It’s great to see the LotusLive Engage launch news starting to make it into the press. CNET leads the way:
So it is that IBM on Wednesday will announce a service called LotusLive Engage, what it bills as an integrated social networking and collaboration cloud service. You can go up on the Web site today and take a tour, but this is a teaser test run. Although the official announcement will take place at the O’Reilly Web 2.0 Conference, which opens in San Francisco, LotusLive Engage becomes commercially available on April 7.
Brendan Crotty, program manager of LotusLive said the project, initially geared at the small to mid-size business market, benefited from often frank feedback by beta testers who told IBM what they liked and disliked about the interface. In the hour-long demo I had Tuesday afternoon, it appeared that IBM’s designers had taken those comments to heart. The console layout was lapidary and intuitive. Enterprise users who previously worked with products like Notes or Microsoft Exchange shouldn’t have any trouble figuring out what does what.
LotusLive Engage’s communications and collaboration tools work both within and beyond the corporate firewall so that employees can interact with clients, partners, or suppliers. IBM’s phrase to describe what’s going on is “extranet collaboration.” The short list of the features include profile and contact management, online meetings, file sharing, instant messaging, and project management capabilities.
Any information warehoused on LotusLive services will live in a cloud managed by IBM. Pricing will range from $10 to $45 per user.