The long goodbye continues

[Both Chris and Volker have covered this topic already, so read their posts before reading this one]

You may be aware that I have been pressing IBM for a ‘plan’ regarding the re-branding of Lotus products and the future of both the Lotus name and the products we know and love (Domino, Notes, Traveler, Quickr etc.).

Yesterday’s community call was an opportunity to explain the rationale, to lay out a plan for the future, to communicate strategy and tactics.  Did they deliver?  

Well, as Volker so clearly articulates, after the call the answer continues to be “it’s complicated”.

Just the bare facts of the call topic changes over the past month tell a tale:

Is the Lotus brand going away? –> Social Business and the future of the Lotus brand –> Social Business Evolution

However even those changes did not prepare me for a high-level strategic Social Business pitch that did not mention Lotus or Notes/Domino.  Given the loyal community audience, this was a massive shock and does IBM a serious disservice.

So where are we after the call? Well, in short, nothing has changed. We’re still where we were at Lotusphere, except in one regard…

We now know that:

IBM either:

  • does not have a plan at all for the Lotus brand and the products left within it, or
  • does have a plan and is not prepared to reveal it for even the most loyal of partners and customers.

Personally I find either option pretty difficult to digest.

It seems to me, IBM needs to make a big decision. A really tough, hard, decisive, controversial decision. And they’re fudging it, trying to avoid the fall out…

That is never going to work.

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!