News Analysis: Project Vulcan is IBM's stab at integrating its Lotus messaging and collaboration suites with CRM and ERP business applications, and providing reports on the data with its own Cognos business analytics. The kicker is that IBM is striving to do this from a single platform, blending on-premises applications with cloud computing apps and extending these to the mobile enterprise. Piece of cake, right? Vulcan, which IBM will open to developers through its new LotusLive Labs in the second half of 2010, is evolving.
been a lot of discussion about IBM's Project
Vulcan, the next-generation collaboration platform the company demonstrated here at Lotusphere Jan. 18.
How does one describe Project Vulcan? Yes, it looked like Facebook and
business intelligence rolled into one. Some initially speculated that Vulcan is IBM's answer to Google Wave.
But it became apparent that the nascent platform aims to let users share and
take action on data from business applications rather than just being another
collaboration application that allows real-time co-editing of documents and
files. And Vulcan seeks to do this from one platform.
Consider IBM's Lotus portfolio. From the
Lotus Notes e-mail client and Domino server to Lotus Sametime products for
instant messaging and Web conferencing, there are a lot of different moving
parts. IBM cross-integrates its products,
allowing them to talk to one another.
But there is still really no one way to access these disparate applications
from one palette, which is what Google did with Wave. Project Vulcan aims to do
that, plus bring business data into the mix, Alistair Rennie, the new general
manager for IBM's Lotus software group, told
eWEEK in an interview Jan. 19.
Vulcan, which IBM will open to developers
through the company's new LotusLive Labs in the second half of 2010, is still
evolving. Rennie called it a "blueprint" and said he can only be so
With that disclaimer, Rennie said the customer's goal is to have a more
effective way to get to collaborative services and have those services
intersect nicely with business capability.
So customers want to be able to take the data they create in business applications
such as CRM, ERP and business analytics
software such as IBM's Cognos, and share and
communicate via IBM's Lotus Notes and Domino
e-mail, Lotus Connections social software, Lotus Sametime unified communication
and collaboration applications, and Lotus Quickr team content services.
Another goal of Vulcan is to enable these applications to communicate with
one another whether they are on-premises-based or Web-based applications, which
encompasses IBM's increasing hybridization
of Lotus (for example, getting on-premises Lotus Notes to work seamlessly with LotusLive
Finally, he said, IBM wants to be able to
extend all of the Vulcan capabilities from the desktop to its mobile enterprise
offerings, where location-based services will play a huge role in helping users
"The goal is to bring those things together into an integrated
framework that provides a unified way for a person to interact and see things
in context," Rennie said. "From a services perspective, it would
include mail, unified communications, social capabilities and business
Project Vulcan includes IBM's Lotus
collaboration software, Lotus Connections and Cognos BI software. Think of
Connections as the glue tying the collaboration applications and Cognos applications
together, forming a one-two social analytics punch on top of the broader Lotus