SharePoint vs. Lotus: Microsoft, IBM Go Head to Head on Collaboration

Ann All

Just how big of a deal is U.S. Bank's decision to abandon Microsoft SharePoint in favor of IBM's Lotus collaboration software, a story reported by Computerworld? "It's a very big deal," according to Bob Picciano, the IBM executive quoted in the story. Not so big, sniffed the competing Microsoft executive. Said Julia White, director of Exchange product management:

 

Last year, more than 4.7 million people began the switch to Exchange and SharePoint from Notes. We count our switchers in millions, while Notes counts their switchers in tens of thousands. We expect this trend to accelerate with Exchange 2010 and SharePoint 2010.

 

Sounds like fighting words, and IBM has been spoiling for a fight since 2007, when it began adding lots of new features to its once-stagnant Lotus software, in an apparent effort to offer an alternative to Microsoft SharePoint, which has been Microsoft's fastest-growing product to date. Lotus is at the center of what tech pundit David Berlind last year called "probably the closest thing I've seen to a cohesive strategy around how the two infrastructures can strip out the inefficiencies in collaborative business process."

 

Yet even IBM's approach falls short of offering a seamless approach to Enterprise 2.0. As CMS Watch's Tony Byrne told me:

 

Connections is very networking-oriented with a little bit of collaboration. Quickr is very collaboration-oriented with a little bit of networking. So at a certain point, through the evolution of these things, you're probably going to want to take a thing that germinated in Connections and put it into Quickr to formalize it. Yet the whole point of Enterprise 2.0 is, "Let's keep the discussion going." But at that point, you're back in Connections.

 

As IT Business Edge's Mike Vizard pointed out earlier today, Big Blue just rolled out a set of collaboration frameworks for several vertical industries (including banking, of course). The frameworks ostensibly can provide a kind of one-stop-shop collaboration experience, with an integrated set of IBM software coupled with its consulting services. He cuts to the chase:


 

The IBM collaboration frameworks consist specifically of products from IBM's Lotus Notes group coupled with IBM middleware. Depending on the situation, IBM may add in some third-party products. But if you're starting to get the idea that it sounds awfully complicated and expensive to collaborate, you're probably not alone. If you think Microsoft, Oracle or anybody else is any better at the moment when it comes to end-to-end collaboration, think again.

 

And that's the $64 million question. (Maybe more, if you throw in those consulting services.) Why is enterprise collaboration still so hard (and expensive) to implement? Vizard calls it the collaboration conundrum.

 

U.S. Bank is also standardizing on the latest Lotus Notes 8.5 client and the Lotus Sametime messaging application for all of its 58,000 employees. IBM had an incumbent edge, since U.S. Bank was already using versions 6.5 of IBM Lotus Notes and Domino for most of its workforce. Picciano downplayed the advantage, saying it was a "largely competitive" battle in which the superior technology won.

 

An added note: Apparently U.S. Bank is also considering switching from Microsoft Offce to IBM's Lotus Symphony productivity suite, which Big Blue is strongly pitching as an Office alternative. As PCWorld reports, IBM is adding a new set of drag-and-drop widgets to Symphony that include integration with popular backend software such as Microsoft SharePoint Server, among others.

 

Check out some of the collaboration-friendly widgets: OrgChart Widget, which integrates with profiles in Lotus Connections so users can be added into online meetings; Learning Widget, which combines local and Web-based information; Team Workspace Widget, which provides access to documents stored in Lotus Quickr or Microsoft SharePoint; and Symphony 2 Wiki Widgets, which convert documents for publishing on wikis.



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Sep 16, 2009 3:09 AM Kate Stewart Kate Stewart  says:

The SMB collaboration (or SharePoint alternative for SMBs) market is hotting up as well. SharePoint is too costly, and overkill for this segment, hence the chance for other collaboration players to position themselves as alternatives to SharePoint. The SaaS approach is more suitable for this segment, because of being low cost and effort. Almost all of the big software players have entered a solution in the SMB collaboration market in recent times. For one, Microsoft has itself launched SharePoint Online, a SaaS version of SharePoint. Google's Google Apps is gaining business market share by the day. IBM has launched LotusLive. Adobe is pushing acrobat.com.  Cisco intends to build out WebEx with its recent Postpath  PostPath aquisition. There are also smaller and older players like HyperOffice, which are well entrenched in the market, and have for years positioned themselves strongly as a "sharepoint alternative".

Reply
Sep 17, 2009 8:58 AM Collin Collin  says:

SharePoint and Lotus really are a tough comparison, especially since Lotus seems to have a bit more go-withs, though if you ask me, it's a little slower loading, especially the email client. I think the best way to tell is to try them out. There's a free trial of SharePoint on this site, which is included in the BPOS suite and a slightly more difficult to navigate download on the IBM site here. Hope this helps.

Reply
Oct 27, 2009 1:34 AM mike mike  says: in response to Kate Stewart

Sharepoint expensive?

Its like 50$ an employee... ONE time cost.

Thats like one year of IBM support fees...

You people are nuts, there is no HUGE maintainence contract with MS.

Sharepoint crushes Notes on all points, face it IBM sat on its cash pile and laughed when someone said "shouldnt we update this cruddy program?"...

Reply
Nov 23, 2009 3:14 AM JM JM  says: in response to mike

I'm a Lotus pro. But tried to learn SP because of the market situation. As a strat I tried to implement a simple application on Sharepoint. Just want to create a form and on submission generate an index number, kind of like "A-0001" (Next document should get A-0002). There is no simple mechanism to do it in SP(as far as I know). I may have to use web parts, .Net etc etc. I have build complex aplications in Lotus Notes, the above task would not even take 5 mins for me in Lotus.

Hope: I really want to see SP doing stuff Lotus does without having to learn Infopath, .Net, Biztalk etc etc (Even if you learn integration and maintenance of whole setup will be another nightmare). If you can, I could switch over to much high paying job in the market now(I mean as an SP developer). I do not want to get in and end up in a failed project (which I never did with Lotus). With the current state (Designer 2007) SP's just a placebo. Patient can't go long with this medicine, MS add some real meat to it.

Conclusion:

  SP is nowhere close to Notes, by any stretch of imagination. This is just one another fad from MS like MS Exchange against Lotus Notes. (MS Exchange competes just with mail module of Lotus Notes, that's it)

Oooph, so much of venting. I feel releived now.

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Feb 18, 2010 11:09 AM Jason Jason  says: in response to JM

LMAO!  "SharePoint is a fad from MS like MS Exchange".   LMAO. Bwahahahahah.  Idiot.

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Jul 22, 2010 2:24 AM Erich Erich  says: in response to Jason

Agreed. MS SharePoint is here to stay. Just take a look at this industry job trend:

http://www.indeed.com/jobtrends?q=sharepoint%2CLotusNotes&l=&relative=1

Need I say more? Enough said if you ask me.

Reply
Nov 12, 2010 2:48 AM Balanced Balanced  says:

You need to compare Sharepoint to Quickr, and it is a different graph:

http://www.indeed.com/jobtrends?q=sharepoint%2Cquickr&l=&relative=1

Reply
Jan 5, 2011 5:49 AM DBA DBA  says: in response to JM

you imbecile...Exchange competes with Lotus. Lotus has lost the battle long back. Exchange has nearly 70% market so anything else is less than half.

Also you better change to SharePoint, as Lotus products are are multicolor and not seamless. Lotus has smaller market share.

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Jan 6, 2011 6:20 AM L L  says:

I never get tired of reading these discussions about Lotus Notes vs. Sharepoint.

They are NOT the same of course! But I think the only valid comparison is  from the Development Platform for Applications perspective.

I worked with Notes for many many years... and forced to switch to SP since 2007. I can say that SP has many 'good things' to offer, specially from the UI (for end users).

However MS really need to work on the development time. The development platform in Sharepoint is hideous. Every single development step/fix takes days/weeks and it never seems to end. Not to mention the multiple combination of software, 3rd party tools and time it requires to build a simple app.

I found it really funny that in my 'Notes' days ... if I ever mentioned that I need 3 months to build an app, use Visual studior or a 3rd party tool  I would have been fired...LOL.

However in Sharepoint ... it is ok to use VS 2010, Sharepoint Designer, Javascript libraries, custom solutions and all mixed up.... and takes 6 months to do a Purchase order database, and then...be the Sharepoint King. Talk about time and resources.  LOL

Too bad for Notes to have lost so much... I think the problem with notes is a combination of really poor marketing and awful product improvements. I think IBM really rested on its laurels with Notes.

Remember when Notes 4/5 came out and they sold it like the sky was the limit? this is what's happening with Sharepoint... so we can't really solve much by complaining... new technology (Sharepoint) is here to stay...whether we like it or not, and it's a chance to learn new things and of course pay the bills! (see the job offers in Sharepoint vs. Domino). At the end of the day... your resume will be very attractive.

Cheers,

L

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Apr 7, 2011 4:09 AM what what  says: in response to Balanced

What the heck?...try looking at absolute numbers instead of relative...jobs mean more that percent change from a small based like quickr...ugh..SharePoint is growing a lot more than Quickr as measured by REAL jobs!!!  I can only guess you were trying to mislead with such a lame attempt!!

http://www.indeed.com/jobtrends?q=sharepoint%2Cquickr&l=

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Aug 26, 2012 5:26 AM MM MM  says: in response to L
@L : What?!!.. you took 6 months to build a purchase order application? you must be really ineffecient Reply
Mar 5, 2013 6:48 AM IBMSucks IBMSucks  says:
Just another attempt by IBM to try to stay relevant. IBM is like a 50-year old wearing gold chains, backwards pants, etc. to try to look 'hip' and 'cool' when it is really just embarrassing itself. What happened IBM? You used to be awesome! Now you are made of complete FAIL. Your tools are even worse than the PHP "double claw hammer". As much as I might dislike M$, at least they have some goddamn consistency! Reply
Apr 23, 2014 9:53 PM Regina Regina  says:
I am a SharePoint aficionado and have been using SharePoint for quite sometime. In my opinion, no other tool can offer the extensive array of out-of-the-box features that SharePoint offers. It is an intranet site, an extranet site, document management tool, task management platform, blogging platform, a public-facing platform, and more. You name it and it has that to offer. Newcomers are hesitant to dive into this platform because of the gaga that has been created around its pricing. Thus, I would suggest if you really want to explore SharePoint, then get a free SharePoint site hosting solution from http://www.cloudappsportal.com and see the results. It's worth a try. Reply
May 6, 2014 12:57 AM Shirley Schimdt Shirley Schimdt  says:
I am a SharePoint aficionado and have been using SharePoint for quite sometime. In my opinion, no other tool can offer the extensive array of out-of-the-box features that SharePoint offers. It is an intranet site, an extranet site, document management tool, task management platform, blogging platform, a public-facing platform, and more. You name it and it has that to offer. Newcomers are hesitant to dive into this platform because of the gaga that has been created around its pricing. Thus, I would suggest if you really want to explore SharePoint, then get a free SharePoint site hosting solution from http://www.cloudappsportal.com and see the results. It's worth a try. Reply

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