Friday, September 23, 2011

Email is Ubiquitous thus IBM Connections exists

Liked Phil's post and you should read it if you haven't yet. I'll wait.

I don't like to say email is a commodity because then I become a stereotyped used car salesman.

Lotus Notes and Domino really are the best solution that takes the email is a XXX premise and makes it your:
  1. CRM
  2. Workflow
  3. Inventory/Orders Manger
  4. Shipping/Tracking
  5. HR
  6. Sales Tools
  7. Dashboards

It does all of this by itself....Standing alone, just one box and a client to code it and anything else to make use of the apps you build..

Nothing extra required except a developer who knows what they are doing.

Now the problem becomes how do you do this for IBM Sametime?
How do you make that same ecosystem that swirls around your email, swirl around your IM? Well you can and you can't is the short of it.You can extend email to UC and IM and VOIP but getting your applications into it and mixed with it as listed above well that's another story which really doesn't work as well. You can not make a program that is not meant to be, for example, a database, and use it as one. It has DB2 in the background but I am quite sure at this point that IBM does not see Sametime as the next Domino.

What about IBM Connections? Can it do this?
A better question. One which I believe coming up at Lotusphere 2012 (link still shows LS11) we will see some great steps in making Connections handle more of what Domino does today. This is not perfect or 100% what I or you envision, but if IM, or as some might say notifications, are the "new" email then a new way to work with it is required.

If you have seen the various IBM people doing their demonstrations you will see they are leveraging Connections as some, if not all, of the items I listed above that you may think are database and email related. They are, no question. But underneath the hood of Connections is DB2, a relational database that scales on a different plane than Domino. Not better, just different. My DB2 friends will argue but for my purpose it is equal. The integration, via plugins/widgets, just like in the Notes client, enhance that user experience the same way from within one interface. For those that don't know, that interface is a browser or a dedicated app for device users that want a more native approach, no Windows client required.

The SMTP side doesn't care what the transport is on the back end. Naturally I'd prefer to always be Domino. I respect the Linux community who has their choices, many want to use Sendmail, some other less technical people choose to rely on Exchange, while the budget focused companies go with Google. Nothing wrong with those choices, after all email is a commodity right?


Email is going away, no question, it will join the Telegraph at some point but the companies that look to the future, like IBM, and plan to be there for their customers are working with today's pieces of technology but looking towards tomorrows usage.

So email is ubiquitous, it will linger on for years to come, but more and more people rely on streams of information from twitter, FB, G+, Yammer and a million other apps. Your email system does not want to handle all of that, although it could, but it would mean an average of dozens of new messages per second per person and a more scalable solution is required.

Thus the direction IBM Connections I believe is heading and why as an IBM Business Partner you need to be a part of this now because just like Lotus Notes 3.x which truly was the version to start the growth patterns prior to the R4 and 4.5 when Domino appeared, Connections 3.x is shaping up similarly. I believe the IBM Connections 4.0 to be the one that turns the tide and pushes more customers to get on the bandwagon.