Notes from IBM's Lotusphere Conference

Published: 27 Jan 2009

By Melanie Turek, Principal Analyst, Frost & Sullivan

This year's Lotusphere event, IBM's annual user group meeting for its portfolio of Lotus products, was abuzz with energy and excitement - and not just because it happened to coincide with an historic inauguration. Conference attendance was up by two percent - itself an historic feat given the current economic conditions, and the fact that technology conferences have been reporting lower attendance of 30 percent or more.

Why the big numbers for Big Blue? Lotus users are loyal above all else - and, it seems, they are increasingly intrigued by the product offerings from the Cambridge outpost.

The most interesting news out of Lotusphere is LotusLive (www.lotuslive.com), a "cloud - based collection" (read: hosted offering) of social networking and collaboration services, including social networking applications, e-mail, file sharing and Web conferencing capabilities. The goal of the offering is to help businesses easily collaborate with their customers, partners and suppliers over the Internet.

Focus on the Cloud

LotusLive is partnering with the popular social networking site LinkedIn to allow users to connect with their business contacts on an as-needed basis. With a planned Lotus Notes integration, LinkedIn members will be able to track their professional network via a real-time feeds and get access to LinkedIn profiles from within their Notes applications. Salesforce.com also has plans to integrate LotusLive services with its CRM applications, to simplify and improve customer interactions by integrating conferencing and collaboration capabilities with the CRM capabilities within Salesforce.com. And a Skype integration will allow LotusLive users to call contacts directly from within the service.

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