Beating SharePoint Means Tying Lotus to Web 2.0 Tools
Clearly, IBM's game plan for beating the powerful Microsoft SharePoint collaboration suite hinges on infusing its Lotus software unit with social computing tools that Microsoft doesn't have yet, according to Jeff Schick, vice president of social networking for IBM Lotus. According to Forrester Research analyst Rob Koplowitz, however, while SharePoint is certainly going to become a part of the landscape for a lot of organizations, most content providers will use both SharePoint and Lotus tools. "In a lot of cases it won't be an either-or," Koplowitz said.Burton Group analyst Mike Gotta told eWEEK May 1 that SharePoint is like a "Swiss Army knife, and there is the hope that the platform solves historical gaps in Microsoft's collaboration and content efforts."Gotta agreed with Schick that Microsoft's social software tools, such as blogs and wikis, are not particularly strong, so the company is dependent on partners to fill those gaps. So how is IBM to capitalize on this with Quickr and Connections? According to Gotta, IBM must appeal to existing clients that have an investment in Lotus but are looking for something that appeals to the enterprise crowds looking for Web 2.0 tools. At the same time, the company must provide an integration strategy for customers with mixed content management systems. "IBM needs to continue to present options to enterprise decision makers and hope that there is some level of buyer' s remorse down the road concerning SharePoint," Gotta said. "If that happens, a Quickr plus Connections alternative could make sense. But again, in the short run-this seems defensive and appeals mostly to customers with an inclination to go with IBM in any case."