Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Re-branding the Lotus products: is it real?

That, of course, is the Project Vulcan message which Ted also mentioned -- providing an exceptional work experience with a simple and seamless user interface. What's underneath it may be more than one of the actual products, all working together, true, but the message to the customer is that all these parts come from IBM and they all work together -- and the end-user doesn't need to see the joins.

This means that branding pieces of software differently, and giving each one its own market positioning, works against what IBM are trying to do. There's no doubt, too, that they've looked at come of their competitors, such as Microsoft and Oracle, and seen that by and large their product range, even it it does come from different parts of the company, just has that one brand name attached.

Will this be a good thing? I think it will be, and the audience at UKLUG were of that opinion too. You can listen to the This Week In Lotus podcast recorded at the show to find out.

I think it will make the message in the marketplace clearer, and ultimately it will help the flagging Lotus brand's product set. There's no doubt that Notes has taken a battering in many markets in recent years, and there's a whole raft of reasons and theories as to why, none of which I'm going to go into.

Battering it has had, yet the product set -- Notes, Domino, Sametime, Quickr et al, all -- as we know, offer great functionality and value to most companies. Collaboration isn't an optional feature of human existence, yet there are plenty of companies out there that still don't see the commercial value of collaboration internally or externally.

These companies will have heard of Microsoft -- because they'll be using their products -- and they'll probably have heard of IBM, but to them the Lotus name will be Notes 4 at best,and possibly even 1-2-3. Which means that IBM, by rebranding great products with the IBM name can start to re-market them, and bring the great collaboration and social business messages, without any of that previous baggage coming with it.

Bring it on, I say.