Underscoring the role of unified communications in a social business, in India, Smart Techie magazine published a Q&A with IBM's V. Venkataraman, "Unified Communications: Enabling the Next Gen Business Communication
" discussing how unified communications and social software can help geographically distributed teams collaborate.
Companies will go beyond the initial capabilities of IM—like
click-to-call and online presence—to deep integration with business
processes and line-of-business applications, where they can realize the
In a SearchUnifiedCommunications article about mobile collaboration apps in the cloud, "Cloud providers deliver mobile collaboration apps better than on-prem
", IBM's Caleb Barlow discusses IBM's on-premise and cloud strategy for its social software portfolio.
A 'generic' cloud will not meet [enterprises'] needs for compliance, security and back-end application integration," Barlow said. "IBM's current thinking is that private clouds may be the way to go, and we are running experiments in this area.
IBM business partners have been active in their support of IBM collaboration software this week, including Sametime. Campus Technology
published an article on IBM business partner GSX Monitor's announcement of GSX Monitor & Analyzer v10 that enables administrators to monitor cloud-based messaging and collaboration services including Lotus Notes Traveler, Quickr and Sametime.
And over in Italy, a multi-page feature in Computer Business Review
discusses the impact of smart phones and tablets on the enterprise. Broad support for IBM's collaboration portfolio is highlighted throughout the article, including Sametime.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
(Update 06/07: added story from Network World)
See what happens when you post 3 times in one day
? You forget to post for 6! Seriously, though, we've been reading some of the stories that have come out since our announcements over the past 2 weeks. Here's just a few excerpts from some of those stories.
On May 25, Robbie Pleasant over at UCStrategies.com posted IBM Releases Sametime 8.5.2
. It included 2 quotes from industry analysts, including Dave Michels and Marty Parker:
"SUT takes a very different approach to voice by integrating with the PBX behind the scene," says Dave Michels,
UCStrategies UC Expert. "The key advantage is an organization with
multiple voice solutions can provide a consistent user experience.
"With these enhancements, IBM is focusing on continued growth in social
networks and IM, on mobility and video as new modes and media, and on
ease of adoption of Sametime as the enterprise communication interface
for most job types and roles."
- Marty Parker
, Principal Unicomm Consulting.
There was also a writeup in Network World, IBM Improves Sametime Platform
, noting the many enhancements to the unified communications and collaboration software including audio and video conferencing and new mobile support:
Android users will now be able to monitor presence, access instant messaging (including background notification of new messages), use a new text to speech application that lets the Android device read Sametime messages, and take / send photos from the chat window or from the user's photo library.
No Jitter, while not explicitly discussing Sametime 8.5.2, does discuss how IBM's unified communications (UC) strategy has helped us evolve into a social business. The article notes
that many UC vendors have been adding social capabilities and integrations into their products, but IBM is the company that stands out with the most social networking capabilities and features.
...the one company that stands out is IBM. They were an early entrant to the social scene, and coined the term "Social Business." IBM has embraced the slogan “Get Social: Do Business,” and backed it up with more social networking capabilities and features than their competitors...IBM's strategy is based on the idea of raising the "big tent" and supporting all vendor PBX implementations.
In the same vein, IBM Germany blogger Stefan Pfeiffer
, guest blogging on Silicon.de
, posted about his use of social networking as a mobile worker for IBM. Stefan joined IBM through the FileNet acquisition, and since that time has become a member of IBM's mobile workforce using instant messaging, sharing files, bookmarks and collaborating with colleagues through wikis and blogs. Stefan discusses his use of social for collaborating with business partners, customers and prospects, and the self discipline required when working from home (actual text in German).
A couple of news mentions this week for IBM unified communications. Our first story comes from Italy, where Business magazine
published a feature story on how unified communications technologies, such as videoconferencing, can increase process efficiencies and reduce costs. IBM client Terna, the Enel Business Unit that manages the national electric network, is highlighted. Computerworld Australia
also published an article on an uptick in unified communications projects and the bundling of social capabilities bringing added benefits to clients. IBM's Mike Handes is quoted throughout the article:
"One of the neat things about social software is that if you’re going to support a distributed workforce and you’ve got people working across different geographical boundaries, it [UC] combined with social networking brings that force together through collaboration,” [Mike Handes] told Computerworld Australia.
As you saw from our posts this week, we've been busy at Enterprise Connect
. All in all a good show, attendance was up, and we had some solid traffic and conversations in the booth and in the panels we participated in. We'll hopefully have a summary for you tomorrow or early next week.
In the meantime, the press continues to highlight IBM unified communications. The latest two articles cover the growing importance of both social business and video collaboration, two areas where Sametime and IBM participate strongly. eWeek published an article
on Socialtext's integration with IBM Lotus Sametime allowing customers to conduct real-time, one-to-one chats with their business contacts:
Socialtext 4.6 now integrates with IBM Lotus Sametime and Microsoft Office Communicator instant messaging products to allow customers to conduct real-time, one-to-one chats with their business contacts. Sametime and Communicator join AIM Yahoo and Skype as instant messaging tools Socialtext supports. InformationWeek discusses IBM Business Partner Vidyo
offering videoconferencing capabilities for Lotus Sametime comparable to Cisco Telepresence.
IBM has announced a Vidyo plug-in for Lotus SameTime that it claims offers videoconferencing capabilities comparable to Cisco Telepresence. Vidyo calls it "personal telepresence," and it may soon be available on your desktop, if you're a user of IBM's Lotus SameTime. "Just as SameTime users can go into a voice communication from an IM chat session they'll be able to do HD-quality multi-point videoconferencing," said Vidyo director of product marketing Mark Noble.
Happy New Year to those on the Western Calendar! Catching up from a little time off, I see a couple of news items from last week of note you might be interested in.
No Jitter published an article ("Decoding 'Collaboration for realistic decision-making
") on collaboration: what it is, how it affects businesses, and building a unified communications roadmap. IBM Quickr is mentioned specifically as a means of an information repository or shared workspace:
In many cases, there is also a need for an information repository or shared workspace, using enterprise tools such as Microsoft SharePoint, IBM Quickr, or dozens of other collaboration products; in those cases, the communications tools are being built into, or tightly integrated with, those collaborative workspaces.
And within the broader coverage of Avaya's recent announced enhancements to its Avaya Agile Communication Environment, many articles (such as this one from UC Strategies
) including mention of the support for IBM Sametime and Lotus Notes. A similar piece from Network World
also had this to say:
As for IBM environments, there's a packaged application to embed voice in the latest release of IBM Lotus Notes and Sametime. Employees can click-to-call and see telephony presence from within Lotus Release 8.5.1 while using deskphones from Avaya or other vendors. – Network World
It's not that it's been a quiet week (or three) since the last news roundup - it's that we've been busy around here. You know, getting ready for Hallowe'en and all. But our press corps has been very hard at work as always, with some new press coverage we wanted to share with you.
In Chile, Channel News published two articles on Lotus Notes 8.5.2 and Lotus Sametime following a local Lotus Knows event.
IBM Lotus Notes, in its latest version 8.5.2, can be the platform for converging technologies and mail, office tools, secure corporate instant messaging and encrypted audio and video conferencing and others. These tools converge in a work environment forming a "single collaborative desktop."
In Italy, Office Automation published an article on the benefits of enterprises adopting UC solutions (Italy, Office Automation, 09.10, UC Solutions, why should companies adopt them?)
And there's been a lot of news for the rest of our portfolio. Look for some additional recaps on our Lotus Knows blog
It was an excellent week in the news for IBM Unified Communications and Collaboration. The IBM Communications team has been hard at work getting us in front of a lot of industry press, and these articles are nice confirmations that what we want to talk about, people want to hear about.
As we posted earlier, IBM recently announced the availability of strategy and assessment services for Unified Communications as a Service
(UCaaS) for clients considering moving to a cloud environment. A recent post in the Nojitter.com blog ("Is the Cloud Right for Unified Communications?
", By Eric Krapf) ) highlights IBM's expertise in UC strategy and assessment services, and details several new considerations related to the cloud, including security, cost, regulatory environments and specific industry needs. The story was also picked up by several outlets, including VoIPPlanet (IBM Explores Pros, Cons of UC in the Cloud
) and BillingWorld (IBM Services Jumps on UC-in-the-Cloud Bandwagon
“What we do today is help customers build a long-term strategy and help them understand what the differences are in an on-premises private cloud vs. the public cloud," [Korkki] said. “We’re not pushing one technology over another. We start from the customers’ point of view and look at their needs, and then determine what the solutions are. Then we help them understand best deployment option." --Billingworld
"We have a history of building unified communications environments for customers and now what we see happening is the cloud taking off," Jeri Korkki, IBM Global Service Category Leader for ICS Cloud Services told InternetNews.com. -- VoIPPlanet.com
Network World published an article
on the rise of social computing due to enterprise-ready offerings in three key areas: sharing workspaces, social platforms and unified communications applications. IBM is the only vendor highlighted with offerings in each of the three categories.
"Social-computing products are transitioning from individual applications, such as blogs, wikis, or document sharing, to integrated social-computing suites encompassing and integrating many different tools."
SearchUnifiedCommunications quotes our very own John Del Pizzo,
discussing whether touch screen-enabled mobile devices will revolutionize unified communications.
"I think the touch screen device in mobile tablet form may end up replacing a lot of those fixed IP phones that do everything … [because] touch screen interfaces are certainly much more intuitive and easier than a phone keyboard," Del Pizzo said.
Recently IBM announced Singapore Airlines
' use of Sametime, IBM Lotus Notes/Domino, Traveler, Connections and Quickr to empower its geographically distributed workforce. That announcement received quite a bit of coverage, including some of the quotes you see below:
IBM won a bid over Microsoft, after a comprehensive total cost of ownership study evaluated by Singapore Airlines. The airline company chose IBM Lotus software for a more effective collaboration and communication among its geographically diffused man power despite mobility. – Silicon Angle
“What's interesting in the Singapore Airline announcement, is the specific focus on building out on their existing platform to enhance their collaboration, knowledge management and mobility support. In addition, Singapore Airlines has the confidence to stand with their vendor and announce their decision to maximize their investment in IBM/Lotus software.”- Leadership By Numbers
And we continue to see coverage from our IBM Customer Experience Suite announcement 2 weeks ago, from the media and blogger community around the globe. Of note, the Financial Times
highlighted the IBM Customer Experience Suite in Monday Sep 27th's issue of the paper:
If your call centre attracts more brick bats then praise, maybe its time to switch to web-based customer support. IBM’s Customer Experience Suite encourages customers to help themselves to information using blogs, chat forums, video, social networking tools and, increasingly, mobile devices. --Financial Times
Even with the Labor Day holiday making for a shorter work week in many countries, there was still some news coverage we would like to share. Data Quest India published an article
on vendor lock-in slowing the adoption of unified communications. IBM is
touted as a vendor providing unified communications solutions that can
interoperate with any mail messaging platform:
IBM entered into UC marketplace in 2006 lining up a number of products including the unified communication middleware platform and IBM Lotus Sametime and services including IBM WebSphere Unified Messaging, IBM Global Technology Services...In the last eight-ten quarters, there has been a significant ramp-up of Sametime, especially in the e-learning space. A lot of customers have been using streaming video and audio conference through Sametime enabling clients to connect and share content reducing travel cost and go-to-market time.
If you have seen other Sametime or IBM Unified Communications in the news that you would like to share, don't hesitate to tweet
me with details, or share on our Lotus Knows page on Facebook
A reminder from our energetic LotusUserGroup.org community and the Virtual User Group program: join Lotus product managers Rob Ingram and Kathleen Cooke on September 14, 2011
for a brief, but information-packed 30 minute webcast on what's
new in IBM Lotus® Sametime® 8.5.1 and IBM Lotus Sametime Unified
Telephony 8.5.1 software:
- Come see what the 8.5.1 release looks like on the Mac 10.6, Linux, and other popular desktop and mobile device environments.
- Discover how the new Sametime Unified Telephony 8.5.1
release provides support for additional client platforms and simplifies
- See how to reduce calling costs with softphone, call management, and aggregated presence awareness.
- Get a peek at what a real consistent user communications
experience looks like with a demonstration of telephony presence,
incoming call management, click-to-call, click-to-conference, and
- Learn how to activate telephony features via administrator policies
- Hear what early deployment customers are saying
- Q&A with the product management team
Plus, one lucky participant will win a Plantronics Voyager PRO UC wireless Bluetooth headset*.
The presentation is free but requires pre-register here
(*There's that 'conditions apply - see registration page for details' asterisk again...)
***CORRECTION 08/25*** I forgot to mention that this webcast is part of a series of three upcoming Sametime webcasts jointly sponsored by Plantronics and Meridian IT.
It was a varied week in UC news. As mentioned earlier this week, Doug Carolus and our friends over at NoJitter posted an excellent feature article on Sametime and Sametime Unified Telephony
We encourage you to read the post in detail, and I'm sure they would
like to hear what you have to say (registration required for comments).
Recently in Australia, Alistair Rennie participated in a live panel and webcast discussing the future of email. ZDNet
published a recap (along with a second post of photos) of the panel highlighting Alistair's remarks positioning IBM as a thought leader in integrating analytics and social capabilities into collaboration. This is important from a Unified Communications standpoint because the increasing importance of measuring business value of all enterprise investments extends to UC: adoption rates, actual ROI on the investments made, and identifying usage patterns that open up new opportunities for integrations and use cases.
And finally, Processor Magazine
published an article on steps enterprises should take when evaluating unified communications and collaboration solutions, including VoIP and UC systems. In a sidebar to the main article, John Del Pizzo provides specific recommendations for enterprises evaluating UC solutions:
IBM’s Del Pizzo stresses that enterprises should keep in mind their end goal when analyzing their VoIP and/or UC needs...“It’s important for enterprises to first have a strong understanding of where their UC/VoIP challenges lie,” says John Del Pizzo, program director for IBM’s Unified Communication & Collaboration Software group. “From speaking with customers, these are commonly identified as slow business processes and response times; expensive travel; and complex, disparate technology platforms.”
This week's IBM UC News roundup includes several articles on the heel of the CIO.com interview with Alistair Rennie
we posted about earlier in the week. Reinforcing that story, FierceVoIP
and Rethink Wireless
published articles on IBM's unified collaborations strategy and offerings for the mobile market. Mobility is still very hot, with 4.1B mobile phone users worldwide (a 60% penetration) and an increasing percentage (although still small) of those are smart phones on higher-speed networks (ITU report from 2009
). The effect of this shift to mobility on the way we work is already being felt.
A feature story in Australia's ARNnet
focuses on the opportunities and challenges presented to IT teams when mobilizing an organization's workforce. In the article, IBM's Michael Handes discussing the benefits of social software in identifying knowledge workers and the future convergence of unified communications and mobility. IT Jungle
continued the coverage on the new features of Lotus Sametime 8.5.1, including support for Linux desktops, mobile phones, Web browsers, Notes, Outlook and Windows.
The Really Big News of the Week, IBM's intent to acquire Unica
, might not at first blush seem related to Unified Communications. But with the increased market need for creating exceptional customer experiences, whether on the web or in all channels, comes a need for enterprises to not only analyze the traffic on their websites more effectively, but turn that insight into more meaningful and longer-lasting customer experiences. That includes the ability to interact with company representatives beyond e-mail or picking up the phone: rich text chat, audio and/or video chat, click-to-call, etc. Customer service representatives and the Call Center are only the first line of contact; they can't possibly answer every question, and customers are more than ever demanding faster (and smarter) responses. So more and more enterprises are going to be under more and more pressure to allow (encourage?) more and more of their employees to connect with customers directly. Unified Communications integrated with web portals and e-commerce seems to me at least a natural extension of the power and promise of UC beyond "traditional" information worker collaboration.
I don't know about you, but I for one will be glad to be rid of the all-too-deeply-buried webform "fill this out and we'll get back in touch with you shortly".
As one of the SametimeBlog managers, I'm always looking for more conversation opportunities with you, our readers. So in addition to our Business Partner Tuesdays
and Friday Funnies
sections, today I'm introducing a new, hopefully weekly every Friday, the IBM UC News Roundup. We'll bring you a summary of IBM- and Unified Communications-related stories in the press and blogosphere, and add our own thoughts as well.
Hopefully you find this new section valuable. As always, we thank you for making us part of your regular reading, and looking forward to your comments, questions, and conversation.
Although not technically in the week of August 2, the big story, of course, is today's article in CIO.com, "IBM to Accelerate Mobile Unified Communications
". IBM continues to see Unified Communications, and mobility, as very important components of the collaboration market, and it was nice for our General Manager, Alistair Rennie, and Rob Ingram, our senior offerings manager, to talk to CIO Magazine about these trends and where IBM plays. Don Van Doren, a principal with Unicomm Consulting
, had some nice things to add to the article as well:
"Van Doren also ranks IBM as being far ahead in its social networking software for business with Lotus Connections tied into presence and with its capabilities for mining information within the corporate network to enhance finding the right people for specific tasks. "They've been working on this four or five years," he says. "Cisco is just starting to do it...[and] IBM is aligned to do well in battling its primary competitor, Microsoft, [says Don Van Doren]"
And Alistair also linked in the coming 4G deployments as well:
"Over time, as businesses deploy 4G handhelds, IBM will fully support mobile collaboration "on the mobile device of choice" and treat the collaboration features as services, not a stack of available features but an always-available set of tools, Rennie said."
There were two stories we followed this past week. Following a blog post from Gartner’s Craig Roth
on Project Northstar, IT Business Edge blogger Loraine Lawson has chosen to continue the discussion
, focusing on Project Northstar
as IBM’s “Grand Theory.” Overall, Lawson is supportive of the technology, particularly it's promise to integrate unified communications and other collaborative tools and capabilities. We, of course, whole-heartedly agree:
And this one is particularly nice, because it promises to integrate across unified communications, social software, mobile technology and rich media, Roth writes. IBM includes an even more exciting integration story among its five key NorthStar principles…”
UCStrategies published a podcast with IBM's Caleb Barlow
discussing IBM Lotus Foundations and its integration with ShoreTel
. A key element of providing unified communications to Small and Medium Business (SMB) is a focus on lower up-front investments in both capital and IT resources. The needs of SMBs might be similar to larger enterprises, but the resources are usually more constrained. The IBM Foundation for Smart Business
program and products are exactly about that, and UC is definitely part of the mix:
...The Foundations appliance out of the box: it’s a file server, print server, web server, mail server, anti-virus, anti-spam, firewall, VPN, you get the idea...
...As IBM, we want to maintain an open relationship with all of our partners. ShoreTel is the first to have a solution available, but we have publicly announced that we’re also working on similar capabilities with Mitel, NEC, and BroadSoft...
And that's this week's roundup.