Lack of Vision at Lotusphere

There were many attractive aspects of Lotusphere 2009. However, one disappointment is that Lotus doesn't seem to have a clear vision of where it's going. The general session consisted of a series of presentations falling into three categories:

  • Enhancements to existing products
  • Reminders about existing products
  • Announcements of new products, services, and partnerships

The information was delivered in a hectic rush of juxtaposed, detail-crammed presentations by product staff.

It appears there is limited long-term vision:

  • Often products are poorly integrated and replicate functionality with a different look-and-feel. For example, the file-sharing elements of Quickr, Connections, Bluehouse/LotusLive Engage, and Sametime have a different code base.
  • Integration is limited. Because the code bases are different, the products often don't integrate well.
  • Announcements sometimes seem to be a quickly-put-together response to a Microsoft announcement; for example, the recent announcement of Lotus Hosted Messaging (in response to Microsoft Exchange Online). We will write about this more at length in another posting.
  • The commitment to major product announcements is equivocal. For example, the cornerstone of several years' Lotuspheres, Lotus Workplace, has now been quietly abandoned, as has Notes/Domino support for the use of DB2 as an alternative repository.
  • ... David Ferris

One Comment

  1. Erik
    Posted January 21, 2009 at 5:53 AM | Permalink

    Interesting observations, especially because they don’t match the comments about the Lotusphere 2009 OGS that i’ve read on other blogs so far.
    However, statements like “Lotus Workplace, has now been quietly abandoned” let me assume, that you missed a few things over the last several years. A lot of the material from LS07 and LS08 is still out there. It might help you get back on track.

  2. dferris
    Posted January 21, 2009 at 9:05 AM | Permalink

    Erik–You’re right, Lotusphere 2008 also had a conspicuous absence of discussion of Workplace. I think Lotusphere 2007 still had plenty of stuff on Workplace.
    –david

  3. Larryc
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

    Nope, There was no workplace discussion at Lotusphere 2007 (the last one I attended.)
    In fact, during an open Q&A session, I specifically asked Ken Bisconti what happened to Workplace, and I received a tap-dance answer about the innovator’s dilemma, it was a learning exercise, etc.

  4. dferris
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

    Thanks Larryc for that further clarification. You’re spot on. I have digged through our website for our Lotusphere 2007 review, which it turns out I wrote. See http://email-museum.com/2007/01/22/main_lotusphere/. Among other things, it says:
    –“Nothing was said about IBM Lotus Workplace. Seems this major project has been put aside. Very very few sales were made. IBM Lotus has a habit of forcing its customers to think hard about new offerings, which after a couple of years get quietly put to death. Other examples that come to mind start with Jazz, and go through knowledge bases and productivity applications written in Java. Of course, this is true of all of us, including Ferris Research. We all have big projects which, embarrassingly and expensively, go nowhere.”

    My memory’s not so good these days!

  5. Posted January 25, 2009 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

    My god, are you still seeking for workplace sessions ? We’re have you lived for the last 3 years.

    If you would really know the IBM platform (and that would be good since you comment about it) you would know what happened.

    When workplace was maturing IBM took a decision. It was useless to duplicate features already present in other products so they:

    – Moved all Workplace enhancements like document management and composite applications to WebSphere Portal, nothing has been lost.

    – Moved some of the technology built for workplace instant messaging into the main Sametime product. We got to have a full SIP gateway and improved sametime

    – Moved all the rich client experience into Expeditor that since 6.1 is the new IBM Rich client system which allows for portal to be partially taken offline

    So it’s true the Workplace as a product disappearhd (no more sales) but all that was done has been available for 2+ years in other IBM products. Are you sure you look into products beyound the name ?

    (P.S. Sorry for the sarcasm but I’m quite bored by clueless comments like these)

  6. Posted January 25, 2009 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

    Daniele,

    We are fortunate to have you contributing in such a constructive, even-keeled, and courteous fashion to the discussion.
    –david

  7. Patrick Kwinten
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 2:07 AM | Permalink

    I do not experience in my daily work that the products poorly integrate and the Expeditor platform will definetely help future integration. Please stop referring to 2007 presentations. It’s 2009 (already).

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