Lotus' Workplace Messaging May Be Boon To Channel

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The launch of Lotus' Web-based messaging platform last week opens up new revenue opportunities for the channel, IBM Lotus partners say.

Workplace Messaging includes messaging, DB2, WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment Edition version 5.0 and IBM Directory 4.1. Lotus is targeting the J2EE-based server at deskless employees, such as factory-floor workers, retail clerks and bank tellers.

While the list price is $29 per user, per year, volume discounts for Workplace Messaging will bring the actual cost down to 80 cents per user, per month, or roughly $10 per user, per year, Lotus said, confirming an earlier report by CRN.

In contrast, the company's Notes product is priced at roughly $160 per user, per year, executives said.

Lotus also plans to debut Workplace Messaging portlets for WebSphere Portal Server later this year.

"It's a good idea. It's fast, lightweight and inexpensive," said Lou Breithaupt, vice president of business development at metaLogic Consulting, an IBM Lotus Business Partner. "It allows companies to penetrate deeper into the knowledge base of their organization and empower those employees that haven't

had e-mail to communicate easily and readily."

Workplace Messaging also addresses rising corporate interest in inexpensive, Web-based messaging solutions, said Robert Matson, CEO of BlueStorm, an IBM Lotus Business Partner in Binghamton, N.Y. "It's a real good fit," he said. "Most of our work is Web-based, and we do customer work with WebSphere and Domino. So it's a companion to that."

One analyst said the move is good for Lotus. "IBM becomes positioned to add messaging and collaboration services contextually to business and mobile applications," said The Yankee Group's Dana Gardner. "It hits Microsoft Exchange on price now, and on better integration later."

Microsoft solution providers didn't necessarily agree. "Lotus/IBM is a late-comer," said Ted Dinsmore, president of Conchango, a Microsoft Certified Partner based in New York.

Messaging Money Matters
A comparison of enterprise messaging costs
Microsoft Exchange Lotus Notes Lotus Workplace Messaging
• Average cost per user a month; $13
• Estimated cost per user a year; $160
• Average cost per user a month; $13
• Estimte cost per user a year ; $160
• Average cost per user a month; 80 cents
• Estimte cost per user a year ; Less than $10
Source: Ferris Research, Lotus
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