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March 14, 2008

IBM Sees 2008 as Banner Year for Unified Communications and Collaboration

By Greg Galitzine, Group Editorial Director

I had a chance to touch base with IBM’s (News - Alert) Adam Gartenberg, offering manager for the company’s unified communications and collaboration solutions, who shared some insight into what IBM has planned for their participation at VoiceCon next week.

I asked what IBM would be promoting at the event next week and learned that IBM would be sticking to its mantra: Communicate and Collaborate at the Speed of Business.
The speed of business is accelerating, which creates a pressing need for organizations to shield users from complexity, while optimizing and extending the value of IT and telephony investments. An open, holistic strategy for unified communications and collaboration enables enterprises to leverage and enhance business applications, processes and their underlying systems, while delivering a user experience that sets people free to easily find, reach and collaborate.
According to Gartenberg, “IBM is the only vendor that provides the services, software and hardware needed for unified communications and collaboration. IBM will be showcasing two new members of the Sametime family, Lotus Sametime Advanced and Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony along with a variety of services solutions for businesses of all sizes.”
IBM’s Mike Rhodin, General Manager, IBM Lotus Software is scheduled to deliver a keynote address where he will share the latest on IBM’s unified communications and collaboration (UC²) strategy and preview new technologies from IBM development labs. Rhodin will illustrate how enterprises are building upon their existing technology investments and tapping solutions from a rich ecosystem of business partners to add value to their organizations.
His keynote will include:
  • IBM’s unique point of view on getting into the UC game today — not waiting and not rip and replace;
  • Discussion of communication and collaboration enabling business process — how IBM does it and what customers get out of it;
  • Customer examples receiving tangible business value;
  • Partnership and new business development announcements;
  • Demonstrations of Lotus Sametime and previews of what’s coming in 2008 and beyond; and
  • Demonstration of key partner solution integrated with Lotus Sametime to address communication and collaboration needs in U.S. Intelligence Agencies.
Added Gartenberg, “The goal of IBM’s unified communications strategy is to make it easier for people to find, reach and collaborate through a unified user experience. We deliver on this strategy through a combination of an open and extensible software platform, advanced integration services, industry leading consulting and expertise and a network of more than 400 business partners.”
Gartenberg highlighted a few key points:
  • IBM defines this space as UC2 We believe its not just about reaching someone faster, but what you do together and how you capture that collaboration and share it with others that is important. Its not until you add the power of collaboration to the equation and tightly integrate these capabilities into a users IT work environment that it becomes really powerful. That is why we call this space Unified Communications (News - Alert) AND Collaboration.
  • Unlike our competitors, our view is not to force rip-and-replace, our software and services are based on open standards like Eclipse and work within your mixed telephony and software environments.
  • Lotus Sametime is the centerpiece of IBM’s UC Strategy. Sametime is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year.
I asked Gartenberg what advances of the past year are the most significant in terms of moving unified communications into the mainstream.
“One of the biggest reasons why UC has moved into the mainstream with our customers is open standards base of Lotus Sametime,” he replied. “This has made it possible to integrate advanced UC capabilities within a company’s existing infrastructure. Openness and choice is removing some of the barriers companies faced. Forcing a customer to rip and replace an entire infrastructure to get UC capabilities is a hard case to make. Now, companies can integrate UC capabilities with their existing infrastructure over time. Openness also enabled a host of telephony, video and audio vendors to ship/deliver integration with the collaboration side of the equation. Companies no longer had to wait for UC it was an obtainable reality that would integrate within their infrastructure, no waiting, no ripping and replacing.”
Gartenberg believes that 2008 will be an exciting year for IBM and for the entire UCC industry and he noted that IBM would be delivering two new UCC products: Lotus Sametime Advanced and Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony this year.
“Moving forward we expect the market to focus more on the integration of these capabilities into every day business processes — that’s where the true value of UC lies,” he concluded.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users.

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Featured Speakers

Mike Rhodin
General Manager, Lotus Software, IBM
Session Title:
Communicate and Collaborate at the Speed of Business
Wednesday, March 19 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
David Marshak,
Senior Product Manager, Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC�), IBM
Session Title:
Presence: Cornerstone of Enterprise Communications?
Wednesday, March 19 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Terrence Hickey:
Global Business Services Solution Executive, Contact Centers, IBM
Session Title:
Contact Center Executive Forum
Monday, March 17 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

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