Lotus Offers Solution Sets

IBM is repositioning its Lotus products for e-workplace and selling them as a big bundle called Dynamic Workplaces.

Several of the collaboration technologies developed by IBMs Lotus Software division will be packaged together later this year into employee relationship management solutions, IBM officials said Thursday.

The new solution sets, called the Dynamic Workplaces, will handle such activities as employee training, meetings, communications and information gathering.

They will combine Lotus Sametime instant messaging software, QuickPlace collaboration tool, Knowledge Discovery Server knowledge management software, Domino Extended Search and LearningSpace e-learning software as well as Lotus K-Station and IBM WebSphere portal technology with consulting and implementation services from IBM Global Services.

Other components of the solution include IBMs Tivoli security management software, DB2 Universal Database, and WebSphere Application Server.

The Dynamic Workplaces solution sets will be delivered starting in the second half of this year, according to Jeannette Barlow, market manager for e-workplaces at IBM/Lotus, in Cambridge, Mass.

"Were keeping it simple, just simple modular solution sets that companies can plug into their existing infrastructure," said Barlow. "Its nothing revolutionary from the standpoint of technology development but in the way were packaging things together into solutions that work out of the box.

"Were taking our core technologies and weaving them together," she continued. "It could be done today, but were taking it a step further so that the development effort by the customer is not as great.

"Probably the number one request we get from our customers is that they love the [Lotus] technology, now they want it to work together."

Barlow said IBM/Lotus expects that companies will at first use Dynamic Workplaces technology for internal uses, like workforce management, but that she expects companies will eventually want to extend such technologies to their suppliers and partners as well.

"Its less about the fact that you have a particular application or solution but that you like to have your workplace personalized for you," she said. "You want to grab the tools to use in context with what youre doing at the time. Thats the whole principle for what were doing and how were working."

While Dynamic Workplaces will initially be targeted at the enterprise, Barlow said IBM/Lotus would also create solutions specifically for the small-to-medium business market with simplified administration and hosting options.