has an entry from Dale Vile, Research Director at Freeform Dynamics.  His article covers the new Lotus products such as Connections, and IBM's efforts to bring these to market.

[E]arly indications are that the significant R&D investment IBM has made in the areas we have been discussing is leading to some very interesting, and in many ways, market-leading results. And with the obligatory focus on standards that pervades most of what IBM does nowadays and the commercial need to interoperate with current IT landscapes, openness and future proofing are almost a given.

On balance, we are optimistic that IBM can pull this off...
However, Mr. Vile asserts that there is a significant challenge ahead for these products, and it's the use of the Lotus brand.
The problem is that if you are a committed Microsoft Exchange shop, you are unlikely to spend more than about a nanosecond considering anything carrying the Lotus label, which conjures up notions of a big-iron corporate email environment with an old fashioned quirky interface that always seemed to be dragging behind in terms of the latest features and third-party solution support. To those in particular that may have used Notes and Domino in the deep dark past and moved on from them into the then "modern world", Lotus is very much a legacy brand that is not naturally associated with up-beat forward looking ideas.
Interesting in the context of Rob McDonagh and Karen Demerly's comments on yesterday's "Lotus Museum" Lotus a brand that "is" history or "has" history?  From the brand loyalty and awareness research I've seen, there is much more positive than negative associated with the brand.  It is an especially regional phenomena -- for example, in Japan, "Lotus" has higher brand equity than "IBM" in software.  So it's one thing to look at it from a past perspective, but going forward?
Whichever way you cut it, though, there is no getting away from the reality that IBM will lose out on some short-term opportunity outside its existing Notes installed base purely because it has chosen to brand everything as Lotus, as many will just ignore or dismiss the offerings as not applicable to them.
That is a pretty strong assertion ("will lose"), and obviously one that doesn't sit right with me.  Even though Connections isn't my product, I've had some great discussions about it with organizations that have no existing Lotus investment -- and I have never heard of the brand as an issue.  It would be nice to see this analyst report substantiate the strong assertion, otherwise it's just perpetuating mythology.

As I look ahead to the launches of Notes/Domino 8, Quickr, and Connections, along with the new Sametime 7.5.1 and the momentum behind it, I see a lot of opportunity to take the Lotus brand to the next level in the market.  I'm hearing the right words from Lotus marketing about how to do that (hint: it's about the users).  And that work has already started, with the re-branding of several products to "Lotus" over the last several months.

Link: IBM Lotus - What's in a name >  (Note, used tinyURL because of a syntax translation error)

Post a Comment