Lotus Shapes Domino for Midmarket

IBM's Lotus software division has modified its Domino platform to create two messaging and collaboration products.

IBMs Lotus software division has modified its Domino platform to create two messaging and collaboration products exclusively for small and midsize businesses.

The products, Lotus Domino Collaboration Express and Lotus Domino Utility Server Express, are targeted at companies with 100 to 1,000 employees. The software, unveiled last week, provides much of the same functionality as enterprise-class products and easier installation and administration, said IBM officials, in Armonk, N.Y.

Collaboration Express includes a messaging and collaboration server that supports e-mail, group scheduling, discussion forums, team workplaces and the custom application capabilities of Domino. Customers can use a number of clients to connect to the server, including Lotus Notes, Domino Web Access (formerly iNotes), Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook or Domino Web Mail.

Both offerings include ease-of- installation capabilities introduced to the platform in the Domino 6.0.2 release. Neither offers a WebSphere entitlement, as Domino does. Collaboration Express includes neither Domino Designer nor support for clustering and partitioning. Utility Server Express can be used as an application platform but does not support e-mail. Both Express offerings are available now.

Domino developer and consultant Richard Schwartz said the offerings could be attractive to the midmarket. "There are lots of us partners who have been building Domino-based collaboration solutions," said Schwartz, president of RHS Consulting Inc., in Nashua, N.H. "While most of it has been in larger enterprises, the truth of the matter is that the biggest benefits almost always come from the divisional and departmental solutions, and theres a lot of similarity between the needs and the budgets of the midmarket versus the needs and the budgets of the division or department of a large enterprise."

Utility Server Express, built on Domino Enterprise Server, can be used to build applications that solve business problems, such as solutions for workflow and approval, customer relationship management and sales force automation. These collaborative applications can be accessed through a Web browser or a separately purchased Notes client.