IBM/Lotus sharpens weapon for unified communications battle

IBM/Lotus Sametime at heart of strategy; Vendor committing $1 billion to develop platform

IBM/Lotus is banking on the integration of its Sametime platform and collaboration software with tools from telephony partners to fuel its climb up the ranks of unified communications contenders.

The company's strategy is to marry collaboration, social networking, conferencing and messaging software, which feature open protocols and interfaces, with telephony wares from partners such as Cisco, Nortel and Avaya to create a unified communications (UC) platform that corporations can integrate with their current infrastructure and Web services projects.

Integration and standards support are hallmarks of the platform that features voice, e-mail, instant messaging, presence and videoconferencing.

The model is much different from traditional rival Microsoft, which eventually hopes to supplant telephony vendors by re-inventing the PBX in software. And it is different from Cisco, which partners with IBM/Lotus but is taking a more network approach to UC.

IBM/Lotus, on the other hand, has drawn a line of demarcation and is developing a gateway that invites telephony vendors and other partners into its UC lineup, which is anchored by Sametime and includes the Sametime client, Notes messaging, Connections social software, Quickr document management and Lotus Symphony productivity applications.

To prove its commitment, Steve Mills, the senior vice president of IBM's software group, said in March that the company will spend US$1 billion on its UC strategy over the next three years.

It may take such a war chest to overcome major challenges. IBM/Lotus must fight market dynamics that now favor Microsoft's platform centered on Office Communications Server (OCS), clearly define its feature differences and architectural advantages, and penetrate companies that already have an affinity for rival software.

Playing from behind

That penetration is sort of a "do-over" for IBM/Lotus.

Sametime is 10 years old and at one time was the only option for enterprise instant messaging and presence. But IBM/Lotus took its lead for granted and the platform languished between 2003 and 2005.

When Microsoft began detailing and developing what was to become OCS 2007, IBM finally flinched.

"That was the sound of Jaws [theme music] playing," says Mike Gotta, an analyst with the Burton Group, referring to the music in the 1975 movie that signaled impending doom perpetrated by a great white shark hungry for unsuspecting swimmers.

In January 2007, IBM/Lotus announced its UC2 (pronounced UC squared) strategy around Sametime to signal it was again ready to play.

Before the end of 2008, IBM/Lotus will ship what will become its UC centerpiece.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Fontana

Network World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Taking cybersecurity to the highest level and order now for a special discount on the world’s most awarded and trusted cybersecurity. Be aware without a care!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?