Top 6 Highlights From Lotusphere
It’s time for The VAR Guy to eat a little more crow. Last week, he suggested nobody really cared about Lotusphere anymore. Boy was he wrong. Turns out IBM and the Lotus team unveiled some major partnerships at the event. Here are the top six highlights from Lotusphere, and the potential benefits for VARs.
6. Unified Networks Meet PCs: Lenovo ThinkPads and desktops now offer Avaya’s Mobility Edition soft phone. The software integrates with an existing office extension number and links it with multiple office, home and mobile numbers. The numbers can ring simultaneously or in a sequence at the user’s choice.
When blogging about unified communications, The VAR Guy focuses mostly on Cisco Systems, Nortel, Microsoft … and Digium (never heard of Digium? You better change that). But Avaya has been hitting The VAR Guy’s inbox more frequently in recent months. Lenovo VARs should certainly welcome the unified opportunities ahead of them.
5. Still Cozy With SAP: IBM and SAP have had a longstanding relationship, and are now developing their first joint software product together. Even if you’re not an SAP partner, this is a move worth watching. It reinforces IBM’s determination to maintain open relationships with software companies that increasingly compete with Big Blue. A case in point: Both IBM and SAP have made major business intelligence acquisitions in recent months. Yet, the IBM-SAP relationship appears healthy.
4. Running With Red Hat: IBM is working more closely with Red Hat to accelerate Lotus Notes deployments on Linux. Skeptical? Don’t forget: Notes was originally designed for OS/2. But in the late 1990s, IBM followed customer demand and quickly promoted Notes on Windows Server. Now, Notes for Linux provides a compelling alternative to Exchange Server, which remains locked to Windows Server — despite Microsoft’s relationship with Novell.
3. All About Ubuntu: Never heard of Ubuntu Linux? Get to know it, fast. IBM plans to support Red Hat Linux, Novell SuSE Linux and Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux on the desktop. The VAR Guy himself runs Ubuntu, and has been following Dell’s Ubuntu strategy since mid-2007. Right now, Ubuntu is mainly a desktop solution. But a big server initiative is coming this year. You can follow Ubuntu as we build out a sister blog at www.AllAboutUbuntu.com.
2. New Foundation: IBM is developing Lotus Foundations, a set of server solutions for five to 500 employees. In a related move, IBM Bluehouse is a set of software services that will let businesses collaborate with one another. In other words, IBM is competing with both Microsoft Small Business Server and on-demand collaboration suites.
1. Think Again: Despite rumors last week, IBM says Notes for Apple’s iPhone is not yet ready for prime time. But at least we know it’s coming. And AT&T’s decision this week to offer business plans for the iPhone confirms what The VAR Guy already knew: The iPhone truly is a business device.