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IBM extends Sametime support to 2021. What next for IBM in the UC space?
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Stuart McIntyre    

IBM Sametime is a robust communications offering designed to accelerate your social business by driving faster decisions, with more complete information powered by the business experts in your organization. The suite of tools in Sametime helps unlock the value in your underutilized communications systems by integrating them into a more intuitive system. Sametime tools and services can be accessed from within the applications and business processes that you use every day.

Support for Sametime V9.0.1 is extended to September 2021.

Support for the following associated entitlements is also extended to September 2021:

  • IBM Sametime Complete
  • IBM Sametime Conference
  • IBM Sametime Communicate

More >

It has been obvious for a while that the future for the IBM Sametime brand and product set is not overwhelmingly positive.

As I see it, there are several key drivers for this situation:

  • The marketplace has shifted away from heavyweight on-prem unified communications platforms towards more nimble, lighter-weight cloud-based social communications tools such as Slack, Vidyo, Hangouts and Zoom. I’m hearing from increasing numbers of customers that they’ve either migrated away from Sametime or Lync/Skype for Business, or else are no longer considering such solutions in their budgeted plans.
  • IBM’s partnership with Cisco suggests that it will rely on Cisco’s well-regarded tools and services in this area in the future.
  • Sametime’s long-time need for on huge (1GB+) client installs and clunky Java-based browser plugins means that continued restructuring would need to be undertaken to keep it relevant in the modern world of mobile devices, apps and constant software delivery of new features.
  • The future of some of the underlying components, most notably Domino, but also the WebSphere stack is no longer guaranteed. We’ve seen a previous announcement of extended support for Domino (to the same September 2021 date), but there’s little doubt that further investment in unified communications solutions built on Domino is extremely unlikely.

All that said, I think IBM is making a good decision to very clearly commit to supporting both Domino and Sametime for the next 4.5 years. This gives its customers a decent runway to plan for the future and to consider their options. Many customers have been using both platforms for a decade or more, and shifting away will not be straightforward.

The challenge for IBM is to develop alternative solutions, whether home-brewed (such as Watson Workspace) or in partnership with Cisco or other similar vendors, that are both forward-looking and also of a quality and scale that can support both medium-sized and enterprise customers.

I’ve been impressed with the Connections Pink announcement in terms of plans to build a dynamic new infrastructure based on modern open-source components and services, with a clear migration path from the old developed-at-IBM heavy duty frameworks. If IBM wants to stay active in the UC space and keep those customers, I fear it would need an effort of similar size and cost to replace Sametime (or at least the components and features that are still relevant today).

Worryingly, IBM is now 2-3 years behind the curve in the area of social and video communications platforms and so those new solutions are needed now, not in a year or two’s time…

I was expecting to hear more of their plans announced (or at least intimated) at the recent IBM Connect conference, but as far as I have seen communicated, nothing has been forthcoming beyond a cementing of the relationship with Cisco and maintaining a holding pattern in terms of detailing plans for the future of Sametime’s feature set.  (This extended support announcement is at least helpful in giving reassurance that support will not be withdrawn sooner than 2021.)


If you’re an IBM Sametime customer (or partner), I’d love to hear from you… What are your plans for the future? Do you remain loyal to Sametime for the time being? Are you already in the process of migrating to other solutions? Do let me know via a comment or email!



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Mar 14, 2017
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Recent Blog Posts
5
DJI Spark launches. Seize the moment!
Wed, May 24th 2017 5:49p   Stuart McIntyre
This looks amazing. The new DJI Spark. Smaller than your average smartphone: Meet Spark, DJI’s first ever mini drone. Signature technologies, new gesture control, and unbelievable portability make your aerials more fun and intuitive than ever before. With five different colors, there’s a Spark for everyone. Casey Neistat and Marques Brownlee have already taken a look: The Spark costs just $499 and is available for order today in the US for shipping on 15th June. Whilst other DJI drones ma
8
The 2017 State of Community Management Report has been released
Tue, May 23rd 2017 4:11p   Stuart McIntyre
If you’re in a role that encompasses elements of community management or program strategy, there is no doubt that one of the year’s highlights is the Community Roundtable’s publication of their ‘State of Community Management’ annual report. The Community Roundtable group’s expertise and experience is unrivalled – anyone that’s heard Rachel Happe speak will vouch for that. However, the SOCM report is not just their take on the ‘state of the union’ of the community management d
7
JUMP (OpenMic) Session: Deploying, Securing, Customizing and Extending the IBM Connections Mobile App
Mon, May 22nd 2017 11:03a   Stuart McIntyre
Last week I posted about an upcoming JUMP (Join, Understand, Master and Participate) session on IBM Connections Next which takes place on June 21. The good news is that there is an earlier JUMP webcast scheduled for this Wednesday, 24th May 2017: The IBM Connections applications for iOS and Android provide your users access to Connections from their mobile devices. The apps are highly extensible, provide a customizable user experience and can be securely administered. In this session we will e
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ESN champion? You’ll want to review these JiveWorld17 sessions
Fri, May 19th 2017 4:20p   Stuart McIntyre
The Value of Conference Content For many years I’ve written and podcasted about IBM’s major worldwide collaboration event each year, formerly called Lotusphere and renamed in recent years as IBM Connect. I’ve even been the member of organised teams that have live-blogged keynotes and other key sessions. Why have I spent so much time and energy sharing content from these events? I realise the value of the insight shared in these sessions, and how powerful it is for all customers and p
7
JUMP (OpenMic) Session: Let’s talk about IBM Connections Next Deployment – The Easy Button
Wed, May 17th 2017 9:55p   Stuart McIntyre
IBM OpenMic webcasts have always been worth attending – the chance to ask questions of product experts that you’d normally only get the chance to meet at major global events is never one to be passed over! These OpenMic sessions have just been renamed JUMP (an acronym for Join, Understand, Master and Participate), but the format appears to remain the same. The good news is that the next scheduled webinar features IBM Connections Next (a.k.a. Pink), with a tagline of ‘The Easy Button’…
5
ICS Community Meeting – Connections Adoption
Wed, May 17th 2017 4:11p   Stuart McIntyre
An interesting topic has been selected for this week’s ICS Community meeting, hosted by Amanda Bauman: This is the regular 3rd Thursday ICS Community meeting where IBMer and Community members present topics of interest to the community. On May 18th, join us and hear Kerry Godbold from Canal Barge Company talk about how they overcame the obstacles of user adoption for IBM Connections. You will take away some ideas for how you can improve user adoption at your own company, or how you can help yo
8
12 steps to success with IBM Connections
Fri, May 5th 2017 2:47p   Stuart McIntyre
This graphic has been around for a while (it was first published by IBM back in November last year), but it is still very useful in terms of giving guidance to end users on how to best use IBM Connections to good effect: It is also available as a PDF to download. Here are the 12 steps in text form: Build your network – Add or follow someone Advertise your skills on your profile Update your status every day – Work out loud Bookmark in Connections – Help yourself and others Stop sending
3
IBM Connections 6.0 at a Glance
Fri, May 5th 2017 1:08p   Stuart McIntyre
IBM business partner Maarga Systems has created a quick one-minute video overview of the new features and enhancements available in IBM Connections 6.0: New Features of IBM Connections 6: – Orient Me – Modern Communities – Enhanced Onboarding – Better than ever Files I’ve been working with Maarga for a number of years and can vouch for their technical skills. If you need assistance with Connections customisation or application development, give them a try. [The post IBM Connections
1
Docusign announced enhanced partnership with IBM, including new eSignature integrations
Fri, May 5th 2017 10:44a   Stuart McIntyre
At their Momentum 2017 event this week, Docusign announced a number of new alliances with industry-leading vendors, including an enhanced partnership with IBM: DocuSign today announced a deeper, strategic partnership with IBM to bring to market new capabilities to three solutions to help organizations of every size and industry advance their digital transformations.   DocuSign’s platform and eSignature service will be available within IBM Watson Workspace, IBM Connections and IBM Enterprise
4
FlightLapse #01 – MilkyWay
Thu, May 4th 2017 6:56a   Stuart McIntyre
A gob-smackingly beautiful timelapse: Flying through the night, while the world beneath us is at sleep, is a pretty common thing as a longhaul pilot. Late evening departures lead to far distant destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong, Sao Paolo or J’burg. Depending on the direction of the flight the crew and the passengers either have a short night up ahead if flying eastbound or almost eternal darkness if headed westwards. More > (Thanks Mike) [The post FlightLapse #01 – MilkyWay appeared




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