On the Lotus front

ALTHOUGH ROCKED BY THE ONSLAUGHT of Microsoft Exchange, objective industry estimates still place Lotus Notes in the lead in the emerging groupware category. Notes certainly has become a key weapon in the arsenal of IBM's services sellers. Now, said Michael Zissman, vice president of Lotus and IBM software strategy, Lotus is combining Lotus Notes and IBM business intelligence know-how under the banner of "knowledge management." This should gain steam in Q1/'99 with the release of Lotus Domino 5.0.

Executives at IBM in Sommers, N.Y., suggest that Lotus is becoming increasingly aligned with IBM development strategy. "They [Lotus] have historically had their own tools, but they have been moving steadily to a more standard [read: "VisualAge-like"] environment."

An important knowledge gathering capability in the new version of Notes arises from the collaboration between Lotus and parent IBM. It allows corporate managers to send out a sophisticated Web spider that can track useful industry information to feed Notes-based, collaborative applications. Out of the DB2 research crew came IBM Intelligent Miner for Text. They worked with Lotus folks to embed a user-friendlier version of this capability into Lotus/IBM's Domino Extended Search package.

Going forward, said Zissman, knowledge management will be an overarching theme for Lotus and IBM.

Said Zissman: "The infrastructure of Notes has always been about knowledge management. Is this an inflection point for us? I think it is -- but ultimately, the market will speak."

About the Authors

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.