IBM Must Master Juggling Its Offerings

In its Lotus Software juggling act, IBM is trying to accommodate WebSphere and Java.

Juggling is currently one of IBMs favorite activities. The company must juggle extolling the benefits of enterprise applications with On Demand computing, where applications are hosted elsewhere. The company must juggle the independence of its Global Services business with the need to sell more IBM hardware and software. And it must juggle the offerings from its Lotus Software division to provide an upgrade path as well as a chance to participate in an open, standards-based computing future.

Its the Lotus juggling act to which we turn our attention in this weeks eWEEK Labs section. In "Lotus Juggling Act," Labs Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar explains the benefits and drawbacks associated with the Lotus product lineup, including Domino 6, Sametime 3.0, Domino.Doc 3.5 and LearningSpace 1.0. Unlike some of its competitors, the Lotus product line was designed to be an enterprise-level computing platform. But that design must now accommodate IBMs WebSphere products as well as the Java programming language. See Henrys article to find out how the Lotus juggling act is performing. In an accompanying article, Anne Chen talks to users who have followed the upgrade path.

While youre in the Labs section, look at Jason Brooks review of Palms Tungsten T handheld computer. Handhelds are on a fast track, evolving from a corporate companion device to a primary computing platform for the mobile worker. Palm and its Pocket PC competitors are in a tight race to prove their value to corporate users.

In our story on Gateway, Jeff Burt addresses the question of what a company should do with computers used as store displays during the day. In Gateways case, the answer is to take the 8,000 PCs used as displays at its 272 stores and create a grid computing system offering up to 14 teraflops of computing performance. Grid computing has been one of those technologies in search of a workable business model. Gateway, which has had a hard time finding traction in the marketplace, may find itself on the forefront of grid computing. Read Jeffs article to see if there is a connection between being on the forefront and making a few bucks.

Self-service operations have been expanding beyond gas stations and ATMs. See Caron Carlsons story to see how AT&T is now trying to take the concept of self-service to the corporate customer through its IP network.

Are you ready to serve yourself from AT&Ts IP network? Tell me at