Feeds

Vista and Lotus: Knowing when to let go of a brand

Hasta la Vista, baby

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Pretty good stuff

To be fair, this picture is from almost a year ago, and though it hadn’t changed that much from the previous year (apart from the Lotus footprint shrinking a little), IBM has been doing some pretty good stuff recently. The latest Notes 8.5 release, for example, looks excellent, and if feedback from LotusSphere user group events is anything to go by, the response from the installed base has been very positive.

In addition, a number of other offerings have recently emerged or been enhanced under the Lotus brand in hot areas such as social computing and unified communications, which provide some great options for Notes/Domino shops to extend their investments in a future proof manner. With this in mind, it’ll be interesting to see if we pick up any changes in commitment and perception when we run our next Barometer (watch this space).

In the meantime, there is a big question around whether Lotus offerings will make a significant impact outside of the Notes/Domino installed base, and the challenge here is not so much relevance and value in an absolute sense to a Microsoft Exchange shop, for example, but perceptions around the Lotus brand. There are two issues here, both stemming from the fact that the words ‘Lotus’ and ‘Notes’ have been tied together so strongly over time. The first is that as the latter acquired its legacy image in the broader market, that couldn’t help but rub off on the former.

Even if IBM is successful at refreshing the Lotus brand, however, and creating a more positive and up-to-date feel around it, there is still a second problem to contend with. This is that the same historical association between ‘Lotus’ and ‘Notes’ leads to the assumption that anything carrying the Lotus name is probably aimed at extending or enhancing the Notes/Domino environment. Given that Exchange shops generally have no appetite for considering a switch to the IBM alternative for core email and calendaring, the likelihood is therefore that they simply dismiss other Lotus branded offerings, such as unified communications and social computing solutions, as not being relevant to them.

Ironically, the latest ‘Lotus Knows’ marketing campaign (http://teblog.typepad.com/david_tebbutt/) runs the risk of actually aggravating the situation. While the fundamental idea of trying to create and propagate enthusiasm among end user influencers has merit, and there has reportedly been excitement within the ‘Lotus Loyal’ installed base, the whole thing revolves around the benefits of an end-to-end Lotus environment, with Notes/Domino featuring prominently.

This simply reinforces the above mentioned assumptions and makes it even more likely that Exchange shops, 97 perw cent of which (according to our barometer data) indicate continued committed use, will totally ignore what IBM has on offer under the Lotus brand, even though it might prove useful to them.

Coming back to where we started, against this background, there is a strong argument for IBM grasping the nettle as Microsoft did with Vista, and either letting the Lotus brand go altogether or at least re-branding some of the newer stuff it has stuck under the Lotus banner. Admittedly, it’s not quite the same situation as Microsoft faced in that the Lotus brand is not tarnished in the same way as Vista; it’s more a case of the brand being entrenched in history and having become a bit tired over the years.

Nevertheless, by burdening a lot of really cool software with so much historical baggage, IBM is not doing itself or the broader market any favours. The only party to benefit is arguably Microsoft, which will continue to pick up a lot of unified communications and social computing business in Exchange accounts by default, with an important set of alternatives from IBM not even being considered.

Freeform Dynamics Ltd

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.