Lotus has smart way to merge data

Lotus is next week expected to lift the lid on a new generation of software which analysts say could revolutionise the way firms...

Lotus is next week expected to lift the lid on a new generation of software which analysts say could revolutionise the way firms manage their data.

Lindsay Clark

Lotus is next week expected to lift the lid on a new generation of software which analysts say could revolutionise the way firms manage their data.

During Lotusphere in Orlando next week, Lotus is due to reveal further details of a portal technology, dubbed Raven. It promises search engines that infer meaning, together with new ways of locating expertise within your organisation based on how individuals use information, as well as biographical data.

If Lotus brings this technology to market in the right way, it will create a new paradigm of sharing information within companies, said Eric Woods, principal analyst with Ovum. "It could take existing and new customers into a very different way of working with computers, moving beyond e-mail and office products," he said.

IT professionals are already expressing a strong interest in Raven, said Michael Chapman Pincher, head of operations with The User Group, which represents users of messaging and collaborative software. Most companies are implementing international intranets, but only using them for reference information, he said.

"We've found that intranets deliver less value than Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes," Chapman Pincher said. "It's clear that Raven could be a valuable application on an intranet."

Raven is an attempt to maintain Lotus' technology lead over Microsoft, which announced its knowledge management strategy last year, said Woods.

"Microsoft has a strong integration message. This is good but has to be improved. Microsoft is attempting a new order of complexity with Exchange 2000," he said.

"With all this technology, users need to think through what the company is trying to achieve and whether they can move smoothly from office productivity to collaborative software."

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