Sunday, June 1, 2003

Excitement and uncertainty surround rise of WebSphere

MARKET ANALYSIS

By Steve Niles

Here at DominoPower, we recently interviewed dozens of industry professionals in the Notes and Domino world in an attempt to assess the current state of Domino and WebSphere. Over the coming weeks, we'll share the fascinating results of those interviews.

In the previous article, "Where will opportunity knock?" at http://www.dominopower.com/issues/issue200305/00001024001.html, we asked where, specifically, the respondents saw the most opportunity, whether it be in services, products, or some other category. This time, we asked them to give their overall opinion of Domino, WebSphere, Lotus, and IBM.

According to Robert Baum at TechFlow, Inc. (at http://www.techflow.com), "Domino doesn't have the marketing traction it needs to grow today. For workgroup computing or tying together a department, Domino is an excellent choice. However, for a corporate solution or an integrated cohesive solution, decision makers are leaning towards the Web application server environments where WebSphere is a big player. WebSphere is a maturing and growing product suite. IBM is leaning heavily behind WebSphere and picking up the tools the market needs to make it the most competitive offering out there. It will be one of the environments that survives the shake-out happening in that market space today. Lotus has evolved from a company itself to a product suite under IBM. When people discuss Lotus, they are talking about IBM's products in LearningSpace, Sametime, Domino, QuickPlace, etc. It is a product group like WebSphere, DB2, or Tivoli. From a branding stigma and a marketing perspective, I don't think Lotus is seen as a leader or innovator in the market anymore. The days of 123 and when Notes was leading in the market are over."

Jamie Magee of MartinScott Consulting LLC (at http://MartinScott.com) is not so pessimistic. "For offline usage, tight email integration, semi-structured content, and rapid development cycles, Lotus Notes and Domino is still the only viable business platform. Yet Domino professionals are concerned that the marketing and executive groups at IBM do not always understand the true impact of this distinction. Some of them even see Lotus as an old technology brand. Rather, Lotus Notes and Domino is, in fact, the most evolved and mature platform for collaboration."

Steven Birchfield of Automation Centre (at http://www.acentre.com) really likes the new Notes 6 release and believes we are all fortunate to be a part of IBM and Domino. John Carini of iEnterprises, Inc. (at http://www.CRMMadeSimple.com) also thinks that IBM and Lotus have it together with their focus on the partner channel, as well SMBs (Small and Medium Businesses), Notes, and WebSphere.