LotusLive Blogger Briefing for April 14th, 2010 announcements

April 13 2010

IBM did a web conference briefing for a bunch of Lotus bloggers and here are some of the highlights:

1. Integration with business services you use every day

Partner Apps - General Availability

- Salesforce.com CRM Sales Management - automate collaborating and recording interactions
                 - LotusLive tab inside the product to integration LotusLive Meetings, LotusLive Files, and Activities
                 - On a Salesforce.com Opportunity, you can Invite to LotusLive Meeting or Start LotusLive Meeting
                  - LotusLive Meeting reports stored for reporting
                  - SalesForce.com Enterprise Required (SF requirement)
- Silanis - make the process of creating, revising, and signing documents simple and easy
                - e-SignDoc - end user document space
                - e-SignRoom - team rooms around documents for electronic document signature
- Skype - easily launch into conversations with your contacts right from LotusLive
                - Skype user name in user profile
                - Skype link in user business card
                - Start a Skype Conference Call around a stored file
- UPS - NEW - seamlessly weave logistics and shopping into the way you work
                 - in LotusLive Labs later in April, 2010
                 - print shipping details in association with a document

New section in User Accounts that determines what Integrated Apps a user has access too

2. The essential bundle for small and medium businesses

To meet the needs of SMB companies

Web mail, store and share files, manage projects, instant messaging and social networking services priced for any biz
$7 per user/per month. More info at www.lotuslive.com/bundle

- LotusLive iNotes (mail, calendar, contacts) & LotusLive Connections (networks, files, activities, and IM bundle
- 25 GB for LotusLive iNotes and 5 GB LotusLive Connections

3. Opening new markets to easy to use LotusLive services

Now available in 15 languages

General Availability in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish

Other

- No Credit Card purchasing at this time
- No Partner apps at this time
- SDK coming in the second half of 2010

Thoughts


Features - I think the new integration capabilities are very well integrated. The best part is how seamless they appear to the end user. We hear about the "seams of integration" in the Notes rich client all the time, you don't see those here. At all. The Skype integration is very nice and very quick to get from a file into a chat or call. The Salesforce.com integration is also very well done - built directly into the application with it's own tab and on the Opportunity form.

I think the new SMB Bundle is a good move. $7 bucks a month for mail, calendar, files, IM, activities, and the network features is very nice. And all the partner integration pieces work here - as long as you have the appropriate licenses for those third-party apps.

Purchasing - here is the issue with the SMB bundle. I still can not purchase this with a credit card. I have to get in touch with an IBM sales person or Business Partner to get this. I went off on this at the Lotus Leadership Alliance event last September and again at Lotusphere 2010. Sean Poulley said it was coming this year, but man, what a wasted opportunity. Until someone can go buy this for their 10 person small company, those folks are going to go with Google Apps or something else. The time and effort to acquire the functionality is as important as what I get once I am being billed.

Partner Apps & SDK - As many of the Lotus bloggers are consultants at Business Partners, the ability for a company like PSC to put an application on LotusLive is a question we always ask for. It seems that right now, IBM is focused on working with a handful of ISV's to extend the functionality of the LotusLive platform. I can't fault them as a user - the integration efforts seem to have paid off in terms of functionality. But IBM needs to get the general IBM Lotus BP (and the new ones they want to attract) to upload their app - and sell it - on LotusLive. This means we need a SDK, documented and accessible API's, and a place to sell those apps from. A LotusLive Partner/ISV App Store. Sean said the SDK will come out later this year. He also said some kind of App Store is on the horizon, but not time or functionality commitments. They need to get credit card purchasing up and running before the wade into the app store space first, IMO. With email becoming a commodity, applications are were the customer retention and growth will come from.

Overall, a good set of midyear announcements for LotusLive. This, along with the LotusLive Notes V2 offering announced at Lotusphere (and hinted to be entering beta sometime soon) give IBM a good presence in the cloud space. Of course, IBM needs to continue to move fast and deliver regularly in this space. I don't think LotusLive is a 'also' offering any more, but it still needs to mature in both functionality and customer interaction.

A formal press release around the new LotusLive announcements and capabilities can be found here.