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What's in a Name?
Karl-Henry Martinsson    

The discussion about the IBM rebranding of different products, including removing "Lotus" from a number of products, have me got thinking. What is really in a name? Well, a product name is really not that different from a person name. We have a firstname/surname which is our identity, and a lastname/family which indicate what family or group we belong to. In some cultures the family name is listed first, but the idea is the same. Sometimes we also have a nickname that we are know as, or that our friends call us.

When a woman get married, she often takes the family name of her husband, or combine her family name with his. Jane Doe becomes Jane Smith or even Jane Doe-Smith. A product is often named the same way. Lotus Notes, Lotus Domino, Lotus Sametime. When IBM took over ("married") Lotus, eventually the name became "IBM Lotus Notes, IBM Lotus Domino, etc. We continued using the "nicknames" Notes, Domino and Sametime, as they are shorter and easier to say/write.

I am sure we all remember when Sametime was renamed "IBM Lotus Instant Messaging" and Quickr was renamed "IBM Lotus Team Workplace". The names were quickly changed back... Not that the names were bad, they actually explained much better the nature of the product. But they were much harder to remember and did not have the familiarity people needed. Compare that with if I would change my son's name from Erik to say Allen (which happens to be his middle name). That would cause a lot of confusion.
And if you dropped the "family name" part ("IBM Lotus"), like we all do in normal conversations, the result did not provide any good branding. "Do you use Instant Messaging?"

Some products have already lost the Lotus part. We now have "IBM Sametime", and at Lotusphere, it was announced that "IBM Docs" is the new name for LotusLive Symphony. I think that is a great name, it explains the product and also have the family name in there. "IBM SmartCloud for Social Business" is a long name for LotusLive, and perhaps not the best name. But I never thought LotusLive was a good name. I know that a few years everything cloud was "Live" (Windows Live, etc), but it felt like just another buzzword.

I understand the need of IBM to group products into different families. That makes sense. But everything does not have to include "Smart". What about simply giving any cloud offering/product a "Cloud" designation? IBM Cloud Docs, IBM Cloud Mail (LotusLive Mail), etc. To me that is a no-brainer.

For the traditional client side products in the Lotus family it is a bit more complicated. We all love the Lotus brand, but it has a somewhat tainted or dated sound these days. It is simply old, and people still think "Lotus 1-2-3" when they hear it. I would have no problem with IBM Notes and IBM Domino. We already have "IBM Xwork Server". What about "IBM Smart Client" (for Notes) and "IBM Smart Server" (for Domino). There, IBM got their Smart-designation, and we got a good descriptive name on the products.

You are welcome, Ed.



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http://www.bleedyellow.com/blogs/texasswede/entry/what_s_in_a_name
Feb 18, 2012
74 hits



Recent Blog Posts
91


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Thu, Aug 28th 2014 8:25a   Karl-Henry Martinsson
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Tue, Aug 19th 2014 8:45a   Karl-Henry Martinsson
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321


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Thu, Jul 24th 2014 1:40p   Karl-Henry Martinsson
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IBM Connect becomes IBM ConnectED in 2015
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218


Code snippet – DateClass
Mon, Jul 21st 2014 6:45p   Karl-Henry Martinsson
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