Lotus Connections market positioning

Jake has an interesting post over on Codestore about managing large numbers of Domino based blogs.

The client is a university with about 20,000 students. They want to give each student the ability to blog.

He is asking for input regarding scalability and the use of one large database versus a large number of individual databases. This sounds like a cool project, and is something I have thought about a bit in the past. Personally I agree with the consensus and go the route of individual databases, building an admin tool and landing page as a front end.

However, reading Jake’s entry got me thinking to Lotus Connections, and it was a comment that Warren left that prompted me to write this post. The line in particular I’m referring to is:

“(and a whole lot better than Lotus Connections…)”

Now, I haven’t seen much on Connections yet, but it sounds like a cool product, and I imagine that IBM would be looking at the situation Jake raises as the ideal use scenario. Certainly for the blogging and community modules. I would expect that the blog functionality be pretty capable, including the ability to mark posts as private, and certainly managable for the admins.

Am I mistaken? Why would I rule out Connections in this kind of situation? I’d be interested to hear any thoughts on this, and the level of feature parity between Connections and the Domino blog template.


4 responses to “Lotus Connections market positioning”

  1. Simon, this is the problem with IBM releasing so little technical information on Connections to the public domain – there just isn’t enough to go on to be sure of the viability of taking Connections 1.0 (!) to the large user community that it is so clearly aimed at.

    I have a current opp for a social community project that absolutely fits the Connections feature set, and that needs to scale to the numbers that Jake mentions. I am having an open conversation with IBM about it, and it looks as though they are fairly comfortable that it will do the job, so I must say I would still take this risk in Jakes case, rather than manage 20,000 different blog databases in Domino.

    Have you had access to the Lotus Greenhouse yet? This is dealing with a large number of users now and seems to be coping under the strain, so this is a good omen. Not sure quite why Warren feels so negatively about the product…


  2. Hi Stuart, I fully agree with you on both counts. The lack of info makes it difficult to begin to treat the product seriously even if we have confidence in what IBM are doing. We can’t bring it up with clients if there is no real material out there for them to refer to.
    I would certainly hope it can cope with the kind of numbers Jake mentions. Particularly as IBM is saying the product is based on technology they have been using internally for some time.
    I have access to the Lotus Greenhouse, though not had the time yet to dig into it in any depth. My first impressions are very positive, more so as its not even beta yet.

  3. Simon and Stuart,

    I can speak to some of you questions as an IBMer that has been using this technology for years. With the right hardware, Lotus Connection can scale to meet your needs.

    How can I help build your confidence?

  4. Thanks for stopping by Ted, your comment was a pleasant surprise after seeing your post on your new position this morning, good luck with the new job!

    I think what we are seeing here is that on one hand we can recognise the target markets I assume IBM have identified for the product, but on the other, we are lacking the information and tools to be able to present Connections and introduce it convincingly as a viable product.

    I understand we are talking about pre-release software, and that things are subject to change, but I think we do need to start to see some more details, particularly on the technical side. Things like server requirements, scalability, integration with existing platforms, are all questions we will need to have an answer for. You say “with the right hardware”, but that leads us to the question, “what is the right hardware?”

    I don’t want to sound pushy, part of the problem is undoubtably our lack of patience in wanting to see the product go gold!!

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