Updates on Lotus Notes & Domino (Lotuspehere 2012)

Some interesting news from Lotusphere 2012:

IBM has announced a couple interesting items at this week’s Lotusphere – namely, the new “Social” edition of the Lotus Notes client, as well as extended email capabilities within their IBM Connections product (their Social Business tool).

I’ve summarized some of the highlights below – if you would like some additional information on them, please don’t hesitate to shoot us a call.

IBM Connections 3.0

Social in the business setting is an interesting proposition. Most notably, it can help larger corporations engage disparate resource teams, and help them better mine innovation that already may already exist within another business unit.

IBM’s version of Social is pretty much the same as Facebook – users can make profiles of themselves, tell colleagues “what” they are working on, share files and start discussion threads with specific groups, and so on. However, one thing that sets Social Business apart from Facebook is in the “Activities” department.

IBM Connections allow you to create centralized activities, and “invite” other users to participate in the task in a Social way. So if you envision the “email overload” that most companies face, this might just be the solution – If your users can take an incoming email, and turn it into a larger “work effort” through Activities, you can essentially eliminate all of the spreadsheets and “FYI” emails that cripple today’s Inbox’s.

What makes this more compelling is that before you were required to have Lotus Notes email in order to “move” an email into IBM Connections. Otherwise, users were required to “copy and paste” the email information inside the Activity. Now, with their direct “Inbox app”, IBM Connections can link directly to the Inbox of Microsoft Exchange as well as Lotus Notes & Domino. So just about any company can now benefit from the Workspaces and Activities apps within IBM Connections.

IBM Lotus Notes 8.5.4 – Social Edition

The new Lotus Notes release, called “Social Edition”, has a new feature set called “Embedded Experiences”.  This capability should let developers make applications that can “live” inside a Lotus Notes email message.  For example – if a customer emails in an order into your Customer Service Inbox, there can be an embedded “What would you like to do?” type application directly inside the email.  The embedded application could prompt the user what to do – automatically initiate the order inside ERP, start a new collaborative Activity regarding the order, “snooze it” for later review, and so on.  These embedded applications can be dynamic to the content that it is “reading” – so you can make Smart Email by comparing the From of an email with your CRM system, to provide different actions and capabilities for Vendors and Customers alike.  Pretty powerful stuff.

Lotus Notes Plug-In Lets You Run Standard (Legacy) Lotus Notes Applications Inside A Web Browser

Also in 8.5.4 will be a Firefox plug-in to let you run Lotus Notes application directly inside the web browser (no conversion required).  This can help companies eliminate the Lotus Notes Client entirely, yet still utilize their old Lotus Notes applications unchanged.  From what they are saying, these will be standard Notes applications.  This poses some difficulty, as a lot of the development in Lotus Notes is now utilizing XPages and Composite Applications.  The plug-in will not work for these apps (which is why we believe the plug-in will not work for Lotus Notes email).  In addition, it will be a 100meg download – not huge with cable modems these days.  But the size is something to consider (to be fair, Java is about 125megs, and Adobe Reader is close to 70megs – so the idea of a “small plug-in” has been abandoned long ago).

IBM XWork Server

On a side note, IBM has a new, “slimmed down” license for IBM Lotus Domino.  If you have moved off of Lotus Notes email, but still have some applications running inside the Lotus Notes client, the IBM XWork Server allows you to reduce your cost.  The charge is $2,000 fixed-price yearly.  So if you have over 100 users, this would make sense.  Or, if you have an old Domino server that is not currently under maintenance, this is a good way to get back to current without having to repurchase full Lotus Notes client licenses.