Debunking the Lotus Awards = Websphere Portal talk

November 3 2008

So there has been some talk about how the 2009 version of the Lotus Awards are skewed to be more favorable towards Websphere Portal vs Lotus Software, specially Lotus Notes & Domino. So let's break each award down and look closely to see if this talk is correct. The award info is located here.

Award 1:

Breakout Technology Award

This Award will be presented to an IBM Business Partner who offers a solution that extends the software user experience by leveraging new technology innovations introduced into the IBM Lotus® and IBM WebSphere® Portal portfolio. These technologies must be new since Lotusphere® 2008, such as XPages, Live Text, Composite Application integration with the Sidebar, and the Portal Web 2.0 client. They provide IBM Business Partners and customers with the capability to integrate and blend heterogeneous applications and data in the context of the end user's role, transforming solutions into a single seamless work environment that boosts end user and organizational effectiveness. Submissions for this Award should be solutions that leverage these new technologies to extend business application functionality based on contexts defined by end consumer requirements. Entries will be judged based on the overall business value they demonstrate, the extent to which these solutions leverage the technologies, and the ability to demonstrate how these enhancements boost end user and organizational effectiveness.


So, this award covers 4 parts of the Notes 8 and 8.5 client (XPages, Live Text, Composite Apps, Sidebar) but it also covers the Portal and the new Web 2.0 stuff. So to be fair, we will call this even.

Notes: 1    Portal:    1

Award 2:
Best TOTAL Lotus Software Solution Award

This Award recognizes a solution that most effectively leverages multiple parts of the IBM Lotus portfolio, including IBM Lotus Notes® and Lotus Domino, Lotus Sametime, IBM Lotus Quickr™, IBM Lotus Forms, IBM Lotus Connections, IBM Lotus Foundations, WebSphere Portal, and IBM Mashup Center.

A major strength of the Lotus software portfolio is the flexibility businesses have in integrating a variety of rich collaborative capabilities into their environment, including:

- Exciting new Web 2.0 based social networking services
- The leading enterprise Portal platform
- Unified Communications and Collaboration for real-time awareness and communication
- Intuitive content sharing and team collaboration
- The leading messaging and collaboration platform for On Demand business
- The leading edge for integrating electronic forms into all your business processes.

Utilizing these products in an integrated solution maximizes the ability for people to share knowledge and skills across a variety of organizations and builds an unparalleled robust collaborative solution.

These solutions may incorporate a variety of capabilities: messaging, calendar and scheduling, instant messaging and presence awareness, Web conferences, team spaces, mash-ups, activities, blogs, social bookmarks, communities, electronic forms, and/or business process management.


So this covers every single piece of the Lotus software portfolio and requires multiple pieces to win. So again, we call this a draw.

Notes: 2    Portal:    2

Award 3:
Best Portal or IBM Mashup Center Solution Award

This Award recognizes an outstanding solution that leverages WebSphere Portal software, IBM Accelerators for WebSphere Portal, or IBM Mashup Center . Special consideration will be given to solutions that

- provide significant business value
- have resulted in a competitive win
- were built on the WebSphere Portal Express offering,
- were built with WebSphere Portlet Factory
- position the customer to leverage SOA and/or Web 2.0 today or in the future.

Solutions may address dynamic internet, intranet, and/or extranet web environments; higher consideration will be given for deployments in more than one environment. To be eligible, at least one of the WebSphere Portal family of products (IBM WebSphere Portal Server, Enable, Extend, Express, and Portal on System z) or IBM Accelerators (Dashboard, Business Process, Content, Collaboration, Self Service, Learning, Enterprise Suite) or IBM Mashup Center must be included.


A category geared to Portal without any doubt.

Notes: 2    Portal:    3

Award 4:
Best Industry Solution Award

This Award recognizes an outstanding industry-specific solution in the commercial or public sectors. To be considered for this Award, the nominated solution must be deployed and fully operational at a minimum of two distinct customer sites. Special consideration will be given to solutions that were developed for SMB (small to medium businesses with 100-1000 employees) and those that target horizontal or vertical segments (e.g. Sales Force Automation, Supply Chain Management, e-Learning, Customer Relationship Management, e-governance for government, practice management for health care, financial services, manufacturing, etc. ). Particular attention will be given to solutions that resulted in a competitive win and/or solutions that leverage Web 2.0 capabilities.


This award does not mention either Notes/Domino or Portal. You could submit a solution using any piece of Lotus Software, so we will score it for both.

Notes: 3    Portal:    4

Award 5:
Best Mid-Market Solution Award

This Award recognizes an outstanding IBM Lotus or WebSphere Portal software solution sold to mid-market customers. The Business Partner should demonstrate how the solution met customer requirements and delivered strong business value for a customer with 100 - 1,000 employees by leveraging IBM Lotus or WebSphere Portal collaborative and integration capabilities. Special consideration will be given to solutions that enable customers to increase productivity and profitability while reducing overall operational expense.


Another category where you can submit both Notes and Portal solutions. A point for each.

Notes: 4    Portal:    5

Award 6:
Best Tool and Utility Solution Award

This category recognizes a tool or utility used to enhance a business solution that brings measurable market benefits to a customer. These value-added products could include component-based, data integration, migration or team development tools that make developing, deploying and administering applications in a customer environment more productive. Now that IBM Lotus Domino® Designer is Eclipse-based, the opportunities for tools vendors to integrate have never been better. Special consideration will be granted to those tools/ utilities that bring together Lotus Domino applications with other open standard environments including the Web, Web 2.0, Java™ and Eclipse. Particular attention will also be given to solutions in the IBM Lotus and/or IBM WebSphere Portal Business Solutions Catalogs, and solutions that position the customer to leverage SOA today or in the future.


Another category where you can submit both Notes and Portal solutions. A point for each.

Notes: 5    Portal:    6

Award 7:
Best Unified Communications and Collaboration Solution Award

This Award recognizes a Business Partner that leverages IBM Lotus Sametime® software as a platform for delivering Unified Communications and Collaboration solutions that make it easier for people to find, reach and collaborate with one another. By integrating communications and collaboration in a rich, multimedia experience -- one that can include unified telephony, voice, video, instant messaging, Web conferencing, e-mail, voice mail, and business processes and applications -- Unified Communications and Collaboration solutions enable a whole new way for people, teams and communities to work together. Submissions in this category will be judged on the business value they deliver, the extent of integration with other applications or solutions, and the ability to provide new capabilities or enhancements to the end user experience that would not have previously been possible.


Since this is pure Sametime, no points for either

Notes: 5    Portal:    6

Award 8:
Best Lotus Energy and Environment (Green) Award

Issues and opportunities around energy, the environment, and sustainability impact every business, worldwide. Multiple factors are driving businesses to explore alternative ways to address challenges with supply costs, regulatory mandates, global teams requiring collaboration, and customer demands for "greener" vendor credentials, to name a few -- while sustaining new growth. IBM Lotus and WebSphere Portal software can play a critical role in driving a smarter, greener business. This Award recognizes an outstanding IBM Lotus and/or WebSphere Portal software solution designed to enable customers to increase operational efficiency, employee productivity, and business profitability while reducing the customers' carbon foot prints. Special consideration will be given to those solutions that demonstrate measurable results with before and after scenarios.


Another category where you can submit both Notes and Portal solutions. A point for each.

Notes: 6    Portal:    7

Award 9:
IBM Lotus Partner Award

IBM Business Partners who invest in our partnership, maintain and grow their skills in Lotus and/or WebSphere Portal offerings, help us reach new markets, and take full advantage of our key channel programs to drive incremental business are invaluable to us. Thus, we are announcing a new Award to recognize a single IBM Business Partner worldwide who exemplifies the word “partner” to us. We will not be requesting nominations for this award; rather we will gather input and data from across our sales and marketing teams, our financial systems, PartnerWorld databases and skills reports in order to identify the winner.


This covers anything from the Lotus software portfolio. A point for each.

Notes: 7    Portal:    8

Award 10:
Best Philanthropy Award

This category recognizes a Business Partner who has developed and deployed an effective solution for a not-for-profit, environmental or humanitarian effort or in support of broader civic participation.


Another category where you can submit both Notes and Portal solutions. A point for each.

Notes: 8    Portal:    9

Award 11:
Chief Technology Officer Innovation Award (CTO)

(NOMINATIONS WILL OPEN DEC.1, 2008 and winner will be announced at Lotusphere 2009) The CTO Award recognizes those visionary IBM Business Partners who are leading the technology charge by exploiting Lotus' and WebSphere Portals latest capabilities in innovative, leading-edge, and exciting new ways. These ground-breaking solutions are positioned to be drivers in tomorrow's new markets, fostering innovation and at an ingenuity level that stands out above their peers. Special consideration will be given to first-time nominees. Final evaluation takes place at the Lotusphere 2009 Conference Showcase in Orlando, Florida.


Another category where you can submit both Notes and Portal solutions. A point for each.

Notes: 9    Portal:    10

Award 12:
Best in Lotusphere Showcase Award

(NOMINATIONS WILL OPEN DEC.1, 2008 and winner will be announced at Lotusphere 2009) This category recognizes an IBM Business Partner that has adopted and leveraged the latest Lotus (inclusive of WebSphere Portal) technologies, has made a significant investment in IBM and Lotus , and has an exhibit on the Showcase floor that demonstrates a fresh, unique and powerful solution that provides significant customer value. Special consideration will be given to solutions that are referenceable. Final evaluation takes place at the Lotusphere 2009 Conference Showcase in Orlando, Florida.


Another category where you can submit both Notes and Portal solutions. A point for each.

Notes: 10    Portal:    11

Award 13:
IBM Lotus VAD of the Year Award

This category recognizes a single IBM distributor that has demonstrated leadership in several key areas. The distributor will have grown their total Lotus revenue year to year, and executed innovative and effective marketing campaigns to drive demand for Lotus products. Additionally, this distributor will have expanded their Lotus and WebSphere business via targeted partner recruitment, partner skill development and utilization of IBM channel marketing programs. Special consideration will be given to those distributors that have leveraged Lotus and WebSphere Portal software to run their business.

Note: This category will remain open until January 5, 2009, 11:55 PM EST (New York)


This is a pure revenue award and covers everything in the Lotus portfolio. A point for each

Notes: 11    Portal:    12

Award 14:
Distinguished Achievement Awards

(6 Regional Awards) North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Japan, Europe NorthEast, Europe Southwest.

This Award honors the top IBM Business Partners from each of six major regions of the world. Winners must demonstrate increased revenue attainment and loyalty to IBM, along with the ability to open new local markets, and to maintain a positive stature in the Business Partner community. Business Partners considered in this space significantly impact Lotus' (inclusive of WebSphere Portal) position in the marketplace and will be considered rising stars amongst their peers.


A pure partner award and decided by IBM. Covers the entire Lotus portfolio. A point for each

Notes: 12    Portal:    13

Award 15:
IBM Beacon Awards: Best Lotus Software Solution

As part of the broader partnerWorld program all advanced and premier partners will be considered for this award. Solutions based on software from Lotus make more people more productive in the context of what they do -- everyday. These solutions empower people to collaborate, learn, and take full advantage of their collective knowledge in the context of business processes. The winning solution in this category will illustrate how Lotus offerings (including WebSphere Portal and IBM Workplace products) integrate the human element into business processes by leveraging Lotus' messaging, collaboration, and document and content management capabilities. For consideration, the solution must be deployed at a customer site and demonstrate clear Return On Investment (ROI). Special consideration will be given to solutions that result in quantifiable improvements in business performance.


All IBM Lotus Award Nominees who are a PartnerWorld Advanced or PartnerWorld Premier member will also be considered for the IBM Beacon Awards, Best Lotus Software Solution. Additional nomination entry not needed.


Basically an IBM award where all nominees are put into a single pot and a single winner is awarded and recognized with all of the other IBM brands at the Partnerworld event. We will give a point for each here as well.

Notes: 13    Portal:    14

So look at the numbers. There is only one award out of the 15 that is specifically targeted at the Websphere Portal platform and rules out Lotus Notes and Domino. Every other award, minus the Sametime specific award, in inclusive of EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT IN THE LOTUS SOFTWARE PORTFOLIO. Now, if you want, you can read the text "Lotus' and WebSphere Portals" or "latest Lotus (inclusive of WebSphere Portal) technologies" or "Lotus offerings (including WebSphere Portal and IBM Workplace products)" and ask yourself where is the specific mention of Lotus Notes or Lotus Domino. The problem is Notes and Domino are not the only Lotus product any more .. and Websphere Portal is a recognized product brand and has not been renamed Lotus Portal or Lotus Websphere Portal or whatever.

So the moral of the story is that if you are predispositioned to dislike something, you can read whatever you want into anything. But Portal is a major part of the Lotus Software portfolio, just as Sametime, Connections, and Quickr are as well. Lotus is no longer a "one product makes all our money" company or brand. Some people will never accept this, but I think most of the people that purchase software do. They might not like every product, but they understand there is more than Notes and Domino.

To wrap this up, in the end the category descriptions just shape the nominations ... it is all about who the judges select as the winners. We could have 13 Notes/Domino solutions win awards and just one Portal award winner in "Best Portal or IBM Mashup Center Solution Award" category. I look forward to seeing who the winners are.

15 Responses to “Debunking the Lotus Awards = Websphere Portal talk”

  1. 1) Tim Tripcony says:

    The only mention I've seen of the possibility the awards might favor Portal is that it has its own category and Domino doesn't. So I agree with your scoring algorithm, but I also noticed that Portal seems to be specifically mentioned within the category descriptions more often than Notes/Domino. Even the composite app stuff gets a bit fuzzy, because whenever I see or hear an IBMer asked what the big win is with composite apps (compared to traditional Notes apps), they almost always specifically mention that they allow you to integrate Domino data with Portal on the glass inside the Notes client.

    I've long heard Notes/Domino described as the "flagship" Lotus product. And maybe it's not anymore, I don't know... most of the time it seems like that's still how IBM views it. But although I don't believe it's their intent to "reward" innovative Portal solutions more than they do for Domino solutions, I can see how some might get that impression from the wording of the award categories.

  2. 2) John Head says:

    "but I also noticed that Portal seems to be specifically mentioned within the category descriptions more often than Notes/Domino" that is crap Tim. Do you want them to say "Lotus Notes, Lotus Domino, Lotus Sametime, Lotus Quickr, Lotus Connections, Lotus Mashups, Lotus Workplace, Lotus Websphere" on every award text? No. They say "IBM Lotus® and IBM WebSphere® Portal portfolio" ... which includes Notes & Domino every time they say that. People are just reading what they want into it. Period.

  3. 3) Stuart McIntyre says:

    @John, your tone lets you down. "crap" and "Period" don't suggest a willingness to discuss this reasonably.

    However, my thought would be that if Portal is truly a member of the Lotus family (as opposed to just being shoehorned into the WPLC business unit) then there should be no need to state "IBM Lotus® and IBM WebSphere® Portal portfolio" (which gives an elevated status to Portal above all the other products) each and every time. Simply stating "IBM Lotus Portfolio" should be enough.

  4. 4) Tim Tripcony says:

    Fair enough... just thought I'd mention why I can see how they'd interpret it that way, even though I personally don't: specifically, the very wording of the phrase "IBM Lotus® and IBM WebSphere® Portal portfolio" implies that Portal is not part of Lotus (even though it is), so what's it doing as part of the "Lotus Awards" in the first place? You're right: this is a "mountains out of molehills" issue, but much of the branding and marketing surrounding Portal (and Websphere in general) tends to make it less congruous than it actually is when juxtaposed with the rest of the Lotus product line.

  5. 5) John Head says:

    I agree that the marketing and branding message is out of wack - but I would say that for the whole of IBM. If services is truely where IBM gets the core of its revenue (which it does), why do hardware commericals? But the perception issue is created and maintained by a small few vs. a huge market issue. I don't here analysts or press getting worked up about it.

  6. 6) John Head says:

    Stuart - first of all, my blog, my rules. Second, this was never a rational discussion. Third, Portal makes sense in the WPLC business unit. It falls into the same space as Quickr and Connections and other stuff. When I talk with customers, they get it. And these are the same customers that are looking at Portal head to head with Sharepoint (and picking Portal quite often). This is more about people complaining because they need something to complain about. It is tiring and boring.

  7. 7) Andrew Pollack says:

    Award 2: Best Total Lotus Software Solution Award

    Three of the five bullet points require products built on webshere.

    Award 5: Best Mid-Market Solution Award

    SPECIFICALLY states "by leveraging IBM Lotus or WebSphere Portal"

    Award 7: Unified communications

    To do the things they're judging on, you must have ST advanced. Hence, websphere.

    That's at least 3 categories where to be competitive, Portal is a requirement. So make that 10-17 for Portal. There are several others which are entirely subject based on what product managers and IBM marketing wants to see promoted. If I count those, it goes to something like 7-20 portal.

    Hell, there's even a portal specific entry, but no core notes or domino entry.

    All this, and Portal customers will be at most 2 or 3 percent of attendees.

  8. 8) Carl Tyler says:

    @Andrew I disagree on your interpretation of Award 7 Unified Communications, all those things discuss can be done today with Sametime without needing Sametime Advanced.

    Do I think IBM would give bonus points to an entry based around ST Advanced, probably because they want people to purchase those advanced licenses.

  9. 9) John Head says:

    @Andrew - "Award 2: Best Total Lotus Software Solution Award Three of the five bullet points require products built on webshere." - I count 9 products and 6 of them do not require webpshere (quickr for domino, sametime standard, forms development)

    "Award 5: Best Mid-Market Solution Award SPECIFICALLY states "by leveraging IBM Lotus or WebSphere Portal" - IBM Lotus includes Notes & Domino ...

    "Award 7: Unified communications To do the things they're judging on, you must have ST advanced. Hence, websphere." - I can build Sametime plug-ins without ST Advanced

    "That's at least 3 categories where to be competitive, Portal is a requirement. So make that 10-17 for Portal. There are several others which are entirely subject based on what product managers and IBM marketing wants to see promoted. If I count those, it goes to something like 7-20 portal." - you read it how you want to, I disagree

    "Hell, there's even a portal specific entry, but no core notes or domino entry." - Breakout Technology Award is almost pure Notes/Domino ... and I bet you 20 bucks a non-Websphere technology gets the award

    "All this, and Portal customers will be at most 2 or 3 percent of attendees." - so for 5000 people, you think there will be less than 150 people there for Portal? Wow, my numbers are totally different. I know a customer that is sending more than 10 people just for portal. They don't use any other Lotus products in the IBM Sotware stack. I bet there will be closer to 10 or 15 percent of people at Lotusphere who have interest in Portal. Plus, these are the Lotus Awards, awarded before Lotusphere. You don't have to be at Lotusphere to win an award. They are not tied to the hip anymore. But thank you for driving home the final point of my blog .. you get out of this what you want to read.

  10. 10) Craig Wiseman says:

    Breakout Technology Award

    - This specifically excludes ANY traditional Notes/Domino items, but includes portal - add points for portal.

    Best Industry Solution Award

    "Particular attention will be given to solutions that resulted in a competitive win and/or solutions that leverage Web 2.0 capabilities."

    - I'm sure I read something here differently than you do.

    There are no Web 2.0 capabilities native to Notes/Domino yet (and 8.5 will ship barely? before Lotusphere), but there are for portal, so saying "This award does not mention either Notes/Domino or Portal" is misleading.

    - Points for Portal.

    Also, bizarre note 'o the day. I'm on hold with Symantec Licensing at the moment and the hold music is the same as the one they used between sessions at Lotusphere 2008. Weird.

  11. 11) John Head says:

    @Craig - "XPages, Live Text, Composite Application integration with the Sidebar" guess what, that is traditional Notes development now. Get out of this Notes Basic mindset .. the Notes client has expanded. This is an award where 3 of the 4 technologies are NOTES client related. "I'm sure I read something here differently than you do There are no Web 2.0 capabilities native to Notes/Domino yet (and 8.5 will ship barely? before Lotusphere), but there are for portal, so saying "This award does not mention either Notes/Domino or Portal" is misleading." First, most people submitting Lotus Awards have access to the 8.5 code thru the Design Partner program, but there have been two betas. We will have three XPages applications in production before 8.5 goes gold .. so XPages fits here. But why couldn't Ideajam be submitted here? It is a pure Web 2.0 app build on Notes/Domino. It doesn't say you have to utilize Web 2.0 technologies built into the Lotus Software product, just leverage Web 2.0 capabilities. I read that as Connections counting, as well as any Domino application that takes the ideas of Web 2.0 and implements them on the Domino platform.

  12. 12) Andrew Pollack says:

    All this aside, John, I'm a bit disillusioned by the process. Last year when I submitted, I included a link (which was given as an option) to more information. The link went to a landing page I could track and contained many hours of work creating content to inform a judging panel.

    There were zero hits to the page.

    I know someone else who had the very same experience. That means the judging was done based on two paragraphs of submitted text without even looking at the solution in place.

    When I combine that experience with these clearly weighted descriptions of categories, I saw no point in taking part without a portal based solution.

  13. 13) John Head says:

    @Andrew and that is a loss to the competition. I know for a fact at least two categories were checked into. We had questions about our submission to the Philanthropy Solution that was a finalist (and has no Portal btw) and I know another category where lots of research was done (can't go into details). PSC did win with a Portal solution in 2007, but we won for a Notes/Domino solution in 2004. We are submitting a couple this year and none of them have any portal at all. Portal makes IBM and BPs lots of money .. and that is not going to change. But it is not the end all of Lotus and the IBMers who sell software. At least that is what I see on a daily basis and believe. I can't change the minds of those of you that have made decisions and aren't going to look at the situation with an open mind.

  14. 14) Andrew Pollack says:

    @John - I have no problem losing to a better solution, or accepting the decision of the judges on what is a better solution. I found it offensive that the application called for a place to add all this additional information and not a single judge bothered to look at it. It meant they had nothing to go on by a couple of brief paragraph write ups. Why bother.

  15. 15) Ed Brill says:

    Andrew, I know for fact that when I have judged the Lotus Awards, I have avoided using any links provided in the nomination <b>for precisely the reason you state</b>. I don't want someone to know that I'm a judge based on my IP hitting their unique page... judging Lotus Awards is not an interactive process. If you can't say it in your nomination, maybe it's too complicated to be the winner. Just some thoughts there.

    On the overall discussion, Andrew and I have been going back and forth on this Portal thing and I'm getting tired. The Portal team just ran their own conference with >500 attendees (it might have been more like 700). We draw Portal attendees to Lotusphere. WebSphere Portal, while still branded WebSphere, is managed by Bob Picciano and team in the "Lotus" software portfolio. The event is about all Lotus software products, and the awards are open to solutions for any and all Lotus software products.

    There are plenty of places for Notes/Domino products/solutions to win these awards,and there are some exciting new categories in which to do so. No, there's no Notes/Domino-only award, but there are many awards (such as tool/utility) that are open to Notes/Domino solutions. I think this whole topic is a bit like the year that someone thought the stage was "too blue" and must mean something about how Lotus is being sucked into IBM.

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