IBM adds to Workplace lineup

IBM adds to Workplace lineup

FRAMINGHAM (11/07/2003) - IBM Corp. this week added two components to its Lotus Workplace platform and upgraded two others as it continues to remake its collaboration technology to run on WebSphere and provide an ...-la-carte approach to deploying and integrating software.

New to the Workplace platform are Workplace Team Collaboration 1.1, which combines instant messaging, conferencing and online workspace; and Workplace Collaborative Learning 1.1 for online classes.

The Workplace platform is a set of collaborative components derived from Lotus Domino that run within IBM's WebSphere Portal framework. The components are built on Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition and run on WebSphere Application Server and DB2 database.

IBM also released enhancements to its Workplace Messaging and Web Content Management components. The four components are expected to be available next month.

"This is us delivering on our contextual collaboration strategy," says Mike Loria, director of advanced collaboration products for IBM/Lotus.

Just like rival Microsoft, IBM has promised to deliver a set of components that support the concept of contextual collaboration, which outlines how collaboration can be embedded in any application.

Microsoft recently released instant messaging and workspace features as part of Windows Server 2003, which along with Office, Exchange, SharePoint Portal Server and a hosted conferencing service are the heart of the company's collaboration plans.

"IBM is fulfilling a need in the marketplace for lightweight, low-cost components like messaging and IM," says Guy Mills, assistant vice president of information systems for Manulife Financial, a financial services group in Toronto. In July, Mills rolled out Workplace Messaging to 3,600 users in Japan. "When we looked nine months ago, Microsoft didn't have anything like this."

But Mills said he is a little skeptical of any all-encompassing integration plans. His concern right now is figuring out how to migrate more than 1,000 Notes-based applications to the new IBM platform.

IBM plans to add Workplace components and upgrade existing components every six months with the goal that by 2005 Workplace and Notes/Domino will have the same features.

Workplace Team Collaboration 1.1 blends synchronous and asynchronous communication by combining instant messaging/presence and team workspace. Workplace Collaborative Learning 1.1 is modeled on the IBM Lotus Learning Management System and supports the hosting of online classes and management of course material and student progress.

Upgrades to Workplace Messaging include support for personal calendars, and SuSE Linux 7.2 and 7.3 and IBM AIX 5.2. Workplace Web Content Management 1.1 now includes support for Oracle Corp.'s and Microsoft Corp.'s SQL Server databases. The component is priced at about US$50,000 per CPU.

Pricing for the other 1.1 components is per seat. Workplace Messaging costs $29, Team Collaboration costs $89 and Collaborative Learning costs $35.

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