Collaboration services deemed not yet ready for ‘cloud’ model

Even if almost all of technology services nowadays have moved or have created a “cloud computing” version, an IT vendor and research firm think that the time is not yet ripe for collaboration and messaging software that reside entirely on the cloud or the Internet.
Technically, Gmail and Yahoo Mail are forms of cloud computing collaboration services since they are based on the Web. However, only individuals and small companies use them, with large corporations still preferring enterprise-class tools such as Lotus and Microsoft Exchange.

Gene Phifer, an analyst from Gartner who was a guest presenter during a recent IBM Lotus event in Makati City, said that cloud computing is ready for some services, but for messaging and collaboration services.

“However, it does mean that they should avoid it altogether,” Phifer said, adding that a hybrid model could work for firms not yet prepared to migrate their messaging and collaboration tools to the Internet.

A Lotus executive said the hybrid set-up is dependent on the type of community or business where a user belongs. Sandeep Bakshi, business unit executive for Lotus Software for IBM’s Asean Software Group, said the company has a cloud-based offering called Lotus Live that companies can use in combination with premise-based software.

“There’s a genuine clamor for Lotus to be offered as SaaS (software-as-a-service),” said Bakshi.

Gartner’s Phifer said today’s collaboration tools are more pro-active in the sense that they give its users more power to communicate with their peers. “Firms nowadays cannot afford to bunker in or do nothing. They should play offense,” he said.

Phifer extolled the qualities of “social software” in today’s collaboration tools that allow users to create, organize, interact, and find contacts and contents in the same manner as that of popular social networking sites.

Incidentally, Lotus also announced the release of a social software, dubbed Connections 2.5, which is aimed at the corporate segment.

According to Bakshi, Lotus felt compelled to create a new social software that will integrate with its messaging and collaboration tools since young tech-savvy employees look for “social networks” while at work.

Lotus officials said the Connections is intended to address that need even while “on the go.” The software also features a personal “wall,” micro-blogging, and wikis. It can integrate, too, with LinkedIn and can expand to reach 30 million LinkedIn users.


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