One of the announcements from IBM's annual Lotusphere conference this week is a new version of IBM Workplace that bundles together multiple collaborative services into a single product.
Workplace Collaborative Services 2.5 is built on a service oriented architecture, which allows users to mix and match prebuilt, reusable collaboration services such as IM, e-mail, Web conferencing, team collaboration, document management, and learning.
"We created a new offering that pulls together all these capabilities into a single, per-CPU-licensed product, which has dramatically improved installation and capacity and (delivered) enhancements to rich client interface for workplace services," said Ken Bisconti, vice president of Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Products at IBM Lotus.
The new offering is part of Workplace's evolution, and represents a shift of enterprise work modes toward, "a roles-based collaboration work environment," Bisconti said.
Workplace Collaboration Services 2.5 "delivers functionality that with Microsoft requires four products to deliver," Bisconti added.
According to Michael Osterman, president of Osterman Research, the new version of Workplace represents a greater integration of the Lotus collaboration pieces.
IBM is "trying to counter what Microsoft is doing by integrating everything into a single framework. Bringing everything together under Web services is a good way to do that," Osterman said.
It is critical for IBM to continue this integration and SOA push with collaboration, he added.
"More and more of the market is going toward Exchange," as Microsoft tightens the links between Exchange, Live Communication Server, Live Meeting, and its other Office products, Osterman said.
Other features of Workplace Collaborative Services 2.5 include an Activity Explorer feature, which helps users organize and manage information from multiple activities; and deeper integration with Microsoft Office and Windows.
Also at the Lotusphere conference, DYS Analytics rolled out its Control Standard Edition, designed to provide monitoring, analysis, alerting, and reporting for IBM Lotus Domino, Lotus IM, and Team Workplace. The Standard Edition of Control is designed for small and midsize businesses.
The enterprise version of Control proved overly complex for the SMB space, said Andrew Wolff, vice president of products at DYS Analytics.
"We built a version scaled specifically for (small and medium size) businesses; it's easier to deploy and simpler to use," Wolff said.
Targeting improved e-mail management, iLumin Software Services at the show unwrapped its Assentor Mailbox Manager for Notes, which helps organisations manage the size and performance of their e-mail servers through retention policy management.