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Mon, Apr 17th 2017 259
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Tools as a catalyst for culture change (in IBM)
Mon, Apr 17th 2017 259
Tools as a catalyst for culture change (in IBM)Tools as a catalyst for culture change (in IBM)
Mon, Apr 17th 2017 105
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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
259
Tools as a catalyst for culture change (in IBM)
Mon, Apr 17th 2017 9:21a   Stuart McIntyre
A fascinating article by Bill Higgins, the IBM Distinguished Engineer that lead a major project to revolutionise the company’s approach to product development: When our CEO Ginni Rometty hired Jeff Smith as IBM’s CIO, with the mandate to help IBM achieve better business and technical agility, I proposed to Jeff that we provide the entire company with a great continuous delivery toolchain that fostered radical collaboration across disciplines. Jeff agreed and for the past two and a half yea
105
Tools as a catalyst for culture change (in IBM)Tools as a catalyst for culture change (in IBM)
Mon, Apr 17th 2017 8:44a   Stuart McIntyre
A fascinating article by Bill Higgins, the IBM Distinguished Engineer that lead a major project to revolutionise the company’s approach to product development: When our CEO Ginni Rometty hired Jeff Smith as IBM’s CIO, with the mandate to help IBM achieve better business and technical agility, I proposed to Jeff that we provide the entire company with a great continuous delivery toolchain that fostered radical collaboration across disciplines. Jeff agreed and for the past two and a half yea
82
Two very interesting new partnerships in the IBM Connections spaceTwo very interesting new partnerships in the IBM Connections space
Sat, Apr 15th 2017 7:10a   Stuart McIntyre
Firstly, two extremely well-respected IBM ISVs are forming a strategic alliance: Specialists from all over the world are preparing themselves for Social Connections 10 – the core event for the IBM Connections community. So did Infoware and panagenda, both sponsors at the event, and formed a strategic alliance to jointly market both parties solutions. The solutions Infoware DomainPatrol Social for content and user management and panagenda ConnectionsExpert for monitoring, adoption and analytic
88
CGATE – an easy-to-use front end for IBM ConnectionsCGATE – an easy-to-use front end for IBM Connections
Sat, Apr 15th 2017 7:10a   Stuart McIntyre
Interesting release from Swedish ISV, EGBS: CGATE is a delightful and easy to use front end for IBM Connections. It will be customized to your organization and your employees – no need to adapt your processes to the tool, or for your employees to learn a new vocabulary. The users will get started in no time, leveraging the power of collaboration without the need for extensive training or user adoption programs. All content is stored in IBM Connections, so there is no need for an additional sys
88
IBM Connections 6 is coming soon… So what is the killer enhancement?IBM Connections 6 is coming soon… So what is the killer enhancement?
Sat, Apr 15th 2017 7:10a   Stuart McIntyre
Earlier this week IBM published a press release previewing the headline features of the upcoming new on-premises release of Connections: IBM today announced it is bringing new capabilities to enterprise social networks for a simpler collaboration across the workforce and employee onboarding experience. The latest version of IBM Connections also integrates with IBM Cloud Object Storage, providing companies an ability to scale their storage needs with their employee’s usage while improving st
77
What not to miss at IBM Connect 2017: Connections PinkWhat not to miss at IBM Connect 2017: Connections Pink
Sat, Apr 15th 2017 7:10a   Stuart McIntyre
IBM Connect 2017 takes place later this month in San Francisco, and the last-minute push to increase attendance is already underway.  I’m a big fan of the new venue, and the shift from Florida to California, and so really hope that the event is a huge success. One of the interesting aspects of the registration push has been the unveiling of some information that previously being kept relatively quiet – if not under NDA, certainly out of the limelight: IBM Connections provides the platform
90
T’was ten years ago… (Lotus Connections & Quickr)T’was ten years ago… (Lotus Connections & Quickr)
Sat, Apr 15th 2017 7:10a   Stuart McIntyre
Unfortunately I’ve just missed the actual anniversary, but I thought it worth celebrating that this week marks a decade since the announcement (on 22nd January 2007) of two products that have had an immense impact on my working life, Lotus IBM Connections and Lotus Quickr. Lotusphere 2007 I was relatively late to the Lotusphere party, attending my first US-based event in 2004 after a couple of the European events. Therefore I never experienced the sell-out 10,000 attendee events pre 9/11. Ev
66
Upcoming Open Mic: What Is New and What Is Coming with IBM Connections (19 April 2017)Upcoming Open Mic: What Is New and What Is Coming with IBM Connections (19 April 2017)
Sat, Apr 15th 2017 7:10a   Stuart McIntyre
IBM Open Mic calls are always useful – the opportunity to ask questions directly of developers, engineers and product managers is never one to pass up. The next session scheduled focuses on IBM Connections, both the just-released version 6, and the planned re-architecture initiative known as ‘Pink’: IBM Connections provides the platform of social tools you need to transform your organization. IBM Connections enables you to reach your customers and partners faster, drive innovation, share
67
IBM Connections 6.0 Reviewer’s GuideIBM Connections 6.0 Reviewer’s Guide
Sat, Apr 15th 2017 7:10a   Stuart McIntyre
The IBM Connections Reviewer’s Guide has always been a useful document, for both prospective and existing customers. It outlines the key features of the new release, particularly focusing on new features and enhancements, but also provides an excellent overview of the product as a whole. The Reviewer’s Guide for the latest release, 6.0, has just been published: With this latest 6.0 release, we continue to build on the strong capabilities of IBM Connections by adding new and relevant features
47
IBM Connections 6.0 announced, generally available March 31stIBM Connections 6.0 announced, generally available March 31st
Sat, Apr 15th 2017 7:10a   Stuart McIntyre
They told us at Connect that IBM Connections 6.0 would be made available in Q1, and here’s the announcement that they’ll be sneaking it across the line on the 31st March… Connections V6.0 adds new capabilities for creating and customizing engaging Communities, and offers users increased flexibility in syncing and managing their online and offline Files folders. Updates: Community customization capabilities can help to make a Community more useful and engaging for the Community members. D




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