Participate in a Lotus User Experience Study

Lotus is looking for volunteers to submit for a futures usability study.  It runs this and next week.  Details below!

The Lotus User Experience Research team is conducting user research the week of August 22nd (extending to the week of Aug 29th as needed) and is looking for participants.

You will be asked to attend a 60-90 minute online session (connection details to follow) where strategic design direction, encompassing multiple IBM products, will be shown and discussed.

We are looking for a diverse audience to represent a rich set of perspectives.

This is not a usability assessment of current products nor a commitment to implement what is shown. This is directional research but your feedback will be used to shape the future direction of the products you use.

If interested, please tell us a little about yourself and available days and times using the brief survey []. Someone will contact you if there is a day/time match.

Thank you for your time!



Brian S. Utesch, Ph.D.
STSM, Lotus User Experience Research (UXR) Lead
IBM Software Group, WPLC, Lotus User Experience Group

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    On Wednesday, August 24th, 2011   by Chris Miller        

Live blogging Admin2011 keynote

The View once again live streamed the keynote address that contained Kevin Cavanaugh, Ed Brill and Chris Crummey for Las Vegas, NV.

After years of it being said that attendees wanted the printed material, WIS announced it went green and would not print materials.

Debbie Lynd announced the Three Musketeers to the stage, Ed and Chris are up first.

Ed started covering:
  • all the product releases, versions and some features
  • three updates to LotusLive since Lotusphere
  • Lotus Protector 2.8 about to ship (or is it IBM Protector now?)
  • Traveler companion for iOS now caches the password
  • Ed wants to talk about XPages Application Server licensing model

Chris Crummey stepped in for live demos:
  • a Notes demo and social demo were on tap
  • Live text was a huge showing of the initial part of the demo

From here I got lost in the flow and point of the demo.  He stated he wanted to do a demo where social and Notes were so blurred that you didn't know which was being covered.  But, then he switched over to the Connections experience which showed the defining line.  Social integration and analytics.

Ed stepped back in and highlighted LotusLive Notes.  They are using an optional FTP approach to send data into the staging servers.  I am still unsure what happened to good old replication that we here at Connectria provide.

"Social Mail" is their idea of next generation messaging.  Back to Chris for the demo.

Chris brings up iNotes as the demo client with Sametime, calendar and the OneUI look and feel.  Makes me think "Social Mail" will head towards my posting of Saying Goodbye to the Notes Client I did back around the #ibmexperience announcements.

Kevin Cavanaugh takes the stage and talkes of Sametime 8.5.2 launch in May.  You can watch a great webcast on "What's New in Sametime 8.5.2"

Chris launched a demo of the new web based IBM Connections client from the Mobile betas.  He shows the IdeaJam Ideation blog from the mobile device as well to vote on topics.  
Funny I would think working with files would be more important immediately than working with uploading photos.  I can see some companies wanting to do this, but more work with files would be higher on my personal listing.

He then went into the native Sametime client on the iPhone, including groups.

Kevin went back into more Sametime 8.5.2 tools like NAT and Bandwidth Manager.  (See above webcast for more info on those.)  Presence and IM on the Android devices including a SUT Dialer for calls and preferred numbers. As well as Sametime Meeting clients for BlackBerry.

Kevin announces that the Connections mobile client is awesome and ahead of schedule. It will be in all the major app stores.  I have heard rumblings from iWildfire not knowing about this coming.

From Kevin:
"Activity Stream services for IBM Connections 4 will also have an installable app to take things offline as well as pivot on those activities and launch into a full embedded experience using the Open Social 2 standard to launch actions from your mobile device."

With Open Social they can make items in the stream actionable.  Meaning click to do something.

After a brief Symphony demo showing off color coded web editing for Lotus Symphony by Chris, we moved to his iPad.  He mentioned iWildfire which I wonder how this fits with the new Connections mobile client.

He then shows the new dashboard, Morning Report, to show everything for the day on his iPad.  It sees the messages, calendar, tasks and more.  Basically back to the old dashboard of the Notes client. You can adjust some settings around showing unread and others. He uses the word analytics and the social business toolkit.  I think widgets.

Kevin talks about the openness being brought into the product line with Open Social standards and 2.0.  The work being shown was being run on an Open Social public sandbox site. We went to some demos of the work IBM has done and Kevin wants Open Social widgets to be brought to the next Lotusphere SocialSphere.

An interface was shown in a browser on the iPad, including file preview from the stream. Basically widgets hooking together social sites.

Ed then announced the IBM Champions, congrats to all the winners!
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    On Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011   by Chris Miller        

My article why IBM should retire the Lotus brand

Yesterday I posted on the announcement made in the UKLUG keynote address by Ted Stanton on the sunsetting of brands (not products) in the IBM naming world.  Earlier in the year I had written an article for publication that I am providing following this news coming true.
In the first week of February 2011, the annual Lotusphere conference by IBM was held in Orlando, FL. Each year a new theme is launched to drive the flow around the conference as new products are announced and futures discussed. The theme for 2011 from IBM/Lotus was Social Business

IBM/Lotus entered the realm of social business about two years ago by placing social networking into the enterprise with Lotus Connections. They soon became self proclaimed, and known to some, as an industry leader in this space.  With the recent release of Connections 3.0, they have made a strong statement.

However, the stigma of the name Lotus hangs heavy. It carries with it 20 years of weight from Lotus Notes and the nagging thought of the old 1-2-3 anytime you say Lotus.  So how would IBM break away, while moving forward the implementations of such products as Connections, Portal and and freshly remodeled and painted Notes?  Removing the Lotus moniker is a first step in that transition.

In no way am I hinting or saying that the actual products under the Lotus banner would be retired.  Simply the Lotus portion of the name itself. They have begun this movement years ago by placing IBM at the head of each product name. Many have been cross branded for some time, such as IBM Lotus Sametime.  Removing the Lotus from the middle is not a trivial task. Nor should IBM treat this decision lightly.

Back at Lotusphere, Social Business was pushed into everyone's minds as soon as the Opening General Session kicked off. while many still sit at companies globally wondering how this affects their email and applications based on Lotus Notes, even the sales reps are being told to push this initiative. The link for Social Business does take you to a Lotus branded URL, but one of the main links announces the IBM Social Collaboration Platform and the just completed IBM Social Business Jam

This new initiative focuses around social analytics, tracking, enhanced customer and web experiences and platforms to deploy these solutions.  All based on a collection of IBM software properties.  From this alone is makes perfect sense for IBM to bring these all together as one brand face and name, much like Cognos was brought into the IBM banner.

Since Lotusphere both the products Connections and Sametime have had the Lotus name removed from the product marketing.  While we do still the the name Lotus in the actual installed product in some places, new efforts will not show it when making future announcements and marketing.

IBM held massive press events last year around Project Northstar.  Their first move of taking software like Websphere Portal and making it the foundation for the IBM Customer Experience Suite.    I blogged extensively on Project Northstar  and during the launch.  While much of the press was there, the splash was not made.

Where does this leave Lotus in the new IBM picture?  As a name that held strength in the enterprise messaging and application platform space.  As a name that still haunts many people as a horrid experience because they were stuck on older versions or never experienced the full customer experience.  As a name to soon be retired, it's jersey hung in the banners and all the awards placed high on the IBM trophy case as an acquired, assimilated and merged product line in the IBM behemoth.  Goodbye Lotus brand name. Hello IBM collaboration.

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    On Tuesday, May 24th, 2011   by Chris Miller        

Best & Worst of Lotus 2010 day #3 of 5

Day #3. A daily posting for a work week of the best and worst of 2010 in the Lotus world from my eyes.

Best - Lotus Traveler

A downright amazing offering from Lotus.  They got the message from enterprises.  They went after it.  They owned it.  While this does eliminate some business partners making mobile products for mail, in my opinion, Lotus had to offer this to expand mail, calendar and contacts usage to mobile devices, for free.

While I do carry a Blackberry for numerous other application integration reasons.  (including the native Sametime application missing on Android), if I only wanted mail this would be my choice.  Not just because Lotus made it, but the feature and integration set is there for Apple, Windows and now Android.

Reviews from bloggers, the Android Community and industry have been nothing but positive.  Companies are deploying more mobile devices.  Management is done from the native Domino administration tools.   What are you waiting for? Deploy a Lotus Traveler server.

Worst  - Symphony PRESENTATIONS

Let me start by saying it seems I have good success with Documents (never have a reason to do Spreadsheets).  But my personal feelings on Presentations are disheartening.  I struggled with it more than once, over different versions.  Help files point to menu items that do not exist.  Text wobbles as you make changes.  Features were just not easy to find as I would expect.  I was not able to sit down and start working like in some other packages.

This is an area that would need improvement before I see enterprises making the switch.  Documents and spreadsheets are a core, but you rely on the entire package.  I recall the days of Freelance, from SmartSuite, which I think still actually is in use.  Lotus could have taken much of the technology, trials and lessons learned when growing that product to bring out in Symphony.  I know development resources stopped long ago, but the intellectual capital is still there. had a good comment on Lotus Symphony:
The most important difference between Lotus Symphony and OpenOffice that really matters, would be the fact that Symphony is, while based on OpenOffice code, still closed-source, whereas OO is entirely open source.

Engine-wise, it should not differ too much from OO since Symphony is a derivative fork from the OO project under IBM's heading. For now, underpinnings should still be the same, however it is not too impossible to expect that Symphony will start having major internal differences as time goes by, and IBM starts deviating Symphony from OO more in order to suit their own objectives better

Companies need and want a trusted alternative, yet feel compelled to use Office.  Google has the same problem making inroads in this area of corporate productivity.  I do like how Lotus revived the name from long ago, to continue again in competing.

********Related Posts*******
See the best & worst from Lotus 2010 day #5 of 5
See the best & worst from Lotus 2010 day #4 of 5
See the best & worst from Lotus 2010 day #3 of 5
See the best & worst from Lotus 2010 day #2 of 5
See the best & worst from Lotus 2010 day #1 of 5
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    On Wednesday, January 5th, 2011   by Chris Miller        

Connectria relaunches a unified hosting brand including Lotus products

I am pleased to announce that we (Connectria) have brought in our subsidiary Managed Hosting division, RedPlaid, to create a unified hosting solution.
Launched in 2006, REDPLAID Managed Hosting (“REDPLAID”) targeted small to mid-sized organizations that wanted secure and reliable Windows & Linux hosting solutions with a wide range of managed services. REDPLAID leveraged Connectria’s experience in delivering highly reliable and secure solutions that it had built for companies like Deutsche Bank and IBM. These solutions were packaged into standardized offerings that could meet the needs of a wide audience at very attractive prices. Since its inception, REDPLAID’s business grew exponentially, providing a complementary offer to its parent, Connectria, whose focus has been providing complex hosting solutions for large enterprises.

With the blending of all the services, we now offer under a single umbrella:
  • self managed
  • managed
  • complex
  • cloud

Visit our new Connectria website today and find out why we offer the best in Lotus Software hosting and management.

Eat.Sleep.Host    It is what we do.

Image:Connectria relaunches a unified hosting brand including Lotus products

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    On Monday, August 23rd, 2010   by Chris Miller        

Did Lotus break the branding promise with Symphony?

Lotus made a promise some time ago to align all of the branding choices in icons and colors for the products to be the same Orange look and feel.  They made great strides in this, even changing the old Sametime blue chat bubble to the orange.  However, when loading Symphony I noticed something right away as shown here:
Image:Did Lotus break the branding promise with Symphony?

The Symphony Document logo is now blue, much like Microsoft Word and the Symphony Spreadsheet is green much like Microsoft Excel.  Coincidence?  What happened to the original orange ones that existed?  Bueller?
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    On Wednesday, December 16th, 2009   by Chris Miller        

Why is Lotus Symphony installation not componetized?

I was (ahem) loading Symphony for the first time by modifying my current Lotus installation and was a bit stunned when I selected the IBM Lotus Symphony section of the install itself.  I was surprised to not see the little plus symbol showing me more options.  Here is the screenshot:

Image:Why is Lotus Symphony installation not componetized?

Other suites of Office tools allow you to pick and choose what portions you wish to install.  I only wanted the Presentation portion but was destined to get it all.  No one else only installs portions of tools for specific users as needed?
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    On Tuesday, December 15th, 2009   by Chris Miller