LotusLive Has Great Apps, Muddled Branding

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-01-22 Print this article Print

However, Poulley also promised eWEEK in an interview that LotusLive would be a more unified, seamless experience, implying that Google Apps and Microsoft's Office and SharePoint apps comprise unrelated applications. He also promised that IBM's social networking utilities will not be matched by Google or Microsoft.

Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler said IBM makes the unification claim because LotusLive is designed from the ground up to be an integration platform for cloud-based services. "The APIs for identity, security and content are quite sophisticated and Web 2.0 native (REST-ful as they say)."

Moreover, LotusLive is an extranet collaboration platform, allowing IBM's channel partners to not only trigger secure conferencing, calendaring and content exchange for their customers, but to integrate and deliver new applications.

"I'm not aware that the other services yet do that, though the market for cloud-based extranet collaboration platforms will heat up this year," Schadler predicted.
However, he tempered his praise, noting that IBM has yet to unveil pricing for LotusLive; the offering has too many e-mail choices; the technology is version 1; and the channel isn't quite ready for it. "Still, it's the best offering I've seen so far."  

One thing is certain; IBM's name-changing game is quickly rivaling Microsoft's notorious, frequently morphing branding scheme for products such as Windows Live.

Bluehouse is now LotusLive Engage and IBM Lotus Notes Hosted Messaging, which launched in October, will be renamed LotusLive Notes. Lotus Sametime Unyte will be renamed LotusLive Meetings and LotusLive Events. IBM even renamed its joint software gig with SAP Alloy from Atlantic.

With all of these changes, IBM would do well to get settled on some very clear product names to avoid diluting its own brand.

Burton Group's Guy Creese, who attended Lotusphere 2009, agreed.

"It's getting really confusing, given the different feature sets and naming conventions," Creese said. "LotusLive has a lot of features [e.g., Web conferencing, file sharing, profiles, contacts], but chunks of it are not available yet."

So the promise for LotusLive is great, and given IBM's delivery track record, the execution this year is almost certain. The key question is whether IBM can get its SAAS marketing straight lest it blow away like a cloud. 


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