On the Cloud with IBM

There seem to be two main things people talk about in the hallways about this years news: XPages and “Click to Cloud”. While last years effort to meet the new requirements of a new IT world have been halfhearted this years announcments showed that IBM is serious about the cloud and the challenge to meet Google in the messaging and collaboration business.
With the announcement of the first partnerships (LinkedIn, Skype, Salesforce.com) and the acquisition of Outblaze there suddenly is momentum in the business. I think, this is an important and necessary move looking at the market where lots of companies currently testing and implementing services in the cloud. IBM thinks of these services as an extension of the existing corporate infrastructure to the cloud – so Business Partners and IT staff should not be scared.

But I think they should. The business model is changing fast. And extending an existing infrastructure seemless to cloud services does means its easy to move these services to the cloud too. The next step is only a small step if the first step works. So customers will move completly services like Mail, Instant Messaging, etc. to the cloud – and to the IBM datacenter.

What does that mean for Business Partners? Google has build a whole ecosystem around its cloud services. IBM has not. The Lotus partner ecosystem is mainly a Notes developer / admin ecosystem. They have to change and ask themselves how they can add value to LotusLive. With open standards, customers will not need anymore a “classic” Notes app to add an CRM service or a DMS service. Suddenly, the closed Lotus shop is an open shop. For many companies that provide today tools for managing Domino servers to its customers there will be no market if the servers are in IBMs cloud.

Again: From an IBM perspective this is a necessary step. IBM is focusing on solutions for its customers and not discussing the underlying technology. It does not matter for IBM if the Meeting Center technology behind LotusLive is Lotus Sametime or the scalable architecture the acquired to build the Unyte server. It even does not matter if Mail services are Notes based or Outblaze based – as long as it has one look and feel and is robust, open, scaleable.

I am very curious where this community will stand in two or three years and which will be the services business partners will provide.

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