, which begins to blend its software with online services much like Microsoft is trying to do under the guidance of Notes creator and now Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie.

Lotus is also adding a focus on small and midsized businesses with its Bluehouse online services and Foundation appliances for collaboration.

"We think this is a massively underserved environment," says Picciano.

His optimism is fueled by the fact that Lotus has recorded 16 consecutive quarters of revenue growth, including a 10% increase reported in October with IBM's 2008 fiscal third-quarter earnings.

On top of that, the company says a yet-to-be-named Asian firm is adding 300,000 Notes seats and other Lotus software in 2009 and that it's "biggest client win ever in North America" will bring another 150,000 seats including Notes, Sametime, Connections and Quickr. Last month, the Global Hyatt Corp. committed to a Notes 8 infrastructure including unified communications software.

The sales speak to the integration possibilities Picciano is trumpeting.

He says he will tie everything together for the Lotus customer base in January.

"I want them to know I am here to help them, that I have passion and vision in the technology and business space, and that we have a great [product] portfolio."

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