IBM Debuts Partner Benefits for LotusLiveBy Leah Gabriel Nurik | Print
At last week’s Lotusphere 2010, Big Blue unveiled its LotusLive Labs and a slew of new partner benefits to make it easier for resellers and other business partners to grab a piece of the expanding cloud marketplace that IBM projects should reach $126 billion by 2012.
LotusLive is gaining traction, securing more than 18 million subscribers since the on-demand collaboration services became available in 2009, but IBM partners have, for the most part, been left out of the deals. At last week’s Lotusphere 2010, Big Blue unveiled its LotusLive Labs and a slew of new partner benefits to make it easier for resellers and other business partners to grab a piece of the expanding cloud marketplace that IBM projects should reach $126 billion by 2012.
Cloud computing is hot, but many software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers are struggling to figure out a way to utilize VARs and give the channel an opportunity to take advantage of the market. At last year’s Lotusphere, IBM LotusLive Vice President Sean Poulley underscored the difficulty during a news conference.
"I think it's noteworthy the SaaS industry hasn't figured out how to work with the channel," said Poulley.
In 2010 IBM plans to change that through the joint creation by IBM Research and Lotus of LotusLive Labs, what IBM says is "a proving ground for advances in business-driven collaboration in the cloud."
Big Blue previewed some of the technologies to be available in LotusLive Labs. They included Slide Library, a collaborative way to build and share presentations; Collaborative Recorded Meetings; Event Maps, an interactive way to visualize and interact with conference schedules; and Composer, the ability to create LotusLive mashups through the combination of LotusLive services.
To further aid IBM development partners, IBM will make application programming interfaces (APIs) available to any IBM business partner in the second half of 2010. IBM identified Silanis Technology, Skype and Prolifiq as partners that have already completed integration with LotusLive services.
IBM also signed up several new integration and reseller partners, including PGi (formerly Premiere Global Services). PGi will resell LotusLive Meetings, integrated with its audio conferencing platform.
Big Blue expanded IBM business partner benefits for resellers interested in LotusLive. Participating partners can utilize no-cost LotusLive demo accounts as well as a number of marketing and technical support programs to support selling LotusLive.
"By making it easy for partners to weave cloud-based social networking, collaboration and communication tools into their applications, customers will gain powerful new ways to solve business problems," said Poulley.
Undoubtedly, IBM is making substantial progress at persuading both existing and new Lotus customers to move to LotusLive services. Building on that success, IBM announced that it had secured another big win with Microsoft Outlook veteran and consumer-electronics giant Panasonic, and says that Panasonic will be its largest cloud computing deployment yet. Big Blue beat out Cisco and Microsoft, who also were competing for the deal, which will involve migration off both Microsoft Exchange and legacy applications.
Panasonic will eventually move its 300,000 employees and outside collaborators like partners and suppliers to the on-demand Lotus model, but will begin with 100,000 employees across multiple lines of business. Panasonic’s LotusLive functionality will span e-mail, contacts, file sharing, instant messaging, conference and project management capabilities.