More IBM Press Release Coverage and a discussion w/ Caleb Barlow and Ed Brill

June 4 2009

First, here are the final versions of the press releases that IBM put out today:

Companies Choosing Lotus Collaboration to Work Smarter and  Lower Costs & 200+ Microsoft Partners Per Month Flocking to Sell IBM Lotus Foundations

Second, there was an interview conference call with Caleb Bralow and Ed Brill for the Lotus Blogger program earlier today. Here are some thoughts based on that discussion:


Caleb Barlow:

  • "Lotus Foundations is a change in business strategy in competing with Microsoft Small Business Server."
  • Some people in the press have asked  "Can IBM build a channel for the SMB market?"
  • most of these customers have not purchased from IBM for many years
  • New partners that are traditionally Microsoft partners
  • More often than not, these new clients are a competitive replacement.
  • Microsoft has created this situation, artificial licensing and platform decisions based on number of users.
  • Relationship of buyer and seller is changing. partners moving to a managed service model with remote management and services.
  • Lotus Foundations is a complete package with hardware, software, services, and training from the partner to the customer.
  • Lotus Foundations partners not charged for technical and sales support.
  • Foundations is a true appliance. upgrades are automated.
  • Foundations operating system is 100 megabytes and part of the chipset, not software on a hard disk.
  • One Partner, James Sulfare of Solinkit, LLC., saw a revenue increase of 80% due to remote access and easier to maintain software platform
  • Customers who wanted hosted model want this because they don't have an IT staff.

I asked Caleb how he saw Lotus Foundations competing against the Software as a Service (SaaS), Hosted, and Cloud offerings from others. His answer: I see Foundations as a distributed sass. sass / hosted / cloud requires an internet connection. Foundations gives those customers a remote function that continues to work when internet connections are not guaranteed. Data is hosted locally. Caleb then went on to say IBM is looking to compliment foundations with lotus live for hybrid solutions.


Ed Brill:
  • Lotus portfolio wins, not just  Notes & Domino
  • Fidelity - expeditor platform win, rich client platform for workstations
  • Lotus Live notes wins are happening, IBM doesn't announce these until there is significant implementation
  • This is the third press release that focused on competitive wins since General Manager Bob Picciano took over last year (last July, Lotusphere 2009 in Janurary, Now).
  • Lotus feels confident in growth and competition with Microsoft
  • Ed estimates that Microsoft has spent 100 million to win Notes accounts

I then went on to ask Ed about the 2009 release cycle for Lotus. Lotus Quickr 8.2 was released this past weekend. Lotus Symphony 1.3 will be released this month. Lotus Notes & Domino 8.5.1 is on target for a second half 2009 release, but Ed said they are aiming for a third quarter release.

We also talked about the Google Wave introduction this past week. Ed said that IBM is looking at it and does not have a comment about it as this time. I think we are all interested to see if Lotus integrates with Google Wave, as they have with Google Gadgets in Notes 8.0.1 and Websphere Portal.

We wrapped up with a question about marketing. When asked if the messaging around Smart Planet that we saw introduced at Lotusphere and continued at IBM Impact, Ed said there would be further end user focused messaging coming soon.

John's Thoughts:

I think these press releases are interesting, both in timing and content. It is good to see IBM being aggressive when it comes to competitive wins around their products. I think Lotus Foundations is a great competition to Microsoft Small Business Server, but the weakness of IBM's absence in the SMB market will make this a slow growth. Great to see IBM making progress here. As for the competitive win press release, I just hope IBM keeps releasing info like this on a very regular basis.

Thanks to Caleb, Ed, Mike Azzi, and of course the amazing Erica Topolski for putting this together.