IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced new Notes features on June 19 along with an initiative to help organizations bring the characteristics of Web 2.0 to the enterprise. IBM defines Web 2.0 as content-rich, Internet applications for social networking and collaboration, which is a little narrower than Research 2.0â€™s focus but the basis for a good intellectual discussion. The press release says IBM is â€œuniquely positioned to develop an information ecosystem to meet the needs of organizations as they adopt Web 2.0 principles and technologies.” This is true given the original vision and subsequent capabilities of Notes and IBMâ€™s ability to make its software industrial strength. The fact that the key guru that made â€œCollaboration 1.0â€ happen 20 years ago at IBM Lotus (when it was a separate company), Ray Ozzie, is now the visionary in waiting at Microsoft complicates matters a bit. But if IBM is known for anything, itâ€™s the depth of its bench.
IBM announced the immediate or impending availability of:
- Lotus Connections, a suite of five Web 2.0-based components for social book marking and tagging, rich directories including skills and projects, activity dashboards, collaboration among like-minded communities, and web logs or blogging. The precursor functionality in Notes was called something like discussion boards, aided and abetted by Notesâ€™ fundamental replication technology.
- Lotus Quickr, a team collaboration tool that helps teams inside and outside a company firewall work together across geographies, work styles and operating systems. These features grow out of Lotus portal development.
- A capability called Info 2.0 in demo stage that lets organizations catalog, combine, transform and remix any type of data and content
- WebSphere Commerce add-ons to more closely align with consumers’ natural shopping tendencies; the new features in WebSphere Commerce Web 2.0 Store Solution include rich Internet applications.
That last bullet looks to be literally an add-on to the announcement, almost a throw-away line from another IBM software group division that couldnâ€™t justify its own press release that week. But IBM is on to something that I had only previously seen in Microsoftâ€™s (MSFT) positioning. Mish-mashing, dash boarding, you-tubing and socially networking is great for teenagers (or at least better for them than say, binge drinking) but thatâ€™s not the eventual pay off for Web 2.0. All of these features are going to launch the next generation of ecommerce where B2B and B2C come together. As with radio and television broadcasting and many other technologies before and since, while the wide-eyed social scientists see a brave new world in technological change, the business world sees another way to reach the consumer. Research 2.0â€™s recent reviews of IBM and Microsoft go into more detail.