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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
29
IBM Connections 6 is coming soon… So what is the killer enhancement?
Wed, Mar 15th 2017 10:20a   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
20
IBM extends Sametime support to 2021. What next for IBM in the UC space?
Tue, Mar 14th 2017 11:59a   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.
9
Genius
Mon, Mar 6th 2017 10:58a   Stuart McIntyre
This concept was mentioned in a WSJ article on the nature of Internet Trolls: A site published by the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK just rolled out a system that gives readers a brief multiple-choice quiz about the contents of an article—proving they really read it—before allowing them to comment. Reading more on the idea, I really think that NRK are onto something: The goal is to ensure that the commenters have actually read the story before they discuss it. “We thought we should do
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Conspiracy theories, courtesy of Google Home
Mon, Mar 6th 2017 10:36a   Stuart McIntyre
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Engage 2017 abstract submission closes today
Tue, Feb 28th 2017 3:51p   Stuart McIntyre
Engage 2017 is about 2 months away. Monday-Tuesday, 8 – 9 May, 2017, at the Elisabeth Center Antwerp, Belgium. A brand new conference center, in an historic frame. In the city center, next to the 19th century Zoo and the stunning Antwerp Central train station. Our target is to have more attendees than the 425 attendees we had last time. Close to 80 sessions in 5 tracks: Business & Strategy, Development, Administration & Deployment, Emerging Technologies and for the first time: B
11
Ghost Browser – the Productivity Browser for Tech Pros
Thu, Feb 2nd 2017 8:50a   Stuart McIntyre
You may already be aware of Ghost Browser, my apologies if so. However, I’ve lost count of the number of advanced users that I’ve met in the past month or so that haven’t seen it yet, but who would benefit significantly from its features: Put simply, Ghost Browser allows you to have multiple authenticated sessions open to the same site simultaneously, with each session having its own cookie jar, isolated from other sessions. This allows users such as web developers, testers,
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Slack takes aim at the corporate sector with Enterprise Grid, names IBM as one of the launch customers
Wed, Feb 1st 2017 2:58p   Stuart McIntyre
TechCrunch yesterday reported on Slack’s plans to unveil an enterprise version of it’s service: Slack, the business app that lets teams of users communicate, share files from other services, and work on them with each other, has taken off like wildfire since launching three years ago, with 5 million daily users, 1.5 million of them paying today. Now, Slack is embarking on the next step in its ambition to be the go-to platform for all workplace collaboration, no matter how big
5
What not to miss at IBM Connect 2017: Connections Pink
Wed, Feb 1st 2017 11:22a   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 p
7
Dropbox Paper: Grow bigger, brighter ideas
Mon, Jan 30th 2017 8:08p   Stuart McIntyre
Dropbox announced that they are rolling their Paper collaborative content creation platform out on a global basis today: More than a doc, Dropbox Paper is a flexible workspace that brings people and ideas together. Paper supports all phases of the creative process – from start to finish: A connected space to create and ideate together Teams find flow together in Paper, where everyone can contribute to growing better ideas in a beautiful, flexible workspace. Review and revise work in a
6
T’was ten years ago… (Lotus Connections & Quickr)
Fri, Jan 27th 2017 3:11p   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




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