You may remember than a couple of weeks ago, I posted about Atlassian’s great programme for higher education, their ‘classroom option’.
At the time, I lamented that IBM did not have something similar, and concluded with:
So, IBM, here’s the gauntlet thrown down… By the time we discuss this at Lotusphere 2011, how about we have something equally appealing, easy to understand and navigable for institutions that want to learn Lotus software?
Unfortunately I didn’t get any response from IBM folks at all, certainly no suggestion that there was such a solution from IBM.
Then Darren Duke and I had a couple of great folks from universities on episode 31 of This Week in Lotus last Thursday, and one of our guests (John Gallagher from City University, London) mentioned IBM’s Academic Initiative. Neither Darren nor I had heard of this before, so I went looking, and here’s what turned up:
So IBM already has a program for universities, featuring:
no-charge access to hardware, full-version software, professionally developed courseware, tools, training, books, and discounts.
It is free of charge and is open to as many members of an institution as wish to join. It is open to any institution that can be defined by one of the following:
- University or college that offers education leading to nationally-recognized qualifications or levels of academic achievement, and that is accredited by a regional or national accrediting council, commission, appropriate government agency, or board of education of the state or country in which the educational institution is located.
- Teaching hospital associated with an accredited institution.
- Research institution or consortia comprised of accredited institutions.
- Primary, elementary or secondary school, funded either publicly or privately, in which education is the principal objective leading to nationally-recognized qualifications or levels of academic achievement, and that is accredited by national or regional councils or agencies to deliver education.
Now this is IBM, so its not as simple and straightforward as Atlassian’s program, but it does look open, easy to understand, and above all, is full of value for academic institutions. Here are IBM’s top 10 reasons to join the program:
Academic Initiative members enjoy many benefits and discounts while building collaborative partnerships with IBM and other institutions in the open source community. Membership is open to faculty and research professionals at accredited institutions, and to qualifying members of standards organizations.
1. Get thousands of software products at no charge
You can download full versions of IBM products and technologies and make them available to your students in your classes and labs.
3. Advance your technical knowledge
The Virtual Innovation Center (VIC) has more than 800 online courses and materials supporting a wide range of software, hardware and services topics— and you can access them 24/7.
4. Teach Business Process Management with the INNOV8 game
Hundreds of schools around the world are using this award-winning, serious game to teaching Business Process Management in their classrooms.
5. Establish your own virtual enterprise systems
No need to install and maintain an IBM mainframe system or mid-range system. You can request virtual access for yourself and your students to an IBM System z or to IBM Power Systems.
6. Become a leader in Service Science, Management & Engineering (SSME)
SSME is a growing multi-disciplinary research and academic effort. Use these resources to develop a program at your school and ensure that your students will have “T-shaped” skills.
7. Learn all about cloud computing
Get involved in the “next big thing” – cloud computing. Cloud Computing Central is an excellent collection of resources for learning about and working with technologies in a virtual environment.
8. Encourage students to explore, compete, and get certified
Our contests can help students go beyond the classroom to expand their knowledge, as well as their wardrobes. Many games offer a t-shirt to the first registrants! You can get also get a 50% discount for your students on many IBM Professional Certification tests.
9. Be a conduit to student employment
You can give your students access to the IBM Student Opportunity System resume database and they can post their CV for IBM customers and business partners (thousands of companies around the world) to view. This can be as important as a good grade. If they get hired, they will love you.
10. Join My developerWorks and connect with others around the globe
Create your own personal profile and custom home page to get instant access to the people, feeds, tags, bookmarks, blogs, groups, and forums that you care about.
For number 1 on the list, downloading software at no charge, this is what it says:
All software downloads are available to members at no charge. The Software Catalog contains products from each IBM software brand: Information Management (including Cognos), Lotus, Rational, Tivoli, and WebSphere (including ILOG). You can use them to teach about database management, team collaboration, software development, systems performance and management, Web services, and many other technologies.
So any IBM software product is available for download for teaching purposes, for free. How cool is that?!
Now of course, Universities have other needs, such as software for ‘production’ use, such as for email and collaboration. These are still areas where companies like Google are leading the way. However, for studying computer science etc, the Academic Initiative really does provide a great step forward.
So here’s the question… Why does nobody know about it????
IBM Forms 4.0 provides a compelling interactive user interface and lower total cost of ownership for automating forms-based processes
IBM Forms 4.0 helps line of business as well as IT users to automate forms-based processes. It is designed to help deliver the following benefits:
- Compelling, interactive user experience through new modern look and feel and Web 2.0 user interface
- Reduced time to value and total cost of ownership
- Lower development cost through reusable forms components
- Improved integration with existing infrastructure through improved web service interaction
- Improved performance and scalability through 64-bit support in server
Higher productivity through anytime, anywhere access on tablets like iPad
The change of name is not a massive deal, as IBM seems to regularly move products between brands, and occasionally back to the mother ship of just being IBM-branded – the dreaded Workplace line of products flip-flopped several times. Also, to be honest, Forms isn’t a ‘collaborative product’ per se, it fits more elegantly within the transactional line of IBM web solutions – WebSphere etc. Therefore, it makes sense to move it out of the Lotus portfolio.
More interestingly, I do like the way IBM is beginning to very publicly provide support for mobile computing – here adding iPad support to Forms. Clearly they get how important this aspect is going to be in the next 3-5 years.
An update from Jacques Pavlenyi:
Many of you have already been following the IBM collaboration solutions team through various Twitter IDs. I wanted to quickly update you on our latest Twitter presence:
@LotusConnection – official Twitter ID for the IBM Lotus Connections team. Yes, I know the last “s” was left off (omit “savings” joke here), you can thank Twitter for limiting the size of one’s ID name for that one.
@Quickr – after being a dormant account for several months, we’ve just reactivated it. Please follow us for the latest news and updates from the Lotus Quickr team.
@Sametime - follow the Lotus Sametime team for all your real-time social collaboration news and updates.
Of course, you want to follow the following users too:
@collabmatters – Collaboration Matters corporate twitter
@stuartmcintyre - my own personal tweets
@connectionsblog - tweets regarding the Connections Blog
@quickrblog - tweets regarding the Quickr Blog
@thisweekinlotus - tweets regarding our podcast, This Week in Lotus
Sometimes IBM does things that surprise me – occasionally that’s a very bad thing, I’ll admit.
More often, it’s because they make changes that show they are really thinking about how to make their products better and showcase the benefits that are available to organisations and their users.
A case in point is the latest beta release of Lotus Symphony 3. This Beta 3 includes a lot of changes, not least a significant improvement in speed and responsiveness over the previous betas and Symphony 1.3. However, a number of apparently small enhancements made me both smile and begin to see the future being marked out much more clearly:
1) A streamlined approach to installing widgets and plug-ins
The procedure for adding plug-ins to Notes has always been tricky – policies/configuration settings need to be changed, the menus are terribly intuitive, and the process takes a while. Symphony 3 makes this much, much easier:
Use the menu Tools/Widgets/Get Plug-ins Online:
This opens a web-browser within Symphony, accessing the Symphony Plug-ins catalog:
Simply choose the plug-in you need, e.g. the new LotusLive Files connector (see below):
Drag this plug-in to your My Widgets sidebar (it would be great if this pane could be opened automatically when accessing this menu) – this begins the provisioning process:
Accept the license agreement:
Approve the signer:
And restart Symphony:
Whilst I think that the dialogs can still be made more friendly (does the user need to know the names of the plug-in files, sizes etc?), this is a massive improvement on what has gone before, and should lead to a lot more users trying plug-ins and widgets in their Symphony environment.
2) Increased integration between on-premise/local applications and the Cloud
IBM has long discussed the integration possibilities between on-premise and Cloud-based applications – they even have a nifty slogan for the idea, “Click to Cloud”:
However, it is clear that this integration effort is increasing in importance with every new release. Alongside Symphony 3 Beta 3 IBM has introduced the brand new plug-in for LotusLive files which makes it much much easier to access, edit and upload files from the cloud, and is a great effort from everyone in the Symphony/LotusLive teams – a big step forward.
This is, of course, just the first step in a long journey towards seamless integration. Project Vulcan offers a vision of a mesh of social and collaborative applications accessing local, networked and cloud-based resources, in such as way that the user has almost no need to differentiate where and how the information is being stored. At the same time, competitors such as Google are pushing the boundaries of online collaboration and editing forward, so IBM needs to keep making improvements in this area with every release.
3) Cross-sell the Lotus vision
I often wonder how many IT professionals even know that Lotus still exists. Indeed, I often also consider whether most Notes users know that Lotus do anything beyond the products that they use day-in, day-out. That’s why Lotus Symphony is so critical to the ongoing success of the brand. It isn’t right for every organisation or user – many will stick with MS Office through thick and thin, or else focus purely on a cloud-based productivity tool future – but the fact that Lotus really has a contender in this space (and that it is free) keeps the brand mindshare alive.
Likewise, Symphony can act as a means to inform users of the possibilities of using other Lotus offerings. That’s why I was excited to see the new release advertising LotusLive collaboration services:
So, just three small incremental steps, but all together I think they add up to some exciting ‘joined-up thinking’ from the Lotus brand. Keep it going!
I don’t know about you, but I love the Lotus product wikis – they’re becoming treasure troves of useful information voluntarily entered by both IBMers and members of the community. As the ‘barrier to entry’ of content submission is much lower than with the Lotus Infocenters, more relevant content gets added, kept up to date and modified according to best practice. It’s getting to the stage when we would struggle to do without them on most complex projects we take on.
So that said, what’s the problem?
I cannot find the blasted things using a memorable URL!
I tend to end up using Google to search for the individual wiki I need, even when I’ve been there multiple times in the past. ’What’s up with using a bookmark?’ I hear you ask… Well, like many consultants, I’m very rarely using my own machine as I’m expected to used the PC, VM or remote desktop session that my customer gives me, and so my bookmarks aren’t always available. To some extent, IBM doesn’t help this as the name of the site isn’t as simple as it might be (www-10.lotus.com) and the wiki database names are formatted differently for many of the products.
Simply enter LotusWikis.com/’name of the product’ and you’ll get redirected instantaneously to the appropriate wiki, e.g.:
|LotusWikis.com||the list of all the Lotus/Portal wikis|
|LotusWikis.com/notes||Lotus Notes/Domino wiki|
|LotusWikis.com/domino||Lotus Notes/Domino wiki|
|LotusWikis.com/quickr||Lotus Quickr wiki|
|LotusWikis.com/sametime||Lotus Sametime wiki|
|LotusWikis.com/connections||Lotus Connections wiki|
|LotusWikis.com/symphony||Lotus Symphony wiki|
|LotusWikis.com/designer||Lotus Designer wiki|
|LotusWikis.com/appdev||Lotus Designer wiki|
There are more redirects configured than listed above, so most links you try should work… Let me know if you need additional aliases added or that there are Wikis that I’ve missed.
Hope this helps some of you be more productive when searching for Lotus content – to be honest it’s fulfilling a selfish need of my own, but if it helps the community then all the better!
When IBM’s Lotusphere conference kicks off next week in Orlando, Florida, Big Blue will show off a technical preview of Alfresco Content Services for Lotus social collaboration wares. The showing is an integration between Alfresco ECM and IBM Lotus Quickr, Lotus Notes, Lotus Connections, and WebSphere Portal.
“What it allows you to do is provide the ECM capabilities for the Lotus suite,” Alfresco CTO and co-founder John Newton told The Reg. “It allows users to be able to manage content inside of Lotus, whether it’s emails or documents that are being collaborated on inside of Quicker, and be able to turn them into records, archive them, manage them, or just have an enterprise content vault to be able to search and access the information.”
Newton said that because Alfresco is such a lightweight platform, it can usually be installed on the same machine as the Lotus system without additional hardware.
This is certainly an interesting option – many of the ECM solutions out there currently are pretty heavy-weight, whether from IBM or third-parties, and do not really offer an option for small non-enterprise organisations.
This Alfesco/IBM collaboration could make ECM within Lotus’ social solutions a real possibility. Exciting start to the Lotusphere news!
… to two of the most hardworking Loti you’ll ever meet:
Two new press releases have been published by IBM this morning, taking the fight to Microsoft.
The first focuses on the success of Lotus Foundations against Microsoft’s Small Business Server:
200+ Microsoft Partners Per Month Flocking to Sell IBM Lotus Foundations Appliance
ARMONK, N.Y. — June 4, 2009 — Facing waning demand for Microsoft products, more than 1,000 Microsoft Business Partners have already signed up to sell IBM Lotus Foundations (www.ibm.com/lotus/foundations) “office-in-a-box” appliance for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) in the first five months of 2009.
According to Microsoft Business Partners, sales of Microsoft’s Small Business Server (SBS) software bundle have stagnated due to lack of innovation and partner dissatisfaction with their inability to add solutions and services. Microsoft partners are looking for an alternative that provides SMBs with more collaboration computing power for less money and more reliability in these challenging economic times.
“Lotus Foundations is a complete, cost-effective solution that easily scales as a business grows. When you add users, you know exactly what it will cost and the functionality you’ll get,” said Bernie Leung of Mesa Technology. “With Microsoft SBS, you always have to worry about what additional licenses you will have to purchase – the SQL client is just one example.”
IBM Lotus Foundations provides all the hardware and software needed for a business to get up and running and grow exponentially without incurring any upgrade costs. The IBM product enables businesses to move to a single platform for all their IT needs, a stark contrast to Microsoft SBS, where additional software from Microsoft, as well as hardware and software from third parties must be purchased.
“And with Lotus Symphony, we don’t have to pay for Microsoft Office. Most importantly, Lotus Foundations is simple to use and easy maintain. It eliminates the expense of having a full-time IT expert on staff,” said Jose Lopez Gonzalez, CEO, Lopez y Cortina, an insurance provider in Monterrey, Mexico.
Business partners too are looking for more effective methods to drive their business and support their customer base, and many have found that Lotus Foundations is the answer. The following are comments made by a sample of IBM clients and partners who have signed up for Lotus Foundations in the past five months.
“Lotus Foundations is like a giant aspirin for the IT headaches that plague business owners every day.” — Greg Gould of GDomino.
“The Lotus Foundations server is a wonderful device – the ease of install and configuration makes getting right to work a quick job. For the money, we could not have come close to finding this functionality anywhere else – enterprise quality in a small business box.” — Robert Thresher, owner, Thresher Enterprise Systems.
The second reviews a series of recent customer wins for the Lotus collaboration portfolio:
Companies Choosing Lotus Collaboration to Work Smarter and Lower Costs
Economy, Web 2.0 Gap Fuel Rising Tide Against Microsoft
ARMONK, N.Y. — June 4, 2009 — IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced major enterprise client wins for Lotus collaboration software over Microsoft as businesses seek cost efficiencies in today’s economic climate. Recent wins include The Coca Cola Company, HSBC, ABB, BASF, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Fidelity Investments, Hyundai, Liberty Mutual, Linde Group, Mass Mutual, Nationwide, State Bank of India, The Hartford, and Zurich Financial among others.
Driven by guidance from Microsoft to abandon evaluation of these currently-shipping products, Microsoft customers are choosing IBM Lotus software, driven by the higher return on investment and easier deployment of Lotus software.
At the recent Microsoft Tech Ed conference in Los Angeles, Microsoft executives advised customers to stop testing Vista and move to testing Windows 7. The same advice was repeated for Microsoft customers who have not yet moved to Exchange 2007; they were told to skip it and wait for 2010. The advice is a marked change from Microsoft’s conventional strategy to always upgrade now and then again with the impending release of the new version of a product.
“In this environment of reduced IT budgets, lowered headcounts, geographically distributed teams and mergers and acquisitions, there are several reasons customers are choosing IBM Lotus Notes over Microsoft Exchange, one of which is cost,” said Bob Picciano, general manager of IBM Lotus Software. ”Businesses don’t have money to waste on high licensing and maintenance fees, nor the patience to deal with ill-conceived, unreliable software.”
The economic downturn is causing companies to consider how to spend their strained information technology (IT) budgets more carefully. As a result, an increasing number of customers are looking at IBM Lotus solutions over Microsoft reduce IT spending, and help their employes work more effectively with fewer resources. Since the release of IBM Lotus Notes 8 in August 2007, IBM has seen the fastest adoption for any release in the history of Notes and IBM Lotus Domino, more than double that of previous releases.
This rapid market acceptance of Notes and Domino 8 is driven, in part, by the ‘green’ nature of the products. IBM Lotus Domino 8 has been proven to lower the cost of ownership for enterprises by as much as 30 percent as a result of new ‘smart’ capabilities that allow companies to reduce the number of severs needed;, drive down the hardware required to support mail files and attachments; and minimize administrative overhead.
Since people want a variety of ways to collaborate with one another, IBM continues to expand Lotus Notes and Domino capabilities well beyond email by tightly integrating instant messaging and presence awareness, enterprise grade social networking tools, and access to team rooms and repositories into the Notes user interface. In fact, 30 percent of new IBM Lotus Sametime unified communications customers are Microsoft Outlook and Exchange messaging users. In addition, with over four million downloads of Lotus Symphony, IBM’s free office productivity toolset, customers are looking to try alternatives for Microsoft Office based on open standards and lower costs.
“While Microsoft is telling customers they need to wait seven years for major enhancements to Exchange and Windows, IBM Lotus continues to deliver new releases with richer capabilities on time,” said Picciano. “Clients are embracing IBM’s holistic view of collaboration as a means of working smarter and more efficiently with powerful Web 2.0 and social software tools. The net effect is our clients’ employees are collaborating at a much deeper, more profound level, gaining insight and productivity while lowering their IT spending.”
Wow, the boxing gloves are truly back on. Whilst IBM’s competition in the collaboration space is far broader that just the folks in Redmond (Google, Socialtext, Jive and many more), it is great to see the Lotus marketing team upping the ante when Microsoft appears to be struggling.
It will be fascinating to see how the media picks up on these releases. Look out for plenty of coverage in the next couple of days.
There’s been lots of chat on the blogs and on Twitter these past few weeks regarding Lotus marketing and advertising.
To a large extent, I’ve been trying to stay out of the conversations – I’m no marketeer and IBM (as a multi-billion dollar organisation) should have the experience and talent to get their messages right of their own accord. Lotus’ lack of advertising does disappoint me, but I’ve been around this space for long enough to know that what I can’t change I shouldn’t get upset about…
However, I attended Lotusphere Comes to You in London last week, and something about the messages delivered in the keynote there (which I live-blogged) really crystalised the thoughts that have been rattling around my brain for the past year or so. For those that weren’t at LCTY London (or the many other similar events held world-wide – I assume that the keynote presentation is fairly standard), the first 90 minutes of LCTY is effectively a Lotus strategy pitch, followed by 30 odd slides detailing the improvements/changes/announcements for each product in the portfolio. In London, this deck was presented by Bruce Morse but that is fairly irrelevent – my issue is with the overall message and content, not with the style of delivery.
So, the issue…
What’s the story, Lotus?
At no stage did Lotus ever tell the story behind its products, why they’re relevant to an organisation, what difference do they make to a knowledge worker’s life, how they work together to make a user’s work more enjoyable or a department more efficient… Where are the ‘day in the life’ demos, the captivating success stories, the ‘wow’ moments, the creation of desire and excitement amongst attendees, viewers or readers? Why at one of the 3 “showpiece” Lotus events in the UK this year, with 500+ customers/partners in attendance, were we subjected to 30 of the dullest text-laden “what’s new in Lotus product X” slides?
However, the problem is bigger than just this event. Whether it’s the LCTY overview, the keynote at Lotusphere 2009, the new SmartWork campaign or even the Lotus product pages at www.lotus.com, I personally never get a sense that IBM is truly capturing the essence of what makes Lotus collaboration software compelling as a whole, why a new customer should be excited by its capabilities or why indeed a customer of a competitive vendor should even be interested in what Lotus has to offer.
Others have stated that IBM tries to sell to the converted, to the ‘Bubble’. I think they’re right.
Actually, I think it could even be worse than that, I think it’s almost as if they are trying to sell Lotus software to the IBM organisation itself. If I was head of another department in the 400,000 person beast that is IBM, I’d have listened to the LCTY keynote, and thought, ‘hey, that new release of Portal could help me save $s by implementing a new self-service travel expense composite application within w3.ibm.com’, or ‘mmm, Sametime 8.5 will really reduce the bandwidth I use when attending my 30 hours of web-conferences next week’!
As the head of a 50-person ‘up and coming’ organisation from London that is faced with alternatives from Google, Socialtext, Jive, Huddle, Alfresco etc and little understanding of the Lotus portfolio beyond some buzz on the web about Lotus Connections or Quickr, I’d have walked away utterly confused at what IBM/Lotus was actually offering me or my business.
So one more time, what’s the story, Lotus?
The latest greatest release of Lotus Notes for the Mac, Notes 8.5, only runs on OS X 10.5 (Leopard) on Intel processors.
I can understand why IBM made this the supported configuration, but it does leave users with older software or hardware trying to find out what versions of Notes are open to them. This table might just help:
Notes Client Versions Mac OS Versions Supported Processor Support
(Intel and/or PPC)
Release 8.5 10.5.x
Note: Both standard and basic configurations
of the Notes client on Mac are supported.
(PPC supported with Basic Configuration)
Release 7.0.3 10.5.x (see technote #1290250)
PPC and Intel Release 7.0.2 10.4.x PPC and Intel Release 6.5.6 and 6.5.5 10.4.x
PPC Only Release 6.5.4 10.3.x
PPC Only Release 6.5.3 10.3.x
PPC Only Release 6.5.2 10.3.x
PPC Only Release 6.5 and 6.5.1 10.2.x
- Notes 7.0.2 for Macintosh is the first Notes 7.x release supported on the Mac OS.
- Refer to technote #1290250 for known issues when running Notes 7.0.3 on Mac 10.5.xLink
- Notes 8.5 is the first Notes 8.x release supported on the Mac OS
- Currently there is no 8.0.x version of Notes for the Mac platform; the platforms available for 8.0.x are Linux and Microsoft Windows. Refer to Technote #1265157 for more details.
- For more information on PPC vs. Intel Processor support, seetechnote 1232620 “Is the Intel-based Macintosh a supported platform for Notes“.
Unless you absolutely have no other option, I wouldn’t run any Notes/Mac release older than 7.0.2 – it isn’t a great user experience to say the least, but 7.0.2/7.0.3 are definitely workable solutions for those that need to support older configurations.