IBM’s approach to collaboration compared with the that of Microsoft.

April 6, 2006

Trends wise, IBM is still responding to the announcement of new Microsoft Exchange migration tools.  Early defensive comments from IBM’s Ken Bisconti suggest there were 1,800 migrations to Lotus from Microsoft and other platforms, although no specifics have been provided as to the actual number of seats or drivers that influenced these migrations.  InformationWeek mentions Lotus Notes’ continuing loss of market share to Microsoft Exchange, in keeping with the trend documented by Forbes in Q2 2005. A series of acquisitions continues with IBM’s purchase of Bowstreet: “…Bowstreet will be integrated into IBM’s portfolio of collaboration technology, including IBM Workplace Technology and offerings from IBM WebSphere Portal…Bowstreet will also add strategic value to IBM’s broader portfolio of On Demand software solutions through tight alignment with IBM’s WebSphere and IBM Rational Software offerings.”This acquisition may have reshaped IBM’s approach to its codenamed project, “Hannover”, although it is not clear based on the lack of chatter about this future Notes product.  IBM’s Ed Brill only recently posts about Hannover, commenting in relation to a “Lotus Sucks” blog (1/05/06) and again in regards to an internal presentation (1/18/06).  The “Lotus Sucks” blog is worthwhile reading as it gives a user’s perspective on SWOT; Brill appears concerned about the points made by the anonymous user.  IBM has apparently approached the same user with surveys to help improve Lotus Notes.LotusSphere 2006, scheduled soon should generate more competitive information in regards to current and future collaborative solutions plans.I would like to offer some detail on what you need to know about Microsoft’s platform for Communication & CollaborationMicrosoft’s ViewWe agree with IBM’s assessment of the strategic value of collaboration as an enabler of productivity, and we agree that customers are well-served by considering a single integrated suite of software and services to enable collaboration across the enterprise, rather than making tactical investments in single-point solutions.However, we believe that Microsoft offers a better overall approach for delivering the benefits of integrated collaboration than IBM for a number of sound business and Technology reasons. These include:

  • Superior product functionality and integration to enable rich information-worker collaboration as well as portal-based business process collaboration.
  • Better out-of-the-box productivity, faster integration and deployment
  • Simpler environment and better tools to manage, integrate and extend
  • Better reach to customers, suppliers and partners
  • Better overall value and a better way to leverage current IT investment

In answer to some of the points raised today; Microsoft’s platform for C&C  (Communication & Collaboration)`is branded Office System and Windows Server System.  The essential components of the platform include the following products.  Deployed together or incrementally, this integrated platform provides out-of-the-box improvements in team productivity and business responsiveness.

· Windows Server 2003: delivering core networking, directory, security and application platform services

·Windows SharePoint Services: delivering core team collaboration services

·SharePoint Portal Server 2003: delivering core content aggregation and search services (of the WSS sites and the MySite capability)

· Microsoft Content Management Server: delivering content management capabilities

· Exchange Server 2003: delivering the core collaboration services of e-mail and calendaring

· Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003: delivering core collaboration services of instant messaging, presence awareness, real-time video/voice conversations, white boarding and application sharing

·Microsoft Office Live Meeting: delivering core web conferencing capabilities for intra and inter company needs both cross and behind enterprise firewalls

·Microsoft Office Editions: delivering the individual productivity tools that are “lit up” with team collaboration capabilities by this infrastructure.

C&C– Sales Messages

  • Microsoft empowers the IT PRO to deliver new business value by providing an effective collaboration infrastructure using an integrated platform that is less expensive to deploy and easier to manage and extend.

C&C – Competitive Differentiators

  • “Rich and Reach”: Better Value Proposition for Information Workers

Workplace 1.1 delivers collaboration in a portal environment, with lightweight content authoring tools available in portlets. Microsoft can deliver collaboration functionality directly integrated within a user’s rich desktop environment (Office) or in a portal, giving customers the best mix of “rich” and “reach.”  IBM does not offer desktop integration at this time.

  • “Reach”: Better Solutions to Collaborate with Customers, Partners and Suppliers

Workplace 1.1 delivers collaboration capabilities intended for use behind the firewall primarily. Its capabilities do not traverse firewalls easily or reliably for business development collaboration with customers, channels and prospects or for sourcing collaboration with suppliers. Microsoft lets enterprises collaborate across their entire ecosystem with a cohesive server-services solution. Microsoft services here refers to enterprise grade hosted application services — Office Live Meeting (previously Placeware) and MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises — not consulting or integration services in the manner offered by IGS. Microsoft’s collaboration services extend requisite security, scalability, manageability, ease of use and other internal standards of internal collaboration to external parties, with minimal to no incremental investment required by the external party.

  • Integrated Innovation
    Microsoft products are designed to work together and build on top of investments many customers have already made in Windows and Office.  The integration costs are relatively low.  IBM, on the other hand, has a much more complex and difficult integration story.
  • Functionality, Integration, Manageability

Microsoft collaboration technologies offer many more features and benefits to help users be more productive with less need for support and IT intervention. In messaging, team collaboration and web content management, the Microsoft offering is consistently richer in capabilities, easier and more intuitive, and better integrated than the IBM alternative. Microsoft has also built its products to enable users and organizations to customize and rapidly develop new applications using common tools, rather than foster dependency on a revenue-generating services organization.

  • Better Value

Early adopters of Microsoft collaboration tools are already realizing measurable benefits and rapid ROI. In most cases, both the acquisition cost and the deployed cost of Microsoft solutions are significantly lower than those of IBM.  It is important to note that because Lotus Workplace is so new, it may be difficult to verify IBM’s TCO claims.


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