LOTUSPHERE - Users see promise in new collaboration apps


As for Lotus Connections, IBM officials said it will bring business-grade social networking to enterprises, allowing for in-house corporate networks that are protected by secure systems, with full customization and seamless collaboration. Connections, slated for release by mid-year, will feature five Web 2.0 pieces that allow users to collaborate on activities, communities, bookmarks, profiles and blogs, according to IBM.

Roddick praised the continuing integration of Notes, because it will allow users to run fewer applications at one time. "What it will do is make people work more efficiently," he said. "If we can get what [IBM] is talking about up and running, we will get really substantial efficiencies out of this."

An IT administrator with an East Coast-based utility company who asked to remain anonymous, said that while some of the features touted at Lotusphere look promising, his company and its 20,000 users probably won't see them for several years; they're still in the process of upgrading to Lotus Notes and Domino Version 7. "A lot of it is because we are very conservative," he said. "We move slowly. But you also can't be left in the dust."

One challenge for his company today, he said, is that various business units use different applications and systems. That problem could be improved through some of the new technologies used in Notes and Domino 8, as well as with Lotus Connections and Quickr, he said. "This would be system independent" and tied together with open standards used by the Lotus products. "Users could access the information efficiently."

His initial reaction to Lotus Quickr, which is also expected to be available in the first half of the year -- was that it is "pie in the sky" software. "But if you start to try to look down the road, it could be valuable. If you ask, would we bring it in right now and would our company jump on it, I would say no. But maybe two years from now."