It's here!

Today, IBM is releasing Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.3. New features in this release include substantial updates to the Notes Traveler client for Android, improvements in Notes email and calendaring, parity features in Lotus iNotes, substantial new power in XPages, and incremental updates to Domino. This is anticipated to be the last 8.5.x release with new features, as we turn our development focus to a new feature release ("Notes Next") coming in 2012.

In addition to improvements to the product itself, the Notes/Domino 8.5.3 release includes a significant new entitlement as part of Domino Client Access Licenses or Domino Express licenses -- the right to use two key capabilities of IBM Connections 3.0.1: Files and Profiles at no additional charge. These entitlements join IBM Sametime Entry, Lotus Symphony, Tivoli Directory Integrator, Lotus Mobile Connect, and others as part of key additional value you receive as part of your license and subscription investment in Notes/Domino.

Why Connections Files and Profiles, and why now? Simply put, becoming a social business starts with a transition from sending to sharing. If we want IBM customers and prospects to accelerate or come along on the journey to social business, then it makes sense to introduce some of the required capabilities beyond those self-contained in Notes/Domino. These two components help you tap into the knowledge in your organization in a single click. Files is a no-brainer for added value for Notes customers, especially with the plug-in, drag-and-drop, and searching capabilities from within the Notes client. Profiles is the sweetener, adding expertise location and social networks to the equation. Both of these are significant value, for both Notes client users and browser-based iNotes users.

Clearly, our goal in introducing this entitlement is to give Notes shops an unencumbered opportunity to try out and adopt IBM Connections, as a path to considering and eventually adopting all of IBM Connections. In other words, we think the rest of Connections -- blogs, wikis, discussions, activities, communities and more -- has a ton of additional value for Notes customers. As such, later this month, IBM will announce an extension part number to move from the Connections entitlement in Notes/Domino to the full IBM Connections product--at an attractive incremental price.

This new entitlement shows another step in our progress to make email and collaboration more social. For some of you reading this, the idea of using the two together is old hat, along with social business as a concept -- you are the early adopters. There are still tens of thousands of companies that have yet to begin that journey, so we are giving them a valuable push in the right direction towards improved productivity, collective intelligence, and facilitating innovation.

Later today/this week, I'll post other blog entries talking about licensing changes for Notes/Domino in the 8.5.3 release, new features, a resource guide, and a wrap-up of the announcements. Thanks for all of your support!

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