Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So is Lotus, the IBM brand, dead? Or not?


Let me say at the outset, IBM has not terminated any Lotus products that are currently on the market. Older editions (R7) are sunset just like any other product line(IE6 is a good example).
IBM has not informed me of any such plans and if they had, well I couldn't really tell you any way due to NDA.
So just get that out of your head right now and send the Microsoft sales guy to me if he wants to argue about legacy products like Windows XP, Exchange 2003 or SQL 2000 that are still not sunset, see here for more listings: support.microsoft.com/lifecycle.

Customers that have been loyal to IBM and Lotus believe given the Lotus Knows campaign from part of 2010 and the continuous updates released across the product lines that all is good and just getting a face lift.

Customers that refused to touch Lotus lately are now being amenable to IBM branded items, even though they are still the same products as before, more or less. Perhaps the CXOs feel that an IBM solution is a safer and easier discussion to have compared to one that mentions Lotus. New Coke this isn't. This is just a branding exercise not a rewrite. And in the executive suites, names are MUCH more important than technical coolness.

Oddly enough if (no idea what the actual number is) 85 out of 100 Fortune 100 companies still use Domino applications this is weird to me that they refuse to believe it or mention it or anything else. We have a backyard but never mention it, just enjoy it.

IBM is taking it's time in the slow rebranding process. LotusLive is staying, right now, as Lotus. Notes and Domino look to be staying for the moment too(I expect January 2012 to be full of announcements). The newly announced IBM Champions skips Lotus for the IBM Collaboration Solutions moniker.

IBM still sells Smartsuite, mine still installs as Lotus, wonder if that will be rebranded too. After all it still makes money for IBM somewhere in the world.

Amanda Bauman, via the IBM Collaboration Solutions User Experience Blog posted about a number of shorter URLs
"To help make it easier for you to find the information you're looking for, we now have simplified URLs to some of our key Web sites."


What are they? All Lotus Links. http://learn.lotus.com , http://wiki.lotus.comhttp://doc.lotus.comhttp://m.lotus.com 
We have asked for this for a while, simpler, easier URLs. Thank You. But, it did not say the http://wiki.ibmcs.com exists. 


Lotusphere Comes To You is, for this year, Social Roadshows. No idea what next year's will be.


Lotusphere itself? No idea but maybe it should be rebranded with the Devcon name which is what it has become in the last few years. Admincon just doesn't have the same ring to it.


As a Business Partner IBM asks us to get certified in products, now product lines or areas, such as collaborative solutions. Sounds more like a sales effort than a technical one to me. We have a choice of different exams which no longer totally focus on a specific product which has both a up and a down side.


What we ask, as Business Partners, customers, admins and developers from IBM is simple. Just do it! If you want to rebrand, we get it, but we need your help as well in getting a clear, concise and definitive answer to the BPs and the world at large. 


Take the leap of faith, be Google, be Apple. 
Be definitive. 
Don't be wishy washy anymore!
If you believe this is the best way forward, back it up and show it.
Be a man, or woman, about it.


Inside IBMers wonder why the outside doesn't "get it" about the rebranding.


It is because you never really came out of the closet to tell anyone on the outside the plan.


Stuart said more in his post on this topic and I encourage you, if you made it this far, to read his thoughts as well.