Web services to dominate Lotusphere conference

Lotus Software Group will use its annual gathering of partners and customers at Lotusphere in Orlando, next week, to highlight...

Lotus Software Group will use its annual gathering of partners and customers at Lotusphere in Orlando, next week, to highlight its Web services strategy.

The company will promote tighter links between Domino and WebSphere and a move to embed collaboration components in other applications.

Riding the tide of Web services and pulled toward parent company IBM, Lotus is shifting from a product company to a components services organisation. It is also leaning more on IBM's vast channel and global services organisation, said Dana Gardner, research director at analysts Aberdeen Group.

"If you are an IBM shop you'll start to see the ability to use Lotus services and components without having to master the Lotus platform. You'll see it more tightly integrated into a bundled offering for hosted types of activities," Gardner said.

At the show, Lotus plans to detail the closer ties between Domino and WebSphere, including common infrastructure bonds and technology bundling.

Announcements will also prepare users and partners for "contextual collaboration", an emerging idea in which collaboration functions in Lotus products such as Sametime and QuickPlace are embedded as elements of other applications such as ERP and CRM, said Scott Cooper, vice-president of Lotus Solutions' business unit.

"You'll see how our technologies will play in the world of collaboration, not as just an environment you go to for e-mail and meetings but something that is more of an embedded function in many different applications," Cooper said.

Lotus plans to rebuild and restructure its collaboration technologies around Web services by, for example, adding support for standards such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration) and making significant changes to the design, packaging, and pricing of Lotus products, Cooper said.

Lotusphere highlights are expected to include:

  • The forthcoming release of Lotus Domino, code-named Rnext, will be branded and given a release date.

  • Lotus Professional Services will be rebranded and reorganised to define its role within IBM's Global Services.

  • Integration between Domino and WebSphere will be explained.

  • Lotus will restructure technologies around Web services, including product design, packaging, and pricing model changes.

  • An insight into IBM's research labs work and its implications for future product plans such as new user interface designs and knowledge discovery technologies.

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