The Foundations announcement

November 11 2010

Tons of questions and blog posts in the last few days about the Lotus Foundations end of marketing that appeared in IBM channel marketing materials earlier this week.  So, I don't own Foundations and am not part of the team that does (IBM Smart Business) thus I am blogging simply from generally available information... am in an internal discussion to try to get more, but this should help set some things straight.

An important quote from the announcement:

IBM is not withdrawing the equivalent products from non-Passport Advantage ordering, such as Original Equipment Manufacturer/Application Specific License agreements.  Lotus Foundations Value Added Resellers in the US and Canada can continue to order these products via the Lotus Foundations Order Desk.
So Foundations isn't dead/RIP/buried as is stated on some of the blogs in the past few days...it is simply no longer being marketed through Passport Advantage, which is after all a software volume licensing program.

The broader thrust behind the announcement is IBM's Smart Business solutions.  This team is building and delivering new software appliance solutions targeted at mid-market (<1000 employee) organizations.  Unlike Lotus Foundations (and another effort, the IBM Smart Cube), the new software appliance solutions will be available in a self-contained environment which can run on any hardware (not specific hardware), virtual machines, or the IBM Cloud.  The new Smart Business strategy was announced in Boston on October 21, as reported by CRN:
Dan Cerutti, general manager of IBM Smart Business, provided details of the new portfolio of packaged offerings during executive breakout sessions at the CRN conference.
The "Solutions for Smart Business" include pre-integrated applications and infrastructure software, such as database software and backup and recovery tools. Some are currently available as software-only bundles or packaged as appliances with IBM servers, with versions for Dell and Hewlett-Packard hardware in development.

Early next year IBM will offer the packages through its cloud computing services and, later in 2011, as virtual images.

The packages will be sold exclusively through the channel to midmarket businesses, priced on a per-seat, per-month basis. Cerutti said a key goal of the bundles is to help channel partners shorten the sales cycle.

One package, IBM Virtual Desktop for Smart Business, was jointly developed with Virtual Bridges, a virtualization technology company in Austin, Texas. Other packages include IBM Docs for Smart Business, a document management system; IBM Service Management for Smart Business, which incorporates Tivoli systems management software; and IBM Application Manager for Smart Business. Other packages are in development.
So, it's a transition.  It appears that it could have been better-managed, especially amongst the Lotus community that has been the engine for Lotus Foundations since the Nitix acquisition.

I saw a bunch of blog posts on planetlotus about this during the week, but as I am at the Irish Lotus User Group I haven't had a chance to capture all of the threads.  If you have links for me, please post them as comments.

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