Lotus Makes The Collaboration Play
Information overload has led to communication being a chore in the workplace, but IBM thinks its latest goodies from the Lotus division will make work time more like play time.
There is a big difference between the social networking software people use to discuss their lives on the Internet, and the products Lotus announced on the first day of its Lotusphere conference. Security has been on the minds of developers as they prepped new Lotus products for debut.
In typical social networking, security flaws can be a nuisance at best. For an industry under federal observation, like health care or finance, regulations determine what can and cannot be exposed. Retention policies for communication have to be in place; no investment firm wants to have to explain to the SEC why a broker was able to give out insider information without leaving an audit trail.
For most people, information is a means to accomplishing their tasks at work, and the audit trails should be someone else's problem. Lotus wants to solve that, and with their latest disclosures at the Orlando conference they think they have the necessary tools.
Lotus Connections contains all the software a typical social networking user would recognize, but built for businesses instead. Connections users would have the same solutions available - networking, profiles, bookmarking, blogging - but with the add layers of protection provided by the corporate network.
Another new product, Quickr, provides a number of collaboration assets, like content libraries, team blogging, and wikis. Lotus has created Quickr as an open solution; it can be connected in enterprises where Microsoft Office is the reigning king just as it can be with Lotus.
IBM and Lotus invoked the Web 2.0 meme with Quickr, from the dropped 'e' in the product's name to the use of Ajax for dynamic page content, to touting its openness and connectivity to Microsoft Office or Lotus userbases.
They also discussed Websphere Portal Express, a product aimed at the small- to medium-sized markets. With it, a business can set up an intranet site or Internet presence with this out of the box service.
Michael Rhodin, general manager, IBM Lotus, said at the conference that Lotus is thriving in the marketplace. "The business is very healthy," he said. The Websphere portal and Domino are the company's biggest products today. That's no small accomplishment given Microsoft's dominance on the global desktop.
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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.
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