What a difference a year makes, especially in LotusLand here in Orlando at Lotusphere 2007. Yesterday IBM formally introduced "Lotus Connections" to an enthusiastic and even surprised crowd. Here's the press release, the web site, and ZDNet's coverage. There were other announcements of course and there are breakout sessions on everything IBM/Lotus including Notes, Domino, and WebSphere. But, the excitement and focus is clearly around Connections. This is the first true "Enterprise 2.0" Suite. Focused around Social Networking, it is integrated from the ground up, very simple to learn and use, and can be used a la carte. The Five components are; Profiles (people), Communities, Blogs, Dogear (tagging), and Activities. I think it's really well done.
So, is this Lotus Connections vs. Suite 2.0?
Intel's Suite 2.0 (to be fair this is Intel Capital, not the software people at Intel behind it) will have a tough time against this offering - IMHO. While the two offerings are different, there is considerable overlap. The most important distinction is that this suite was built as an integrated solution from the get-go and even more importantly is built on one platform. S2 is from 4 or more vendors, cobbled together by SpikeSource, and contains components utilizing both LAMP and .NET platforms. And will reportedly run $150 - 200 per seat. I have no idea what IBM will be charging.
So why is our company here? Attensa is showing some exciting new things publicly for the first time. We are also seeing some faces light up to our attention-laden (auto-prioritizing) "river of news" aggregator sitting inside of Hanover (Lotus code name for next version of Notes) as well as inside of Lotus SameTime (their enterprise IM product) that has some 15 million users in the enterprise I am told. We've also seen strong interest in our Outlook 2007 savvy version too. More on all of this soon.