Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lotus Foundations vs.The World

In speaking with a few people(shielding them) and reading some blogs lately(again protect the innocent) I see more interest in Lotus Foundations. Excellent news, especially for my portable server but what is the interest?

Some see it as an SMB toehold against Microsoft.
Others see it as a chance for Linux(in the Nitix form) to reach new areas of business.
Still more see it as another way to layer services or software on a solution.
I originally saw it as a DRP/BC (Disaster Recovery Plan/Business Continuity) appliance and still do given I am in a Hurricane zone.
We also see it as a home server setup for professionals(non-IT).
IBM probably thinks of it for some branch site, a la the way Nitix positioned itself previously. Except that was for Exchange because you NEVER want to go over a WAN to an Exchange server, so it was the right idea.

However, Lotus Domino has always been excellent over the WAN and thus it does not find itself in the same MUST need class.

While I certainly can see the possibility, the problem for me, and possibly for you, is putting Foundations in a Branch office will not help connect it to your existing Domino infrastructure today. Future changes in software may allow it, unknown.
Thus you would need to have an entire infrastructure of Foundations Servers and I am not sure that will work for everyone.

The world works in funny ways and my clients, yours or IBM's all see it differently. This is one reason why Business Partners exist, we go to market where IBM can't, and why we need IBM, to help seed the market and promote the opportunity and product lines. Maybe in South Florida or Brazil or New Zealand or Manchester some one does need Foundations and it works for them and that's what it's all about. It's not about selling IBM hardware, it's about software, services and connecting with new/young business, in my mind.

I also see Foundations as a consumer play, IBM doesn't or maybe is still not ready to jump back on that band wagon so quickly. Why doesn't IBM offer it through Office Depot or Walmart for instance? Aren't the people you want to find just setting up their offices? Interesting enough this is one possible plan of distribution for the Mycubus line of designer computers.

I understand in Africa there is a store which caters to entrepreneurs and startups and Foundations sells well there. I think my solar server would sell better possibly, but I digress. It's an interesting idea. As I myself expand offices I am finding so little out there to help people looking to setup/kit out an office from furniture to electric to computers to telecom.

So can Foundations take on the world, like Symphony has? Only if IBM backs it the same way and I wonder if it will happen.