IBM reaches out to 'deskless' workers

IBM's Lotus Workplace Messaging, a web-based e-mail and contact management system built on the company's WebSphere application...

IBM's Lotus Workplace Messaging, a web-based e-mail and contact management system built on the company's WebSphere application server and DB2 database technology, is the latest software to target the deskless population.

Earlier this month, messaging software company Sendmail teamed with Hewlett-Packard and Intel to develop a low-cost, Linux-based messaging system.

"There is a substantial number of people out there, roughly 30% of employees, who are deskless and don't have e-mail from their organisation," said David Ferris, president of Ferris Research. "Clearly, vendors have seen the opportunity."

A highly scalable, cost-effective messaging system built to exploit existing infrastructure investments fills a clear need in enterprises of all sizes, said Ken Bisconti, vice president of messaging solutions at IBM .

Low cost is one critical factor to the success of Workplace Messaging. The system is priced at $29 per user, but with certain configurations, long-term costs can drop as low as $1 per user, per month, Bisconti claimed. A traditional Lotus Notes setup can cost more than three times that amount.

Furthermore, because e-mail can help eliminate expensive paper-based processes such as memos, pay stubs, and HR documents, Workplace Messaging can also help take costs out of the system and increase employee responsiveness, Bisconti said.

Workplace Messaging supports any LDAP Version 3 environment and integrates with existing mail systems. Future versions will run on Linux and will feature integration with WebSphere Portal.

Sendmail and HP's Workforce Mail offering combines Sendmail's e-mail software, HP ProLiant Servers, and Intel's Centrino low-power wireless platform running on Linux. The joint solution is based on Linux because it proved to be the most cost-effective platform for deploying a messaging system, according to Sendmail officials.

Cathleen Moore writes for InfoWorld

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