A product that combines collaboration and cloud computing, LotusLive Connections is an IBM love child.
Great coverage of the LotusLive Connections announcement by Dan Burger over on the ITJungle site:
Imagine the smiles of delight on the faces of IBM Lotus executives when the conference selected LotusLive as “The Enterprise 2.0 Cloud Computing Technology Buyers’ Choice Award” winner over Google, EMC and other vendors’ cloud technologies. The award was based on the votes of conference attendees
Before moving to the cloud, Lotus Connections was earthbound. By that I mean it was designed to run inside the firewall–installed, deployed, and maintained by the organization using the software. LotusLive Connections is in the software as a service (SaaS) model. Its availability is not tied to any IBM hardware or software, which means it’s free of any Lotus-related baggage that prevents some people from even considering anything named Lotus.
Lotus Connections, which has been available for approximately two years, is a Web-based product. It can be used for extranet collaboration, but it is typically deployed inside companies. Sales force collaboration over a wide geography, for instance, is one use. For many uses, companies don’t want the external world into their internal services for a variety of reasons.
The strength of Connections’ social networking is its increased leveraging of the intelligence within a community. It does this by combining a variety of collaboration tools such as blogs, wikis, shared libraries, forums, and personal contacts based on common interests within the context of the business.
The distinction between Lotus Connections and LotusLive Connections is there so companies can decide whether they want to run Connections on premise or to subscribe to it as a hosted application. A benefit that comes with the cloud version–LotusLive Connections–is that it allows a company to be up and running with a program that could connect its business partners in a shorter period of time.
The terminology is a bit tricky, but LotusLive Connections uses the underlying code base for Lotus Connections, which has its 2.5 release going into production. Because the release dates of the two products are not in synch, some pieces of Lotus Connections will not be available in the LotusLive version. Two of those features are blogging and bookmarking. There are also features in LotusLive that are not available in the software that is run on premise due to the products’ individual production schedules. The two lines will ultimately be converged.
I find this to be an excellent explanation of the links between the established (and in my view, industry-leading) Lotus Connections on-premise social software solution and the LotusLive version. LotusLive Connections is definitely not the online equivalent of the on-premise version right now, but over time that is definitely the direction that the LotusLive team are headed. That applies to both features that are in the Lotus Connections 2.0.1 product today (Blogs, Dogear etc) and those that are coming soon in Lotus Connections 2.5 (status updates, customisable communities, wikis etc) – whilst no commitments are being made at this stage, LotusLive Connections and LotusLive Engage are definitely just the first steps in the evolution of the Lotus cloud-based social collaboration offerings.