Big Blue takes latest versions of Lotus products to market

As the market share for IBM’s desktop messaging and collaboration server software continues to erode, the latest iteration of Lotus Notes 7 and Domino 7 may provide the boost it needs to revive its slipping sales figures.

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By  Peter Branton Published  September 18, 2005

As the market share for IBM’s desktop messaging and collaboration server software continues to erode, the latest iteration of Lotus Notes 7 and Domino 7 may provide the boost it needs to revive its slipping sales figures. According to IDC, Notes was only able to acquire 40% of the market last year while Microsoft’s Exchange Server had 51% — a 2% drop from Notes’ 43% market share in 2003. Future projections from the Radicati Group revealed that Domino’s current market share of 23% (88.3 million mailboxes) would drop to 13% (68 million mailboxes) by the end of 2009. By defining a clear roadmap for its Lotus product family, IBM hopes to entice customers looking for a software platform that does not require additional software purchases or major migrations upgrade. The company’s consistent delivery method of releasing new versions of Notes and Domino every 12-18 months, it said, helps customers plan their software purchases and deployments and makes it simple for them to upgrade to new versions. As a result, IBM claimed that more than 90% of its customers work on the most recent version of its products. “If you look at the corporate market share, Lotus is leading among enterprise and corporate businesses simply because of its robustness, capabilities, reliability and availability,” said Bashar Kilani, software group manager, IBM Middle East, Egypt, Pakistan and North Africa. “We strongly believe that the new features will continue to help us maintain that leadership in the corporate and the enterprise world,” he added. For the new version of Notes, IBM has included more than 100 new features, including new visual indicators that can help users organise and prioritise messages. There are also new memory functions that can automatically save open documents and applications and return to them when the PC is shut down and rebooted. Notes’ instant messaging and presence capabilities have also been expanded across the entire platform, including e-mails and calendar items, to allow users to connect faster and easier with key contacts. Mail threads are also easier to manage in Notes, added Kilani. That way, it will be easier for users to differentiate between group e-mails and messages targeted for specific users, the firm said. With Domino 7, the company claimed it has added new tools and functionality that can help IT administrators and application developers cut costs and increase efficiency. IBM has integrated its Tivoli Analyzer technology and included new monitoring tools that can automatically alert administrators to potential performance issues before they occur. There are also new policy-based management capabilities that can help them control individual e-mail and calendar settings. The enhanced features, Big Blue claimed, will give customers the ability to run up to 70% more users per server, requiring up to 25% less CPU capacity for the same workload, said Kilani. “It’s dramatically more scaleable. We can use it with the same infrastructure and be able to add about 70% more users. So, immediately when you mo-ve up, you will save a huge am-ount of money on the infrastructure and you will have more people using it,” he added. For application developers, the company has included an upgraded toolset for Domino 7 that can help them prolong their investments in Domino-based applications. According to the company, customer feedback suggests that more than 65% of IBM customers are building as many or more Lotus Domino-based applications this year than one year ago. With the new software development kit they would be able to integrate their web services efforts around service-oriented architecture or SOA. IBM is also introducing a new web services design element that lets developers use Domino 7 as a web services host, enabling them to extend their Domino applications as open, standards-based web services.

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