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IBM socialises Notes mail to stop your yammering

First post-Lotus release assumes you want to spend all day on email

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IBM has released its first Big-blue-branded version of Notes, emphasising its social-media-like features and the ability to create “embedded experiences” in a new email client that aims to let you spend more time each day doing email.

Big Blue's desire to have you spend more time using an email client is not an act of sadism. Instead, the company believes many knowledge workers already spend up to 80 per cent of their working day in their inbox. Pumping apps into inboxes – the essence of “embedded experiences” - therefore makes sense to IBM, as it means less pfaffing about moving between applications and more time being productive inside email.

It's possible to create embedded experiences in IBM Notes and Domino 9.0 Social Edition, to give the new suite its seemingly un-workshopped full name, thanks to use of OpenSocial APIs to pump applications' screens calling for user interaction into email or calendar items. This arrangement, as demonstrated to The Reg, seemingly offers the chance to build workflows that rely on email as their carrier but don't require deep the application to be deeply integrated with the email/collaboration services server. IBM Australia's messaging and collaboration executive Chris Haylock said that could even mean the likes of SAP make an appearance inside email.

IBM's using the term “social business” with disturbing frequency these days, insisting that sharing information is the new key to productivity. Notes 9.0 therefore offers a Twitter-like internal social network, baked into the email client, so the social-style interaction is never more than a click or two away. Bringing in other social networks should be possible if they're wired for OpenSocial.

Another new feature is an attachment-abstraction arrangement that means attachments aren't stored in the email client Haylock said IBM itself has been able to shed six petabytes of attachments with this feature, which stores a single copy of a file centrally, preforms version control and allows multi-user collaboration on a single document in real time without spawning new locally-resident versions that fill desktop hard disks. SAN administrators presumably get a little more work.

Haylock's optimistic these new features are just what business wants, as he is bound to be. But he also told The Reg 2012 was an exception year for Notes/Domino inasmuch as the platform secured over 1600 “reinstatements” from users who had previously given it the flick. Haylock said that's the most such reversals IBM has ever seen.

Big Blue has other social and collaborative cards to play, too, with Haylock saying an on-premises version of cloudy personal productivity suite IBM Docs is already under development. ®

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